March has turned out to be a very good month and we still have several days left! Thanks to our quick trip to Vegas, my Average Year status is now at 239 (link here) – that includes two local finds yesterday thanks to standing out in a large tree lined meadow waiting for the distinct peent of horny male American Woodcocks (link here – more sad memories). Call me 12, but I still laugh every single time I say or type out that name hehehe. The other +1 was more of a twist as it “found” me. I was just standing there noting it was getting surprisingly chilly as the sun was preparing for bed, when I noticed a fast moving bird heading across the meadow directly at me. Ever witness people just standing there taking it all in as a car or other potentially dangerous object speeds in their direction? This bird just kept coming, I just kept standing there, bird continues to close the gap, I continue to gawk, bird appears to be on a mission, I continue to ponder the history of flight, bird undeterred, I wonder if Ron is standing next to me (birds hate him), bird proceeds to whiz past my right ear and land on a nearby branch, I nearly crap my pants. What the hell was THAT! I turned to give it a stern talking to when I noticed it was a Fox Sparrow. Took a few snaps to get the +1 for the year and politely informed it a Top Gun flyby wasn’t necessary, a friendly wave would have been sufficient. I don’t speak bird, but I think it called me a ground hugging troglodyte and pointed to its wings – sigh.
That puts me a mere 61 birds away from the 300 goal for the year. Hoping to take a huge chunk out of that next week as we are heading down to Dauphin Island (and along the Panhandle) for some migration action. During that time we’ll be bringing you several posts from Brad including an adventure to a place Intrigued has never been before. Actually, Brad also influenced today’s featured post.
Howdy folks. I have good news. Brad has checked in and thanks to a harrowing escape from a very agitated splinter tribe of the Baka, he’ll be returning to home base soon yeah! Best of all, he has digital cards full of future post fodder sure to entertain our readers. I’ll have to wait to hear the full office report out – dodging poison darts sounds like some serious popcorn munching stories. Linda and I are heading out into the field ourselves. Just a week stint for us, although I contend it feels a lot longer with limited amounts of sleep in Sin City. Expecting a big boost to my current Average Year count (link here) currently sitting at a respectable 210 thanks to two recent visitors to our feeders. Just to set the schedule, this will be the last post of the month from me in order to give me a chance to respond to comments etc. before we jet out. Brad will then take the helm to close out what is left of February and the first post or two in March.
With the admin work out of the way, how about we get to today’s featured feathered friend.
Completely opposite the sun soaked issues I had to deal with in the previous Cattle Egret post, today’s series is more of a literal drenching. Rather than having to battle the exposure gods to keep from blowing out the brilliant whites of that Egret, I found myself trying to suck in all the light I could to pull this Green Heron out of darkness. Rain had just passed, the sky was still thick with overcast and the waters around the South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center (and now Alligator Sanctuary) had taken on a dreary tone.
Hit the jump to see a few more pictures of our rain soaked shore hunter.
Welcome to November everyone! Granted we are a few days into it, but I’ve finally managed to make it to surface for some badly needed air. Halloween has past (long live the haunt!), sadness has been overwhelmed by cherished memories and, as of last Saturday, my race season has likely come to a close unless a race in the snow happens to catch my fancy. Although we are likely a ways from the ground sticking fluffy stuff, Bri needs some time for rest and healing – the 100K race left its mark. Now the focus turns to getting back to “normal” and the first order of business is feathers.
I know some of you were wondering when we were going to get back to our featured feathered friends .. after all, this is a blog that is supposed to be about all things wild. In my defense, zombie encounters can get a bit wild if you don’t have a long pointy stick to pop them in the head with. Today’s featured shorebird has absolutely no fear of running into the walking dead. They just causally walk up to the animated corpse and “bill” them in the head.
Hit the jump to learn more about our natural born “zombie killer”.
The bones are starting to creak and the nose is turning red, we must be headed into the tundra we call home. We made our final stop in Marion, AR yesterday to perform the RV winterization ritual in the closing hours before we officially hit sub-freezing temps. Asked Linda several times during this process if she wanted to turn back and flee south again…with great agony so reminded me we have important appointments awaiting us throughout February, sigh. On the good news front, I can update you on my Average Year efforts. With a few days still left in this month I’ve clocked in 173 unique birds for the young year (Ron at healthy 152). Quite stunned by that and can be directly attributed to how wonderful birding is in Texas. I’ll be turning my err… Linda’s sights on getting the Snowy Owl (link here) immediately upon our return.
Right now I have to focus on hitting my self-imposed post quota for this month. Once again, I’ve overestimated the amount of free time available on our vacation. Amazing how we manage to fill up an entire month with activities (read birding sunrise to sundown). Was able to get five out there during the longer drives leaving me with today’s featured feathered friend for the win.
Okay birders, without hitting the jump, want to take a guess on what this duck is?
Pretty much on the go these days. We had to leave the great-nephew’s graduation/family reunion a day early in order to make our way up to Michigan for the UKC Agility Nationals competition. Raven and Linda qualified for the national ranks this year and was invited to compete with the rest of the ranked boys and girls. Planned on leaving the reunion on morning rise to give us sufficient time to repack us and the dogs – that was the plan until we heard the words “water balloon fight”. Decided we could spare a few hours to experience the perfect way to spend a hot Midwestern summer day. Quickly learned the old days of trying to slip the rim of a balloon over a water spigot without it breaking, trying to cut the water off before the balloon overfills and finally getting it successfully tied without dropping it are LONG GONE. A clever engineer (guessing) looked at the struggles of a kid trying to rain bombs on his enemy and came up with a better plan. Have you seen the new water balloon system (link here). Unbelievable! Hook up a bunch with a single nozzle, let the water flow and presto 35 perfectly shaped bombs. They even fall off when they are full or simply jerk the nozzle down and they all plop off perfectly sealed thanks to a rubber collar that slides off the fill straw. I watched in horror as the kids prepared over 1,000 water bombs in probably less than 15 minutes. Ummm, honey, thinking it might be time to go ha! What followed can only be defined as perfectly engineered fun – well, after the first barrage of bombs from the kids directed at the still stunned adults. Luckily some of the kids were still developing their arms allowing us to catch and retaliate. That worked great until those little bastards realized they could throw above us and let the balloons bust on the RVs and shower us. We finally got the upper hand, but there wasn’t a dry set of clothes anywhere to be seen – just miles and miles of smiles.
In honor of that experience, thought I’d go with this featured friend for today’s post.
Why go with this rather odd looking bird? Well, the first reason was pretty easy. I was flipping through my backlog of images specifically looking for a bird that is commonly associated with “water”. As we are in the later part of the week I allowed myself to go back in the catalog and found our rather odd looking friend. It also luckily met my second criteria of being purpose built – correctly engineered (or evolved) if you will.
Greetings everyone. Feels like I’ve been exploring a third world country as of late thanks to not having connectivity for the last couple of days. Amazing how accustomed you become to being able to check on the pulse of the country whenever you have the need to dampen your mood. Today we made it back to civilization and now have some access – sure enough, disbelief soon followed. Not sure when or even if I’ll weigh into the current state of affairs. For now I’ll simply mention that big tech monopolies colluding to deplatform competitors is utter bullshit. I’ve spent my career in the high tech world and this absolutely sickens me. So, until I opt to delve into this deeper, let’s all brighten our hearts a bit by looking at a “purdy” bird.
There, I can feel my concerns melting away for the moment – a general soothing, if you, will thanks to an innocent bird simply enjoying the calm marsh waters of South Padre Island. Will get this cringe part over now… not exactly new, this series was taken on our Texas birding trip back in December 2016. I know, I know, I promised more current material for the new year, but during our exploration mode the only material I have is what I’ve already processed and put into the holding queue. All is good as I happen to really like this particular series of shots.
Hit the jump to see a few more shots of our pink highlighted friend.
Greetings everyone!! As a tremendous surprise to myself, I’ve once again managed to survive the most stressful part of the year. The regulars here are well aware that my year pretty much revolves around one event, a celebration dedicated to my favorite holiday – yep, the night of the Great Pumpkin. Around here, we do it slightly different as we celebrate at the beginning of October and instead of one night, this year we opted for not one, not two, but three nights of epic spookiness. In an effort to keep our guests as safe as possible, we extended the days to keep the numbers down each night, removed the food element to eliminate congestion points and set up the trail in a manner to maximize social distancing. Another Halloween Haunted Trail is officially in the books! All that is left is to finish putting away the items for next year and the all important rest to recoup the strain on the body. Decided I would do a little resting first.
Going back to the Texas Gulf Coast for today’s featured feathered friend. South Padre Island is one of our favorite winter destinations and looking forward to being able to spend some extra time down there towards the end of the year. I need to hit the books and figure out what the target bird is going to be this year – early favorite is on the Groove-Billed Ani. That bird has been tops on the list for the last three trips and each time came away with an empty tin. The Chihuahuan Raven is mighty tempting as well and let’s not forget about the Mangrove Yellow Warbler… wait, did he say Mangrove Warbler… thought we already had tha…..shhhhhhh…. we promised to wait until Ron starts posting on the He Who Owes Me Bigly event.
Hit the jump to see a few more pictures of their local comedian.
Well, it’s March and at recent glance my last post came courtesy of February. Now that is some mighty fine procrastination if I do say so myself! Some of the delay was thanks to a quick trip to Vegas to get a little birding done in Henderson, some more Valley of Fire and still more in Red Rock Canyon. May have even managed to add a couple more entries on the bird the life list. If all goes as normal they might make their appearance here in hmmm, add that to that, carry the 1, give a slight buffer to complete the processing.. yep, 3 years sounds about right. Granted Ron has been on my case about my snap to post lag so there is a chance these might jump the queue – maybe even ahead of the Ron Who Owes Me Bigley haul (as he has yet to post about that event – give him hell people!) Then to top it all off, I’ve had to battle a broken garage door opener over the last two days. Ended up having to replace the internal gearing which was quite the ordeal. For the record, the genius that attached the metal drive gear to PLASTIC worm gearing is an engineering idiot. Of course, the best part of successfully defeating the mechanical gremlins is being able to strut around the house rhetorically asking “Who Da Man!?! Which is what I thought of when I saw this Tricolored Heron walking around the water like it owned the place.
Probably successfully rebuilt a carburetot for his ‘Stang and making sure all the ladies in the area took notice. Them Tri’s are a handy bunch. This particular specimen was spotted at the South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center back in December 2017. And you thought I was kidding about the size of the image queue. To my credit, I have been putting a serious dent in the multiple Texas trips over the last couple of years.
Apologies to my wildlife readers. It has been a while since I’ve had the chance to feature one of our feathered friends. It’s not that I haven’t been busy – in fact just the opposite. Decided it was time to bring you a little haunt for February – screw you mushy and smoochie Valentine’s Day, we scare aficionados are putting our zombie masks on and shuffling all over this shortened month. Thanks to many hours (and days) later the full Haunted Trail of Tears 2019 series was released. If you want to know how we do Halloween … wait.. how about Februween … then take a gander at the tour posts. Warning check your fears at the door ha!
Hoping that didn’t scare your feathers up. Maybe a therapy duck will help calm the nerves.
There now, breathe in, breath out while staring at the purdy duck. Immerse yourself in the warm comfort brought by the tranquil waters of the Texas Gulf Coast. By the way, let me know if that worked to calm your nerves – I’ll pick me up a bunch of Mottled Ducks and hit our local ICU and pay it forward for the great therapy dogs they let Linda enjoy while she was up at Mayo. If there is any chance of convincing a hospital director to let me bring a duck into their establishment, it better be clean. Of all the ducks I’ve come across I think the Mottled might have the best chance. I’ve never seen one of these specimens that didn’t look like it came straight from the salon.
Welcome to December everyone! That moment in time when you look at the calendar and realize there are no more pages on it – that’s it, nada, kaput, this year be gone. All those plans, all those goals and all those to-do’s still stuck with magnets to the refrigerator door. It is a bit depressing if you dwell on the lost side of the equation and forget about the wins over the last eleven months. It was nice to get my official bird count pushed up to 254 and I know there are at least 15 to 20 still in the queue that I still need to get to (recall that I don’t take the +1 until it has debuted here at Intrigued). I also managed to get Ron a big check in his list earlier in the week – I know he is excited to tell everyone about that so I’ll give him the privilege of posting on that. Until then going with a bird that was originally featured here back in May of 2015 (link here).
Definitely able to improve on the shots this time – those previous ones from the outing at Chain O’ Lakes with Ron were well…. let’s go with craptastic. It is always a bit painful when I link back to my old work. The plus side is I can definitely see the progression behind the glass over the nearly 13 years I’ve been doing this whole blog thing. Don’t get me wrong, nowhere near where I would like to be, especially compared to all the great shots I see my friends and fellow bloggers putting up. At least I try to be conscious of the foreground reeds now ha! So, this is the American Wigeon. Definitely prettier than the Turkey Vulture I had to hit you with for the Thanksgiving post.
Hit the jump to see a few more shots of this criminal.. I mean cute bird.