Natural Born Zombie Killer

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.

Long-Billed Curlew found at South Padre Island in December 2016

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.

Long-Billed Curlew found at South Padre Island in December 2016

Hit the jump to learn more about our natural born “zombie killer”.

Continue reading Natural Born Zombie Killer

Marvil Comics’ “X” Duck

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.

Redhead Duck found at South Padre Bird Viewing Center in December 2017

Okay birders, without hitting the jump, want to take a guess on what this duck is?

Hit the jump for further clues.

Continue reading Marvil Comics’ “X” Duck

Well Engineered Bird

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.

Juvi White Ibis found at Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center in January 2017

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.

Hit the jump to read more about our young bird.

Continue reading Well Engineered Bird

The Purveyor of Wisdom and Blogging

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.

White Ibis found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center December 2016

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.

White Ibis found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center December 2016

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of our pink highlighted friend.

Continue reading The Purveyor of Wisdom and Blogging

Comedy on the Boardwalk

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.

Little Blue Heron found at South Padre Island, Texas in January 2017

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.

Little Blue Heron found at South Padre Island, Texas in January 2017

Hit the jump to see a few more pictures of their local comedian.

Continue reading Comedy on the Boardwalk

Strutter

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.

Tricolored Heron found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center December 2017

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.

ricolored Heron found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center December 2017

Continue reading Strutter

Scares and Calms

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.

Mottled Duck found at South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center December 2016

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.

Mottled Duck found at South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center December 2016

Hit the jump to learn about my new business idea!

Continue reading Scares and Calms

The Wigs

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).

American Wigeon found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center, December 2017

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.

American Wigeon found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center, December 2017

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of this criminal.. I mean cute bird.

Continue reading The Wigs

Well, Hi There Tri

Here I sit wondering. was it having to load and then unload 20 bags of cement, or shoveling 30 5 gallon buckets of coal shale, or hand carrying said buckets some distance away, or moving a bunch of 4x8x3/4 treated plywood, or loading and unloading cement pavers, or having to haul 16 large tubs full of Halloween decorations back onto the tall shelving in my outbuilding, or complying with Linda’s demand to take out the trash that has resulted in destroying my lower back? Finally gave in to the nagging pain and had my chiro snap it back in place. Now just need to get the swelling down before another weekend’s worth of work stares me in the face. The good news is, right now, sitting doesn’t hurt as bad as standing which makes getting a post out one of the few things I can get done during the healing process. Oh, for the record – I am certain it was the trash duties that did this to me!

Took a gander at the photo queue and found a series featuring these beauties.

Ticolored Heron found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center January 2017

When it comes to Herons, the Great Blue holds command from a sheer size perspective, but when it comes to elegance, I think the Tricolored variety takes the cake…or maybe in this context, the fish. Something about the slate blue/grey interlaced with lavender and then contrasted with the white on the belly give this smaller Heron a regal look. An image that stands in contrast to the wet and muddy environments they tend to hang out in.

Ticolored Heron found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center December 2016

Hit the jump to learn a bit more about Mr. Tri.

Continue reading Well, Hi There Tri

Hold My Beer Honey

Well, I promised a fellow blogger over at the Cedar Journal (https://thecedarjournal.com/blog/), a steady stream of bird posts in recognition of finally getting out of the pressure cooker. Probably over promised, but contrary to the great philosopher Yoda, sometimes “Try, there is”. Linda and I are starting to plan out the winter vacation. It is no secret we have spent a number of previous years birding the Texas Gulf Coast and then along the Rio Grande River. There are a number of other birding places we are considering, but hard to pass up the opportunity to get the abundance of birds down there in the tin – and Ron hasn’t ventured down there yet so any new checks allows me to claw back ground on his bird count. All that planning got me thinking there are plenty of bird shots still to post from our previous Texas trips.

Loggerhead Shrike found at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Texas January 2017

Took a quick look to see what was available in the queue and found this set back from the December 2016 trek. The Loggerhead Shrike is not a new bird to the list having been featured previously back in November 2016 (link here). The Loggerhead has decided the entire southern region is a sufficient kill zone year round with some forays into the central north during breeding season to spread their reign of terror on even more victims.

Loggerhead Shrike found at Galveston State Park, Texas January 2017

Hit the jump if you want a pre-Halloween scare.

Continue reading Hold My Beer Honey