Batting Leadoff for the Yellow Bandits

I cannot believe we are nearing the close of July. It probably doesn’t help now that I joined the retired ranks I’m unable to remember what day of the week it is, but flying through an entire month, now that I notice. Technically more “running” than “flying” as this was the first multi-race month in a very very long time. In honor of kissing another month goodbye, thought I’d go with this for today’s featured feathered friend.

Great Kiskadee found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

Hit the jump to see just a couple more shots of our colorful bandit.

Continue reading Batting Leadoff for the Yellow Bandits

Tippy Envy

Howdy all you wildlife fans! The oven has reached max out here in the Midwest with the temps back in the nineties. By itself, that is pretty bearable, but when you add in the humidity levels and the feels likes levels cresting in the 105s to 110s then it gets more punishing. Of course, this is also a sign the annual running of the Bix7 road race is on its way and sure enough yesterday was the day. After a year’s absence due to that ass Covid, it was once again time to get really sweaty traversing the bluffs of the Mighty Mississippi River for delicious Whitey’s Popscicles (link here) at the post race party. There will be a full post on the mothership site, but in short it was a hot one (high 80’s before the gun went off with the heat index that day topping out at 103). A big congratulations to Linda for completing the 2 mile Quick Bix this year. She missed an additional year as she had her heart surgery prior to the canceled year.

Will have to check the finish line pictures, but pretty sure my legs were as red as today’s featured feathered friend.

White-Tipped Dove found at Bensten-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

Over the last few years I’ve retooled my body to handle the long grind of ultras letting go of the fast turnover indicative of the shorter road courses. Had to put those old skills back into play with the 7 miles of the Bix and the legs let me know they didn’t appreciate the amped up pace – good news is the big hills were a hell of a lot easier. While the legs take some time to recover, thought I’d put out a quick post continuing the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park “Dove Parade”.

White-Tipped Dove found at Bensten-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

Hit the jump to learn about the next entry in the Dove Parade.

Continue reading Tippy Envy

A Case of Mistaken Identity

Welcome back everyone! Had my first run this morning since the long event and the body is a little better than expected even though it was a short 7 miler. Most of the kinks are out and just need to work a bit more on the heat conditioning before hitting it hard again. All this rain, as of late, has been keeping the temps down – with the wet stuff moving on, the mercury and humidity are starting to creep up again. You could almost mistake this for summer again ha! Speaking of mistakes…

Mourning Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

…tonight’s featured feathered friend managed to fool me in the field. This specimen was found at the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park back on our holiday trip to Texas in the beginning of the year. Ironically, we were there in hopes of tinning a rarity that had shown up. Eventually got that bird, the Ruddy Ground Dove and already posted on that experience (link here).

Mourning Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

Hit the jump to learn about how I was deceived.

Continue reading A Case of Mistaken Identity

A Totem for Linda

Was on the fence about what to feature in my upcoming post. I happen to be in one of those rare times where I have plenty of options with images all processed up and ready to go. Then an interesting thing happened which tipped the scales in favor of this rather stoic looking Hawk.

Red-Shouldered Hawk found at Quinta Mazatlan, McAllen, TX in January 2021

I happen to really like the shot above and purposely let the barrel of The Beast out to give you the full view of the sight that caught my attention. Linda was the one who spotted this one while we were standing outside Quinta Mazaltan in McAllen, TX back in January. For someone who denies being a “birder” or as she puts it, one of “those people” she is certainly gaining an eye for our feathered friends. Linda can also identify a large swath of birds just from following me out into the field – another fact she will deny in public. Back to the image, the scene made me smile – from the Hawk’s perspective. “What ya’ feeling like for dinner honey? How about some Purple Martin. Yes, and I know just the place to get a carry out!” For the concerned, you can rest easily knowing no Purple Martins were hurt in the making of this post.

Red-Shouldered Hawk found at Quinta Mazatlan, McAllen, TX in January 2021

Hit the jump to find out what got me thinking about this Hawk – hint A SNAKE!

Continue reading A Totem for Linda

Border Watch

Linda is getting some dental work done which means I’m sitting in the car with some free time on my hands. I guess to be truthful, I am really confined to the car due to being in “Bubble Mode” as Linda refers to it. Traditionally, I like to avoid people starting a few days prior to a race – nothing like training your ass off for months only to haul a cold or some other debilitating disease to the starting line. Linda used to call me neurotic, however, in this crazy world I’ve now become the norm – just call it Covid quarantine now ha! Anyway, until she returns to my protective bubble, thought I’d spend the time taking you back to the border.

In a previous post, I took you through the ordeal of getting the immature Vermilion Flycatcher in the tin (link here). If you recall, we were visiting Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park back in January, when I noticed that Flycatcher hanging out on a wire above the border patrol. As luck would have it, another member of the Flycatcher family decided to take its turn on the border watch.

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of our colorful Flycatcher.

Continue reading Border Watch

In Transition

For some reason Mother Nature has designated this official slip and slide week as it has been pretty much raining every day. Definitely a welcome relief for our two wells, but a total pain in the ass on the ultra marathon training front. Somehow managed to get my 55 miles in mostly between the rain showers – today I just got poured on for at least half of my 13 thanks to a ridiculously bad forecast (not even close a mere 2 hours ahead). Hoping the trails dry out soon so I can get some more dirt work in as the 50k is a mere two weeks away. Lot of pressure on me – if I repeat and end up in the hospital again, Linda is going to take my shoes away. While slogging through the rain today, decided I would go with this dude for today’s featured feathered friend.

Immature Vermilion Flycatcher found at Bentsen-Reio Grande Valley State Park, Mission TX in January 2021

Probably wondering how this decision came about as our specimen is neither a duck (per the rain conditions) nor would I have seen it anywhere near where I train. Truth is, it is a bit of a loose association. The rain reminded me of the conditions we experienced while trying to bird Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park back in January. Not as hard of a drenching as it was today, but like running in soaking wet clothes equally annoying trying to get something decent in the tin. The other reason this particular bird came to mind was all the talk about the southern border this week.

Immature Vermilion Flycatcher found at Bentsen-Reio Grande Valley State Park, Mission TX in January 2021

Hit the jump to read a bit more about our transitioning specimen.

Continue reading In Transition

Ruddy Can’t Fail

Good news everyone, looks like you are in for a surprise with tonight’s post!  Unless you happen to live in southern Central America or a large swatch of South America, in which case I probably overplayed the hype for just a Dove. 

Ruddy Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

However, if you are not from those specified places I get to introduce you to …well, a Dove which you probably deduced from the general shape of our featured feathered friend.  A relatively small rounded profile sitting atop a plump chest walking along the ground – yeah, definitely a Dove.  The shape may be similar to the local variety you may be used to, but maybe the colors are throwing you off a bit.

Ruddy Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

Hit the jump to discover what kind of Dove this is!

Continue reading Ruddy Can’t Fail

Happy Tears

Well, I finally beat a trail course today that has been putting a serious hurt on me since the day I discovered it. Even owned it being a bit tired from 3 hours of whacking weeds on the lot. Not sure what it is about this course.. wait, I do know – the 4 miles of what seems like continuous climb to start and the 2x repeats of 1 mile vertical climbs at the end have my legs and lungs begging for mercy. The 3 miles on top of the plateau of the big-ass hill aren’t so bad. Yep, basically the start and the end spent traversing the slopes that has been my nemesis – until today! Of course, now I’m wondering if I’ll ever be able to make it out of this chair tonight ha. Enough about personal struggles – let’s get to the reason you are here!

Pacific-Slope Flycatcher found at Quinta Mazatlan, McAllen, TX in January 2021

Before we go any further, please take a few steps away from your monitor.  Can you still read this text without squinting?  If so, please take a few more steps back and try again.  Please repeat until you reach that optimum distance for this particular post.  These shots would be better characterized with finger paints and hoping the extra distance will hide the less than stellar execution.

Pacific-Slope Flycatcher found at Quinta Mazatlan, McAllen, TX in January 2021

Warning, tears coming after the jump.

Continue reading Happy Tears

WTiaT

I need to get on the stick with these posts.  Between the yard work, running, birding and ramping up the Halloween prop lab for this year’s haunted trail (link here), things have been getting a bit bunched up.  I was going to wait a bit on this one, but an encounter a few days ago while hitting the trails for some training felt like a sign.

Wild Turkey found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

Yes folks, we have our next installment of the “in a Tree” series.  This one is not as odd as the previous Roadrunner in a Tree as I’ve witnessed a Wild Turkey in a Tree (WTiaT) a few time times in the past.  Admittedly, on the rarer side as typically they are wandering around the ground or trying to play Frogger with Linda’s vehicle.  As luck would have it, this is one of the few species Linda doesn’t have a silhouette of on her front fender – for the record she stands firm her bumper is the victim of animal suicides.  

Wild Turkey found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

Hit the jump see a few more shots of our large bodied tree climber.

Continue reading WTiaT

GRiaT

We are finally back from our exploration part deux.  For those that didn’t already figure it out based on the recent comments, we headed down to the shores of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle for some migration birding.  Ron was able to join us down there making for a wonderful time.  We managed to hit the fallout while at Dauphin Island and had the best birding of our lives.  Ron and I are both in the +20s which means almost certain I’ll be hitting my 300 bird list goal by the end of the year .. assuming I can get those posts out by then.  More on the trip when I get to those posts. For now, going with what was previously the most recent trip – Texas in January.

Greater Roadrunner found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Mission, Texas in January 2021

So, to set the stage for this featured feathered friend, I need to weave in one of my fellow bloggers. Timothy over at Off Center & Not Even (link here) is an Owl aficionado, purveyor of sunsets , accomplished musician, clever poet, Bird tinner, Cat nurturer and owns a slick looking red car… to highlight just a few facets of things he covers on his entertaining blog. 

Greater Roadrunner found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Mission, Texas in January 2021

Hit the jump to see more of this new behavior.

Continue reading GRiaT