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?
Linda and I are still out exploring and once again we are up to our eyeballs in Snow! Probably shouldn’t be too surprised as it is winter and I do currently call the broke state of “Ill” my home state. There is only one thing to do in this situation – grab The Beast and start filling the tin.
Oh, you thought I meant the cold wet stuff. Well, that might be true if we weren’t on the road. Before you start making the wrong assumption, I still do not have access to my digital darkroom tools so the new Snowy Egret shots are stuck on portable drives (yes, multiple backups of the backups of the backups of the originals – I.T. people learn to assume that tech crap is gonna break , the game is predicting WHEN!). Not sure when we will get full access to my processing tools.
Hit the jump to see a few more shots of our featured cottonball.
In today’s post we are going to do some time traveling. Trust me, I am trying to chip away at the backlog or minimally get back to a reasonable delay – getting harder to remember all the details of a given trip into the field. Unfortunately, it seems to be a Sisyphus effort as I filter through just about all of the images previously processed and then I discover another folder from a trip I haven’t even touched yet. Should probably join a Photographers Anonymous group – “Hello, I’m Brian and I take a LOT of pictures”. On the bright side, an abundance of material it is a good problem to have if you are a blogger.
I did finally get the massive Haunted Halloween Trail posts up on the Intrigued Mothership. Those take a serious chunk of time to gather and document the walk throughs. If you like Halloween and don’t mind your image cache being inundated, you might check out those posts.
Welcome to November everyone! Every day I wake up, do a mental check of all the things on the to-do list and then look over at the calendar for a cold shot of reality – where in the hell has this year gone!?! Already checked that I didn’t get shorted calendar pages – yep, 12 pages, each full of squares representing a timespan of life you will never get back. . Minute after minute of lost opportunity (mostly to that ultimate waste of productivity – sleep). It doesn’t help that we already had snow on the ground and my list is full of outside work earmarked to get done BEFORE the white stuff invades. Add to that a back that is still mending and you have a recipe for the blahs. Seems like a perfect time to feature the color black.
How’s that for some bleak? The black robed ministry of the dead. In my parts, we are subject to their more flashy kin, the Turkey Vulture (link here). Essentially the same profile – long black bodied, purpose designed bill and featherless head, however, the Turkey was given a decorative red head (not to be too harsh, but seems like lipstick on a pig if you ask me). The Black Vulture is .. wait for it … wait for it… all black. Kudos to the individual responsible for naming this creature for choosing a moniker you can associate in the field with very little effort.
Caution – some scenes after the jump will not be appetizing.
Well, yesterday was the planned 50K date. I thought things were starting to fall into place – the ankle was healed up enough to bear the dangerous footings on the hilly trails, the rains had subsided enough to let the trails dry up a bit leading to high confidence at the start. I will post the details on my other blog in due time, but I foretold victory or tail between my legs on a previous post. Unfortunately, the day ended prematurely with my tail between my legs along with 4 staples in my head. Mother Nature opted to replace the expected overcast and temps in the 80’s with an overbearing sun and heat index at 100. Fought through 14 miles and decided to rest a bit at a water station. Apparently should have kept going as my body revolted – stood up thinking I might get sick only to gain consciousness with people standing over me with blood covered hands – not a vision I’ll forget anytime soon. Long story short, had a stressful ambulance ride to the ER. Took in 5 IV bags and a set of staples from a large gash in the back of my head having hit a wooden railing following by the sharp edge of a box fan on the way down (so they tell me). Pleaded with the doctors to allow me to go back and finish, but they had my wife on their side. Total failure and my first DNF in 17 years of running. Looks like another solid year of training, but I’ll be back for some unfinished business.
Enough of that embarrassment, let’s get to something much more entertaining.
Today, I’m bringing you the same Raptor species from two different locations along the Texas Gulf Coast back in January 2017. The Northern Harrier is one of my favorite Raptors for a couple of reasons. The first is they are just plain cool to watch while they are scanning the fields and marshes for prey. Deadly aerial skills that allow them turn on a dime or virtually hang in the air leveraging wind dynamics to determine the best angle to pounce.
Hit the jump to see and read a bit more about this deadly predator.
We are officially in December now and thus time to walk over to the big counter on the wall and reset the monthly post quota back to zero – by the way, where the hell did this year go!?! I have single digit days left at work to get this year’s work efforts wrapped up and set the preliminary plan for 2019 before the holiday starts … sigh feel like a race I’m never going to get ahead of. However, on the bright side, I can tell you where a large portion of the year went thanks to crossing off one of my annual goals tonight.
Anyone who follows either of my blogs know I spend my spare time bathed in sweat chasing down Father Time and running from the Reaper. During my Birding and Blogging talks this year I mentioned the reason I run (and lift) is so I can spend all day in the field hauling around big glass in hopes of taking pictures to display in my home gym to remind me why I work out – my circle of life. Always elated when I can check off a goal, let’s celebrate with some pie!
Well, maybe not the pie you were thinking of. This here is the birder’s version. Actually, I took some liberties here – this is really a Pie[d]-Billed Grebe. If you live anywhere in the US or a large swath of Canada, you have ample chance to get one of this cute creatures in the tin. It is a rare outing when we do not come upon the Pied on one of our water excursions. You might have to keep your eyes open for reasons explained later, but they are probably there hanging out in small groups or more likely solitaire.
Hit the jump to see some cute picture of the Pied-Billed Grebe!
Howdy everyone out there in Blogland. Just looked at the date and realized I am running a bit behind this month. Made it into the 20’s this month with a weak showing on the posts so far. The end of the month comes quick around here especially when it closes just after a race weekend. “Need to train, no, need to get a blog out, no wait, HAVE to train, but I need to get a post out, no, what you need to do is run up that damn hill so you are ready for that demoralizing course, but the bl…” – maybe I should stop talking to myself during training runs ha. Truth is, the answer is always train and sacrifice sleep for posts. Speaking of posts, how about we get to tonight’s feature.
Hit the jump to read more about this Robin-like bird.