Another Lamb Chop Murder

Howdy everyone! It feels like it has been ages since I have had the chance to take a quick break and spend time putting up a post. Just in case you were wondering, Linda is progressing very rapidly. The first week or so was a bit rough adjusting to the recovery protocol – Linda doesn’t take well to just relaxing requiring me to continually remind her she just went through major surgery and needs to give her body time to mend. She started cardio rehab this week which I think is helping her a lot, if nothing else freeing her from the confines of the house. If that wasn’t enough, the calendar turned over resulting in a “holy crap it’s time for the annual Halloween Trail event” panic. It seems like it is so far away and worry free until wham, you have only weeks to go with sooooo many props still to build. When the opportunity to post between all the training (two halfs in next 7 days), taking care of Linda and now Halloween prep.. you take it. Going to be long on pictures today and short on text – luckily today’s featured feathered friend is quite spectacular.

Great Kiskadee found at Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park in December 2017

Nor is this bird camera shy. When you got it, you might as well flaunt it. This beautifully colored bird is called the Great Kiskadee and is right up there in my top 10 attractive birds that I have been able to get in the tin. The Painted Bunting (link here) still holds the top spot, but the Kiskadee is not far behind. It may not have the diversity of palette the Painted does, but the whites, blacks, yellows and chestnut are perfectly coordinated and a testament to the skills of Mother Nature’s interior decorator. There are also some secret colorings I didn’t even notice until several encounters later. They are a bit selective when they show that.. but more on that later.

Great Kiskadee found at Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park in December 2017

Hit the jump to view a lot more pictures of our Bentsen-Rio find.

Continue reading Another Lamb Chop Murder

A Dull Palm

Greetings from the northern state of Minnesota.  Should not be a surprise by now, but we are up at Mayo getting Linda’s heart a slight rebuild to take care of a birth defect.  I am going to spare you the details, but the good news is the new valve is officially in and functioning.  There have been some unexpected events and side effects that the doctors are currently working to resolve.  Hoping Linda will be back on her feet soon and checking the Iron Man off her bucket list… okay, that last part might not be true, she leaves the running to me.  Her attitude is good and I know the thought of being able to run her dogs in agility again is keeping her drive up.  To help pass the time and give a bit of relief on the stressometer,  thought I’d go ahead and see if I could get a post out.  Let me introduce you to my little friend.

Non-breeding Palm Warbler found at Galveston Island, Texas January 2017

Pretty stoic looking if you ask me.  This somewhat overall dullish looking bird with the yellow butt happens to be a Warbler.   Now Warblers are known for being pretty flamboyant especially in the Spring or breeding plumage. It just happens this particular Warbler is one of the more ornate ones out there.  Imagine that yellow coloring on the under feather washing through the belly and shooting highlights to the back of the head where the white highlights are shown on this specimen.  Now add to that a bright rusty colored cap and you have yourself one “purdy” bird.  The truth is I have shots of this bird in its breeding plumage thanks to a trip to Montrose with my brother Ron.  We are still trying to get those pictures properly ID’d  so I can start posting those … and racking up the +1’s.  Hey Ron, let’s get that done, my peeps are waiting!

Non-breeding Palm Warbler found at Galveston Island, Texas January 2017

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of this colorful Warbler disguised for the off-season.

Continue reading A Dull Palm

A Snowy Redemption

Definitely sticking with the game plan for this month, staying ahead of the game and getting the posts out early. It definitely helps when you already have the images worked up in the digital darkroom. To be honest, short of getting the birds in the tin, the major effort in this whole blogging thingy is working up the images to make it worth my reader’s visit time. Of course, this doesn’t always happen, case in point the horrific Cave Swallow pictures I forced upon you a few posts back. I try my best so you can at least tell it is a bird – not to mention Ron is starting to push me with the quality stuff he is putting up over on his blog (link here). You probably didn’t know this, but I credit him for getting me into photography while I was in high school and the reason I can navigate around a camera (although I did introduce him to back-button focus). Today’s featured bird is a bit of an atonement for a slight I made in a recent post.

Snowy Egret found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center December 2016

Within the Cinnamon Teal post (link here), I unintentionally dismissed one of the most regal birds there is (at least in North America). It wasn’t the species that dimmed my excitement, just that I was revved up to add a new +1 to the list. I am lucky enough to have a large number of Snowy Egret shots from just about everywhere we’ve traveled along with tins full from Emiquon and other local water hotspots. When I saw this set of Snowies in the post queue, I immediately decided this was the perfect time to bring them out.

Snowy Egret found at Galveston Island, Texas, January 2017

Hit the jump to see some more picture of this immaculate bird.

Continue reading A Snowy Redemption

Somewhat Red for Xmas

I can tell Christmas is almost here by the signs of growing stress while out and about. It all really starts on Black Friday … let me take that back, thanks to greedy merchants and blunt force trauma of Christmas advertising campaigns it really starts in mid-October. This premature blitz causes some serious angst with me as it is a clear war on my favorite holiday Halloween. Pretty sure the Kringle capitalists want to dispense with the orange and black and force a solid 3 month barrage of sleigh bells and, god forbid, horrible version after horrible version of Santa Baby. It may just be me, but by the time this traditionally festive time comes to a head I am worn out. Sure, I like to entertain myself by spending time at popular merchants observing frantic people desperate to fill the void under the tree or get that hot item that sold out … in October, but you have to feel a bit saddened to see the impact a once joy-centric event now has on society. Linda gives me a hard time about my tradition of going to the stores on Christmas Eve to experience this devolution – this is what psychology enthusiasts do for fun. I cannot speak for other countries and cultures, but if you happen to live in the US, take a look around and start assessing the happiness of those around you, especially on the road, in the parking lots and especially in the cashier lines – what percentage give the impression they are glad to be there? If they do look happy, they are probably psychology majors ha! Feel bad about the downer opening, but really just hoping you can take a breath and remember the holiday should really be about family, relaxation and well, blogging!

Finally worked up a long series for my other blog (ironically focused on Halloween), but before investing in that effort, thought I’d get another bird post out for my wildlife readers. Going with one of the big boys today.

Reddish Egret discovered at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge January 2017

The Reddish Egret is not the largest of the shorebirds, but still tower over the standard peeps and plovers whose shorter legs force them to forage closer to the shore. In fact, just the three toed foot of the Egrets are larger than some of those birds. Those other shorebirds don’t seem to be stressed by the size different, since I have never seen a Reddish, or for that matter any Egret, waste their time harassing the smaller birds – probably worried some stressed out piper trying to get a last minute Xmas gift will go medieval on them. Nope these Egrets are calm, cool and collected as they keep an eye out for an unfortunate frog (now, frogs do have a legitimate reason to be stressed).

Reddish Egret discovered at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge January 2017

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of the two-toned Egret!

Continue reading Somewhat Red for Xmas

Another Trya for the Altamira

Well, I had my annual wellness exam with my doctor today. Another year with “impeccable” (doctor’s word, not mine) health stats. A constant diet of running and lifting may take its toll on your time over the year, but it definitely pays off in the numbers. My employer also provides me annual comprehensive lab screenings so I knew the numbers going into today. Ironically, I came out of the office with a hole in my arm and an hour or two later I wasn’t able to lift my arm above my waist. Extremely healthy going in…damaged coming out thanks to my doctor convincing me I should get a tetanus shot with all the trail running. Probably a good plan – I do shed my fair share of blood during the course of the year with the Halloween props, work on the lot and ideas that do not go as planned – but damn this hurts. Making the most out of my gimpy fin, figure it never hurts to stay on top of the blog quota.

Altamira Oriole shot at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park January 2018

Keeping with the theme from the last post, tonight’s offering focuses on a bird that has previously debuted on the blog while trying to get as many Texas birds added prior to the Audubon speech (link here). Like the Woodpecker, it was also found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park (along the Rio Grande River) while on a birding trip to South Texas at the beginning of the year. Similar to the situation with the last post, the previous series was taken in rather harsh light.

Altamira Oriole shot at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park

Hit the jump to see and read a bit more about this Central America bird.

Continue reading Another Trya for the Altamira

A Better Golden Pecker

Hoped you enjoy the previous relief from the bird posts. I like to mix it up a bit from time to time, but the bird shots clearly dominate my photography queue – at least at the moment. Working on a few more non-feather series and hoping to get them finished up before too long. Until then, you are once again subjected to our winged friends.

Golden-Fronted Woodpecker found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, January 2018

This series features the Golden-Fronted Woodpecker found on our trip to Texas back in the beginning of the year. This isn’t the first time this bird has been featured here at Intrigued. Back in February, this brightly colored species was honored from our trip to Texas in 2017 (link here). I personally think this is a better executed set of pictures – that first set suffered a bit from being in direct sunlight.

Golden-Fronted Woodpecker found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, January 2018

Hit the jump to see more shots of the Golden-Fronted Woodpecker.

Continue reading A Better Golden Pecker

White-Eyed Vireo

Greeting from the Winter Wonderland everyone. Was able to get a good 7 mile run in this morning as the sleet was turning to snow. As soon as I made it back to the house, it was pretty much a light snow that has managed to hang on for the last 9 hours… and by hanging on I mean stay light because now is it’s coming down hard for what they are expecting to be another 9 hours. I can’t remember the last time we had two good snows with a little less than a week before Thanksgiving. Also do not remember having to bundle up as much on my runs this early in November (couple of runs ago it was windchill of 13 – F for my international friends). In an attempt to bring a bit of warmth to my office, let’s head back to Texas and check out my latest addition to the ol’ bird list.

White-Eyed Vireo found at Sabal Palm Sanctuary, December 2017

Hit the jump to find out what bird this is … apologies for the remaining shots.

Continue reading White-Eyed Vireo

A Jay for a Long Day

Hello Everyone! There are times that you think you are never going to get through and then somehow everything comes together and then start believing you have everything under control… then life throws you a curveball and you are back to trying to get wood on a difficult pitch. That is how it has been here at LifeIntrigued over the last several months. The hectic agenda was finally smoothed only to have a loss in the family. With a heavy heart we laid my wife’s mother to rest today in a nice ceremony in her hometown. We will miss her, but she is in a better place now, free from the burdens that weighed her down in her later years.

In Memory, Dorothy Barton

(12/3/1927 – 11/5/2018)

 

It has been said the best way to move on from a bump in the road is to simply continue driving forward. Seems like sound advice to me, so in an attempt to move forward, thought I’d go ahead and put a post out on one of my favorite topics. On this rather dark day, I bring you one of the brightest birds the aviary world has to offer.

Green Jay captured at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Texas January 2018

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of this stunning Jay!

Continue reading A Jay for a Long Day

A Green Double Take

My Cardinals just blew another late inning lead for the loss. Rather than sit her and seethe through the post game excuses, decided to simply turn off the source of my frustration and immerse myself in another blog post. Bring a bit of calm to my night and productivity at the same moment – can’t beat that… well you could if those damn Cardinals could keep it together… calming breadth, serenity now, puppies… okay, back under control. Thought I’d simply keep the theme from the last post going and feature another Heron family member.

Green Heron encountered at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center in January 2017

Today’s effort is a combination post consisting of the same species, at the same spot, but a year apart. These first few shots were taken a little less than 6 months ago at the South Padre Bird Viewing and Nature Center. The Green Heron is not a new bird on my list – in fact it was featured all the way back in September 2012 (link here). Ironically the specimen back in 2012 was just down the road from our house in a state park. Seems like a bit of an overkill to drive all the way down to the tip of Texas to see the same species hehehe.

Green Heron encountered at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center in January 2017

Hit the return to see a few more shots of the Green Heron

Continue reading A Green Double Take

Rednosed Reedbird

Welcome to race day eve. Tomorrow the alarm will ring at 4:45am to signal the start of another day of racing. Fortunately, this one is a slight downgrade from the half to a 15K – now, for the record, it is the toughest 15K in Illinois thanks in part to a repeat loop with a wicked hill. That doesn’t concern me much thanks to a lot of hill work during training, but what does concern me is that two word weather term HEAT INDEX. Earlier this week the night temps dropped into the high sixties. No luck keeping that around. The heat index is supposed to get around 105F. Wish me luck, ever since the heat stroke episode, my internal thermostat has been very touchy. Always helps me to relax to sit down and get a post out.

Common Gallinule found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center, December 2017

Unlike the bulk of the posts lately (more like this year), the featured waterbird is not a new bird for my list. Nope, they were previously featured not once, but twice here already (link here and here). Not to mention, every time I see this bird the first thing that pops into my head is the image of my brother Ron trying to get into a good position to get a picture of one only to end up falling halfway down a large embankment and rolling to the bottom. Think my laughter ended up scaring the bird and for all that work, nothing to show in the tin – although a memory to last a lifetime.

Common Gallinule found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center, December 2017

Hit the jump to read more about this red nosed bird (apparently heavy drinkers ha)

Continue reading Rednosed Reedbird