Project Halloween Butters and Dragons

Seems like an odd time to be pulling out a Halloween post don’t ya’ think?  Truth be told, we were celebrating my friend in haunt’s (Brad’s) 30 year service anniversary at work and the topic of Halloween came up – which to be honest isn’t that odd as we are often talking about Halloween – a year long holiday for the two of us.  Brad is working on building a CNC machine which I am hoping is ready before too long.  I have big plans for that thing hehehe.  Anyway, all that talk about Halloween reminded me I still had some 2018 Halloween posts I had not gotten to.  So, tonight I bring you the annual Halloween pumpkin carving for 2018.

Halloween Pumpkin 2018

Only 7 month’s late, but what the hell that’s nothing compared to the backlog of wildlife pictures I need to get through.  After the yeoman work of putting on the Annual Halloween Haunted Trail event (link here) at the beginning of October, it always seems a bit of a letdown when the actual Day of Haunt comes around.  Last year we opted to drive around to check out the worthy displays in the surrounding local towns.  When we got back I was truly inspired and went to work on getting the final carving done on the foam pumpkin.

Halloween Pumpkin 2018

Hit the jump to see some progress shots.

spacer

The Illini Half – 3 Makes 1

Evident by the fact this post has been published, I can officially say I once again survived Illinois’ Toughest 15K race which was held this morning in an absolute downpour.  I’ll save the details on today’s adventure for a future post because I need to get to the race queue before I get too far behind.  As a follow up to yesterday’s post on the Illini Marathon 5K race, tonight’s post brings us the main event.

Illini Marathon I-Challenge Half - Half Marathon April 2019

The morning after the 5K is the official Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K events.  Once again opted for the Half Marathon this year as there is already a big-ass race planned for July – no need to go crazy on this one.  True to course for this weekend, there were more early forecasts for cold, rain, wind … yep, the usual for late April in the Midwest. In a stroke of luck the rain moved through during the night and the rest pushed off until later that day leaving a cool but very accommodating climate for a long race.

Illini Marathon I-Challenge Half - Half Marathon April 2019

Hit the jump to read details on the day.

spacer

Oh, That’s Why It has Cross in the Name

Another race is upon me – tomorrow to be exact.  As mentioned in the previous racing post, I hate to go past 4 races before getting the recollections out.  You never know what might happen during a race and I’d hate to have you miss out on recollections thanks to me being in the hospital ha!  After the Allerton race (link here).  Next up was the standard Illini Marathon race.  Once again, I was signed up for the I-Challenge consisting of a 5K on Friday followed by the Half Marathon the following morning.

Illini Marathon I-Challenge Half 5K Race April 2019

Since transitioning to Trail running, my enthusiasm for pounding out miles on the road has dwindled.  So many years of doing the same thing and now completely enjoying the new challenges of the trails dampened my enthusiasm for this race.  The good news is I already had a double race of the same distance under my belt so the body was physically prepared.  The mental part was the struggle for once again it looked to be another end of April crappy weather day.

Illini Marathon I-Challenge Half 5K Race April 2019

Hit the jump to read about how the race went!

spacer

Featherless

Greetings Intrigued fans.  This was a pretty busy weekend as we headed up north for a little fun in the sun and, of course, a bit of agility dog showing.  Linda decided she wanted to ignore the advice of her heart specialist and get a few agility runs in with Raven.  He needed one more successful standard run to move to the next competition level.  She promised to take it easy in the ring so I relented and agreed to it.  Should probably mentioned she did bribe me with the opportunity to get some trail running training in (their trails were not flooded out like our local ones are) and the cherry on top, a day of birding with Ron and his wife.  Raven ended up getting it done in the ring going 3 for 4 while Linda managed to keep her heart under control.  I managed to get a solid 13 miles in putting me in good position for next week’s 15K considered Illinois’ toughest, but reminded me just how hard the 50K is going to be a few weeks later.  Still a bit sore from yesterday’s run, was still able to get a solid day of birding in – think we came in at the high 30’s species mark for the day.  Once all that was out of the way, we had to race home to watch the St Louis Blues try to claim the Stanley Cup.  One frustrating element was the lack of Internet where we were camping arrrrrgggghhhh!  Had plans to get caught up on my running post – nope.  While sitting here watching the Blues (now down 2 goals) thought I’d jump on the computer and crank out a quick post.

It’s a bittersweet post today as this officially wraps up all the worthy shots from the Georgia birding trip back in May 2015.  With all the bird shots out of the way, it is time to give some time those non-feathered creatures hanging out in the region.  Before I begin though, if you are looking for good shots of dragons and butters you should leave this post immediately and head on over to see B’s work over at Butterflies to Dragsters (link here).  I’m a bit embarrassed to even put these out after seeing his work behind the macro.  So, if you are still here, let’s get to some non-birds shall we.

Georgia May 2015 finds

Hit the jump to see the last shots from the Georgia trip.

spacer

Georgia Bird Burst Pt 2 of 2

30 years ago today, I woke up early, put the suit on my parents were gracious enough to buy me so I looked decent for my corporate interviews.  I wasn’t heading to an interview that day, rather to my new job with wide eyes, a little bit of fear and ambitions to help build a better world.  That day I joined 16 other individuals also entering the corporate world many of which have stayed very close friends to this day. One in particular turned out to be extra special as I eventually married one of those classmates – Linda.  As you can infer she is also celebrating her 30 year anniversary.  Since those first few months in the college grad training program I’ve had the opportunity to see far off places, engage with coworkers all across the world on a daily basis and develop/design/architected systems that play critical roles from engineering, manufacturing, financial and IT.  Sure doesn’t feel like it’s been that long until you remember back on the on the great people you have met along the way.  The best part of it all (besides marrying my best friend of course) is the financial independence it has brought allowing me to pursue my other passions which brings us directly to today’s post!

KK

Yep, the second part of the Georgia birding dump.  As before, this is basically a close out set of birds photographed while on our trip back in May 2015.  The shot above is likely a female brown-Headed Cowbird.  Not the best angle for identification since the tail, back and half of the face is obscured.  Going solely on the thick black conical bill and the overall gray-brown coloring.  Unfortunately, the Brown-Headeds are on my top 5 most hated birds list due to being brood parasites – let’s move on shall we.

JJ

Hit the jump to see a few more closing shots of the Georgia haul.

spacer

Georgia Bird Blast Pt 1 of 2

It has been a whirlwind for us since we headed out on our trip to Lake Tahoe last Thursday.  I think we pretty  much hit every weather condition we possibly could have starting out with Midwest heat and nonstop rains on our way to the airport.  Landed in Reno for a cold shot to the system as it was down in the high 30’s low 40’s which gave way to low 30’s, rain, sleet and golf ball sized snowflakes for our stay at Lake Tahoe.  Reversed those weather patterns  on our return back to the broke state of Illinois which put the weather cherry on top with today’s tornado warnings.  Fortunately, it was a small bit of tribulation that was quickly replaced with jubilation as the targets of my trip are safely in the tin!  Oh, and my nephew, Ron’s son, Matt successfully tied the knot with his wonderful bride Anna.  Before I get to the Tahoe prizes, I need to finish up the Georgia Trip back in May 2015 that has been consuming the blog output as of late. Being through with the series shots, thought I would go ahead and just give a blast of other birds that caught my eye while out on the hunt.

Georgia Birds, May 2015

Will be light on the commentary for this collection and let you simply enjoy a variety of shots.  Think I mentioned this in a previous post, but the Skidaway Island State Park employed this Great Egret as their “Walmart Greeter”.  As we pulled up to the visitor center, Wally here came right up to the driver’s door, looked around the inside of the RV, looked me over a couple of times and took a few steps back to let us proceed.  Grabbed The Beast and did my best to get a shot – so close I had to pull all the way back and still barely got the  head in.

Hit the jump to see a variety of other specimens from the Georgia birding trip!

spacer

Summer Blossoms

Wanted to get another post out as I’ll be hunting for a White-Headed Woodpecker over the extended weekend.  Will likely have difficulties getting to new posts during that time being deep in unexplored wilderness fending off Cougar attacks, dodging Viper strikes, wrestling Bears and befriending wild Wolves to survive long cold bitter nights.  Well, for at least part of the trip, there’s a wedding event involved so I’ll have to clean up to at least attend that ceremony … but then back into hiking boots with The Beast to seek out the prize.

As we’ll back in snow conditions for this hunt, thought it would be appropriate to feature creatures that give tribute to the white fluffy stuff.

Great Egrets found at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Savannah Georgia May 2015

It is awfully hard to take a birding trip (short or long) where you do not have the opportunity to come upon an Egret or a Heron.  If you happen to be a wildlife photographer, I will bet the farm that you have tins full of these birds.  Also guessing those primarily came from your early birding years as they are the PERFECT photography subject.  When these birds are hunting it will make you wonder if they make Ritalin for Sloths. Need to learn how to use an expensive camera, desire to understand the exposure triangle (ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture), maybe want to practice breathing techniques to stable your long glass – either way, these shore waders are the go to subject.

What you do not often get a chance to get in the tin are Egret/Heron offspring.

Great Egrets found at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Savannah Georgia May 2015

Hit the jump to see a few more shots and try your hand at an ID.

spacer

Sky Commander

Well, here I sit with a completely drained body trying to speculate just how bad it is going to be tomorrow when the adrenaline drains out.  Don’t feel sorry, I willingly chose to test myself once again on a nasty half marathon trail run.  I wasn’t expecting the heat to come in so fast especially after heavy rains the last two days and quite frankly most of this month!  I’ll leave the details for a post on the mothership blog, but today’s course was a wicked combination of multiple water crossing (one was a spillway up over the calves), rocks, roots and a nasty collection of hills that beat me down like an after school encounter with the local bully.  As soon as you dived into the valleys you were suffocated by Mr. Heatmiser while you tried your best to make sure your shoes came out of the ankle deep mud.  Didn’t help I smacked the ground at mile 11 badly bruising my ankle and leaving me wondering if my ribs were still attached – gotta pick up those feet Bri regardless of how tired you are!  The good news is there’s new hardware on my running shelf for my efforts so as they say … worth it hehehe.

Going with a short one tonight so I can get a good amount of foam rolling in before crawling (literally) into bed.

White Ibis found at Harris Neck NWR outside Savannah Georgia May 2015

Hit the jump to see a couple more shots of the Ibis.

spacer

Two-Faced

With the upcoming half marathon trail run scheduled for this Saturday, I had to get the first two races of the 2019 season out of the queue before recollection bits started leaking out on the trail- my mind tends to be strained on these difficult runs and wanted to make sure I got the posts out while I still could remember them .  With some of the running posts out of the way, I can direct my attention back to our feathered friends.

Northern Mockingbird found on Georgia Birding Trip May 2015

Pretty sure the Georgia queue is just about popped at least from a full series perspective.  Will probably have a few catch all posts to officially close out the captures during that productive trip to the Georgia swamps back in May 2015.  This set happened to catch my eye while in the digital darkroom.  There is something about a Northern Mockingbird that can be downright scary.  Reminds me of the Seinfeld “Two-Face” episode.  One angle they look somewhat innocent, cute if you will.  Change the angle of the glass a bit or tilt the head a bit and next thing you know you are running for the darkroom exit.

Northern Mockingbird found on Georgia Birding Trip May 2015

Hit the jump to be Mocked more.

spacer

A Test Worthy of the Gods

Probably wasn’t a stretch to guess the topic of tonight’s post based on the foreshadowing in the previous one.  The Allerton Trail Race Weekend was a double event.  The previous work went into detail on the first of those two events, the Trail-Glo 5K.  I covered a lot of ground in that initial recollection knowing I would be able to skip over those details in the second race’s recollection.  So, let’s just jump right into it.

Allerton Park Trail Half Marathon April 13, 2019

The first race is really just a fun run – a quick warm up if you will before the big race the second day.  There are two race options to select from, the 10K version and the uber manly (I may be biased) Half Marathon.  I really shouldn’t be condescending on the shorter distance – everyone is a winner that makes it through any race distance, toeing the line is a victory in itself.  Note, like the 5K, they added the extra logs for those that made additional contributions to Make A Wish Foundation.

Allerton Park Trail Half Marathon April 13, 2019

Hit the jump to see some of Linda’s work from behind the camera and learn how the race went.

spacer