The Easter Egg of the Birding World

For those that celebrate the holiday – Happy Easter everyone!  When Linda wasn’t looking I stole her “Honey Do” bell and cut the clapper out of it.  She was starting to abuse it (ha) and now that she is on the mend, my nurturing duties are officially over.  I did cap it off with a well received pancake dinner in the shape of a bunny before the time officially ran out, so don’t feel bad for her.  She’s still badly bruised at the insertion points, but good enough to move around and she even drove to a local store tonight for some badly needed supplies – good to go although I’ll be pressed into service again and this time for at least 3 months once the valve surgery is done.  That one is going to hurt (me, not her hehehe).  With the Easter holiday upon us, thought I would feature Mother Nature’s version of the Easter Egg.

Painted Bunting found at Skidaway Island State Park, Savannah GA, May 2015

Now how is that for a colorful bird?  Linda is very particular about what birds she is willing to take pictures of. If it isn’t pretty and colorful she doesn’t even bother bringing her camera out.  Blackbirds, Robins, dull garbed Warblers etc. do not merit the infinitesimal pressure required to push that shutter button down and clearly not wasting precious digital bits reserved primarily for waterfalls and landscape pictures.  I call it elitism, which generally catches her ire.  In this particular case she had no issue with snapping away and that’s clearly understandable.  This Bunting is top two in my book across the entire birding world.

Painted Bunting found at Skidaway Island State Park, Savannah GA, May 2015

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That Rock has Eyes

Good day everyone!  Get to spend the day at the hospital while Linda gets some medical tests done on her heart.  She has a birth defect that she has had to deal with that is now getting to a point that something probably needs to be done to correct it.  While I wait for that procedure to complete, thought I would get to the follow up from my previous post.  If you recall, I left you hanging regarding a field encounter that left me a bit rattled.  That unexpected jolt to the system was a result of the creature you can somewhat see below.

Alligator found at Harris Neck Wildlife Refuge outside Savannah Georgia, May 2015

Now, I’ve come in contact with Alligators several times in my past.  As probably every kid in the US that is fortunate enough to take vacations as a kid, I had the pleasure of ending up at one of the Florida Gator parks and getting to handle one of their babies.  To be honest, they are pretty darn cute when they are a foot or less long.  Your own prehistoric plaything.  At some point in their development they no longer become cute and transform into something nightmares are made out of.  Still fun to photograph at a distance and numerous encounters have already been documented here at Intrigued (link here, here and well here).  The first two were definitely a safe distance away, the last one was closer, but I still didn’t feel overly threatened – Linda, on the other hand ended up running for her life to the safety of the RV.  That abandonment has come up several times on our outings as a point of contention and failure to perform UB duties – promptly dismissed by Linda of course.

Alligator found at Harris Neck Wildlife Refuge outside Savannah Georgia, May 2015

Hit the jump to learn more about my unexpected encounter.

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Them Cattle Egrets be Devious

My apologies for the long delay in getting another post out.   This month I’m out on the road for a bit as the race season officially kicked off this weekend and I am currently sitting in a large conference arena surrounded by more poodles than I can even begin to count.  I go into detail on my race events on my other blog, but as a summary, Friday I had a 5K trail run at night followed by a half marathon trail run the following morning at Allerton Park in Monticello, IL.  Not sure if it was all the mud or not, but that half took everything I had and ended up 2 minutes shy of placing in my age group – was just plain beat at this race, no excuses – must train harder.  As far as the poodles go, we went straight from the race down to St, Louis for the Poodles National Specialty Agility Show at Purina Farms.  Raven is doing his best to hang with some of the best in the nation and so far the need more training theme is resonating there as well.  He has a few more runs today and hopefully he can overcome his new found fear of teeter-totters.  My legs are drained and I’m faced with some serious downtime between Raven’s agility runs – can’t think of a better time to get the cobwebs cleared off Intrigued.

Since the Georgia trip shots are already processed, let’s stick with the finds at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge.  As noted in previous posts, we were down there back in May 2015 to get two birds – one being the Wood Stork (link here). and one hasn’t been announced yet.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t room in the tin for plenty of other birds.

Cattle Egret found at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge outside Savannah Georgia May 2015

Take for example the Cattle Egret.  This bird isn’t new to the checklist having been featured back in June of last year (link here).  That post was thanks to a trip down the Texas Gulf Coast over the Christmas holidays at the end of 2017 – I also make no excuses for always being behind on my photo queue ha.  Technically that was not the first time I had encountered and tinned this particular bird, it was, however, the first set I was able to get processed.  When I posted that set on Intrigued, I was fully aware I had found specimens a couple of years back at Harris.  Unfortunately, I was in a bit of denial this particular encounter ever happened … more on that later.

Hit the jump for a few more shots of the Cattle Egret and take in my Public Service Announcement for big glass photographers.

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Saucy Tongued Glossies

Finally back in front of the keyboard.  Once again, the hectic levels have been peaking around here with deliverables due at the day job, Raven’s running agility this weekend and we are one tiny little week away from the start of race season.  Due to the latter, I decided to come back home early from the agility show (show is being held about 1.5 or so away) and get some miles in on the trails before the rain comes back and mucks them up tomorrow.  Was hoping to get one final easy long outing in before tapering – well, that was the plan until my GPS decided to try and kill me.  Took a new trail in the park which turned out to be a complete nightmare.  At some point it decided that figuring out the constant elevation rise and drops was just way toooo much work and simply assumed the trail was flat.  Next thing I know it is telling my I’m running 12+ minute miles which is absurd.  Thinking I was slacking, started driving harder only to be thoroughly exhausted at what the GPS thought was mile 8.5 AND STILL AT a 12 minute mile pace.  The good news in all of this the upcoming half marathon race course can’t be anywhere as difficult as my training runs so I should be good to go (fingers crossed).  Meanwhile, I need to give the legs some rest – speaking of legs…

Glossy Ibis found at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge outside Savannah Georgia May 2015

Tonight’s featured bird definitely has some long ones.  Add to that an extremely long down-curved bill.  Pretty much the iconic shape for an Ibis although Ron might get a kick out of the fact that the Roseate Spoonbill is in the same family – one of his nemesis birds like the Snowy Owl, but word has it he was able to get that checked off earlier in the month (link here).  One could also argue that the Whimbrel and the Long-Billed Curlew (link here) would fall into the similar species set, but those are much smaller than the specimens here.

Glossy Ibis found at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge outside Savannah Georgia May 2015

Hit the jump to see “a lot” more pictures of this new bird on my list.

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Raggedy Andy

I had plans to get to this earlier this weekend, but it’s been a whirlwind around here.  Had to finish tearing out the tile in the bathroom, had a slight catastrophe in the guest room closet that ended up being more work that intended and this morning was my 16 mile training run (6.5 on the road, 6.3 on very muddy trails and then back to the road for 3.2) which included me hitting the ground hard thanks to a missed root hidden in the leaves while running down a hill – ugh.  Nothing like making the most out of your weekend.  While the body tries to recover, decided to try and get another post out just under the wire.  I technically already have my quota in for the month, but wanted to get another Georgia post out to make room for one of my top five favorite birds in April.  Without any more delay, here is a quick post featuring another apparent swamp liking bird.

Black-Crowned Night-Heron found at Harris Neck NWR outside Savannah Georgia May 2015

Hit the jump to see a couple more pics of our stoic looking bird!

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The Stork Delivers

Greetings all!  Just sitting here waiting for the deluge of rain to pass through so I can get to a ridiculously long training run.  Was supposed to get back on the trails, but by the looks of it, going to be too muddy – no reason to risk an injury less than a month from the first race of the season.  While I wait out the weather blahs, thought I would put a little NCAA tournament on and bang on the keyboard a bit.  May not get it completed before heading out, so apologies if this gets posted later in the day.

Okay, let’s discuss this half Pelican, half Vulture, half Heron looking creature.

Wood Stork shot at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge near Savannah Georgia, May 2015

A bit creepy if you ask me.  As I’ve stated during my bird lecture intros, Linda and I are destination wildlife/nature photographers.  We essentially travel to our subjects – most of our vacations are specifically planned to get a particular bird or waterfall in the tin.  Grab some research books, travel brochures, cross-reference with the birding check list, check the research books again to confirm (to the best of our ability) there is a good chance of finding it, pack up the RV and hope for the best.  Sometimes it results in complete failure like the Arkansas trip we took last year (although I did manage to get a couple of unexpected +1’s and a Tarantula Hawk (link here) – Linda totally struck out).

Wood Stork shot at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge near Savannah Georgia, May 2015

Hit the jump to read more about the Georgia trip target bird.

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The Devil Bird Went Down to Georgia

Spent the day tearing out all the tile in my master shower which definitely had its moments – like the 200 pound sheet of cement board with the tile still on it that decided it would take it upon itself to try and kill me – unexpectedly, it broke free of the stud,  just missed my head and then hit the ladder I was standing on before embedding itself in the shower pan – thankfully the pan was the reason all this work was set in motion so it got what it deserved.  I’ll probably have to add that to the list of events which I like to label as the “near misses” list.  Not nearly as long as the birding list, but a bit longer than I like to admit to.  That which doesn’t kill me, serves to makes me wiser.  As I reflect on the day and prepare for tomorrow’s planned half marathon training run, thought I would pad the bird list and maybe gain some ground on Ron.

Anhinga shot at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge near Savannah, Georgia May 2015

Ooops, should have mentioned in the intro that these shots are not my best work.  In a bit of luck, while shooting the target for the trip to Georgia, another bird showed up that I had not yet officially checked off the list.  I have a few pictures of this bird from a quick trip to Florida to drive my parents back from their winter stay.  Thanks to a vendor conference in Orlando, I was also able to get a shot of one with my cell phone.   All of those shots turned out to be awful and therefor elated to get a third chance at one.  This bird is becoming my nemesis – three attempts and still nothing I’d be willing to hang on a wall.  Now taking the +1 …well, that is a completely different story.

Anhinga shot at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge near Savannah, Georgia May 2015

Hit the jump to read a bit more about this flying cross!

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GatorNeck

Once again, bringing you another break from the feathered fodder.  Luckily, this time not a result of cargo loads of hate mail showing up at the door.  Nope, bringing you a non-birding post on my own terms.  Now, I will admit today’s post was a direct result of a birding adventure and the only reason Linda and I were even in this particular spot was to get a new mark on the birding checklist – actually, I can expand that a bit – one of the two reason we headed all the way to the Georgia swamps was to stand at the very spot these shots were taken.  I’ll get to those two reasons in a future posts – for now, let’s take a gander at the shot below.

Alligators shot at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refugee, near Savannah Georgia May 2015

Back in May of 2015 (no idea what happened, the best I can tell is we time warped directly to 2019 – scary) we were visiting Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge which is about 30 miles outside Savannah, Georgia.  For those of you not familiar with this refuge, it was established in 1962 on an abandoned military airfield.  There are still runways hidden in the overgrown fields along with about 2,800 acres of mixed saltwater marsh, fields and woods.  The unique name comes from the peninsula it sits on being originally named Dickenson’s Neck and then later renamed for the principal proprietor in the 18th century, William Harris.

Alligators shot at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refugee, near Savannah Georgia May 2015

Form your impression of the shots above and then hit the jump to read some intriguing details.

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Have a Laugh on Me

Let’s go ahead and continue with the Georgia birding trip theme for another March post.  From what I can tell from a quick count that excursion to the swamps to the east resulted in at least a +5.  Yep, 5 count increments that have simply been sitting in bit purgatory since May 2015 waiting for someone to give them a bit of love and in some cases a dose of processing to get them in decent enough shape to show the world.  Suspect there’s probably less than 800 images left to comb through to finish out the haul from the trip – one good effort over the weekend should put a bow on Georgia processing.  That just leaves the easy part, smacking the keyboard in hopes of delivering a post worthy my  reader’s time.    To that end I bring you the second +1 from the trip.

Laughing Gull found at Tybee Island, Georgia May 2015

For starters, in case you haven’t noticed, I do not feature a lot of Gulls on the blog.  There are two main reasons for this.  One is the fact that they can be damn hard to ID unless you are lucky enough to find the ones that are regionally constrained or have some unique element that makes them stand out from the horde.  I have taken 10’s of thousands of shots of Gulls in my adventures in the field and very few of them fall into the easy to ID category.  Many are juveniles or females which have about an equal chance of getting correctly labeled as a juvenile Sparrow.  Thus, those shots lay nestled on their digital platters patiently waiting for me to dig in and devote the time and energy to properly check them off the list.  Knowing the Gulls are pretty much untapped gives me a bit of comfort when it comes to my relatively low bird count and something to fall back to on a rainy day.

Laughing Gull found at Tybee Island, Georgia May 2015

Hit the jump to find out more about this hooded bandit.

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A Carolina in Georgia

Finally getting around to processing the rest of the shots form our birding trip to Georgia back in (looking down in shame) May of 2015.  You at least have to give me some credit for trying to muscle through the incredible backlog.  Truthfully, there is a reason I’ve been actively hesitant – is that a thing, let’s go with intentionally slow to get to this trip.  One of the main reasons is I f’d up while out in the field there and almost got myself seriously injured.  I’ve had a few experiences where I’ve skipped a few heartbeats due to something unexpected happening.  One of those times was seeing Ron’s head almost smashed with a steel door.  On a personal front, I came way to close to dangerous wildlife in the swamps of Georgia thanks to looking down my glass while walking and not watching the created void in front of me.  I’ll get to that in a future post, but thought I’d start with a picture I took while I was heading out into the swamp.
Raven in Georgia May 2015

That’s our youngest, Raven.  I laughed to myself when I saw this image come through the digital darkroom.  He’s as cute as it gets, but has a serious attitude: “Hey, do you really think you are going to leave me here while you go off and play in the woods!?!  Get your ass back here now.”  Good thing that cockiness serves him well while competing in the agility ring – he also knows I’m a pushover for ear licks.

Guess I better get to the featured bird for today’s post.  My shots are a bit weak for this series, but it is a +1 so I have to go with what I was able to get in the tin.
Carolina Chickadee found in Georgia May 2015

Hit the jump to see a few more mediocre shots if a bird I thought Ron didn’t have yet.

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