Greetings everyone. Seems like it has been months since I’ve been able to find time to pound out a post. It has really been only about a week and half but my days have become longer than usual now that Linda is officially home and in recovery mode. Although she is frustrated by the limited amount stuff she is able to do (both physically and under strict limiting from doctor’s orders), she is apparently able to do a lot more than expected based on comments from the follow up appointments. Her cardiac rehab specialist couldn’t believe she was so soon out of surgery and able to walk into her office. No surprises here, that’s my wife, driven to get back in the dog agility ring. Of course, this has forced me to learn new skills like something called “laundry” which translates to shove as many clothes as you can in the hole of the large metal box, pour the sticky stuff from the big white jug into a slide at the top and hit the brightly colored button. Then there’s grocery shopping which as far as I can tell is to simply walk up and down every aisle and grab 5 of everything that looks yummy and then get sent back with an explicit list of things to get (while picking up even more yummy stuff). Not sure about this cooking concept either – there are all these appliances and utensils scattered about the kitchen which probably all have some purpose, but not sure what, as the contents of the containers I bring from the various places on the way home all seem ready to eat just as they are. Oh wait, I have kind of fallen in love with the metal box under the counter they refer to as the dishwasher!
Enough about my domestication as I know you are really here for the birds!
Hit the jump to read a bit more about this frustrating duck!
Another post from the great north with some good news to share. Linda has now made it through her four surgeries and has been officially discharged from the hospital. “Hip Hip Hooray!” I’ve been through a number of “situations” over the years (unfortunately, many of them self-induced). Some of those bumps in the road took just about every ounce of fortitude I had to get through. Even with all that, I have to bow to the resolve Linda has shown over the last 4 weeks – three of which has been spent up here in Viking territory. Weeks of being poked, prodded, sliced, sawed, cracked, studied, sampled, wired, tested, extracted, stitched, scanned, radiated, incubated, anesthetized, sponged, pressurized, cauterized, medicated, IV’d and worst of all bombarded by some of the worst TV shows imaginable (think marathons of Yes to the Dress, Millionaire Listings and in the I’d rather beat my head with a hammer than watch category, Below Deck private yacht cruises). I can’t even find the words to convey how proud I am of her up with all that and staying positive even though she has many more months of recovery ahead of her.
On a personal front, just glad I do not have to write up the latest +1 to my birding list from a truly uncomfortable folding hospital chair!
Many of the plus ones as of late (well, to be honest, most of the posts this year) have come from birding trips to fiscally more responsible states than Illinois. In a change of pace, today’s featured feathered friend comes courtesy of a trip up to Starved Rock State Park which is a relatively short drive away. Ron and I had the opportunity to do some birding together back in May 2015. Not exactly the best weather as we were drenched by morning showers and it didn’t really lighten up much the rest of the day. Any shots deep under the tree canopy required dizzying levels of ISO and significant time in the digital darkroom. We still managed to have a lot of fun as is always the case when out with Ron in the field – even managed to get a few new feathered specimens in the tin. The Northern Rough-Winged Swallow you see before you is one of those new additions.
Hit the jump to see and read a bit more about our uniquely textured Swallow.
Coming to you once again from the land to the North. Things seem to be progressing overall up here at Mayo, however, there are those points where frustration starts to step in. Linda has now made her way through three different surgeries in under a week and now preparing for the fourth and hopefully final one. Her valve replacement appears successful, but the heart rhythm hasn’t returned to a proper level requiring a permanent pacemaker to be put in. At this point, we are just waiting around to find out when that is going to happen. Comforting to know she is being cared for by some of the best there is.
Thought I would get started with a new post until news came through on the schedule.
If you recall from the previous post, I had dragged out the soapbox and was venting some displeasure on some of the bird names out there. Specifically bird names based on features that are difficult to tell with one in your hands much less trying to discern the characteristic out in the field. My blogger friend CJ noted the Latin naming takes some of that out of the equation, but Aythya collaris just doesn’t roll off the tongue like Ring-Necked Duck and it gives my Latin education brother Ron a definite advantage (not to mention it is impossible to see the “collaris”… sorry). While looking through the post queue, noticed this series.
Hit the jump to see some of my favorite pics of this coastal bird.
A sad day here at Intrigued. We had to say goodbye to one of our beloved toy Poodles. Osiris (Rizzi) lived a good long life, became a well decorated Agility Champion on Linda’s guidance and brought us tremendous joy over the years. Linda, his brothers and I truly miss him.
The stressometer is peaking again which means it is a good time to relax and get the mind focused on something else for a bit – translated, it is an absolutely great time to get another post out. Today’s featured feathered friend has what I’ve always considered an improper name.
Hit the jump to read about more about this badly named Duck.
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.
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!
Hit the jump to see a few more shots of this colorful Warbler disguised for the off-season.
We have now entered phase 2 of Linda’s transformation to the bionic woman. Thanks to her coming down with a cold the first day of being up in Mayo on phase 1 two weeks ago, the heart surgery had to be pushed a week. Something about having your chest opened up and having coughing fits seems to be a bad thing. Once again, we are up in Rochester, but this time the poking and prodding is past and now it’s time to finally get this taken care of. I know Linda is looking forward to getting this over with so she can get back to running our dogs in agility. To help cope with the significant amount of downtime involved with this week, most of the spare time since returning home the first time was spent prepping and uploaded images from the image queue – might as well be productive as my body defenses are put to the task fending off whatever still unnamed contagions that will be bombarding me in the community waiting rooms.
Kicking off the Minnesota blogging series is a new bird for the birding list!
Full disclosure, the true significance of this find was not truly appreciated while out in the field. In fact, it may have been overlooked if it wasn’t for the blitz of activity in the digital darkroom this week. A few hours before getting to this little specimen I worked on a set of Marsh Wren shots found during one of our trips to the Texas Gulf Coast. That Marsh was the second encounter I have had with that species – the first was featured back in October 2017 from a previous visit to Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. Ironically a really nice refuge ~2 hrs from where we are right now!
Hit the jump to read more about this cute Wren!