Merry Christmas to all my friends across the blogsphere! Was waiting all day for Linda to get the shots taken and worked up in the darkroom. Raven (black) and Benji (white) may look cute to the untrained eye, but these two become little demons when you are trying to get them set for a portrait. Now that Santa has come they know we are unable to hold that over them – last I looked Raven was chewing up the year’s naughty list ha!
Linda and I along with the boys hope your individual celebrations were joyous and filled with family, good friends and scrumptious food. It has been an interesting year around the headquarters of Intrigued to say the least. Good times, healing times and unfortunately a time of loss that can now only be filled by our heartfelt memories. As we look to what Christmas future brings we can be thankful for those that helped us through Christmas past and those that we lean on in Christmas present.
To all those readers of my muses here and to all those that enlighten, educate and entertain me with your own writings – may your holidays be bright and your thoughts be happy.
In case I don’t get back here in time, Happy New Year. Take care and be safe in your travels!
… The Doerflers
Greetings everyone! Been wrapped up in the chaos we call Christmas and have not had time to really sit down and relax in the warm glow of the computer monitors. Clearly the financial engine is booming in America as trips to the stores to pick up items to celebrate the now over-commercialized event meant spending three times as long in a checkout line than it took to actually find that perfect gift. Every store – same story. I do try to support the local independents – the problem is my time is becoming increasingly valuable to me. Quite revealing as the mainstream media and self-serving politicians tried their hardest to paint a false recession narrative just a few months back. In honor of this soaring economy, I bring you royalty (well, at least I’m pretty sure about that).
I have not featured a lot of Terns here and not for lack of images. On the contrary, my photo queue is full to the brim with these sharp looking birds. They happen to be a family of birds that hang out at my favorite local wildlife refuge in Havana (Emiquon) as well as easy fodder on our multiple trips down the Texas Gulf Coast. If you have access to a fairly decent sized body of water, then you have a good chance of being able to witness these aerial acrobats in action. The difficulty is not getting them classified in the right family as their slim/aerodynamic profile and dagger sharp bills tend to quickly differentiate them from the abundance of Gulls sure to be in the same area. No, the difficulty comes into getting them categorized in the right species as there are at least eleven I can name off the top of my head that are available somewhere in North America. Granted not as hard as ID’ing one of the twenty or so Gull varieties, but they do have a similar issue in that their coloring doesn’t differ that much – especially out of the breeding season.
Hit the jump to learn more about this sleek looking bird.
My little vacation has come to an end and back to work I go. Don’t feel too sorry for me, I basically have 4 days of work left before I close the books on this year. Thankfully, I’ll be able to look forward to a much better year as this one I’d just as soon forget altogether. We’ll be heading back down to Texas sometime in the first couple of months in hopes of getting the first part of the new year off on the right foot. Knowing how much content those trips add to the photography queue, figured I’d try my best to pop some of the previous Texas finds off the queue – some of those still need proper IDs and need some final validation from Ron (those damn Terns all look alike from afar). Fortunately, today’s featured feathered friend was easy to classify.
This rather smug looking waterbird was found while visiting Galveston Island State Park back in December 2016 (Yes B in the UK I am still waaaay behind ha). While exploring the trails and shorelines for Clapper Rails, I came upon this Cormorant hanging out in the packed sand. Not being up on my Cormorant game, I initially ID’d it as a female knowing the rest of the Cormorants that I’ve photographed were splendored in much darker to all black feathering (link here). At the time it wasn’t obvious whether this specimen was the standard Double-Crested variety or the Neotropic which I had previously photographed in the same place (link here).
Hit the jump to read more about my education on this particular species.
I’ve been eagerly awaiting to find time to get this post out. If there is one thing I hate more than clowns and crooked picture frames, it is failure. It was bad enough when I unexpectedly went down during a training run several years back (link here), but when I had to take my first ever DNF at a race it was like a dagger to my pride. The Cry Me a River fiasco (link here) will probably never be forgotten from a big ol’ blemish on a fairly successful running career and even more from a health scare perspective 17 years of racing and not one DNF graced the results page. That changed of course when my first 50K attempt decided to coincide with some wicked heat.
Linda can confirm I tried everything I could to get back in that race. Pleaded with the emergency room doctors to clear me to go back to the race. My argument that I was in the best possible condition I could be in being they had filled me up with 4 IV bags and another bag of straight magnesium. Ambulance drivers said “hell no”, nurses said “you are nuts” and the doctor initially scolded me only to eventually concede that “they were open 7×24”. Later that day, Linda went back to collect some gear I had dropped. “Hey, take me with you, you are going there anyway and I only have 15 miles to go!!” Imagine a piercing evil stare of disgust in return. Next morning I was nearly on my knees begging to return – now rested, still full on the fluids and feeling fine with the exception of the head wound. “15 miles and you won’t have to hear about this again”…which brought a reminder than when she relayed my desire to the race coordinators the day before they put me in the certifiably nuts category. Arggggggghhhhhh. Well, there was only one thing to do… sign up for another 50K 3 months later in October. Take that medical professionals!
Hit the jump to find out if there was redemption or not!
I put my blogging hobby in jeopardy tonight. Linda and I checked out a German Christmas Market (Christkindlmarket) in downtown Chicago or as I like to refer to it as – Ron’s neighborhood (cue comment ha). Really nice German/European themed market full of cultural foods and gifts. We took a special liking to the cider and hot chocolate in souvenir mugs and an amazing amount of really cool glass ornaments. Show me a colorful glass bird ornament and I switch into “here, take my money” mode. Problem was it was an OUTSIDE market. Start with the windy city’s namesake, add in a heaping amount of plunging temperatures gives you some mighty bitter conditions. Somehow made it back to the hotel without my fingers falling off – still tingle while I type. In an attempt to bring them back to room temperature, thought I would feature a bird found in much warmer conditions.
Actually this post features specimens found in multiple locations over multiple years and in different months of the year (yes, all warmer than the tundra conditions we experienced tonight). This featured bird is a member of the Sapsucker species. It is pretty easy to tell the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker is a member of the Woodpecker family. Long, powerful bill, well clawed to support hanging on the sides of trees/branches and adorned in the common colors of black, white and red.
Hit the jump to read some more about Mr. Sappy Sucker!
Just sitting here waiting around for Linda to get done with her cardio-rehab session. Hard to believe she only has one more session in her three month recovery plan. All is going well and I’m excited to say she has elected to give up all the stress and strain of the corporate world and finally enjoy life to the fullest in her retirement. Good heart, good feeling and a great husband what more can you hope for (okay, I snuck in that last one hehehe). The other good news I am thrilled to mention is we will once again be heading back to the Texas Gulf Coast for some fun in the sun – translated – BIRDING! Time to fill up the hoppers for the coming blogging year – who am I kidding, you probably won’t see those finds until at least 2 or 3 years from now. The best part is Ron will be joining us this time. Good for him, very bad for our bird list challenge as I made up some serious ground thanks to the treasure trove of birds down there. Competition aside, it is always fun to bird with him so definitely looking forward to it. Until then, I’ll continue to chip away at the last of the 2016/2017 haul. For instance, this adorable creature.
Hit the jump to read a bit more about this skinny Panda.
Welcome to December everyone! That moment in time when you look at the calendar and realize there are no more pages on it – that’s it, nada, kaput, this year be gone. All those plans, all those goals and all those to-do’s still stuck with magnets to the refrigerator door. It is a bit depressing if you dwell on the lost side of the equation and forget about the wins over the last eleven months. It was nice to get my official bird count pushed up to 254 and I know there are at least 15 to 20 still in the queue that I still need to get to (recall that I don’t take the +1 until it has debuted here at Intrigued). I also managed to get Ron a big check in his list earlier in the week – I know he is excited to tell everyone about that so I’ll give him the privilege of posting on that. Until then going with a bird that was originally featured here back in May of 2015 (link here).
Definitely able to improve on the shots this time – those previous ones from the outing at Chain O’ Lakes with Ron were well…. let’s go with craptastic. It is always a bit painful when I link back to my old work. The plus side is I can definitely see the progression behind the glass over the nearly 13 years I’ve been doing this whole blog thing. Don’t get me wrong, nowhere near where I would like to be, especially compared to all the great shots I see my friends and fellow bloggers putting up. At least I try to be conscious of the foreground reeds now ha! So, this is the American Wigeon. Definitely prettier than the Turkey Vulture I had to hit you with for the Thanksgiving post.
Hit the jump to see a few more shots of this criminal.. I mean cute bird.