Our heartfelt prayers for those impacted by the recent Laura hurricane landfall. We have spent many vacations over the years enjoying the beautiful Texas Gulf Coast. We’ve witnessed firsthand the devastation to Rockport and the surrounding areas thanks to another hurricane that ripped through the area. Will never forget seeing an entire remains of a city literally piled up for miles in the center median of the main highway. I am not sure how much damage Laura inflicted yet, but I did hear Anahuc was hit – one of our favorite places to bird.
In tribute to our Gulf friends I bring you..
This series of shots was taken at Galveston Island State Park and nearby Bolivar Peninsula from our trip down there in January 2017. The Willet is not a new bird to the list and was actually featured back in Nov 2019 (link here). Fortunately for us, these rather regal looking birds are pretty common in the States. With the exception of the Eastern mainland and the upper west corner, these long legged shorebirds can be found at some port during the season either in their northern breading grounds or as they pass through to the coast for the winter months.
Hit the jump to read a bit more about our Yoga practicing Willet.
And we are back once again. Figured I’d make the best of it as I sit her nursing a pretty banged up left leg. Not entirely sure what is going on, either my karma got screwed up somehow, just a series of unfortunate events, something is wrong with my running cadence or I’m going blind. Any of those are in play at the moment pending further study. A week ago I took a “snowboard” fall on the trail. For those that haven’t had the pleasure of learning how to snowboard, front edge falls are both instantaneous and brutal. Clipped my foot on a root that was hiding in the weeds alongside the trail. You learn quickly that you get your ass off the ground and keep running before your body has a chance to have second thoughts. 6 miles further and a night of rest resulted in a softball size bruise on my shin. Flash forward to this morning at the farthest extent of a 13 mile trail run where my left foot clipped a rock strategically positioned to maximize pain. That left blood on the trail and a rather intriguing 6 miles back to the car. 2 minutes before that I was in fluffy trail dust, but nooooo, can’t go down there, I have to pick the section covered in sharp rocks. Now sitting here speculating how long the gashes will take to heal and what new colors of the rainbow will be added to my already banged up leg. Bright side, my ribs seem to have survived the impacts, so we’ll be back on the trails before the week is up.
While I mend, let’s feature some Goose play.
I saw these two while doing a little birding at Chain O’ Lakes back in April 2017. Guessing there was not a lot of targets in the area as I tend to take a few shots of these Geese and continue on. There is no shortage of Canada Geese in the area. Just did a quick check of their region and if the range maps are correct, these distinctive Geese or abundant in North America as a whole. They do come up short in the Central America region, very odd gap in eastern California and what looks like just east of the Rockies in Canada. Probably got wind of the mass exodus out of California, but unaware of the no-go zone in Canada.
Hit the jump to see what these two were up to.
Greetings everyone! Apologies, as it has been a bit since we last met. There are a number of reasons for that with the primary one being we are dangerously close to Halloween which translates to a very busy Bri. The joke around here is we take a day off to actually celebrate Halloween and show off the latest additions and then we are back in the lab designing, building and wiring the new props for next year’s Haunted Trail of Tears. My 3D printer has been going nonstop and I’m currently up to my eyeballs in wire, servos, Arduinos and a bevy of linkages that would make any mechanical engineer envious. That doesn’t mean I get to forget about my commitment to my readers so how about a little Yellow for today.
Quite the “electrical banana” of you will pardon a reference to maybe one of the worst songs every written or produced. Not exactly the best reference as Donovan was apparently referring to the ladies where these first few shots are of the male Yellow Warbler. What do you say we all go in on a petition to rename this brightly colored species the Banana Warbler – upside is it will bypass all the current uproar over birds named after southern references.
Hit the jump to see a few more shots our brightly colored Warbler.
So, how many readers out there thought this was going to be the month!?! .. as in the month after years and years of successfully hitting my self-imposed 6 posts a month quota… was it finally going to come to an end. Fear not, I shall not let me loyal readers down. I am tremendously relieved that July is a long month as I needed just about every second to get this taken care of. In case you are counting the Wildlife posts and coming up a bit short, a lot of my free time was spent detailing some rather elaborate props that were added to the Haunted Trail of Tears last year on the mothership blog. If you like a good Halloween scare, feel free to check those out (links here: Westworld 2.0 Posey Line and Ned). For the last post of the month (with little time to spare), thought I would stick with my “white” theme for July.
Some would say I should have led with this species of the Ibis for the anniversary post. As mentioned previously, this would not have earned me a precious +1 like the White-Faced delivered. Admittedly, the White Ibis is a bit more charming and more fitting to the whole white wedding extravaganza. The good news is unlike the Glossy Ibis and the White-Faced Ibis, there is no difficulty in identifying this one .. ‘cuz it’s white ha.
Hit the jump if you want to see a wedgie… sure you do!
29 years ago today, I officially gave up my single and carefree status and joined the woman I fell in love with at the alter (rumors that she was kicking and screaming the entire way are assuredly false). Never looked back and still the best decision I’ve ever made. Although giving up my steady diet of microwave macaroni and cheese dinners was a struggle, but I’m sure for the best ha. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything in the photo queue that worked well with the anniversary theme. I guess in honor of the white roses I gave Linda that day we’ll go with this.
A bit of a stretch, but in case you are not familiar with our bronzed beauty above, it is a White-Faced Ibis. Probably should have gone with the more fitting White Ibis – of course, that bird I already have checked off my list where the White-Faced Ibis is officially a new bird to the blog. This particular specimen comes courtesy of a trip to down to Havana, IL back in May 2018. The reported sighting of this particular bird was the reason for the trip down to Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge (located just outside Havana).
Hit the jump to read a bit more about our bronzed bird.
Okay, apparently I needed to be taught a lesson for complaining too much about Internet connectivity. Soon after whining about my provider issues in the last post we were greeted with a nightmare storm. 70 mph wind gusts coupled with solid sheets of rain and if that wasn’t oodles of fun enough – throw in some hail. It eventually got to a point where we couldn’t see the road on our way home and had to pull off to allow it to settle. Finally get home, sit down at the computer to see how long the storm is going to last and bam – power goes out. I’m cursed. Luckily we had invested in a whole house genset soon after building our house in the country – take that karma gods ha. Anyway, all good now, power back and Internet connectivity .. well, better. Let’s celebrate with a new post!
Pretty impressive eh? What, you don’t appreciate shots of plastic bags in a corn field!?!?! The embarrassing thing is I have hundreds of pictures of random bags taken during the winter months. I am guessing this may seem odd to you, however, I would bet that most Midwestern birders also have their share of photos of WBF’s or “White Bags in a Field” – garbage bags, chip bags, Walmart bags – the list goes on – typically at a distance in picked or plowed farmland between December and say early March.
Hit the jump if you want to see the reason for the bag shots – no, I am not losing my mind!
Well, somehow July managed to sneak up on me.. like the month before and the month before that and the month before.. you get the picture. Absolutely stunning how fast things seem to be moving in the midst of a supposed lockdown. It has been a few days..err weeks since my last post thanks to a little annoyance called lack of Internet. With all the joys country living brings, there are a few downsides. One is water – I kid that H2O is as good as currency around here. Luckily that was pretty much solved when we put in a second well last year. The other downside is Internet connectivity. This has yet to be solved adequately and it has been steadily decreasing in quality for the last couple of months – doesn’t help that usage has gone up with all the Covid-19 crap. Just so happens both my wife and I have 30+ years each in IT and to top it off Linda started out as a network specialist. Problem is she is having to deal with support personnel fresh out of kindergarten. If they tell her one more time to unplug her router or press the reset button I think she’s going to reach through the phone line and choke them to death. Not sure when this battle is going to get resolved, but right now access is pretty spotty limiting my posts and more importantly the chance to read everyone else’s posts. My apologies in advance for delayed responses and lack of commenting on my blogger friends’ sites. Meanwhile I get to sit her and watch Linda’s eyes get redder and redder … oh shit, they just asked her to unplug the router again #$!@$#%!@%. Today’s featured feathered friend is in honor of Linda’s eyes that are getting redder and redder each time I look over.
I can only guess that this Spotted Towhee is also having trouble getting connected to the Internet. Pretty soon it is going to breakdown and leave the woods in search of a local coffee shop for some free Wi-Fi. Not an easy task as this specimen was found on our trip out to Colorado a little under one dog year from today. For those new to the blog I’ve switched to dog years as that sounds a lot better than human years – May 2014 feels like I’ve been trapped on a desolate island with just a volleyball to keep me company. An interesting parallel to how desolate I feel right now not being able to share strings of 1 and 0’s with the rest of the world “Is there anybody out there .. Mother should I build the wall”.
Hit the jump to read a bit more about our red-eyed friend!
Well, things continue to go bad for Raven and he is officially 0/5 at this agility trial. I think he is just hot and tired now and his last run might come down to a battle of wits between Mom and dog. Probably taking a page out of the whiny NBA league and refuses to perform to an empty house. At least Raven isn’t bending to the will of the great China dollar. The bad news for Raven means good news for the postapalooza happening this weekend. My worries of making my quota for June were quickly put to rest and thought I’d go ahead an close it out with another +1.
So what do you think? Pretty cool bird eh? This is another series of shots that comes courtesy of a birding outing to Chain O’ Lakes State Park. A bit in the wayback machine as they were taken on April 2017. Ron happened to be with me that weekend resulting in +1’s for both of us although technically he hasn’t posted on it yet so he is unable to take the full credit. I on the other hand will be remedying that technicality today.
In the rare case you are struggling to see the featured bird above, feel free to hit the jump and I’ll try to help you out a bit.
Linda has been bouncing off the walls for months and getting downright irritated with all the Covid crap. She is newly retired and not happy her grand plans of spending every weekend in the dog agility ring have been shredded. Poor Raven rips off a page on his 365 puppy a day calendar until he sees the word Friday. He grabs that page in his teeth, jumps on the bed, takes a big lick on the back and sticks it to Mom’s forehead and points to his leash and collar. “Time to go compete Mom, now get your ass out of bed and load my stuff into the RV and say goodbye to the alpha male.” Watching Linda try to explain Covid to a recently turned 6 year old self-centered Poodle is pure comedy.
Well folks, today Raven’s demands were fulfilled! Yep, the first agility trial has now been greenlit. Linda can finally run off all that pent-up stress. Not expecting much as Raven is probably pretty rusty. The best part of this….plenty of time to get caught up on my posting.
To celebrate Raven’s first run in several months, thought I’d go with a first for myself. During an image processing marathon a few weeks back I came across a series of shots from a birding trip to Glacial Park Conservation Area back in May 2018. For those not familiar with this location, it sits about 15 minutes away from Chain O’ Lakes State Park in Ringwood, IL. Ron and I usually spend the morning birding Chain and then make a run over to Glacial to finish off the day. Although they have similar settings as Chain, it tends to have a better draw of prairie and wetland birds.
Hit the jump to learn more about our rather olive looking specimen.
Finally getting back to this blog thingy. I’ve been extremely busy this month – well, let’s go with busier than norm. My life seems to be in constant motion thanks to way too many honey-do items, a hell of a lot of work to keep my country homestead under control, a running passion that probably borders on addiction, year-round Halloween prop building and oh, that little thing called my day job. It’s rather amazing there’s time left to actually go in the field and snap our feathered friends.
Luckily, there’s plenty of outings still in the queue to pull from. Today’s featured specimen comes to us courtesy of Chain O’ Lakes State Park up in Spring Grove, IL. As mentioned several times now, that park is one of our favorites in IL. Varied habitats ranging from wetlands/river to deep woods and all the way to acres and acres of natural prairie. Well maintained trails allow for easy navigation between the settings giving ample opportunity to shoot a wide range of birds. Although are standard goal there is to get the large Sandhill Cranes in the tin, we definitely take time out to for the smalls.
Hit the jump to see a couple more shots of the Yellow Bandit..