If You Willet They Will Come

Sky dandruff is once again falling on us.  At least this time we are in November which makes it a bit more bearable, however, my body is not pleased that Fall was essentially skipped this year.  Sure, the pretty colors are a nice benefit for those lucky enough to experience seasons, but there is one primary purpose for Fall – to gradually get the lungs and more isolated appendages accustomed to cold weather running.  That’s it, just one reason – well, maybe to also force birds to come through my region on their way back home – but that’s it!  Admittedly, my sample set is pretty small as the list of friends that enjoy running is thin enough and those willing to continue training through Midwest winters whittles that down to a mere handful.  To a person, there is nothing worse than running one weekend in the high 60’s and then heading out two days later in low 20’s.  You can bundle up all you want, but as soon as that cold air hits your unaccustomed lungs you will be thinking about your next trip to Texas!

Willet found at Bolivar Peninsula, Texas Gulf Coast January 2017

Which was exactly what I was doing last week.  Dead of night, headlight on, pounding pavement alone in a nearby park, sucking in daggers of cold air all while wondering what my 0.0 friends might think of this obsession.  That answer didn’t take long to come up with leaving me many miles to think about my next post.  At some point my fingers and toes started going numb – again, thanks to NO FALL they hadn’t toughened up.  Told myself I was going to have to use willpower to get me through the hilly back half.  Quickly began thinking of warm thoughts of Texas.  Willpower, Texas, willpower, Texas, willpower, Texas, damn did my pinkie just fall off!?!, willpower Texas, willpower Texas – hey, I GOT IT!

Willet found at Bolivar Peninsula, Texas Gulf Coast January 2017

Hill the jump to see a few more pictures of this rather drab looking shorebird.


Swamp Thing

Thanks to the extra cycles in my schedule as of late, thought I would loop back into the spoils from the Texas Gulf Coast birding trips and see what’s left to tick that bird counter up.  I’ve made it through most of the quality shots in preparation for the multiple talks I’ve given on the subject to local groups.  I was shocked to still find a number of potential lifers in there.  Sent some samples up to Ron who was able to confirm my initial IDs – score!  Unfortunately, most of these encounters were momentary.  I’d be intent on getting a target bird in the tin and then catch a brief glimpse of something moving in my periphery.  Note to new birders – when you are away from the home base, if anything with feathers decides to crash your party – flip the shutter on it.  If it turns out to be a common maybe you’ll get a better shot for your portfolio.  You might just be surprised to find out its one that has been eluding you for years.  Worse case, you tap that little key with the Del label on it and that moment in history never happened.  I joke to myself that it was “Obelisked” in reference to the Egyptian structures that provided a historical accounting of the Pharaohs. Except that history was obliterated err deleted and a new manufactured history created in its place that put the new Pharaoh in better standing.  Obscure, but I like to get some use out of all my non-core electives in college ha.  Wow, drifted from the feature of tonight’s post.

Swamp Sparrow found at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge Texas December 2017

As eluded to earlier, when this shot was taken I was in the midst of tracking a Sora (link here).  That bird is a pain in the ass to get in the tin as it darts in and out of the reeds along the water banks.  Just spotting them is task number one.  From there you are trying to keep a focus on it as the glass bounces back and forth with every reed that comes between the two.  Sometime in that adventure, this little brown jobber darted in for a quick check on meal options.  Assuming it was just a common Sparrow, slid the barrel of the glass over, snapped a few for the record and then went back to being frustrated.  It wasn’t until the review a few days ago that something triggered renewed interested.  Actually that was the second trigger – the first was “Wow, Bri you need some photography lessons”.   Basically bled through some foreground stalks.  Honestly, lucky the glass didn’t start searching and completely ruin the encounter.  This Sparrow might have only been there for less than five seconds, but it’s now an official check on my list.

Hit the jump to find out what this darkly colored bird is!


Almost Robined Out of a +1

Howdy everyone out there in Blogland.  Just looked at the date and realized I am running a bit behind this month.  Made it into the 20’s this month with a weak showing on the posts so far.  The end of the month comes quick around here especially when it closes just after a race weekend.  “Need to train, no, need to get a blog out, no wait, HAVE to train, but I need to get a post out, no, what you need to do is run up that damn hill so you are ready for that demoralizing course, but the bl…” – maybe I should stop talking to myself during training runs ha.   Truth is, the answer is always train and sacrifice sleep for posts.  Speaking of posts, how about we get to tonight’s feature.

American Pipit - Texas Gulf Coast December 2016

Hit the jump to read more about this Robin-like bird.