Archives

Great Blue Take Two

The Halloween prop shop is in full production as we get closer to the haunt event.  This year’s effort should be epic if I get everything done in time – every year there are always a few ideas that don’t make it onto the trail just purely due to only being given a mere 60 seconds in every minute (damn thee Father Time, damn thee!).  The good news is I had a giant breakthrough in a design of a motor housing tonight which I’ve been struggling with for couple of days.  The best part about all the Halloween activities is I get to dust the rust off my 3D solid modeling and electronics education.  Now just sitting here waiting for the 3D printer to finish with my new parts – since I don’t like to just sit figured why not claw a bit of ground back on the post quota..

Great Blue Heron found at Galveston

Decided it was time to feature the second part of my series on the big birds.  If you recall,  I covered the first set back in June – where the hell has the summer gone!?! (link here).  That set of Great Blue Herons was brought to you from the great birding mecca of South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center.  This second series comes from a couple of different places although still down on the Texas Gulf Coast from our trip down there in late December 2016 into early January 17.  These first two specimens were found at Galveston Island.  They were so intent on Froggies stupid enough to wander too close to natures living spear that they didn’t pay me any attention.  Ended up being able to move in to the point where The Beast couldn’t retract enough to get those long bodies in the frame.  No worries, always happy when I can put some nice close ups in the tin.

Great Blue Heron found at Galveston

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of the Great Blue.

spacer

Another Lamb Chop Murder

Howdy everyone! It feels like it has been ages since I have had the chance to take a quick break and spend time putting up a post. Just in case you were wondering, Linda is progressing very rapidly. The first week or so was a bit rough adjusting to the recovery protocol – Linda doesn’t take well to just relaxing requiring me to continually remind her she just went through major surgery and needs to give her body time to mend. She started cardio rehab this week which I think is helping her a lot, if nothing else freeing her from the confines of the house. If that wasn’t enough, the calendar turned over resulting in a “holy crap it’s time for the annual Halloween Trail event” panic. It seems like it is so far away and worry free until wham, you have only weeks to go with sooooo many props still to build. When the opportunity to post between all the training (two halfs in next 7 days), taking care of Linda and now Halloween prep.. you take it. Going to be long on pictures today and short on text – luckily today’s featured feathered friend is quite spectacular.

Great Kiskadee found at Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park in December 2017

Nor is this bird camera shy.  When you got it, you might as well flaunt it.  This beautifully colored bird is called the Great Kiskadee and is right up there in my top 10 attractive birds that I have been able to get in the tin.  The Painted Bunting (link here) still holds the top spot, but the Kiskadee is not far behind.  It may not have the diversity of palette the Painted does, but the whites, blacks, yellows and chestnut are perfectly coordinated and a testament to the skills of Mother Nature’s interior decorator.   There are also some secret colorings I didn’t even notice until several encounters later.  They are a bit selective when they show that.. but more on that later.

Great Kiskadee found at Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park in December 2017

Hit the jump to view a lot more pictures of our Bentsen-Rio find.

spacer

Nothing to See Here

More waiting time, might as well find a comfy place to sit it out and give the fingers a bit of exercise.  Things are progressing well at Mayo.  Linda has finished 4 of her 5 appointments today and now just waiting for a meet with the cardiologist.  I cannot say enough about how efficient Mayo Clinic is.  I realize they have had a lot of practice moving people through, but I could say the same for many other organizations that are nowhere close to the honed processes I am witnessing here.  Check out the plan for the day on the Mayo app, arrive, check-in, execute medical task and you are on your way.  Now the downside is from a social perspective, this area can be a definite downer.  Being at the tops of the medical field brings with it a higher concentration of the serious ailments humans must endure.  You look around and your heart feels for the hardships many of these patients must deal with on a daily basis.  If there is any calming, it is knowing they are at least in the best place possible to get some relief.

Last post, I featured the golden-eyed one (the White-Tipped Dove).  Definitely a stunning feature should you be lucky enough to catch a specimen in enough light to show it off.  While looking at my processed queue found another eye stunner.

Black-Crowned Night-Heron found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center, Texas December 2017

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of Mr. Redeye.

spacer

Guess I’ll Cave Too

Okay, time to get this post out of the way.  It has been staring up at me from the drafts folder for about 6 months now, taunting me every time post day came.  “Come on Bri, you gotta feature me eventually if you want that +1”. “No one will notice how crappy these shots of me are, they won’t ridicule you and mock your talents nope, no way hehehehe!”  Sigh, the bird’s right, I have to get it featured or I will not be able to claim the check per RB Birding Rule #20.  Ron and I have established birding rules born out of someone (name rhymes with  con) who has a habit of creatively applying guidelines (link here). Since this represents the 10th post of the month, we are technically in bonus time, let’s go ahead and (cringe) get this out of the way.

Cave Swallow found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park January 2018, Texas

Prepare yourself, this is going to be a rough set.  If you squint real hard, you just might be able to make out a bird – maybe take a few steps back and let the eyes float a bit like with  those magic eye pictures that used to be the rage a decade back.  Hopefully you will be able to make it out.  If so, you are squinting at a Cave Swallow.

Hit the jump, but prepare yourself, the images do NOT get any better.

spacer

A Better Golden Pecker

Hoped you enjoy the previous relief from the bird posts.  I like to mix it up a bit from time to time, but the bird shots clearly dominate my photography queue – at least at the moment.  Working on a few more non-feather series and hoping to get them finished up before too long.  Until then, you are once again subjected to our winged friends.

Golden-Fronted Woodpecker found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, January 2018

This series features the Golden-Fronted Woodpecker found on our trip to Texas back in the beginning of the year.  This isn’t the first time this bird has been featured here at Intrigued.  Back in February, this brightly colored species was honored from our trip to Texas in 2017 (link here).  I personally think this is a better executed set of pictures – that first set suffered a bit from being in direct sunlight.

Golden-Fronted Woodpecker found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, January 2018

Hit the jump to see more shots of the Golden-Fronted Woodpecker.

spacer

Let’s Celebrate with Pie[d]

We are officially in December now and thus time to walk over to the big counter on the wall and reset the monthly post quota back to zero – by the way, where the hell did this year go!?!  I have single digit days left at work to get this year’s work efforts wrapped up and set the preliminary plan for 2019 before the holiday starts … sigh feel like a race I’m never going to get ahead of.  However, on the bright side, I can tell you where a large portion of the year went thanks to crossing off one of my annual goals tonight.

Goal Completed 1000 miles for 2018\

Anyone who follows either of my blogs know I spend my spare time bathed in sweat chasing down Father Time and running from the Reaper.  During my Birding and Blogging talks this year I mentioned the reason I run (and lift) is so I can spend all day in the field hauling around big glass in hopes of taking pictures to display in my home gym to remind me why I work out – my circle of life.  Always elated when I can check off a goal, let’s celebrate with some pie!

Pied-Billed Grebe found at Padre Bird Viewing and Nature Center, December 2017

Well,  maybe not the pie you were thinking of.  This here is the birder’s version.  Actually, I took some liberties here – this is really a Pie[d]-Billed Grebe.  If you live anywhere in the US or a large swath of Canada, you have ample chance to get one of this cute creatures in the tin.  It is a rare outing when we do not come upon the Pied on one of our water excursions.  You might have to keep your eyes open for reasons explained later, but they are probably there hanging out in small groups or more likely solitaire.

Hit the jump to see some cute picture of the Pied-Billed Grebe!

spacer

Pining Away

Technically I can claim I am sticking with a theme of light to close out this month’s posts.  The last post was about a structure made for light, this post is about a bird taken with too much light.  It’s a stretch, but the best I can come up with knowing that I am officially 68 minutes from blowing a blogging streak I’ve been committed to hitting for a long long long long time.  That is why I am spending time working on this rather than trying to figure out a way to make up for not being prepared for my wife’s birthday which is in …wait for it … now 65 minutes from now.  With all the sleepless nights focused on the trail, traveling to races and trying my best to get our new well up and running, I have not had time to address her special day.  I even missed our dating anniversary this year and I never forget that.  To my credit, I did manage to arrange to get a combined birthday cake for Ron and Linda at our party without either of them knowing.  That make a +1 for Ron and Linda on the year calendar – tonight’s featured subject is another +1 on my birding check list.

Pine Warbler shot in Texas December 2016

Hit the jump to find out what bird this is and see another equally bad shot.

spacer

Sora Doubletake

Greetings everyone!.  Been a fun day around here thanks to a spontaneous decision to celebrate our 27th anniversary by hunting down some birds and sunflower fields.  We were not sure if the weather was going to hold out our not as some storm clouds were rolling through the area most of the day – thankfully we didn’t get hit with the tornado swarms that were doing significant damage to our Iowa neighbors.  Looks like Linda’s relatives made it through without too much trouble.  We ended up making a run down to Havana IL so I could get a nice bird in the tin (looking forward to getting that posted here) and Linda was definitely able to add to her flower portfolio form the two sunflower fields we successfully located.  Those were both still in their bloom stages where the fields down the road from us have officially wilted.  Tired from the long day, so opted to rest a bit and push out a post.

Sora at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge December 2017

For ease, going back to our recent trip to the Texas Gulf Coast for this post.  A lot of those pictures were processed already and easy to simply pull them into a new post.  I find the largest chunk of time in any of my posts is getting the pictures in a shape I’m willing to share, so having that part out the way is a huge benefit when you have a short time to get one of these out.  Today’s featured post is our friend the Sora.  Like the last post, the Sora is not a new bird to the blog.  That previous posting (link here) featured a specimen found down at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge.  We ended up swinging through there today on our way to Havana.  Unfortunately, the dry summer has really impacted that place.  For those familiar with it, the water has receded way beyond the observation decks at the back of the refuge.

Sora at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge December 2017

Hit the jump to read more about my encounters with the Sora.

spacer

A Green Double Take

My Cardinals just blew another late inning lead for the loss.  Rather than sit her and seethe through the post game excuses, decided to simply turn off the source of my frustration and immerse myself in another blog post.  Bring a bit of calm to my night and productivity at the same moment – can’t beat that… well you could if those damn Cardinals could keep it together… calming breadth, serenity now, puppies… okay, back under control.  Thought I’d simply keep the theme from the last post going and feature another Heron family member.

Green Heron encountered at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center in January 2017

Today’s effort is a combination post consisting of the same species, at the same spot, but a year apart.  These first few shots were taken a little less than 6 months ago at the South Padre Bird Viewing and Nature Center.   The Green Heron is not a new bird on my list – in fact it was featured all the way back in September 2012 (link here).  Ironically the specimen back in 2012 was just down the road from our house in a state park.  Seems like a bit of an overkill to drive all the way down to the tip of Texas to see the same species hehehe.

Green Heron encountered at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center in January 2017

Hit the return to see a few more shots of the Green Heron

spacer

Rednosed Reedbird

Welcome to race day eve.  Tomorrow the alarm will ring at 4:45am to signal the start of another day of racing.  Fortunately, this one is a slight downgrade from the half to a 15K – now, for the record, it is the toughest 15K in Illinois thanks in part to a repeat loop with a wicked hill.  That doesn’t concern me much thanks to a lot of hill work during training, but what does concern me is that two word weather term HEAT INDEX.  Earlier this week the night temps dropped into the high sixties.  No luck keeping that around.  The heat index is supposed to get around 105F.  Wish me luck, ever since the heat stroke episode, my internal thermostat has been very touchy.  Always helps me to relax to sit down and get a post out.

Common Gallinule found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center, December 2017

Unlike the  bulk of the posts lately (more like this year), the featured waterbird is not a new bird for my list.  Nope, they were previously featured not once, but twice here already (link here and here).  Not to mention, every time I see this bird the first thing that pops into my head is the image of my brother Ron trying to get into a good position to get a picture of one only to end up falling halfway down a large embankment and rolling to the bottom.  Think my laughter ended up scaring the bird and for all that work, nothing to show in the tin – although a memory to last a lifetime.

Common Gallinule found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center, December 2017

Hit the jump to read more about this red nosed bird (apparently heavy drinkers ha)

spacer