Sora, Glad to Knowya

I decided to go ahead and stay with the programming interruption for yesterday.  Normally the fruits of my photography shoot labors go on my FIFO darkroom queue.  Unfortunately, that means you might not see anything for a long long time – (as regular readers may know, the Yellowstone trip from May 2013 is just know being worked up.  Since yesterday’s post was such a downer, thought I’d brighten it up a bit and talk about a silver lining that came out of the tragic event.  Once everything was wrapped up with the wreck, we continued on to  Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge – or intended destination before we were sidetracked for an hour or so.  The wildlife was primarily made up of water chickens but my golden rule is to look for the outliers.  This was what I was doing while standing on the cement blocks along the shore.  Disappointed that a potential find ended up being just another chicken I lowered The Beast.  At that time movement was detected.  Absolutely stunned, this appeared.

Sora shot at Havan, IL - Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge

Up came The Beast and the snapping commenced. To be honest, I was not exactly sure what it was.  It definitely did not fit the Sandpiper family – the bill was way too thick and those feet where mega-thick.  As my brother can attest, I’m not one for really doing my identification in the field.  If it is bright out, it virtually impossible to see the 7000’s LCD screen anyway.  Check the image histogram (which is easy to read) to make sure the full range of exposure is available and focus on getting as many angles as possible to aid in the ID process.

Sora shot at Havan, IL - Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge

Hit the jump to read a bit more about this unique bird.

Continue reading Sora, Glad to Knowya

Start Wearing It

USE IT! We interrupt the regularly scheduled programming to bring you this public service announcement. “If you are going to risk your life on a motorcycle (especially in the Peoria County area), please at least wear a helmet at a minimum and definitely consider protective clothing!!!”  I’m probably not the model template for safety awareness, but some things seem too logical not to do.  Take for example when snowboarding.  I swallowed my pride long ago and always wear a helmet and wrist guards.  Why?  Because I know what happens when you don’t both firsthand and through the powers of observation.  I don’t ride a motorcycle so I do not have firsthand knowledge of what happens if you don’t bother to don the dome but thanks to an event this morning I can attest through the powers of observation that they do indeed save lives.  This morning’s event will be with Linda and I for a very very long time.

Hit the jump if you want to read details about an accident we witnessed this morning

Continue reading Start Wearing It

A Brazen One

Trying to get caught up here at Lifeintrigued.  After the huge outputs of the previous months, this one is off to a particularly slow start.  Part of this is due to focusing on bird processing over the last couple of months and not a lot of other image topics.  I have a ton of those shots ready to go to the show, but it is a tad rude to slight all those readers out there that prefer a little more variety in their blog topics.  This translates into digging into the backlog to find appropriate topics followed by the mandatory time in the digital darkroom.  If anything, this has forced me to get on the ball with the Yellowstone pictures from May 2013.  Yeah, yeah, trust me I am sufficiently shamed but comforting to know I have a huge backlog in the tin in case my brother starts getting to close to my bird count!

Today’s featured animal is one that isn’t on my favorites list.
A Coyote at Yellowstone National Park

There is no love in these parts for the Coyote especially if you have three poodles that don’t understand just how fragile (and tasty) they are compared to their fellow Genus Canis members. I actually thought that Coyotes descended directly from the Gray Wolf similar to our domestic dogs, but a little research – scratch that, a lot of time researching on the web proved me wrong – they are of the same Genus, but Wolves are of Canis lupus where Coyotes are of Canis latrans.  Regardless, if they show up at our door… they go by the word Dead.  However, out in Yellowstone I’m in their backyard and they deserve my respect.  Note, you may recognize the shot above as the one that got blanked out during the UB competition (link here) – a shame since I still really like it.

A Coyote at Yellowstone National Park

Hit the jump to see a few more pictures of this Coyote

Continue reading A Brazen One

Another Cleverly Named Bird

Now that I have given myself some breathing room with the previous non-bird post, I can check a few more off my NA Birding Life List (yeah).  Today’s featured bird is the Yellow Warbler.
Yellow Warbler from South Dakota

My title needed to be wrapped by the sarcasm tags since we once again have have zero originality in our bird discoverers.  “Hey look, a YELLOW bird!”  This particular specimen was taken on our stop at Lake Andes in South Dakota.  Yes, that is the same location that has been producing new birds for my list in a number of recent posts.  Still not at Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve in Nevada levels, but surely worth the jaunt over while on our way to Yellowstone National Park.

Yellow Warbler from South Dakota

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of this yella fella.

Continue reading Another Cleverly Named Bird

Hey, We’re not in Wisconsin

Sorry for the long delay between posts!  I was feeling bad having given you so many consecutive bird posts and wanted to give you a break.  Problem is.. to do that I have to find some topics that are … well, not more birds.  That translates into finally digging into the backlog again and seeing what’s available.  Figured the Yellowstone National Park trip back in 2013 was just the ticket.  Technically, it was the ticket for a ton of posts, so the good news is I’m now set for all kinds of posts (Yellowstone trips have a habit of doing that).  I should also mention I had an excellent opportunity to do some birding with my brother Ron over the weekend at Chain O’ Lakes.  Let’s just say that day turned out awesome and looking forward to getting those processed.  I’m likely to jump the queue a bit to keep those fresh.  Eager to get those out, but right now, let’s enjoy today’s featured animal.

Badger in Yellowstone National Park

How cool is that!  This is the first time I’ve ever encountered a Badger in the wild.  If you recall I was able to witness one at Wildlife Prairie Park (link here and here), but that doesn’t really compare to the experience to seeing one out in it’s natural setting.  I was actually scanning the fields looking for some birds (imagine that) while Linda was off taking pictures of a rather stunning sunset on a nearby pond – reminds me I need to check if she got around to processing those yet.   For a better vantage point I was standing on a large boulder about 40 feet or so off the edge of the road scanning the field in hopes of seeing some ground birds (a serious hole in my birding life list).  Unfortunately, not much was moving at all.  Bummed I looked down to judge the jump off the rock when I noticed a rather large hole dug with some serious effort right next to the rock.  Not sure how this escaped me when getting up there in the first place.  Noting how thankful not to have broken a foot off in it, opted to exit on the other side only to find ANOTHER larger hole on that side as well.  What the hell, I’ve walked directly into some devious rodent trap!  Now curious, the fields were given a second viewing.  That is when my eye caught this Badger meandering through the brush.

Badger in Yellowstone National Park

hit the jump to read the rest of the Badger post

Continue reading Hey, We’re not in Wisconsin

Cormorant Need Nomorant

It was a big birding day today! Early count puts me somewhere in the 14 to 16 new birds to add to my list and should put some distance from my brother’s recent charge. Based on that haul I can probably take the rest of the year off from bird posts so all of you non-aviary oriented readers out there are probably going to rejoice knowing this is probably the last post of its kind until 2016 (I can already hear the collective cheers).

I have to say, today’s featured bird is one of those I always knew I had in the tin, but just wasn’t sure when it was obtained and which location it was taken at. This is primarily due to the huge delay in getting things processed as of late. Truth to be told it is really which of the location”s” was going to come up first since I know this bird was shot during at least 3 or 4 different shoots.

Double-Crested Cormorant in South Dakota

Turns out, the first one to pop off the queue was the series taken at Lake Andes in South Dakota.  If you recall from the previous posts, Lake Andes turned out to be quite the haul for new birds.  Unfortunately, these particular specimens were holding court a significant distance from where we were able to shoot on the banks.  The Beast was straining with all its might to pull them in and as you would expect (and in this case physically see the results), the shots turned out a little soft.  Not bad for the distance, but definitely not gallery worthy in any manner.  Luckily, the quality of the shot doesn’t come into play on whether you get the checkmark or not (I won’t mention names, but I know someone that is claiming a certain yellow highlighted bird on his birding list that has an equal chance of being a school bus based on the shot results hehehe).

Double-Crested Cormorant in South Dakota

Hit the jump to read a bit more about this large bird.

Continue reading Cormorant Need Nomorant