Trifecta Scores One

Welcome back everyone! Hope everyone had a good holiday and didn’t go too far overboard on eating.  Always a tough holiday for me since I have a bad habit of doing the math on what it will take to work off every dessert that I opt to enjoy.  You gotta splurge every once in a while otherwise all those workout sessions start being …well w o r k rather than an opportunity to enjoy some sweetness.  Been a busy holiday for me so decided to take a quick break and rest the legs – fingers were itching to do something, so brought up the WordPress dashboard and away we go.

Today’s post doesn’t feature one bird… not even two birds, rather THREE birds.  A true birding trifecta.  Let’s start with this pretty Heron.

Heron shot near Galveston, TX in November 2013

That my friends is a Tricolored Heron.  It was shot while on our Texas birding trip back in November 2013.  In fact, all three birds in this post were taken on that particular trip.  My apologies, but I cannot remember the exact location this one was taken at.  Maybe Linda can remember and let us know in the comments.  I do recall that there were a number of small channels that were being used by kayaks – possibly a state park.  Likely somewhere near Galveston.
Heron shot near Galveston, TX in November 2013

Hit the jump to read more about this bird as well as two other large waders.

Continue reading Trifecta Scores One

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

May your travels be safe and your family and friendships be strong

Wild Turkey shot on lot in Brimfield, IL

Sorry for the slightly soft pictures – only Turkey shots I had that were processed and haven’t already been featured on the blog.  These were taken by my feeders back in August 2015.  The mother hen would bring her offspring over for a morning snack.  To her credit, she kept a close eye on them and would hurry them to safety whenever she saw my camera pointed at them.
Wild Turkey shot on lot in Brimfield, IL

Happy Holidays!


Score One for the Blotches

Welcome back everyone and since it is like an hour before midnight .. Happy Thanksgiving.;  Now that I am thinking about it, it might have been more appropriate to feature a post on those that probably don’t see the “Happy” of that day… the Turkey, but I’ve already featured them back in September (link here).  Instead, I’m going with Mr. and Mrs. Blotchy

Mottled Duck shot in Galveston Texas, Nov 2013

While processing the pictures from our Texas birding trip back in November 2013, I came across these shots.  At first I wrote them off as female Mallards … well, because just about all ducks with drab female coloring look like… female Mallards.  It can be as painful as trying to identify juvenile Sparrows if you do not get lucky enough to capture a nearby male.  While processing them in the digital darkroom I became quite intrigued.  For some reason they just didn’t look like the standard Mallard or any other female brown duck that has made their way through the darkroom in the past.   I guess for starters, they didn’t have the classic colored stripe on the wing. Then there was that small black splotch on the base of the bill.
Mottled Duck shot in Galveston Texas, Nov 2013

That prompted a visit to the reference bookcase.  Confirmed the wing stripe on the Mallard and sure enough no black splotch on the base of the bill ladies and gentlemen, this just might be a new check mark in the bird list!  It just so happens my brother Ron had recently brought up the topic of the Mottled Duck. Unfortunately, the reason escapes me – he might have gotten one in the tin on his trip to Ft Myers (went back in my emails and couldn’t locate a reference – Ron, if you remember please let us know in the comments).  Either way, I was super stoked to potentially  have one of my own so sent them off to Ron for validation.  He is a great reference whenever there are difficulties on the ID phase.  His assessment was a confirmation giving me another +1 for my list and ANOTHER +1 from my Texas trip.  That birding excursion is turning out to be a gold mine for new birds.  Sorry about taking so long to get these processed.

Mottled Duck shot in Galveston Texas, Nov 2013
Unfortunately, these were the only shots of these two Mottled Ducks in the lot.  This means we need to get to the facts like right now hehehe.  The Mottled is a dull relative of the Mallard which attributes to the similarities and my original incorrect ID assumption.  There really isn’t much else of interest on the Cornell site beyond the fact they typically pair up in November which is earlier than most ducks.  Seeing as how we were there in mid-November, these two must have been embarking on their honeymoon.  Lastly, if you are curious, Mottled simply means having different blotches of color.

Well, that’s all folks – hope you enjoyed my new addition to my bird list.  Now be safe on the roads if you are out and about on the big T-Day.  I can’t afford to lose any loyal readers.

Posey Upgrade – The Westworld Line

If I counted correctly, this just might be the 6th post for November, yeah!  Life is a bit easier when there is a large queue of already processed pictures just begging to be published.  Pretty sure there’s fodder now to take me well into January if I just stay with the quota minimum.  Truthfully, I’ll probably go a little heavy on the next couple of months to push through the rest of the 2013 images and I still have a few Halloween posts to get through.  The good news is I have officially completed processing all of the 2013 images and now started to work on the 2014 collection.  Being two years behind sure sounds a lot better than being 3 years behind ha.

The good news is I have a few days off to celebrate the annual Turkey slaughter day which will give me some time to get a few more posts out this month.  How about we start with this pleasant looking dude.
Posey 2016 - The Westworld Line
Of course, I’m talking about the one on the left.  If you have been following the Haunted Trail posts (link here) you have probably already seen this new decoration for 2016.  If I remember correctly, I didn’t give a lot of detail on it knowing that a post was forthcoming dedicated to it.  Well, we are finally here.  This is another version of my Posey line and marks the next evolution of the frame.  I already talked about the frame upgrades for this year (link here), but this is the first model in the new Posey Westworld line.  This marks the first step in a big journey to up my game in the decoration arena.  Due to uncharted territory, I started with a small prototype.

Posey 2016 - The Westworld Line

Hit the jump read more about the new model!

Continue reading Posey Upgrade – The Westworld Line

I Needz Yur Ankles

It’s the middle of November and I’m finally getting back to the Halloween 2016 posts.  I’m not so much slow as I am currently overwhelmed with projects.  All those things I put off to focus on the Halloween Trail are coming back for revenge.  Most of my time has been spent on wiring up the new garage in preparation for the required inspection – at this point pretty sure I’ve donated about a pint of blood on that project but still better than being electrocuted so fingers staying crossed as I finish that effort.  Maybe I’ll give a quick post on that in the future, especially since this will be the new home for all my outdoor decorations.  Speaking of which …
Halloween decoration 2016 - animated crawler

If you already check out the Haunted Trail 2016 walk through (link here), you probably already noticed this decoration.  This was one of the new additions this year and happens to be one of the new animated decorations – that’s right, the ANIMATED DECORATIONS that made it out on the trail this year.  Most of this year was spent trying to learn and experiment on how to bring another level of scare to the trail.  This, of course, didn’t exactly win the heart of my wife who had to put up with the build phases strewn about her basement many many months before October.

Granted most of that time was spent on another decoration that will be making its way to the blog in the not too distant future.  This decoration .. well, the base of it was constructed a week or so before Halloween, but it wasn’t finished until the night before.  The fact it actually worked and looked halfway decent is a small miracle due to the fact it was completed on serious sleep deprivation.  Let’s take a look under the covers.

Halloween decoration 2016 - animated crawler

Hit the jump to learn how this animated prop was put together.

Continue reading I Needz Yur Ankles

One Vicious Songbird

Welcome back safe and sound!  I was a little worried there for a bit.  Based on the crying all the pundits, pollsters and biased talking heads were apparently doing last night you would have to assume the end of the world was at hand.  Now, I say apparently because I chose to spare myself all the hoopla of a Hillary win based on the all the information coming at me around noon yesterday – the last time I bothered to check the news.  Instead, I worked on wiring my garage and watched a pretty good movie – fittingly, Purge the Election Year.  I gave strict orders for no one to give me any updates and to their credit they stuck to their word (even my wife who I know must have been dying to tell me by the time she went to bed).  At 5:40 this morning, Linda gave me the news and to say I was shocked is a huge understatement. I would put it more in the lightning strike to the head level made up of 50% jolt and 50% uncontrolled happiness.  Don’t get me wrong, Trump wasn’t my guy, but compared to the most corrupt candidate to ever run for the highest office in the land … he’s a godsend.  I have to give President Elect Trump credit.  He took on a boat load of challengers, fought back against the establishment (of both parties), paved his own path and came out the end a winner.  Flyover country has awakened (link here) and they are taking their country back.  Note, to all the hack celebrities, comedians and singers that promised to leave the country should the election turn out the way it did, your names are all on a list sitting next to my desk and recommend you order your U-Haul pronto – Cher might need a rocket to go where she promised.

Time will tell how this turns out, but in honor of Trump’s tenacity I give you today’s featured bird.
Loggerhead Shrike shot on Texas birding trip in November 2013
Some birds have an air about them that exudes confidence.  Eagles, Hawks, Falcons and of course Owls all leave you with the expression that they command the skies and can rain down death on whatever prey they happen upon.  They are built to kill and their features and capabilities are all perfectly constructed to be extremely efficient in that line of business.  Now, let’s contrast that with this rather cute looking songbird.  From afar, they simply look like a smallish but stockier bird

However, when you get a little closer..
Loggerhead Shrike shot on Texas birding trip in November 2013

Hit the jump to learn a bit more about this bird .. and, of course, a few more shots.

Continue reading One Vicious Songbird

They Sense Your Fear Haunted Trail 2016 Pt 3 – Tis the Night

It has been a tough Sunday in the projects category.  First off I made a rookie mistake while winterizing our RV which ended up costing me hours to recover from – basically had to flush the entire system and then start all over again – a mistake I will likely never make again so at least there was a teaching point.  Then spent the afternoon battling the electrical gods trying to get the power phase done in the new garage to get the inspection out of the way.  Big thanks to Rocket who came over and taught me how to wire GFI breakers into the circuit box.  That project ended in an epic struggle to get a conduit successfully through an interior wall.  If I ever get that project finished, I’ll share all the gory details.  This guy needs some rest and relaxation – can’t think of a better way to do that than posting about my favorite night of the year!
Haunted Trail 2016

Yep, it’s finally time for the epic Haunted Trail night post (I could hear the cheering from all the way out here).  As the standard has become, this post is loaded with images – If you are on crappy bandwidth like us, you will definitely see the lights flicker a bit once you hit the jump to see the full walk through.  This will likely not going to be a big text post – better to just let you experience the sights (sorry, haven’t found a way to bring you all the eerie sounds yet) with minimal distraction.

Haunted Trail 2016

Hit the jump to experience the full walk through (might want to lock the doors and turn on all the lights if you get scared easily ha)

Continue reading They Sense Your Fear Haunted Trail 2016 Pt 3 – Tis the Night

Bloodletting for Checkmarking

Greetings everyone!  Decided I would give my loyal readers a break from all the Halloween posts as of late and bring you something new and refreshing.  Part of this is to buy myself a little bit of time because there is an upcoming Halloween post to cover the Haunted Trail night walkthrough – can you say a butt load of pictures!?! It took forever to get those images processed and queued up for publishing.   While those are aging properly in wooden barrels, feast your eyes on this intriguing bird.
White Ibis Shot on Texas Birding Trip November 2013

Pretty cool eh?  Kind of a cross between that spoonbill you saw previously (link here) and a Stork.  Wait… did that say Stork – that reminds me I have some Georgia surprises coming hehehe.  But I digress.  This colorfully paletted bird is a White Ibis.  Your probably could have guessed the first part of that name, but the second part might be a bit more difficult to pull out of the air.
White Ibis Shot on Texas Birding Trip November 2013

Hit the jump to read a bit more about this bird and maybe learn a few interesting facts.

Continue reading Bloodletting for Checkmarking

They Sense Your Fear Haunted Trail 2016 Pt 2 – The Layout

Sorry folks, I forgot to wish everyone a Happy Halloween yesterday.  I had intended to get this post out on Halloween but I ended up getting too involved with this year’s pumpkin carving and lost track of time.  The pumpkin turned out pretty good and you probably already assumed details will be forthcoming in a future post.  I am a little strapped for time tonight thanks to having to deal with our well going dry, so let’s get right too it.
Haunted Trail 2016
This is part 2 of this year’s Haunted Trail which I have affectionately called “They Sense Your Fear”.  Of course, the reasoning for that title will be a focus of a future blog – you should know how this gig works by now.  Part one of this series was all about the build part of the effort.  Tonight we will move into the layout phase.  Getting all the decorations down the hill is a big chore, but this part is where the fun and creativity come to bear.

Paul and I spend a lot of time laying out all the decorations to give the best experience for our guests.  One aspect is trying to make the trail a progression into terror.
Haunted Trail 2016

Hit the jump to see a bunch of pictures from the layout phase – many thanks to Ron for taking most of these shots.

Continue reading They Sense Your Fear Haunted Trail 2016 Pt 2 – The Layout