A Western in the Estes

Going with a quick post tonight.  We’ll be heading to one of my favorite birding locations in the northern part of the state for the holiday weekend – hoping to meet my brother Ron up there and see what we can get in the tin.  It seems like every time we head up there to bird their lakes and streams they get a multitude of storms that either outright flood the Fox River or squish up the place – neither situation ideal if you are trying to walk the banks.  Of course, for those of us on the well the rain is a welcome sight especially since it has been pretty dry lately.  Just had an interesting thought – maybe we can turn the ability to make it rain into a service.  You call us up, tell us when you want/need some rain and we’ll make it happen for a fair but hefty chunk of cash.  Then I simply call up Ron, schedule a trip to the Chain ‘O Lakes State Park and pump up our bank accounts while enjoying one of our favorite pastimes.  Will putting some noodle time on that – for now, decided to feature a bird that has already made its debut at Intrigued.

Western Kingbird shot at Rocky Mountain National Park, May 2014

hit the jump to see a couple more shots of this yellow hued bird.

Continue reading A Western in the Estes

Little Miss Yellow

Greetings All!  Once again I have to face the shame from lack of blogging production.  I’ll spare you the details since I’ve already mentioned my current workload in previous posts.  Taking a positive position I was able to break away from the toils of the day (or rather the wicked humidity of the day) to put out a quick post.  Back to the birds for today’s featured critter.

Female Common Yellowthroat shot at Jubilee State Park IL August 2014

Kind of cute don’t you think?  This little girl comes to us from a few years back.  I was doing some hiking in my favorite park – Jubilee College State Park all the way back in August of 2014.  I’ve featured this park in numerous posts being as it is where I spend a good part of my spare time either training for runs (every other day) or catch a bit of hiking or birding.  Safe to say I am familiar with just about every inch of that park.  Oh, and it doesn’t hurt it is only a mile from my house.  From a birding perspective, there are several good spots in the park depending on what you happen to be looking for.  Want Eastern Bluebirds or Indigo Buntings head up to the flats near the pavilion areas and simply close your eyes and take in their sweet songs from every direction.  Prefer raptors or woodpeckers, hang at the edge of the tree lines along the fields or make your way through the wooded trails.  It pretty much has an ideal environment for every Midwestern bird species somewhere in its 3,200 acres.

Female Common Yellowthroat shot at Jubilee State Park IL August 2014

Hit the jump to find out what kind of bird this is.

Continue reading Little Miss Yellow

No Tears, but Definite Pain

I am always up for a challenge especially if it involves some physical form of activity.  My Life List chronicles a large number of those challenges all pretty much checked off since completing the full marathon a few years back.  With over 16 years of road running under my belt .. or should I say in my shoes, things were starting to get a bit stale.  That prompted a new List entry – trail running (link here).  Since I never know if a new endeavor is something that will stick or not, my standard operating procedure is to go big on the first one.  That way, if I end up hating it, I can at least say I came I saw I conquered. Turns out trail running is something that will definitely stick.  Some friends at work (the same one’s that told me about the Farmdale race) brought up another trail race that would truly test what I was made of.  Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you The Cry Me a River Half Marathon Trail Run.

Cry Me a River Half Marathon Trail Race July 2018

As you can tell from the interesting swag shirt (my favorite racing color by the way), the half was the SHORTEST race option they had that day.  They also provided a 50K, a 100k and the distance 99.99999% of runners consider the absolute insanity, the 100 miler.  Linda currently has a “hell no” status for anything at or beyond 26.2 miles.  Before going into this race I was probably on the same side of that argument .. more on that later.

Guessing you are not familiar with this race – yours truly wasn’t even aware it existed before a mere two months before the start of the race.  Hell, I’d just run 13.1 miles on a hilly nightmare of a  course, how much harder could it possibly be!?!


Hit the jump to read how this test of will turned out.

Continue reading No Tears, but Definite Pain

Stop, Drop and Scream

Hello everyone!  Been awhile since I have been able to break away from the grind to get a post out.  Truth is, I’m currently overwhelmed and trying to get back in control of my schedule.  Figure this will not happen until the second week of October when my race season finishes up (with 3 half marathons in about 5 weeks), our Annual Halloween party has past and some key projects at work should be wrapping up.  With all that, I’m still not willing to let my post streak go without a fight (wish me luck!).

Going with something a little different for today’s feature.  First off, I have to use pictures from my cell phone and to classify them as crap is almost too good.  Unfortunately, that is all I had with me when I stumbled on this colorful insect.

Tarantula Hawk Wasp discovered in Arkansas July 2018

Hit the jump to find out what this is .. if you dare!

Continue reading Stop, Drop and Scream

Days in White Feathers

Other than a likely case of hopefully temporary ear damage we successfully made it through the first night of bands at the Mississippi Valley State Fair beer tents.  As mentioned last post we are playing groupie this weekend and checking out some new local bands and of course our long time favorite Love Dogs who will be taking the stage later tonight.  Just as a quick summary and to add to my memory banks when I’m old(er) and wondering where the hell all those years went – the Sugar Nipples ended up being a band with a “named” band than they turned out to be.  We have visions of them being similar to our favorite Vegas band Steel Panther but they fell short.  The capper was when they started repeating songs to fill the gap before the AC/DC tribute band Electric Shock came on.  Luckily shock ended up being really really good … if you like AC/DC classic sets.  One of my biggest accomplishments in life was converting Linda from country to real music.  We have traveled to several AC/DC concerts and our bar was set extremely high of someone wanting to monetize off their name.  Beyond some lead riff mistakes, Shock pulled off an excellent job.  The lead singer had the vocals down and imagine a 5’2″ Angus complete with school boy outfit shredding away the night for 2 hrs.  Oh, and he was from Australia and had devoted most of his life to exactly reproducing the abilities and styles of his mate from the home country.  Would recommend warming up a bit before tackling a song that starts out with such a hard solo – he eventually settled in or the alcohol compensated as the night progressed.  Can’t wait until tonight, and guessing you can’t wait to get to the meat of this post!

American White Pelican shot in Davenport IA on the Mississippi River in February 2014

Yes, once again featuring a bird from the backlog.  This one is slightly different though – the last one came to you courtesy of 2015 where this one, with a sigh, comes to you from the wayback machine of February 2014.  Wait a minute, “where the hell did all those years go”.   Noting how much grief my brother Ron gave me for being 2 years behind, can’t wait for the comments when he sees I am 4 years in lag.

American White Pelican shot in Davenport IA on the Mississippi River in February 2014

Hit the jump to see and read more about these bundles of white feathers!

Continue reading Days in White Feathers

A Weldon Springs Cuckoo

Well, my fellow blogger friends are putting me to shame with their output compared to my weak production as of late.  So much that I am writing this post from the car – anything to find a couple of hours to bang out a few thoughts.  We are heading up to my wife’s hometown in Iowa to see the Sugar Nipples.  Thought it was just saying that line that makes me chuckle, but turns out typing it is just as humorous ha.  Before you jump to any conclusions, that’s the name of a local band that will be playing tonight at their summer fair.  To be honest, we are primarily making the trip to see two other bands – an AC/DC tribute band and our favorite bar band the Love Dogs.  Someday the realization will set in on just how old we are and we’ll have to give up these young follies – but not tonight!

The miles are flying past (Linda must be driving).  Better get to the headline of the post.

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo Shot at Weldon Springs State Park, Clinton IL

Hit the jump to read a bit more about this rather interesting bird!

Continue reading A Weldon Springs Cuckoo