Flame On

I’m a post short against this month’s blog quota.  Luckily, the post material queue is packed to the brim and really more of a matter of “which” to bring versus “what” to bring which quite frankly is a big stress reliever.  I noticed there were still Halloween decoration topic from last year’s epic Haunted Trail event.  Admittedly, I’ve purposely avoided these posts as they tend to bring up some sad memories that occurred at this time. Problem is, if I don’t get to these by the time the new haunt season comes along I’ll be way behind – and as I have learned from the wildlife photography posts, as soon as you get behind there is no telling if you will EVER get caught up.  So, going to try and keep the eyes dry as I relate one of the new decorations for the 2019 Haunted Trail of Tears (link here).

Packing Tape Ghost Halloween Decoration 2019

Hit the jump to see how Johnny here was put together!

Continue reading Flame On

Iowa, Land of the Free and Thrashers

Woke up this morning and quickly checked if there was snow on the ground – nope, actually a nice sunny day which means the prediction of a blog post from my brother Ron when hell freezes over might have been a bit of an exaggeration on my part.  Yep, it’s true, Ron not only clicked the post counter, he delivered a fantastic tutorial on how to identify birds by a sound recording (link here).  Trust me, this amateur birder needs every tool I can stuff in the box when it comes to all those similarly feathered specimens.  Luckily, today’s featured feathered friend isn’t hard to identify.

Brown Thrasher found in Iowa while birding there in April 2017

Better put a caveat on that statement.  When it comes to the prairie states, the Brown Thrasher has little in the way of imposters.  Head to the southern tip of Texas and you pick up the Long-Billed (link here) and Curved-Billed (have it, haven’t posted on it yet).  Head further west from there and you get into the Crissal’s territory.  Slipping into the point of Nevada brings with it LeConte’s and make your way  to the west coast and you will have to deal with the California variety (and nobody wants that ha).  The Brown on the other hand rules the East with a heavy bill and sternful eyes.

Brown Thrasher found in Iowa while birding there in April 2017

Hit the jump to read more about the yellowy eye encounter.

Continue reading Iowa, Land of the Free and Thrashers

A Case of Mistaken Identity

Things are looking up around here for a change.  Our tax evading governor had to put his tail between his legs and rescind his latest emergency order that tried making criminals of any business owner that had the audacity to defy his proclamations.  This thanks to thousands of angry responses and 6 democrat IL state congressmen on the JCAR that couldn’t even stomach the backlash and dropped their support.  You are in a bad place if even democrat politicians think you are a douche in this state.  Now with that little bit of Corvid-19 news off my chest, let’s talk about this pretty girl.

Northern Bobwhite found on in Brimfield IL in September 2017

Ain’t she a beauty!?!  Well, maybe not compared to the Texas finds with their colorful array of rainbow colors, but she has a feel of patrician with her finally matched color palette and classy headdress.  I still remember with great detail on the day she came to visit me way back in September 2017.  Yes, this is coming to you from the “lost but now found” collection.   Oh, for the record, I am pretty sure I have enough images processed off my image queue to take me into at least 2025 at my current post production rate – so lemonade out of the virus lemons.  Linda I were driving home from an extended trip in our RV when at the entrance to our driveway our featured feathered friend poked her head out of the tall grass at the side of the road.

Northern Bobwhite found on in Brimfield IL in September 2017

Hit the jump to read a bit more about this “surprise” visitor.

Continue reading A Case of Mistaken Identity

A Product of a Carefree and Spirited Adventure

Finally found a chance to put down the “Honey-Do” list and invest some time in getting another post out.  It doesn’t help that the back is still angered, but I got tired of it controlling me so sucked it up and started walking.. then walking some more.. then walking multiple times a day (for ~9 miles a day) and then extending those miles (6-7 miles at one time) and then said hell with it and ran a quick 5k today.  Note to self, walking might be better for a tweaked back, but it doesn’t do much for runner lungs.  We’ll see how it goes when I wake up tomorrow – fingers crossed.    The good news is I’ve had extra time to attack the backlog of images and can say with a gleam in my eye I’ve been able to process all the “carefree and spirited adventures” up to 2 years ago.  I might have to get the whiskey out for that celebration ha!

Lark Sparrow found at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in July 2017

One of the “larks” my brother and I went on was back in July 2017. We headed down to Havana IL to see if there were any new visitors at the Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge.  Emiquon is a gem of a place for us birders to look for visitors as they move through the migration corridor.  This site along with Chautauqua and Meredosia NWRs are managed under the Illinois River National Wildlife and Fish Refuges Complex.  Established in 1993, this restored wetland habitat sits at the confluence of the Illinois and Spoon River and according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now covers 2600 acres.

Lark Sparrow found at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in July 2017

Hit the jump to a few more profiles of this rather dapper looking Sparrow.

Continue reading A Product of a Carefree and Spirited Adventure

I’ve Got Big BAWS

Still fighting to get back to norm with my back.  Officially pissing me off now that the weather has cooled down to perfect running temps.  Decided I’ll give it two more days (including one more chiro visit) before I just say screw it, strap on the Asics and let the best man win.  Things are a bit better as my doctor was able to get my legs back to the same length and now primarily focused on getting the swelling out of the sciatic.  Until then I’ll just have to slither around.

Banded Water Snake found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in July 2017

Oops, forgot to provide a coffee time warning, let’s correct that – for those of you that do not like small, slender footless creatures with forked tongues you might want pass over this particular post or minimally go grab your security blanket because this ride might get a bit bumpy.  Yep, as you can see, today’s featured creature isn’t exactly small.  Thanks to an interesting encounter at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge back in July 2017 I get to bring you a BAWS.

Banded Water Snake found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in July 2017

Hit the jump unless you are really not into these water spears in which case I’d wait a few more days until I have something new posted ha!

Continue reading I’ve Got Big BAWS

Death Dealers

Welcome to May everyone!  I can’t believe we are 5 months into double 20.  Part of the problem is as a runner I mark time by races.  How many days/weeks can I get training runs in until the next race, race day, how many days to allow for recovery and then how many days to the next race and on it goes until late October when I finally call it a season and try to assess and repair the damage.  Obviously, my races have been victimized by the invisible enemy that sounds more like having a beer on a Mexican beach than a shelter in place catalyst.  What’s next, Murder Hornets!?! – oh crap, this year is just getting worse and worse.  The good news is I’ve been hitting the trails and pavements and checked off a half two weekends in a row – in spite of still fighting some back issues which for some reason decided to nag me today (must be the rain).  Now we just need  some races to open up in order to add medals to the brag wall.  There is a small silver lining to all this – plenty of opportunity to work on the image queue.

Tree Swallow shot at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove, IL in April 2017

Yep, when I’m not soldering up some new mechanics for Halloween (a mere 5 months away, yikes), Lightroom is up popping shots off the 3 year backlog.  This set comes to us courtesy of Chain O’ Lakes State Park up in Spring Grove IL back in 2017.  The last two shots in the series were taken in June where the rest were taken a few months earlier in April.  Second to my primary training park down the road (Jubilee State Park), Chain O’ Lakes is a wonderful place.  A nice campground for a State Park with plenty of trails for running, hiking and yes, BIRDING.  It also happens to be conveniently located between Ron and I to spend some time together.

Tree Swallow shot at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove, IL in April 2017

Hit the jump to see more of Mr. Bunny Tail Breast.

Continue reading Death Dealers