Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas 2020

Just wanted to extend best wishes to everyone during this holiday season.  Myself, Linda, Benji, Raven and all the hardworking staff here at Intrigued (marketing, accounting, publishing, human resources and of course the cadre of lawyers)  are truly grateful for all of our readers.  There is nothing more precious than a person’s time and to spend that to consume our musings is absolutely heartfelt.

Merry Christmas 2020

Be safe and most of all keep your hopes up that 2021 will bring us back to happier times.  To all a virtual hearty handshake and a pat on the back for all are friends that help us get through this thing called life.  Remember to live and not just exist,  to experience and not simply watch and most of all to cherish the bright days and not dwell on the dim ones.

Thank You!

The Doerflers


Been a long day today as we finished up the last of all our preventative medical appointments.  We wanted to get everything checked off the list so we could start the new year fresh and not have any commitments should we decide to do some extended exploring.  Eye doctor, medical doctor and today the dentist.  I am definitely tired of being probed and prodded, but glad to have confirmation from the experts that I am still alive (some mornings I wonder ha).  Feeling a bit tired, decided I’d take a break and tickle the keyboard a bit.  Like our featured feathered friend for today, this will be a quick post.

Black Tern found at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove IL in June 2017

I will start out by saying there is a lot of room for improvement in these shots.  Lighting is clearly not the best and some of them are rather soft.  Problem is, the key to improving shots of this bird is to get physically stronger!  My rig is not the lightest coming in at 11-12 pounds with the Beast attached.  Thanks to nights in the gym, I generally hand-hold in the field as dealing with a tripod can be a pain in the ass depending on how much distance you plan to cover.

Black Tern found at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove IL in June 2017

Hit the jump to read a bit more about our agile bird.

Continue reading Tern-Fit

Scandal on the Water

In today’s post we are going to do some time traveling.  Trust me, I am trying to chip away at the backlog or minimally get back to a reasonable delay – getting harder to remember all the details of a given trip into the field.  Unfortunately, it seems to be a Sisyphus effort as I filter through just about all of the images previously processed and then I discover another folder from a trip I haven’t even touched yet.  Should probably join a Photographers Anonymous group – “Hello, I’m Brian and I take a LOT of pictures”.  On the bright side, an abundance of material it is a good problem to have if you are a blogger.

I did finally get the massive Haunted Halloween Trail posts up.  Those take a serious chunk of time to gather and document the walk throughs.  If you like Halloween and don’t mind your image cache being inundated, you might check out those posts.

Now let’s get to our featured feathered friend.

American Wigeon December 2016

Hit the jump to read more about our featured dabbler.

Continue reading Scandal on the Water

Beware of Phalarope Cougars

Coming back from today’s rather cold 10 mile run a new life mission popped in my head.  I am going to devote the next 5 years of my life learning how to communicate with Squirrels.  Learn their native dialog, dive deep into their culture and master their mannerisms.  Once mastered I shall use that valuable knowledge to engage with our local specimens in the hope to finally answer the most pressing question mankind has forever sought an answer to.. WHY THE HELL DO SQUIRRELS ON THE SAFE SIDE OF THE ROAD IMMEDIATELY FEEL THE URGE TO SPRINT TO THE DANGEROUS SIDE OF THE ROAD WHEN A VEHICLE APPROACHES!?!  It is absolutely insane and I am taking it upon myself to find out what is actually going on in their walnut sized brains.  Note, I may change my mind after the exhaustion finally leaves my body.

Now this fresh specimen has got it right.

Wilson's Phalarope found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in May of 2018

Just hang out at the shoreline, no playing Frogger across the busy roads, no accepting double Dog dares to out run the metal boxes with wheels and certainly no games of Chicken out on the asphalt.  Nope, just slosh through the muck in search of tasty morsels.

Wilson's Phalarope found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in May of 2018

Hit the jump to read more about our featured specimen.

Continue reading Beware of Phalarope Cougars

Halloween Haunted Trail 2020 – Part 3: Night Walk

Pretty sure your browser image cache is getting hammered as a result of these Halloween posts.  Good news, this is the last of the Haunted Trail 2020 series and in my opinion the best.  Even with all the images we selected for the posts, it still doesn’t cover the expanse of the trail, but it does give a good perspective of what you are in for the night of the event.  I’ve already covered a lot of the background in the other posts, so for the Night Walk I’ll keep the words to a minimum.

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears 2020

I did want to cover the changes we put in place to make the event as safe as possible in the midst of the pandemic.  From our sampling it was clear most of our friends were really looking forward to the night.  Part of that was the chance to see how everyone had been coping during the lockdown.  We are a social species and interactions with friends is just plain good for the soul.

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears 2020

Hit the jump to take a virtual tour of our big night!

Continue reading Halloween Haunted Trail 2020 – Part 3: Night Walk

Now that is One Fresh Owl

It has been a few days since I’ve been able to post on the wild side of Intrigued.  Before I get accused of slacking since retirement, I have been busy on the post front.  The Halloween Haunted Trail posts are finally getting the spotlight and those are a lot of work – one more part to go on that and that will finally be checked off my to-do list.  As you can tell from the image below, I decided that I needed a break from the haunting.

Barred Owl found at Jubilee College State Park in December 2020

Hit the jump to learn something interesting about our feathered friend – hint, these images might still be wet.

Continue reading Now that is One Fresh Owl

Halloween Haunted Trail 2020 – Part 2: Day Walk

Bringing you the second of the three part Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears.  Last post I took you behind the scenes to give you a feel for what it takes to prepare for the event.  Putting all the props together, getting them staged out on the trails and then the creativity phase of actually placing and building up the scenes.  Today we are going to focus on what we call the Day Walk.  Once everything is built I like to go through and take shots of the trail before the sun goes down.  It takes on an entirely different feel once darkness falls which will be shown in the final post of this series.  Note, due to the dramatic change that occurs, some guests actually prefer to experience the trail during the light in order to minimize the trauma and nightmares ha!

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears 2020 - Day Walk

It is hard to really express how big the trail is.  I keep reminding myself to calculate how long the walk is with all the offshoot paths etc.  Each year that gets forgotten ugh.  Our guests are probably more interested in the elevation change as it actually sits in a valley requiring both a healthy walk down and then an admittedly difficult walk back up.  Although Linda and I discuss options every year to mitigate this (elevators, ATV shuttles, tow ropes..) there doesn’t seem to a viable resolution, although the idea of elevators sounds pretty cool hehehe.

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears 2020 - Day Walk

Hit the jump to see a good representation of this year’s Haunted Trail of Tears.

Continue reading Halloween Haunted Trail 2020 – Part 2: Day Walk

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears 2020 – Prep and Setup

Well, the time has come for the massive end of the year summary stats padding.  If there is one set of posts that have a dramatic impact on those numbers it is the Halloween Haunted Trail Project posts that have the biggest impact – specifically in the number of images used during the course of the year.  Probably not an extremely relevant number for my readers, but one I have been keeping since the beginning in my yearly assessments.  If nothing else, it is a barometer for how productive I was.   It goes hand in hand with the word count.  Was the ratio of words to pictures in the ballpark as I am sure my readers prefer the pretty pictures to my ramblings.  The Haunted Trail posts are always skewed to the pictures due to the size of the event.  So, without further ramble, let’s hit the trail.

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears 2020

Oops, before we hit the trail, we need to talk about all the prep work that comes with putting this event on.   Linda and I had long debates on whether we were going to hold the annual party this year.  As you know, the pandemic had taken its bite out of the year and we were not sure whether we could pull this off and keep everyone safe.

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears 2020

Hit the jump to learn what it is like behind the scenes at the Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears

Continue reading Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears 2020 – Prep and Setup

Effortless Ladder-Backed

Had to take Linda in for her eye appointment today and since they only allow the patient into the building these days, I’m stuck sitting in the truck.  Becoming a common theme lately as we’re trying to get all of our health appointments out of the way so we do not have to worry about them if we decide to hit the road early next year. Since there is not a whole lot to do sitting in a truck on a cold rainy day,  opted to bring along the ol’ laptop and recall some warmer times.   Fortunately – or maybe that is unfortunately for you – there is still a staggering amount of images from Texas sitting in the blog queue.  I came upon this one first so Pecker it is.

Ladder=Backed Woodpecker found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Texas in January 2018

Our featured feathered friend comes to us primarily from the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park.  This state park is located in Mission Texas directly on the US-Mexico border.  For my international followers, that puts you directly on the traditionally understood northern banks of the Rio Grande River.  Note the word “traditionally” there.  As the border between the two countries is defined by a meandering river, at any given spot you may find yourself looking at Mexico to the south, east west and not until my last trip down there did I realize that in some points you can actually look north to Mexico.  At the time the latter happened to us, we were a little concerned that we had made a seriously wrong turn or the GPS thought it would be fun to play a trick on us.  A quick check of the map set us at ease we were still on US soil. Put that little tidbit in our memory banks.

Ladder=Backed Woodpecker found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Texas in January 2018

Hit the jump to catch a few more shots of our small Woodpecker.

Continue reading Effortless Ladder-Backed

Sometimes It’s What You Can’t See

Hello everybody!  Today happens to be one of those times when a common quandary becomes crystal clear – at least for the immediate post.  If you happen to carry  large glass into the field,  I am sure you’ve been questioned as to whether you are a birder or a photographer.  I’ve noted in the past my feelings toward that inquiry and will not belabor that point for the sanity of my readers.  Doubt aside, the answer to that question for this particular series is — I’m a birder.  Has there been enlightenment, an epiphany or some form of life clarity that has put everything into perspective?  Nope – very simply, these pictures basically suck hehehe.   No way around it, soft, cluttered, difficult to discern, boring … pick your negative critique of choice, they are there in all their dark glory.  Why bother subjecting you to such poor images?  The answer is – it actually fits the narrative (oh, and it makes my other images look that much better ha).

Brown Creeper found on lot in Brimfield, IL in November 2020

Today’s featured feathered friend is a bit of a creep:

“I wish I was special

But I’m a creep

I’m a weirdo

What the hell am I doing here?

I don’t belong here.”

Figured I would go ahead and provide you the lyrics because if you were around the alt scene in the early 90’s I guarantee you started singing that song as soon as you saw that word – complete with adult words.

But I’m not talking about Yorke’s drunk trying to get the attention of a woman.. in this case I’m referring to the stealthy little forest bird called the Brown Creeper.

Hit the jump see some more truly craptastic shots of our stealthy friend.

Continue reading Sometimes It’s What You Can’t See