Well, we just embarked on another camping adventure. A short one this time unlike our previous multi-week excursions. Of course, there is birding involved – Ron is even going to be able to join me for some fun time in the field… not for a couple of days though until the weather clears up. Seems that we are perpetuating a trend on our trips. In January we brought the Midwest rain, snow and ice down to Texas with us. In April we brought the Midwest Spring downpours to the Alabama Gulf Shores and Florida Panhandle. Now, damned if we didn’t manage to bring the May showers north with us. Clearly we are CURSED!
As I sit here listening to the rain come down, thought it would be an excellent time to get to another one of the new props for last year’s Haunted Trail of Tears (link here). Unlike the previous post which was more of upgrade to an existing prop, today we are covering the signature piece for the year. Each year I decide on what the big addition is going to be and then spend a majority of the year trying to get it conceived prior to show time. Note, regardless of how early I start on the signature piece each year… I NEVER give myself enough runway. Every year it comes down to the night before or even the day of to get it in good enough shape for the trail.
Hit the jump to learn all the behind the scenes work it took to bring this idea to life.
“Another post so soon and sans birds or anything with a heartbeat – what’s up with that Bri!?!” Tis true folks. My inbox has been filling up with hate mail from the Birds Are Rats with Wings (BARwW) Consortium – when they get their dander up they can be a handful, especially when maintaining a birding blog as part of the overall Intrigued mothership. They were feeling left out along with a number of the other purely non-wildlife readers that have admittedly been slightly in my pursuit to close the gap on Ron’s birding count. Guessing based on the last post you might have been expecting a companion post on the actual 2020 foam coffin prop. That would definitely been a logical thing to expect, but that is waaay to predictable for me – I prefer to keep you guessing (especially for those sending me angry emails ha!)
In my defense, this post does carry the Haunted Trail of 2020 theme (link here). For reference, you will need to actually look back at the Project Witch Replicate post (link here). That blog post covered a new prop for the Haunted Trail of 2017 (link here and here) – can’t believe it was that long ago. This was the 2017 version of the witch.
So, long time followers of Intrigued should already know my kryptonite is failure. It literally gnaws at my core until something is done about it. Pretty much three paths lead from such events – train harder/get better and get ‘er done, find a better way to accomplish said feat or, unfortunately, find myself in the hospital. Come to think of it, there is really only two paths as the last one just starts the cycle over again. Not sure of the exact moment this infliction came to be, but likely a result of being undersized in every sport I ever participated in and a father (who was also undersized) that wisely knew the ramifications of letting someone get the better of you and not picking yourself off the ground. This being an over-dramatic intro for one such failure, albeit one of a harmless nature. What you see in this next shot is the results of “find a better way” after a disappointment.
A bit of background. For the 2019 Halloween Haunted Trail (link here), I had designed a new prop to add to the cemetery. The intent was to have a coffin being half exposed from the ground being pulled out by a group of skeletons. Prop building for the big event starts months in advance in order to get it completed prior to the chaotic mess that occurs during setup. I picked up the foam sheets to make the coffin out of in April and went right to work on cutting out the pieces. The top and bottom were supposed to be easy as they were straight cuts. Not the case, as my hand would waver on the long cuts – the foam was no match for the hot blade of the gun and happily obliged a wayward cut. Slowly the coffin size got smaller and smaller as I tried to correct the bad cuts.
Hit the jump to read about the solution to an annoying failure.
19 months ago I ran my last official trail race – actually make that my last official race of any kind. That was the redemption 50K run at Farmdale towards the end of 2021 – before the damn pandemic decided to destroy my running events (link here). I did participate in one virtual race in April of last year (link here), but frankly, that’s like paying someone to give you a medal for a training run – you were going to do it anyway except now it costs you to go out and run alone. Now, that was for Make A Wish so the donation fee definitely went to a good cause. The rest of the 2020 races ended up going to some form of virtual as well – all those I passed on. Instead I focused on the planned 50 miler at Farmdale – a step up from the 30K the year before. Trained and trained and trained until the disappointing news came that it was canceled as well. 2020 was a bust, and honestly, it was looking like 2021 was stacking up to be more of the same. That is until Linda noticed the Blue Chevy Trail Classic Half Marathon at Farmdale Reservoir was taking entries!
Hit the jump to read about my first race since forever.
I get to throw in a new bird from time to time here at Intrigued and on those rare occasions like with the last I go crazy and give you two birds back to back. I know, I know, a lot to take in when that happens ha. You may need to sit down for this in case it becomes too overwhelming – today we are featuring .. wait for it … wait for it.. grab on to something sturdy… the THIRD new bird in a row. Think my heart may have skipped a beat just typing that as I do not think that has ever happened in the 14 years of this here blog. What’s up with all the counter clicking as of late, one word “pressure”. My brother Ron is coming on strong with his counts. 40 new birds when he met us Texas the year before, 20+ new birds from our birding trip to southern Alabama last month and now I find out he just tinned a new one over the weekend. I claw and claw at the dirt, but I just keep losing ground. The only thing going for me is he has a blog (link here) and as a result, he doesn’t get official credit for the +1 until it is featured there – that’s the agreed upon rules (link here – see rule 6!). Taking advantage of his posting sabbatical, let’s officially turn my counter.
You may have noticed, that you are not actually looking at a bird (although you may have been fooled by my previous blurry finger painting shots of birds and thinking it is in there somewhere ha). You are correct in this case, that is a tree trunk – a longleaf pine tree trunk to be specific. This particular specimen happened to be located in the Blackwater River State Forest in the Florida panhandle near Pensacola. This one happens to have a large white stripe on it with an ID. Over the years we have learned this is a sign you are likely to find something like this higher on the trunk.
Not always this amount of discoloration, but typically a patch of icky goo with a suspicious hole in the middle. I purposely took this shot due to how surprisingly extensive it was. Linda and I have hunted down these holes for over 6 years now. Traveled to the swamps of Georgia, the luscious forest of North Carolina, braved the heat of Arkansas, twice to Conroe, Texas, risked the suspension of the RV on something they called a road in Louisiana and a number of places in between those while on a birding mission – Linda would refer to it more as an obsession.
Tomato tomauto – hit the jump to reveal the catalyst for our many adventures.
Good news everyone, looks like you are in for a surprise with tonight’s post! Unless you happen to live in southern Central America or a large swatch of South America, in which case I probably overplayed the hype for just a Dove.
However, if you are not from those specified places I get to introduce you to …well, a Dove which you probably deduced from the general shape of our featured feathered friend. A relatively small rounded profile sitting atop a plump chest walking along the ground – yeah, definitely a Dove. The shape may be similar to the local variety you may be used to, but maybe the colors are throwing you off a bit.
Hit the jump to discover what kind of Dove this is!
Well, I finally beat a trail course today that has been putting a serious hurt on me since the day I discovered it. Even owned it being a bit tired from 3 hours of whacking weeds on the lot. Not sure what it is about this course.. wait, I do know – the 4 miles of what seems like continuous climb to start and the 2x repeats of 1 mile vertical climbs at the end have my legs and lungs begging for mercy. The 3 miles on top of the plateau of the big-ass hill aren’t so bad. Yep, basically the start and the end spent traversing the slopes that has been my nemesis – until today! Of course, now I’m wondering if I’ll ever be able to make it out of this chair tonight ha. Enough about personal struggles – let’s get to the reason you are here!
Before we go any further, please take a few steps away from your monitor. Can you still read this text without squinting? If so, please take a few more steps back and try again. Please repeat until you reach that optimum distance for this particular post. These shots would be better characterized with finger paints and hoping the extra distance will hide the less than stellar execution.
I am all kinds of late on this particular post. I was going to put it out Saturday and then got distracted and then planned to squeeze it in Sunday. When those days passed I figured yesterday at the latest. Clearly this Mother Goose is not pleased with my priorities.
So, without further delay, Happy belated Mother’s day to my mother and all the other mothers out there that are tasked with raising us and preparing us to take on whatever the world decides to throw at us. From the path of gosling to adulthood, they are either there physically to help guide us or at least in spirit as we continue to build off whatever lessons we were able to put in the memory banks.
I need to get on the stick with these posts. Between the yard work, running, birding and ramping up the Halloween prop lab for this year’s haunted trail (link here), things have been getting a bit bunched up. I was going to wait a bit on this one, but an encounter a few days ago while hitting the trails for some training felt like a sign.
Yes folks, we have our next installment of the “in a Tree” series. This one is not as odd as the previous Roadrunner in a Tree as I’ve witnessed a Wild Turkey in a Tree (WTiaT) a few time times in the past. Admittedly, on the rarer side as typically they are wandering around the ground or trying to play Frogger with Linda’s vehicle. As luck would have it, this is one of the few species Linda doesn’t have a silhouette of on her front fender – for the record she stands firm her bumper is the victim of animal suicides.
Hit the jump see a few more shots of our large bodied tree climber.
We are finally back from our exploration part deux. For those that didn’t already figure it out based on the recent comments, we headed down to the shores of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle for some migration birding. Ron was able to join us down there making for a wonderful time. We managed to hit the fallout while at Dauphin Island and had the best birding of our lives. Ron and I are both in the +20s which means almost certain I’ll be hitting my 300 bird list goal by the end of the year .. assuming I can get those posts out by then. More on the trip when I get to those posts. For now, going with what was previously the most recent trip – Texas in January.
So, to set the stage for this featured feathered friend, I need to weave in one of my fellow bloggers. Timothy over at Off Center & Not Even (link here) is an Owl aficionado, purveyor of sunsets , accomplished musician, clever poet, Bird tinner, Cat nurturer and owns a slick looking red car… to highlight just a few facets of things he covers on his entertaining blog.