Throwback Thursday – Rusty Yellow

We are in the latter half of the week and that means I get to go back to the traditional FIFO processing of the image queue guilt free.  Today we take just a jump to the left, a step to the right, hands on hips, bring your knees in tight and pelvic thrust our way all the way back to July 2016.

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo found at Rend Lake, IL in July of 2016

Apologies for the mind flip for you’re into the Intrigued birding time slip.  How about that for a cheesy movie lead in.   If you are old enough to remember the reference, then that song will be floating in your head all day long ha.  Let’s get to our featured feathered friend.  Not new to the blog, the Yellow-Billed Cuckoo was first featured back in 2015 (link here) and a year later featured again with not one, not two, but three underwhelming pictures of its breast (link here).

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo found at Rend Lake, IL in July of 2016

Hit the jump to read more.. there might even be a surprise!

Continue reading Throwback Thursday – Rusty Yellow

Find ‘em, Relax ‘em, Cock ‘em, Stab ‘em and Lift ‘em

And we are back on the Mississippi River for the second part of the spoils from the recent Davenport, IA Eagle run.  As promised, part two will take you from the more traditional shots like this.

Bald Eagles found in Davenport IA in February 2021

(mental note, go back and lighten this one up) and bring you more action oriented perspective like this immature preparing to bring death to those that dare swim too close to the surface.

Bald Eagles found in Davenport IA in February 2021

Hit the jump to see a crap load of action images from the Davenport shoot.

Continue reading Find ‘em, Relax ‘em, Cock ‘em, Stab ‘em and Lift ‘em

Featuring Fresh Friday Finds for Followers

Welcome everyone!  Today we are bringing you something right off the presses… err, rather out of the digital darkroom.

Bald Eagles found in Davenport IA in February 2021

Yep, the Bald Eagle is once again front and center.  If you recall, January was  closed with a 3 part series on our country’s national bird (link here, here and here).  Originally thought about holding off on featuring Eagles again so soon.  Problem is, I made a commitment to you to emphasize fresher shoots – well for at least part of the week.  In that vein, how about some tins from TWO days ago!?! (a round of golf claps please ha)

Bald Eagles found in Davenport IA in February 2021

Hit the jump to see a few more of the traditional Eagle shots.

Continue reading Featuring Fresh Friday Finds for Followers

Yellow Firecracker

In the last post it was mentioned I was considering a cosmic shift in approach to Intrigued posts – in particular the wildlife side.  Up to this point,  I’ve tried to focus on a sequential path slowly moving from early outings to the more recent.  That was working fine until the backlog started trending from weeks to days to months then years.  Foreseeable for sure – we take a lot of trips and my shutter finger can match strokes with a Hummer’s wing.  Here’s what I am thinking.  Focus on the newer stuff for Sat-Tue posts and feature the older series from Wed-Friday.  Maybe Flashback Fridays, Throwback Thursdays and WTF Bri, how about a bird at least from this decade Wednesdays (bit long, but you get my drift).  As a test drive I have a bird to feature from just under 5 years ago, so Throwback Thursday it is!

Yellow-Breasted Chat found at Rend lake, IL in July 2016

We took a quick trip down to Rend Lake back in July 2016.  Decided to enjoy the fireworks from a different location that year and their motto was “Where the Fun Begins!” (yes, complete with exclamation mark).  A mere 4 hours away from the start of all joy with an exclamation mark… pack up the RV.  Birding opportunities seemed good as the lake is only an hour or so from Shawnee National Forest.  Escape, relaxation, fireworks and birds – all words I like to see on a trip agenda.

Yellow-Breasted Chat found at Rend lake, IL in July 2016

Hit the jump to see more shots of our winged firecracker.

Continue reading Yellow Firecracker

I Shake My Little Tush on the Pond Catwalk

Good news as I am for once ahead of the game when it comes to my self-imposed post quota.  February used to put a lot of stress on me thanks to the missing days – apparently retirement is already showing benefits.  Still trying to iron out the approach details, but thinking about burning both ends of my photo queue at the same time – for the techies out there, popping traditional FIFO and then swapping the head pointer and popping LIFO.  For the record that was a test to see if I missed work.. relieved that was an internal “nope”.  Jargon tabled I need to continue featuring old birding outings and would like to start featuring the newer finds – as B. in the UK hilariously put it, nice to read about a bird that might actually still be alive.   Last post I featured a find from our January 2020 Texas Gulf trip.  We saw this little one just before coming up on that Y-CN-H.

Least Grebe found at Estero Llano Grande State Park, Weslaco TX in January 2020

There is a birding blog challenge that B. alerted me to that  I am desperately working to get caught up on so I can participate on a regular basis.  The most recent one I missed covered birds you love.  I would need to think about that a bit as there are really multiple ways to view that.  Photographing Whooping Cranes (link here) in the wild brings the biggest smile by far knowing how successful conservation efforts were to bring them back from the brink (at least some distance).  Then there are the shoots where cuteness takes over and warms the heart.  Black-Necked Stilts (link here and here) take the prize in that category.

Least Grebe found at Estero Llano Grande State Park, Weslaco TX in January 2020

Hit the jump to read more about the bird too sexy for this post.

Continue reading I Shake My Little Tush on the Pond Catwalk

266 Plus 1 as of 2 of 21

Things couldn’t be going better early in the retirement cycle. Getting a lot of projects completed around the house and putting a serious dent in the honey-do list. One of those tasks was to finally get to the 2020 blog summary (see last post). That has been a dark cloud hanging over me as I continually procrastinated due to the amount of effort it takes to gather up the numbers. The problem is that triggers a project taking even more labor- the refresh of the bird list count. Mentioned in the summary that it was in progress – relieved to say that is now complete! I was going to chronicle that entire 48 step process, but decided that added no value to you and scrapped it (at least it is documented for my future refreshes).  Drum roll please…. the current official bird count number is …more drum roll please .. 266 (well, it was.. more on this later).  Not a number that is going to impress any serious birder for sure, however, I am rather proud of it as a count requires an identifiable photograph and an official feature here on the blog.  I’ve decided to push to make it into the 300 club by the end of the  year and to keep me motivated put it front in center on the left pane – go ahead and look, it should be right there to the left of your screen.  I wouldn’t consider this a stretch  goal as there are a number of new birds already in the queue just waiting their turn to be processed and featured.  Good news is this means you will also be getting more recent accounts as I try to stay on top of the +1s (assuming everyone just muttered “about damn time” under their breath hehehe).

So that explains most of the cryptic title except the “Plus 1” part and the past tense in reference to the number above.  Here is the reason for that.

Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron found at Estero Llano Grande State Park on our trip to Texas Gulf Coast in 2020

Hit the jump to see/read more on the newest entry to the bird list.

Continue reading 266 Plus 1 as of 2 of 21

Year 13 Wasn’t So Lucky!

Intrigued Blog Summary 2020

Well, it was the year 2020 but if anyone had perfect vision for what the world would be put through, they should immediately make their way to Vegas and find an open Roulette table – should not be hard to find an empty seat these days.  It is the small achievements along the way that get us through the bad times.  One such example is the completion of the 13th year of blogging here at Intrigued – at least for the mothership, the wildlife side is a little younger as that sister site was  created a number of years later.  Adding to that is a self-pat on the back for once again hitting the 6 post a month self-imposed minimum.  It was touch and go there a couple of times during the year, but we fought through it.  Definitely had a huge gaping hole in the running posts this year.  With the exception of the one virtual race recollected a couple of posts ago, the year was a complete bust.  This made hitting my yearly goal of logging at least 1,100 miles a lonely journey.  Toeing the line on race day is a huge motivation for me – with every race last year canceled due to that ass Covid, keeping on track and hauling myself out to the trails every other day tested the mental toughness.  Fought through two injuries to the back and a ridiculous last month of miles to get that check again this year (1,200+ actually).

2020 also brought with it some big changes related to our careers.  Linda officially retired February 1, 2020 giving her some badly needed stress relief after her large operation the year before.  Thanks to the pandemic, she really didn’t get to enjoy her first year of freedom as much as she deserved.  By November I had convinced myself to hang up the corporate life as well and went on permanent vacation until the official retirement on February 1st of this year.  Definitely looking forward to all the extra cycles available to spend on blog material – in between the extra training runs of course ha!

One of my goals last year (come to think of it … every year) has been to increase awareness of the Intrigued blogs.  Over the last year I’ve been able to keep in touch with many of my long time readers and had the privilege of gaining additional followers that apparently enjoy my musings.  For the existing fans as well as the new followers, I am truly thankful and honored you are willing to spend the one thing that is the most valuable in our lives – ‘time’.  A unique possession that is perpetually consumed yet never replaceable.    I am also thankful for the other members of the blogsphere that educate me on a daily basis, give me hours of enjoyment and continue to expand my thinking/perspectives along with pushing me to get better at my craft.

A few quick shout outs.  One to my brother Ron who is a big part of the behind the scenes operations as birding companion, ID confirmer and all around fact checker – not to mention invaluable help with all the Halloween projects that go on around here year round.  To CJ (link here) and B. in the UK (link here) who keep me informed on what is going on across the pond and then there’s my personal editor Brad M.  who keeps the pages mostly free of the egregious syntax errors – sorry for all the errors that make it through – In my defense, I graduated from the University of Illinois’ Engineering College which makes bits and bytes my first language (then married someone with a similar background so we could communicate hehehe).

Keeping with tradition, it’s time to look back at the year’s output and self-evaluate.  One noticeable improvement is the number of followers.  Few things bring a smile to my day more than a comment or like on one of my posts.  If you are curious about the details, hit the jump to see the individual stats and accomplishments.

Thanks again to all my readers and here’s to the new year of fun and adventures that will assuredly find their way onto these pages.

Hit the jump for the details on the 2020 Life Intrigued blogs summary.

Continue reading Year 13 Wasn’t So Lucky!

Stone Cold

Sitting here in the parking lot of our dentist waiting for Linda to get through her appointment.  Not sure if the world will every reach normal again, but these isolation medical protocols have got to go.  Feels no different that dropping off my pet to see the vet.  Stone cold I tell ya!  Which brings us to today’s topic – Stonework.

Statues and Gargoyles found on the Biltmore Estates in Asheville, NC during October 2016 vacation

This is actually the second part of the two part architecture series focused on the mansion and grounds of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.  The first part covered the grotesques/gargoyles that adorn the mansion itself (link here).  That one had a wild element so it was replicated down to the wild side of Intrigued – (albeit monsters, not the standard wildlife we generally focus on here).  Today I’m going to focus on the reliefs built into the mansion as well as the statues placed around the estate.

Statues and Gargoyles found on the Biltmore Estates in Asheville, NC during October 2016 vacation

Hit the jump to see what I found on our visit to Biltmore back in October 2016.

Continue reading Stone Cold

Thanks for Nothing Covid

Guess there is no time like the present to get some loose ends wrapped up before hopefully getting back into the upcoming racing season.  I’ve had a note on my desk for almost a year now to get this race post out.  Through part procrastination and part denial I bring you a post on last year’s race season.  Hell, this post represents the ENTIRE 2020 race season.

Allerton Trail Races April 26/27 2020

Hit the jump for the race recap – albeit late this year.

Continue reading Thanks for Nothing Covid

Golden Trumpets

Greetings all!  Apologies for the extended time between wildlife posts.  Currently in a bit of a struggle thanks to a decision to upgrade versions of our primary digital darkroom tools – Lightroom and Photoshop.  Long time users of those products on our local desktops, we were hesitant to make the jump to the newer offerings thanks to Adobe’s decision to shift to renting their software (how many times do I I have to buy that damn software).  Being held hostage for the right to use their software doesn’t sit well.   After significant discussion, we decided to make the leap to subscription choosing the Classic version of Lightroom so that would at least behave similar to what we have now – or at least the thought.

Trumpeter Swans found in field outside Canton, IL in December 2020

Completed the downloads which took overnight thanks to rural connectivity.  Insert my soap box about software houses and their disregard for low bandwidth customers.  Thanks to last month’s exploration there was greater than a terabyte of data I wanted to get banging on.  Natives are getting restless with how long it takes to get my captures out and was hoping to turn a new leaf.

Trumpeter Swans found in field outside Canton, IL in December 2020

Hit the jump to learn the background of our featured feathered musicians.

Continue reading Golden Trumpets