Philadelphia Freedom

Quick note, the shell of this post was written a couple of days ago. A status has changed, but rather than rework the post, just added an addendum. Now back your regularly scheduled programming.

Par for course this year, the month of June is flying by. Really not sure what the reason is for that other than I am keeping busy, which is keeping my eyes off the clock. Linda assures me there are still 24 full hours in every day. I do know a chunk of time is being spent training. Per last post, it has been a grind with the ankle injury and now the arrival of Mr. Heat Miser. The lemonade out of lemons is the reduced mileage with the injury is allowing me to ease into the heat conditioning. After 4 consecutive Short 5 to 6 mile outings the ankle was feeling good, so added back in one of the many large climbs that are staples for my usual runs. Ankle held nicely – I decided it warranted a Philadelphia Museum of Art celebration. Yep, put my arms up and did some small circles – pretty sure I heard trumpets in the background. To those that know me, yes, I did look around first to make sure NOBODY would see me hehehehe.

Philadelphia Vireo found at Montrose Beach, Chicago IL, in May 2022

At that moment it occurred to me I had the perfect topic for the next post. I just needed to get back in the digital darkroom when I got back home as this series is fresher than Pepe Le Pew.

Hit the jump to read more about our specimen originally discovered in the City of Brotherly Love.

Continue reading Philadelphia Freedom

The Heat is Making Me Loony

Well, the weather conditions that have been hammering the southwest has made it to the Midwest. Heating up outside which is a bit of an issue. If there was one notable impact on the running front from the 6 weeks with my mother it was in my body’s thermostat. I need ease into hot runs or my thermostat will easily “panic”, immediately dumping fluids to prevent another heat stroke incident (link here). Took a while to retrain the thermostat after that and then wrecked it all again with the heat exhaustion episode (link here) years later. Now I have to be even more careful in high temps and the conditioning takes even longer.

Common Loon found at Kentucky Lake in April 2021

Forced to jump started in the heat, opted to go with shorter more frequent runs starting before the temps reached critical level. All was going well until yesterday when I was sabotaged. It had stormed overnight and the humidity caused fog conditions in Jubilee State Park (7:45am). Started sweating the minute I stepped out of the truck. Checked watch, temps still in the low 80s so set out at a controlled pace. Besides the damn Horsefly sorties over my head, all was good until about mile 4 when things went loony. Out from the woods comes a rabbit (note, this one was normal sized). It hops in front of me, points into the woods and yells “Look, a talking Squirrel!”. So I look ‘cuz, well, who doesn’t want to see a talking Squirrel. Unbeknownst to me, a Raccoon comes riding up on a skateboard and throws a stick down in front of me. Foot lands on stick, ankle goes “marbles” then “frosted flakes” followed by a wave of pain. Disgust came over me knowing exactly what happened and then turning to see the Raccoon laughing so hard it falls off the skateboard which then manages to jump the curb and hit the Rabbit in the chest – serves them right!

Hit the jump – I promise I’ll eventually get to the meat of the post ha!

Continue reading The Heat is Making Me Loony

I Wish They All Could Be California Gulls

I thought when entering June things would start slowing down a bit. Wow, was I wrong. Somehow forgot all the work that has to go into the homestead this time of year. Time is being devoured battling the forest as it continuously plots to revenge our incursion, grass growing way to fast thanks to the barrage of rain (apologies to the dry southwest), a Mole army that could repel a Russian invasion and those hell spawn Chipmunks that I swear breed daily (where are all the Owls). Doesn’t Mother Nature know that I have to focus on the new Halloween props for the fast approaching Haunted Trail (link here)!?! Oh well, shouldn’t complain, far better than having to get all these tasks done and still go to work every day.

California Gull found at Virginia Lake Park in Reno, NV on our trip there May 2019

The good news is I have had some opportunity to bird. Although I still have not updated the Birding Chronicles (link here), …. wait, stop the presses, will be back in a jiffy (imagine the Jeopardy theme tune playing in your head)…just a bit longer… a few more seconds… there, back. Sorry about that. I have probably noted that the Chronicles had not been updated for like a month if not more. Inner Bri demanded I simply update it ha! Feeling hypocritical due to how much I curse at IDOT for taking the time to have a sign made and send out a 4 person crew to install said sign to inform motorists there’s a bump in the road – FIX IT!!!. The latest stats have our “Average Year” progress for Ron at 219 (note, he added 3 more this week) and I am sitting at 249 for unique species this year. Quite shocked really as there are still plenty of easy targets left and a number of good birding trips planned between now and the end of the year (not to mention 2 seasonal changes remaining). Need to have Ron update the video with our latest excursions.

California Gull found at Virginia Lake Park in Reno, NV on our trip there May 2019

Hit the jump to read more about the bird from where “the girls get so tanned”.

Continue reading I Wish They All Could Be California Gulls

Tanager Acne

Well, we are back home from our trip up to Springfield, Ohio for the CPE Invitationals. In general a bit of a disappointment. With the exception of Ruger’s impressive showing in his first ever drag race event, the 4 days of showing (1 practice day and 3 days of actual competition), yielded only one qualifying run in Raven’s 9 attempts. He just seemed off and really wasn’t running at his usual pace. Also a lot more standoffish and too aware of the onlookers and hordes of other competitors to really get the job done. Definitely not a fan of having horse dirt between his toes. I felt bad for Linda as she was having to fight through a nasty cold from the moment we got there. Tough to run, much less coerce a less than enthused Poodle through an obstacle course.

Juvi Summer Tanager found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island, AL in April 2021

Hit the jump to read more of about our blotchy friend!

Continue reading Tanager Acne

Not a Vulture

We finally made it up to Springfield, Ohio for the Canine Performance Events (CPE) Invitational Nationals. I must say this is a bit overwhelming and I don’t even have four paws and a tail (although I do have the long nose for it ha). Sources indicated there are around 700 canines performing at this show and based on the large number of campers and dogs everywhere you look – thinking that might be an undercount. Raven hits the agility ring starting tomorrow. Don’t tell him, but Dad will not fault him for being nervous with all the voodoo paws pointed at him from the stands. Ruger and Benji came along for moral support … and we didn’t trust them not to throw a kegger while we were gone. Linda was surprised to see the were also holding an open “drag racing” event here. Think of it as a solo drag race for 50 yards although instead of nitro fuel they only need puppy kisses from Mommy at the finish line. Decided we would let Ruger have a go now that he has officially “crested” the one year old threshold.

Great Crested Flycatcher found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island in April 2021

Hit the jump to read more about our featured feathered friend.. and a lot more about our little dragster.

Continue reading Not a Vulture

Summer Comes Early

I want to start with remembering all those that are serving, have served and on the day we officially honor them, those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice so we can continue to live the values instilled in this country by our founding fathers. Those that have given their lives in combat and the families that have lived/live with that sacrifice shall never be forgotten.

Last post I featured a feathered friend that Ron has already been able to check this year …one more importantly… I still have yet to find for our “Average Year” efforts (link here – still not updated). I also noted there was a plan for me to claw back some points. Last Friday Linda and I went to Havana IL and successfully tinned a few sure things. Specifically the Western Kingbird (Link here – why they nest there I have no clue) and the Eurasian Tee Sparrow (link here). Note, if you want to see a limited region for a bird, check out that European Tree Sparrow – basically a small blotch in IL (link here).

Summer Tanager found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island in April 2021

Even managed to get 2 more +1s for the year on the way home that Ron didn’t have ..well, yet. Not that I am competitive or anything (wink), but was feeling pretty good gaining +4 on him. Then opportunity knocked. Brothers and I decided to meet mom’s house to start the long process of cleaning it out. This meant Ron would be traveling down perilously close to Havana on his way to the house. My warnings that the birds had already left for the summer were ignored (no trust ha). Sure enough, he stopped by there and picked up 3 of the 4 Friday tallies. Well, that euphoria didn’t even make it past the long weekend.

So, like the previous post, bringing you another red hued bird.

In contrast to the last post, Ron DOES NOT have this Tanager checked off for this year. It is still a few weeks off from the season, but rather than wait, bringing you summer early! A male Summer Tanager to be exact. The official check for this year came while we were down in southern Texas during January. Ron probably missed getting it by mayne 20 minutes thanks to having to head to the airport to catch his flight home. While he had to sit in the airport lobby, Linda and I headed back to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) in Brownsville. There was a rarity we were chasing there before he had to take him to the airport. I’ll cover that hunt in an upcoming post. For today, just note I managed to tin the Summer Tanager while I was there (and the rarity, but shhhhhh, don’t tell anyone yet).

Hit the jump to continue reading about Ron’s missing check

Continue reading Summer Comes Early

Hey, Stop Hitting on my Wife!

I mentioned in a previous post that Ron and I had the opportunity to get a little birding in at the end of last week. Not only did that allow us to get a quick break from the stress building up over the last 6 or 7 weeks, it also provided a huge boost to our “Average Year” counts. We took a setback when we canceled the Dauphin migration trip originally planned in April. We have managed to claw back some of the migrating checks thanks to a trip up to Montrose Bird Sanctuary, a new place called LaBagh Woods (will definitely have a future post on that gem) and then several locations around our favorite Chain ‘O Lakes State Park area. That two day trip allowed me to bump up my ’22 count to 245!!! Apologies, I still need to update the Birding Chronicles stats page (link here). Then Ron followed that up with a side trip, managing to get this species checked off his list.

Scarlet Tanager found on Dauphin Island, AL in April 2021

That was a good pick up on me as I haven’t been able to locate ones of these fireballs yet. In honor of his accomplishment, decided to go ahead with this series from an encounter I had while we were down at Dauphin Island back in April of last year. I also get to continue my green theme from the last two posts.

Scarlet Tanager found on Dauphin Island, AL in April 2021

Hit the jump to read more about our encounter with this brilliantly colored bird.

Continue reading Hey, Stop Hitting on my Wife!

Brironan Shirts for Sale – Cheap!

Greetings everyone! Been a while since I’ve had the chance to get back to the blog. We had a nice ceremony in remembrance of my Mother a couple of weeks ago and now moving into the will and possessions phase. This part is going to take a bit of time and effort to get through, not to mention a bit of travel being that she still lived where we were born and raised. I definitely want to extend our sincere appreciation for the outpouring of blessings and support we have received from our blogsphere family. As saddening as the ordeal was, it was comforting to know you were thinking of us.

Unfortunately, I am waaaay behind on my postings, not to mention the backlog of post reading on the blogs I follow. Fingers crossed I can get caught up quickly. Getting back into the swing of things, thought I’d bring you an intriguing featured feathered friend.

Female Painted Bunting found at Audubon Bird Sanctuary on Dauphin Island in April 2021

Our lime green specimen comes to you courtesy of last year’s trip to the Alabama Gulf Shores. More specifically, the Audubon Bird Sanctuary on Dauphin Island. I’ve posted numerous times on the incredible finds during our April stay on that small piece of land.

Female Painted Bunting found at Audubon Bird Sanctuary on Dauphin Island in April 2021

Hit the jump to read more about our lime colored discovery.

Continue reading Brironan Shirts for Sale – Cheap!

Screw the BiFs, Hello BoSs

Welcome to May everyone! So far it has basically been one rainy day after another – in fact, April was downright rainy as well. I know some of you in the southwest are pretty dry, wish there was a way to get some of our run-off down to you. Read yesterday that Lake Mead is so low they are finding bodies. The positive in all this is our wells should be fully charged. Unfortunately, the “Average Year” efforts are in a stumble with the Dauphin trip cancellation. I have been able to get a few adds .. in between the rains of course.

Northern Rough-Winged Swallow found at Weldon Springs State Park in Clinton, IL

How is that for an absolutely craptastic shot!?! That particular image is the “best” of about a hundred attempts to tin one of these caffeine junkies in flight. For a majority of birds, their flights are fairly predictable. Note position A, then B and you can pretty much assume where C is going to end up along that trajectory. Focus lock the bird at position B and pan with it to estimated point C while engaging continues shutter mode – easy peasy. Even hyper Flycatchers can be mitigated knowing 83.6% of the time they return to the same branch after a quick sortie. (Note, 91.82% of statistics are made up on the fly.. and while at it, 103% of political poll numbers are bullshit. hehehe.) When it comes to Swallows you are probably better off just randomly pressing the shutter at a random spot at a random distance and pray one of them spots a bug in the vicinity. I tried everything short of throwing the kitchen sink in hopes of knocking one out of the sky and the best I could do is the shot above. 30 minutes into it my arms were like spaghetti and had used up all my colorful swear words. Screw these birds in flight (BiFs)!!

Northern Rough-Winged Swallow found at Weldon Springs State Park in Clinton, IL

Frustrated, I brought The Beast down and gave my arms a rest. Started scanning the nearby trees in a last ditch effort to come away with a shot worthy of the +1 for the Average Year. Well, hello there bird on stick (BoSs)! As I was hoping, these Northern Rough-Winged Swallows were staging on a tree next to the bank we were standing on. Now that is muuuuuch easier on the arms.

Northern Rough-Winged Swallow found at Weldon Springs State Park in Clinton, IL

Did I mention it was really windy that day?

Hit the jump to read about other finds from the Swallow family.

Continue reading Screw the BiFs, Hello BoSs

Definitely Not Another Squirrel!

Bad news for those of you out there hoping for another post from the Squirrel family and good news for those that have been filling my inbox up with comments to the contrary. Truth is, I would have gone with another fur focused series if I had one in the queue. I’m only getting home maybe one or two days a week these days if I’m lucky. When I do, I’m more focused on getting the growing list of upkeep items like mowing taken care of over prepping images for the blog. As a result, I’ve been relying on drafts I worked up to use while we were down in Alabama. Thought it would be good to get back to the main staple here at Intrigued – BIRDS!

White-Eyed Vireo found at Quinta Mazaltan, McAllen TX in January 2021

Today’s feature is not a new bird to the blog as it was featured back in November 2018. (link here – but warning, don’t go there). There are few birds that frustrate me more in the field than these here White-Eyed Vireos. Year after year after year I’ve encountered specimens in our many outings and I’ve only managed to feature this vireo that one time back in ’18 and that was ONLY because I wanted to officially get the checkmark. Went with some crappy shots for that post which is why I warned you NOT to go there – if you went there anyway, you might want to go rinse your eyes out – no worries, I’ll wait until you get back.

White-Eyed Vireo found at Quinta Mazaltan, McAllen TX in January 2021

Hit the jump to learn why this bird was on my nemesis list.

Continue reading Definitely Not Another Squirrel!