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

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

Shooting Behavior – Eagle Perspectives Part 3

Well, the extended roadtrip has officially come to the end.  We arrived back home to snow on the ground and temperatures our bodies downright reject.  To the best of my ability I’ll be covering the sites and sights in the coming months (possibly years ha).  The image hopper is officially overflowing due to more than a terabyte of content we managed to bring back with us.  Admittedly the shot total was inflated this trip due to my retirement gift to myself – finally gave in and purchased a new camera body.  Every photography becomes one with their gear over the years, their babies if you will.  Every setting that needed to be changed could be done by muscle memory without ever taking my eye off the subject.  Each button, dial, menu setting custom configured to rapidly transition to different scenarios in the field.  Similarity to the current body was a key determiner for the replacement – as to be expected there were a few differences and anomalies that have to be familiarized with over time.  Missed a lot of shots this trip that irked me every time and for those I dive have time to experiment, the shot count increased tremendously.  Fingers crossed we’ll find something in the digital darkroom worth sharing.  Question is… how long will it take to get this comfortable with the new rig…

American Bald Eagle found in Bettendorf, IA, in January 2017

There has been a heavy focus on our national bird this month.  Two posts previous and now today’s feature as well.  This third and final part of the American Bald Eagle perspectives analysis completes the progression from the traditional shots that have overfilled my digital darkroom to the more interesting angles that has now become the quest in our Eagle outings.

American Bald Eagle found in Davenport, IA, in January 2017

Hit the jump to see a few more interesting perspectives of our majestic bird.

Continue reading Shooting Behavior – Eagle Perspectives Part 3

Progression – Eagle Perspectives Part 2

For starters, I now have two new unexpected benefits of the pandemic today.  Ever have one of those situations when the perfect song comes on, your toes start tapping seemingly without your brain prompting it and all of a sudden you find yourself singing along OUT LOUD?  Once you come to your senses, you start looking around and notice pairs of eyes staring at you, judging you, finding you wanting.  Sheepishly you look away hoping your fifty shades of red don’t show up on the Internet.  Guess what, as long as the music and ambient sounds are above your vocal cord vibrations – let it rip – no one will know what is going on behind that mask – quite liberating if you ask me.  Oh, and the other side effect is you are no longer required to force a smile for selfies.  Just keep your eyes open and send the Kilroy impersonation to all your messaging friends.

Now for a quick apology.  In the last post I alluded to a two parter for the Eagle shot progression.  Turns out, I should have referred to it as a three parter.  Decided not to burn up your image cache and hold back a series for another day.  Hope you like our national bird as you will be getting your fill of them for sure.

American Bald Eagle found in Bettendorf, IA, in January 2017

Continuing on from the last post, I was commenting on the number of standard Eagle shots I’ve collected over the years.  Overwhelming to be honest, but I enjoy these mighty creatures and find myself snapping away whenever we encounter them.  In the last post I showcased the more traditional shots.

American Bald Eagle found in Davenport, IA, in January 2017

Hit the jump to see some more offerings from the Eagle folder.

Continue reading Progression – Eagle Perspectives Part 2

Triggered

Howdy folks.  Feeling a bit of sadness at the moment for our exploration is entering its last leg as we begin our return.  As a welcome home gift, Mother Nature has decided to throw a blizzard in our honor – we might be able to outlast it depending on our return path, but will not be holding our breaths – Midwest states have a way of making sure you never forget you chose to live in a four season state.  The good news is the trip was very successful and bringing back tins full of 2021 fodder… err ’22.. hmm ’23 ugh.  In truth, it isn’t really the snaps that I’ll remember the most, rather the great people I had the chance to meet along the way.  There is something about the birding community that is truly special – always friendly, always willing to share and always eager to help on an ID or provide timely education.  Gives you a feeling of hope as we’ve met people from all over the US that understand what it means to be courteous, kind and well, for lack of a better term, civilized. I’ll go into more details on the great people we met as the new trip posts roll out.  Until then, wanted to get to a topic I’ve been delaying for a while.

American Bald Eagle found in Bettendorf, IA in January 2017

Our great country’s national bird, the American Bald Eagle.  Truly in the upper echelon of what I classify as majestic birds.  They literally demand your reverence when they are around.  Calm, cool, collected and strong all wrapped in a feathered shell capable of deadly force.

American Bald Eagle found in Bettendorf, IA in January 2017

Hit the jump to see some more Eagles on sticks!

Continue reading Triggered