Tree Swallow Goofy Ridge

Greetings everyone.  A little off my posting pace as we’ve been preparing for another extended exploration.   This put me in a bit of a bind with my earlier promise to get you more recent material.  Unlike the older queue material, the newer images need to be worked up on the fly which is difficult to do on the road, nor do I really want to take the time to transfer all the data to portable storage.   Instead, I’ve been working feverishly in the digital darkroom to finish up some production work to cover posts while we are out and about.   All of this while Linda wants my help packing the RV – the nerve hehehehe.  While getting all this squared away, thought I’d throw out an older set of images to hold you over.  

American Tree Swallow found at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in July 2017

How about some cute cuddly Tree Swallows to brighten these pandemic days!?!   This is actually a sister post to one I made back in July of 2017 when the images were fresh to the month (link here).  I needed to work up an image for a photography competition at a local fair (first shot in that previous entry) and grabbed a couple of other random shots to fill out a post.  These are additional shots after I had time to go back and look at the entire shoot.  American Tree Swallow found at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in July 2017

Continue reading Tree Swallow Goofy Ridge

Cadbury Tryouts

Happy Easter everyone! This morning I was out on my 16 mile training run on the trails of Jubilee State Park when I came upon not one but TWO Easter Bunnies. At first I was admittedly a bit startled. Not so much that I would come upon them in the middle of running the woods, but they didn’t exactly fit the model. Sure, both had two rather large ears, but wasn’t expecting them to each have 6 legs, 2 arms and stand 6 feet tall! One of them extended a Happy Easter and then offered me a chocolate rabbit pulled from a leather pouch. “We are playing Easter Ambassadors and offering treats to everyone we see in honor of our Savior’s rising.” I extended my appreciation for the thought, but passed – can’t imagine the gooey mess that would be by the time I finished the run. We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. Note, this happened at mile 14.5 so assuredly the synapses were experiencing some fatigue, however, the large “U” shapes and the ummm… let’s go with presents left on the rest of the trail provided some evidence to the encounter. By the way, those bunnies must east a LOT! Made it home and thought I would get a post out in recognition of the special day and, of course, relay the events from earlier in the day. Spent a significant amount of time going through the 3+ years of backlogged images only to come up empty – NOT A SINGLE BUNNY PICTURE IN THE QUEUE. At a loss, I decided to hold a Cadbury tryout to see what would be the official substitute for the ’21 Easter Bunny. First up…

WTH, that thing doesn’t even have fur.  “..but look at my big cute round eyes and I have Praying right there in my name”.  Uhhhh nope.  Next.

Continue reading Cadbury Tryouts

Industrial Birds

Greetings everyone!  We are nearing the end of another month and in the past I would be in a bit of panic to make up any difference in my self-imposed monthly post quota.  As you probably noticed, not so much an issue now with the retirement.  Don’t want to jinx myself though as there is a new exploration currently in planning that might impact my productivity.  As we are still in the early stages of week, wanted to get something to you that was fresh out of the tin.

Monk Parakeet found at Elmhurst, IL substation in March 2021

Our featured feathered friend … wait, just realized I can now go with … our fresh featured feathered friend – and yes, it was noticed it was “flying”, but that just seemed one ‘f’ too many or as they say “right out” ha.  As I was saying, our F.F.F, just came out of the digital darkroom solution bath.

Monk Parakeet found at Elmhurst, IL substation in March 2021

Hit the jump to see a few … err… better make that a lot more shots from our birding trip up north.

Continue reading Industrial Birds

Shrooms and Goslings in the Concrete Jungle

Every year I forget how much work it takes to keep the ol’ homestead up.  During the winter months I get a bit of a break as the tasks related to the woods are somewhat suspended beyond dealing with unexpected downed trees overpowered by the additional weight of snow and ice.  That all changes when spring starts to push its weight around.  Lucked out today as the clouds decided to pelt us with water balloons.  To the blogosphere!

Canada Goose and Goslings found in University of Illinois campus in April 2018

I tried my hardest to find some chickens or something equivalent in recognition of my Alma Mater choking away its number one seed in the NCAA Tournament, but no luck.  Crap, just realized I could have used an American Coot being that I always refer to them as water chickens.  Already have the Canada Goose worked up for today’s post so let’s stick with that.

Canada Goose and Goslings found in University of Illinois campus in April 2018

Hit the jump if you are curious about where today’s featured feathered friend happens to be sitting.

Continue reading Shrooms and Goslings in the Concrete Jungle

A Grey Day

Ever have one of those days in the field when you come up on a subject that just doesn’t want to cooperate with you no matter how hard you try.  Perhaps you are initially elated to witness a bird for the first time and as the encounter plays out that early jubilation fades away leaving a soured feeling behind.  Has that frustration embedded itself so deep in your psyche that you are willing to simply clear the digital record and forget the whole event?…

Grey Hawk found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2020

Yeah, me neither ha!  When the feathered friend is already in the tin, then that may be  different story.  When it comes to +1’s you take what you can get, work it as much as it deserves in the digital darkroom and be happy you can make the little mark next to a new entry in the check list.

Hit the jump to learn about one such experience – warning, the images  only get WORSE!

Continue reading A Grey Day

Be My Guest and Go First

Welcome everyone to hump day or as we now call it around Intrigued headquarters “What the Hell Brian!” Wednesday.  Translated… it’s the day where I set the wayback machine to full power and pull a series from the farthest reaches of the fodder queue free of shame, guilt, embarrassment and taunts for a second timah.  So, please return your seats back to their full upright and locked position – we are rocketing back to September 2017.

Cedar Waxwing found at Glacial Park Conservation Area in McHenry County, IL in September 2017

A little less than 4 years ago, Ron and I had the opportunity to do a little birding at Glacial Park Conservation Area in McHenry County IL.  Typically we spend part of the day birding Chain O’ Lakes and then make the short trip over to Glacial to see what’s hanging out.

Cedar Waxwing found at Glacial Park Conservation Area in McHenry County, IL in September 2017

Hit the jump to read a bit more about our young Waxwings.

Continue reading Be My Guest and Go First

A Splendid Encounter

It is a new week and you know what that means… yep, time for some LIFO popping off the photography queue.  We happen to be in the middle of a March ice storm and keeping one eye on the trees in our forest  to see what kind of damage we might be in for.  Usually not a problem as the density of the trees usually keeps the swaying to a minimum, but the wind is picking up and I am starting to see some ripples.  It is quite beautiful with the shimmer off of the ice covered limbs.  Speaking of beautiful, let’s get to today’s very special featured feathered friend.

Female Elegant Trogon found at Estero Llano Grande State Park, Weslaco TX in January 2021

How about that for a gorgeous bird!?!  Even for a female, this aptly named Elegant Trogon has an aura of nobility.  Be sure and check out the stunning color sported by the males if you want to see what it looks like to be clothed in splendor.  Today, however, we will be focused on this lady in the trees.

Female Elegant Trogon found at Estero Llano Grande State Park, Weslaco TX in January 2021

Hit the jump to see some additional images taken of this new check on my birding list and learn about what it took to get it in the tin.

Continue reading A Splendid Encounter

You Call that a Curve?

As this is officially Flashback Friday, I can finally get to the post I had originally planned for last Friday.  Before I do that, a quick self-pat on the back.  Runkeeper recently notified me I had reached the 10,000 total miles mark.

Runkeepr 10000 miles

99.9% of that was thanks to tracking my runs since April 2011.  That was about 10 years after I had transitioned to this hobby due to some serious injuries in my true love martial arts that signaled those brutal days in the dojo had run their course – new pains/bruises/breaks were coming faster than I could recover from the last ones.  So, in actuality, well short of the total miles covered in my brief running career, but those first few years were training to complete the 7 mile Bix7 race where now the roads have been replaced with ultra-trails.  My body definitely appreciates this lower impact hobby (although thanks to running I have had two trips via ambulance to the emergency room where I was able to make it there myself during the combat days ha!)  Enough about me, bring on the featured feathered friend for flashback Friday.

Curve-Billed Thrasher found at McAllen Nature Center in McAllen, TX in January 2020

Our rather menacing looking bird comes to us courtesy of our birding trip along the Texas Gulf Coast back in January 2020.  Seems odd to be talking about flashbacks for an outing that occurring a little more than a year ago – in the past that would have been considered fresh out of the camera.

Curve-Billed Thrasher found at McAllen Nature Center in McAllen, TX in January 2020

Hit the jump to read more about our menacing looking bird.

Continue reading You Call that a Curve?

Gonna Need a Change of Feathers

Greetings everyone.  Sitting here in our dentist parking lot waiting for Linda to finish getting some work done.  How times have changed as now I actually long to sit in a real “waiting” room vs being cooped up in a vehicle.  Looking at the positives, this situation is quite conducive to cranking out a post.  We are still in the “fresh” post part of the week putting the focus on more recent outings. While perusing the options in the queue, noticed that I left everyone hanging on the third part of the latest Eagle experiences at Davenport lock and dam.  Along with the traditional shots (link here) and the action shots (link here), promised you some highlights of new behaviors seen above the water.  The Eagles were quite active that day showing off their skilz for the dozen or so photographers lined up to see the show.

A quick recap to get everyone in the mood.  First relax the legs and line up the approach.

Bald Eagles found in Davenport IA in February 2021

Then cock the legs to prepare for the impact.

Bald Eagles found in Davenport IA in February 2021

Finally stab to break the water’s surface.

Bald Eagles found in Davenport IA in February 2021

Hit the jump to read about my new experiences that day – one was quite comical.

Continue reading Gonna Need a Change of Feathers

Where’s walQue

Well, I had a post topic all planned out.  Got the images worked up in the digital darkroom and was all ready to sit down and pound out a few accompanying words and hit the publish key for a fitting end of the week.  Except that was supposed to happen on Friday.  Ended up getting distracted by some projects and next thing I know it is Sunday.  In the past, not a problem, what’s a couple more days when the shots were taken well over a year ago.  With the new year’s commitment to get fresher material out during the first part of the week.. well, let’s just say the “search” was on to find another topic.  Taking that theme to heart, going with Where’s walQue?

Common Pauraque found at Estero Llano Grande State Park, Weslaco, TX in January 2021

Our featured feathered friend today is in the cell phone image above – actually, bringing you TWO specimens today from our recent January trip to the Texas Gulf Coast.

Hit the jump to reveal our well-hidden friends.

Continue reading Where’s walQue