Greetings everyone! We are essentially at the midpoint of our winter trip south and I must say this has been quite a productive start to this year’s Average Year efforts (not updated yet, but link here). Ron was able to meet us down here for a week and recently headed back (ironically on the day the FAA grounded all planes). Now Linda and I need to head back to get all the birds we hid from him hehehe. We’ll be moving our base camp soon and that means connectivity may be in jeopardy. While we get that straightened out, I’m going to leave you in Brad’s capable hands to keep you entertained. In case you notice a green tint to this post, that’s due to the fact Brad has managed to tin a bird neither Ron or I have…I’ll let him tell the story.
Take it away Brad!
As you may have guessed, Jan and I have traveled to Colorado a few times recently. Our daughter lives there so it gives us a very good excuse to frequent Colorado and all it has to offer. During our visit last spring, we decided to check out some local hiking. Many of the guide books lists dozens, nay, hundreds of hikes from casual walks to the much more adventurous challenging hikes, some involving ropes and harnesses. We decided to see what was close by our hotel near Boulder. After a brief All Trails app search, Jan found Eldorado Canyon State Park. We first went last April, but Jan was hobbled by an injury and couldn’t hike far. We headed back this fall to more fully explore. Once leaving the Boulder area, the highways turned into county or village roads (no center stripes in some cases) and then very quickly into unimproved roads. By “unimproved” I mean not paved but graded every now and then. Oddly enough the roads “improved” a bit once we were inside the park (still not paved though). We’ve learned from last April not to make the rookie mistake of stopping at the very first pull-off.
Hit the jump to read more about Brad’s Colorado adventure at Eldorado Canyon State Park!
Greetings all on this last day of September! For the counters out there, you were probably getting worried that my production this month was coming up a bit short on my self-imposed quota. No worries, as you can see.. that deficiency has officially been addressed. Truth is this month is an annual test of how much sleep one truly needs to be able to function. In my case that is staggeringly low. Running definitely takes time off the top, but the rest is being consumed by work on the Haunted Trail of Tears. Somehow I forget how much work it is to put this on every year… a true labor of love. Today also happens to be the one year anniversary of my Father’s passing. One of the saddest days in my life and still a big hole in my heart that will never be filled. Um to that Yang, it is Ron’s birthday and nothing says Happy Birthday like an Elk.
It isn’t very often that you get to have an Elk from the Rocky Mountains give you a birthday greeting. By the way, that is your gift this year hehehe.
Hit the jump to see a few more shots of the Wapiti.
Merry Christmas Eve everyone! Not sure if I am going to get around to posting tomorrow, so thought I would go ahead and put one out there today. Finally feels like Christmas in the Midwest thanks to a lot of white stuff coming down at the moment. Looks like 2-4 inches when it is all done for the day. A perfect dusting to add to the holiday atmosphere – not to mention our well could sure use some recharging. Today’s post is actually inspired by a recent set of pictures my brother Ron posted from his recent Florida trip. He was able to witness and get in the tin the brutality of the Loggerhead Shrike. You have to feel a little bad for whatever creature crosses its path at feeding time. I wonder if he would be willing to guest blog on that series of shots – think you would enjoy that in a squeamish sort of way. .
In light of that, thought I would roll out my example of the circle of life. Warning though, bunny lovers might want to skip this particular post.
That there is a Cooper’s Hawk that I encountered while visiting Red Rocks Ampitheatre back in May 2014. We were out in Colorado for a Teacup Dog Agility Nationals. Linda knows how to bribe me to go with her. Simply mention Red Rocks Ampitheatre and my bags will be packed in a jiffy. I’ve posted a number of shots from my explorations at that place in the past. A number of those were +1’s on the birding list. Even got a nice fox while out there (link here).
From the birding list perspective, the Cooper doesn’t represent a +1 having posted most recently from an encounter in Champaign IL (link here).
Hit the jump to see some more images from the Ampitheatre.
I am glad to be back home now. It was a rather long weekend with the two races at the start of the weekend and then ended with a long day at the Poodle Agility Nationals down at Purina Farm near St. Louis. By the time we made it home last night Linda and I were totally exhausted and the dogs were like potato sacks passed out on the RV bed. That is when you know you have officially got everything you possibly could out of an extended weekend – of course, that made the workday a lot longer to ugh. Luckily, I was able to get at least one post out while traveling leaving me with only one more to hit my monthly quota – might as well get that out of the way while I am thinking about it.
Take a look at this beauty of a bird…
All I can say is gorgeous. It may be due to the fact I am so fond of Halloween, but this has to be one of my favorite color palettes for a bird. Please overlook the composition and technical execution of this batch of photos. This particular specimen was hanging out in clearly the most tangled branch tree it could find to thwart my every effort to get a clean shot. Not sure what kind of tree this was, but it ended up not only providing excellent protection from The Beast, but it also looks quite menacing seeing as how some of the branches look like grey barbed wire.
We are still in bonus time here at blog headquarters. I was able to get my monthly quota in pretty quick this month thanks to a strong push out of the gate. That means we get some extra time to focus on subjects that have already been featured in a previous post. I’ve typed it once, I’ve typed it a hundred times, the greatest thing about being a birder photographer is every outing is like a new beginning. Even if you have a bird in your gallery, you can always try to improve your image. Better technical, more interesting posture or even unique behavior. Note, “birder photographer” was not a typo. It is amazing how many times the question comes up as to whether you are a birder or a photographer as if they are exclusive titles. With my brother Ron on this, we are answering this question with a resounding “Yes” from now on hehehe.
So, welcome back to the blog…
… the Yellow Warbler. You may recall that this brightly feathered bird made its debut back on April 15th, 2015 (link here). Mr. Yellow from the previous post was found at Lake Andes in South Dakota. This new specimen was spotted on our trip to Colorado back in May of 2014. True to the statement above, I happen to like these first two shots better than the previous set (especially the first one).
Hit the jump to see a few more shots of the yella fella.
Apparently just changing whether it was a +1 or not is not sufficient to officially characterize my last post as bringing you something “different” – as in something other than a bird post. I base this on the number of emails that showed up from my loyal readers essentially stating changing whether it was a +1 or not “is not something different”. I can take a subtle hint (okay, maybe it wasn’t that subtle). As a form of appeasement, I officially bring you something that isn’t related to a bird. Instead, today’s feature is likely something that would EAT a bird given the opportunity.
Decided to do a quick check and sure enough, Foxes do eat birds so we can dispense with the likely. I must admit, that my bird knowledge far outweighs my Fox expertise. To the best of my knowledge bolstered by a healthy dose of Google searches, this specimen is a Red Fox. I was also able to find a few shots on the web that had the dark leg markings. That feature was confusing me a bit since our local Foxes do not seem to display that amount of darkness. The other interesting feature can be seen in the hindquarters.
Hit the jump to read a bit more about this encounter!