Blue Imposter…by Brad Marks

Welcome to June everyone! Admittedly I am a bit behind – things are… hmmm… let’s go with “normal” for Intrigued… translated… running around like headless chickens trying to get everything that needs to be done between the runs. I naively thought there would be an abundance of time after I retired, nope! This month is especially demanding as it is the last month of hard training before the first ultra of the season scheduled for the first week of July (link here). Heat conditioning, hydration/nutrition validation and worst of all, 20+ mile brutal hill runs … my body can’t wait until taper. While I ice to keep the black and blue bruising out of my legs, will turn the post duties over to Brad to tell us about a different kind of blue.

…take it away Brad!

It’s not really an imposter, but the name for this nearly white bird doesn’t seem to fit very well.  A little while ago I wrote about the great blue heron (link here).  This one is about a smaller heron cousin:  the little blue heron (Egretta caerulea), another +1.  This is a juvenile version of the little blue heron.  No, not a middle-school type of juvenile making fart jokes.  I’m talking about the juvenile variety that doesn’t have its adult plumage yet.  Contrary to what the name implies, the only thing blue on this little heron at this point is the end of its bill.  For now.  Its feathers will turn darker blue in its second year and look similar to a smaller version of the great blue heron.  The only coloring kept from childhood into adulthood is the bill and greenish legs.  The white feathers are replaced by a purple-maroon colored neck and a dark slate-blue-colored body.  Until their darker adult plumage grows in, they are very easy to spot in their surroundings.

Little Blue Heron by Brad Marks

Hit the jump to read more about this incognito wader.

Continue reading Blue Imposter…by Brad Marks

Technicolor Heron…by Brad Marks

It’s agility dog show weekend which means we are packing up the steel mule and heading out to…well, somewhere other than here. I am generally told the destination at some point between getting on and getting off the mule. If I am lucky I packed enough underwear for whatever length of stay it turns out to be (yep, I cheat and get an idea of how many days and climate zones are being crossed by seeing what Linda ends up packing). She also indicated I don’t need to bring running clothes, so this one sounds fairly shot. While out, Brad will once again be at the helm of the Intrigued armada. Fingers crossed he keeps the flowers watered and more importantly, prevents our lawyers from throwing a kegger – last time I left they papered all the inside walls with photocopies of their butts. We had to disinfect the copier before the rest of our departments would even come near it. Good luck Brad ha!

Take it away Captain…

I often wonder where the names come from for some of the birds I see and photograph.  Many are very obvious:  red-winged blackbird for example.  (Even though it should really be the “red with a splotch of yellow”-winged blackbird.)  Or the red-headed woodpecker.  Nailed that one.  Not so obvious is the red-bellied woodpecker (have to look very close to see the red, and if you are close enough to see it you are probably too close). 

Today’s subject is no different.  While technically not “technicolor”, it is tricolored.  No, not the RGB (red/green/blue) colors so many former IT people know about.  But there are certainly more than the three main colors as the name implies.  At first glance, tricolored herons (Egretta tricolor) look like a miniature version of the great blue heron in stature and color.  However, when this one turned towards us there is a bright white patch on its throat and breast. 

Tricolored Heron by Brad Marks

Hit the jump to read more about this Great Blue Heron mini-me!

Continue reading Technicolor Heron…by Brad Marks

Bigger Than Your Head…by Brad Marks

Greetings everyone, we are back with another adventure from Brad’s queue. Today’s feature is a perfect reflection of today – too big of a bite as it were. Ever had one of those days when you feel a 1,000 percent and decide to step up your game in celebration? My friend had to bail on our trail run today, so thought “Hey Bri, let’s put on the big boy pants and go hit the second hardest trail course in the area”. Mind you, Inner Bri has NEVER turned down a challenge and now several hours later sitting here wondering at what point an alien is going to pop out of my lungs. 2 months to go before I have a 50K on the big daddy course – Inner Bri is evil ha. I’ll let Brad take you through what kind of bite his subject took.

…take it away Brad! (note, you can use the image links to view the full sized images)

Like most of you, winter gets old pretty fast for us. Jan was looking at fun, quick, and warm trips for a February getaway from central Illinois. Not that the weather can’t be lovely in central Illinois in February, but it’s usually not. She found an inexpensive hotel suite in Myrtle Beach. I asked what’s there to do in Myrtle Beach (not knowing since we’d never been to South Carolina before). She said there are more than a few nature and wildlife reserves in the immediate area. By the way, did you know that Myrtle Beach is the mini-golf capital of the world? There are over fifty, fifty as in “five-zero”, mini-golf establishments located in Myrtle Beach. Jan and I saw two or three new ones being built.

One of the best winter locations for birding (IMHO) is Huntington Beach State Park, south of Myrtle Beach.  The park has multiple environments to attract all sorts of birds: seashore habitats, tidal marsh habitats, brackish and somewhat tidal habitats, freshwater habitats, forest habitats, and open grassy area habitats.  Need I say more?  It’s a fantastic place to see a plethora of birds in a variety of habitats without traveling to multiple states over multiple days.

Great Blue Heron Hunting by Brad Marks

Hit the jump to read about Brads hungry GBH(ippo)

Continue reading Bigger Than Your Head…by Brad Marks