Now that is One Fresh Owl

It has been a few days since I’ve been able to post on the wild side of Intrigued.  Before I get accused of slacking since retirement, I have been busy on the post front.  The Halloween Haunted Trail posts are finally getting the spotlight and those are a lot of work – one more part to go on that and that will finally be checked off my to-do list.  As you can tell from the image below, I decided that I needed a break from the haunting.

Barred Owl found at Jubilee College State Park in December 2020

Hit the jump to learn something interesting about our feathered friend – hint, these images might still be wet.

Continue reading Now that is One Fresh Owl

A Case of the Blues in the Ill

The hysteria continues to thrive around us.  Shelves laid bare in the paper aisle, shopping carts full of anything that has the word antibacterial on it and to top it off we have people that aren’t even accountable for the outcome pontificating on TV about how they would solve the crisis – comical in the instances where they were in charge and didn’t do jack.  Regardless, since my last post they have closed down all our state parks, banned eating in restaurants and shuttered bars.  Wait, this just in, CDC is discouraging any gathering over 50 people.  So, now not only are my official races canceled I can’t even continue with my training runs in the safety of Jubilee State Park.  Hell, I can’t even bird in my favorite park which means I have no way to keep the internal crazies at bay.

Eastern Bluebird found at Jubilee State Park June 2017

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of the Blues.

Continue reading A Case of the Blues in the Ill

A Walk in the Park

I can only assume things are getting .. if not already been.. crazy wherever you might call home.  All the large events have now been canceled (including two of my scheduled races for April), schools have been shuttered, remote work has been instituted where possible and now we officially have our first confirmed case of the Coronavirus in our local area.  I’ll spare you the political gamesmanship that is going on at the same time beyond the tidbit my tax evading governor of our broke state is on TV complaining that people are continuing to go outside – the horror, the horror (oh, but he still wants everyone to go out and vote on Tuesday – long live politics).  Will be interesting to see how this all plays out.  Lemons out of lemonade, there’s extra time to devote to the image backlog.

Birds of Jubilee State Park - June 2017

The queue can definitely use the extra attention now that it has been drastically inflated thanks to the discovery of the previously mentioned missing directory.  Being that it is currently snowing here in the heart of Illinois, decided to take you on a virtual bird walk.  There was a series of shots in the queue taken back in June of 2017 courtesy of a stroll through my favorite local state park – Jubilee College.  It happens to be only a mile south of us – our woods and those of my neighbor’s all link to this park.  A lot of my free time is spent there either training on hills or enjoying birding hikes on their many trails.   This collection is more focused on the bird variety discovered that day than the photographic execution.  Sometimes you just need to focus on the joy of being outdoors and experiencing nature leaving the stress of getting the camera and light settings mastered.  Sean O’Connell said it best “Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.”

Birds of Jubilee State Park - June 2017

Hit the jump to do a little virtual birding!

Continue reading A Walk in the Park

Unwarranted Concern

Sorry everyone, it has been an extremely busy month so far and time keeps getting away from me – a lot of that due to running.  I was able to log a 13 mile run today in a very hilly course, so I’m feeling comfortable about my upcoming Toughest Illinois’ 15K race.  The good news on the blog front is I am once again within the 2 year queue window having processes a number of shoots including a run to Starved Rock and another to Kentucky – yes, they include new bird plus ones that are excited about their upcoming blog debut.

Thought I would throw out a quick one tonight just to get the ball rolling for the month.

Snowberry Clearwing shot at Jubilee College State Park in August of 2014

I should probably mention now that I have a pretty significant aversion to bees and hornets.  On the bees front I used to experience significant swelling when I was a young kid whenever a bee would decide to sink its stinger in my tender flesh.  Now that I am older I get a little less anxious around them when they are roaming around SOLO – get ground bees congested in a dirt hole and this dude starts looking for implements of mass annihilation.  Mowed over a nest last year and several played a game of darts on my behalf.  On the Bumblebee front I usually just let them be (see what I did there hehehe) having never met an aggressive one in the field – usually they are too drunk on nectar to care about me.  However, there is one type of large hornet or wasp that used to terrorized our summer Wiffle Ball field.  I have yet to fully ID it, but it was at least 2 inches long, banded with black and yellow with a stinger that would bring some serious tears to a young boy’s eyes.  When I saw this creature through my camera it immediately triggered a flight reaction

Snowberry Clearwing shot at Jubilee College State Park in August of 2014

Could this be the terror of my youth!?!  Concern quickly turned to intrigue and forced myself to try and get some additional shots.  It was big – maybe in the 1 inch body size with a 1.5-2 inch wingspan.  Definitely the right color palette, but something seemed a bit off.  Those wings are much more robust than the standard Bee or Wasp wing and I do not remember either have a furry butt.  Then I saw this image in the digital dark room.

Snowberry Clearwing shot at Jubilee College State Park in August of 2014

That image left me with the impression it was more of a Butterfly than a Bee or Wasp.  Time to hit Google and figure out what this mystery guest was.  From a region perspective, this was found at Jubilee State Park back in August 2014.  Using that information with a smattering of the visual characteristics eventually revealed the answer to the mystery – as best I can tell, this is a Clearwing – likely of type Snowberry.  My fears were unwarranted, for this is a harmless member of the Moth family.  I hope that isn’t what we raged war on as a kid, but I distinctly remember getting stung by one so either we allowed ourselves to exaggerate too much and it was really a hornet or that villain is yet to be properly identified.  The good news is I’ll be able to recognize the Clearwing from this point forward and let myself enjoy the moment rather than fight the flight urge.

Hope you enjoyed this new Moth for the blog – see you again real soon.

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