Low Rider

My little vacation has come to an end and back to work I go.  Don’t feel too sorry for me, I basically have 4 days of work left before I close the books on this year.  Thankfully, I’ll be able to look forward to a much better year as this one I’d just as soon forget altogether.  We’ll be heading back down to Texas sometime in the first couple of months in hopes of getting the first part of the new year off on the right foot.  Knowing how much content those trips add to the photography queue, figured I’d try my best to pop some of the previous Texas finds off the queue – some of those still need proper IDs and need some final validation from Ron (those damn Terns all look alike from afar).  Fortunately, today’s featured feathered friend was easy to classify.

Double-Crested Cormorant found on Galveston Island, Texas December 2016

This rather smug looking  waterbird was found while visiting Galveston Island State Park back in December 2016 (Yes B in the UK I am still waaaay behind ha).  While exploring the trails and shorelines for Clapper Rails, I came upon this Cormorant hanging out in the packed sand.  Not being up on my Cormorant game, I initially ID’d it as a female knowing the rest of the Cormorants that I’ve photographed were splendored in much darker to all black feathering (link here).  At the time it wasn’t obvious whether this specimen was the standard Double-Crested variety or the Neotropic which I had previously photographed in the same place (link here).

Double-Crested Cormorant found on Galveston Island, Texas December 2016

Hit the jump to read more about my education on this particular species.

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Somewhat Red for Xmas

I can tell Christmas is almost here by the signs of growing stress while out and about.  It all really starts on Black Friday … let me take that back, thanks to greedy merchants and blunt force trauma of Christmas advertising campaigns it really starts in mid-October.  This premature blitz causes some serious angst with me as it is a clear war on my favorite holiday Halloween.  Pretty sure the Kringle capitalists want to dispense with the orange and black and force a solid 3 month barrage of sleigh bells and, god forbid, horrible version after horrible version of Santa Baby. It may just be me, but by the time this traditionally festive time comes to a head I am worn out.  Sure, I like to entertain myself by spending time at popular merchants observing frantic people desperate to fill the void under the tree or get that hot item that sold out … in October, but you have to feel a bit saddened to see the impact a once joy-centric event now has on society.  Linda gives me a hard time about my tradition of going to the stores on Christmas Eve to experience this devolution – this is what psychology enthusiasts do for fun.  I cannot speak for other countries and cultures, but if you happen to live in the US, take a look around and start assessing the happiness of those around you, especially on the road, in the parking lots and especially in the cashier lines – what percentage give the impression they are glad to be there?  If they do look happy, they are probably psychology majors ha!  Feel bad about the downer opening, but really just hoping you can take a breath and remember the holiday should really be about family, relaxation and well, blogging!

Finally worked up a long series for my other blog (ironically focused on Halloween), but before investing in that effort, thought I’d get another bird post out for my wildlife readers.  Going with one of the big boys today.

Reddish Egret discovered at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge January 2017

The Reddish Egret is not the largest of the shorebirds, but still tower over the standard peeps and plovers whose shorter legs force them to forage closer to the shore.  In fact, just the three toed foot of the Egrets are larger than some of those birds.  Those other shorebirds don’t seem to be stressed by the size different, since I have never seen a Reddish, or for that matter any Egret, waste their time harassing the smaller birds – probably worried some stressed out piper trying to get a last minute Xmas gift will go medieval on them.  Nope these Egrets are calm, cool and collected as they keep an eye out for an unfortunate frog (now, frogs do have a legitimate reason to be stressed).

Reddish Egret discovered at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge January 2017

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of the two-toned Egret!

Continue reading Somewhat Red for Xmas

A Thrashing Surprise

Decided to give my loyal readers a break from all the running posts – and by “deciding” I mean bowing to the crap load of hate emails and phone calls I have received from those of you that believe the only running distance worth completing begins with a 0 and ends with a 0 with a single period between them.  The good news is we can turn this post into a win win.  First off, I spare you the last remaining run post and instead feature another catch while on our Texas Gulf Coast Birding Trip back in December 2017 – on the 30th to be exact so just a few days from the current year.  This makes this an extremely fresh post based on my normal wildlife recollections.  Recently  I was offered the opportunity to speak at our local camera club.  Their president saw my speech to the local Audubon Society and thought the camera club would enjoy it as well.  This has added to the overall whirlwind of activities that has been consuming me over the last two months (if you have been reading my posts, you are well aware of how I’ve been struggling to get posts out).  With the completion of the season’s last scheduled half marathon trail run past Saturday (yeah) this is the final task on my to-do list ahead of my favorite day Halloween.  The win on my part is this post allows me to pad my bird count by an extra tick before speech – yep, this is another new bird!

Long-Billed Thrasher found at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, December 2017

Hit the jump to find out what this mystery species is!

Continue reading A Thrashing Surprise