Not So Shiny

A friend of mine has been getting me all teased up for a vacation trip to Hawaii.  He is headed there soon and busy pointing out all the birds from that region he’s already managed to get in the tin.  Linda and I had plans to go there for our 25th wedding anniversary, but we ended up postponing it due to other commitments.  Every year since then we have tried to plan a makeup trip – again to no avail.  Last year we decided that this would be our retirement gift to ourselves and put the trip on the shelf until we decide it’s time to divorce ourselves from the daily grind.  So every time someone mentions they are heading to the islands my fingers get all twitchy like, a tick develops in the shoulder and my eyes start to blink uncontrollably until I make Quasimodo look like GQ material.  They have some stunners of birds there that I need to see… damn, there goes that twitch again.  Oh well, I can at least live vicariously through my friend’s captures until we decide to turn our badges in.  You’ll be mine Red-Crested Cardinal .. some day… some day.  Until we get to go island hopping, I can still continue hunting for all the continental US birds that still continue to elude me.  Today’s featured bird first fell victim to my hunt back in December 2015 (link here).

Female Phainopepla found at Wetlands Park Preserve, Henderson Nevada, November 2018

Wait.. ummm, a little late on this, but for those that might be slightly concerned over wildlife with red eyes, you might want to be cautious – the light on these shots were not as conducive to getting the nice red highlights, but they do possess the dreaded early morning Vegas eyes.  If you recall back on that initial encounter, we were at Corn Creek Visitor Center outside Las Vegas, Nevada.  While birding the Mojava Desert over New Year’s, we found a Phainopepla hanging out at the top of a tree.  Those shots had to be heavily processed to account for horrible backlighting.   In oddly similar manner, we discovered this new specimen.  Like before, we were in Vegas, in Late November (close enough to the New Year’s timeframe), and once again it was sitting at the top of a tree in horrible backlight.

Female Phainopepla found at Wetlands Park Preserve, Henderson Nevada, November 2018

Hit the jump to read a bit more about the shoot.

Continue reading Not So Shiny

Thank the Quails

Today I watched a Subway employee sort cheese.  Actually, sorting might be the wrong word since that it implies there were multitudes of different cheeses thrown in a giant pile that needed to be properly organized.  Yep, wrong word.  Let’s go with “aligning” cheese.   I was in somewhat of a hurry thanks to having recently injured my lower back during a run (interesting story, will save for another lead in).  It basically hurt to stand (…or sit… or lie down) and therefore wanted to get back to the car and home before someone saw tears welling up.  The Subway employee was standing at the counter directly in front of the lady ahead of me.  There she proceeded to align the pepper jack cheese.   One by one down the foot long stack of triangles.  Ever find yourself staring at something and too mesmerized to look away?  One eye was on the cheese dance, the other was on the lady ahead of me trying to predict her breaking point.  Word to the wise, psych classes are NOT healthy for you.  To her credit, she waited until the cheese was sorted and properly stored in the container at which point she gave her order and asked for .. wait for it ..wait for it .. Swiss.  The Swiss bin was empty forcing her to go back and get new packages.  To her credit, she just took 4 pieces and finished her sandwich.  With that done, she came back in front of me to get my order .. umm no, she opted to take the rest of the Swiss triangles out of the bag, align and put in the bin not looking at me once.  “Rest” is somewhat of a guess since I turned and hobbled out the store.  Nothing like having a direct reminder not to leave my customers hanging … especially my loyal readers.  So, without delay, I give you the first +1 of the year.

Abet's Towhee found at Wetlands Park Preserve in Henderson, Nevada November, 2018

This would be the very rare Headstick Sparrow.  These brown jobbers develop antler like protrusions in the middle of their head providing a built in defense against aggressive Owls and the ability meld into underbrush when land predators come calling.  Don’t worry, Linda isn’t buying it either.  I think the words “crappy photographer” just rang out from her den.  Sigh, okay, this is not a Headstick Sparrow, but it is from the Sparrow family – the Abert’s Towhee.  Here is a better shot sans stick.

Abet's Towhee found at Wetlands Park Preserve in Henderson, Nevada November, 2018

Hit the jump to read a bit more about this secluded Sparrow.

Continue reading Thank the Quails