Gone Nuts

Here we are at the feels like day 2,882 of the Illinois lockdown.  All I can say at this point is our political leadership has gone full on batshit crazy.  Can barely stomach the news anymore and the next entertainer that thinks I give a crap what they think is going on my “never again” list.  Trust me, you do not want to be in the customer facing business and be put on my NA list.  Unfortunately new adds these days are already starting on page 52.  I was sitting here thinking to myself how nuts this whole thing and one of these specimens flew by the window I was staring out.

White-Breasted Nuthatch found at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove, IL April 2017

Now that is a sign if I’ve ever witnessed one.  Mid-thought on the pontificating nutjobs and a Nut – a White-Breasted Nuthatch lands in a tree near our porch.   Yes Mother Nature that is a perfect metaphor for our current situation.  My camera was too far away to bring to bear on our new visitor (that being it was sitting about 30 feet away ha), but I was pretty sure there was a series in the queue that would do fine.  Sure enough, with a little digging found a suitable stand-in.  Honestly, was a bit surprised to find only one specimen in the queue as just about every common bird in our area has a couple sets just waiting for a chance to be revealed to the world.  The only question is how far back do I want to go 1990, 2000, 2010 hehehe.  Our lone entry today takes us only back to April, 2017 – a mere 3 years ago which is about when my broke state imposed its lockdown.  Ron and I were checking out the inhabitants of Chain O’ Lakes State Park in Spring Grove, IL. A nice park that happens to be relatively halfway between us.  Linda runs the kids in dog agility up there so I tag along to do a bit of birding.  Always a fun time when Ron can join me, although finding a bird, snapping a shot and then scaring it off before he sees it is getting harder and harder (did I write that out loud ha).  In this case, pretty sure he managed to tin this specimen.  No gain on the bird count, but still an entertaining little bird (that, for a fact, has never felt obligated to preach to me).

White-Breasted Nuthatch found at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove, IL April 2017

Hit the jump to see a few more images of our featured Nutjob.

Continue reading Gone Nuts

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

Project Chekov: Nuthatch

Today is a milestone of such for me. Not so much the ongoing record number of posts this month, but more on a personal level.  Today’s road run crested 10 miles which puts me 6 months ahead of schedule on the yearly training program.  This came at a cost of 7 pounds – must force myself to be more diligent on the hydration.  The Winter months are usually recovery time for me (the season can take a toll on the old body), however, this year I’m trying to run more outside during the Winter months.  Hoping this will help curtail some reoccurring  injuries that has plagued me late in the season.  Of course, this means that I had to buy additional sets of cold running suits/shoes  and as of late put up with 4 to 7 inches of snow mixed with solid layers of ice.  It does force me to keep my foot falls under my body which helps to curb any residual heal strikes.  We’ll see how this goes but for now definitely exciting.   To celebrate let’s spotlight another winged creature.

Today we are revisiting the White-Breasted Nuthatch.  This is definitely not a new bird to the blog but today’s shots are certainly a lot crispier than any of the other offerings on this bird to date.  It is actually embarrassing how bad the first set of pictures was (link here) and even the later shots while walking the park (link here) leaves a lot to be desired).  This is one of the reasons I started blogging in the first place – to allow me to track my progress in the field of photography.  Still thousands of miles to go on the journey but doubt anyone can argue there is some progress.  These Nuthatches are common in our area and a frequent visitor to our feeders – they really like those sunflower seeds.  They have a unique coloring that makes it fairly easy to identify, but one of their behaviors is a dead giveaway.

They have a tendency to walk DOWN tress and branches.  Pretty impressive they can keep control like that (and avoid those dreaded headrushes).  These Nuthatches are not too social at our feeders.  You will see one come and stage in a nearby branch, survey the situation, dart in, grab a seed and head back out into the trees to consume it.

Hit the jump to see some feeder shots

Continue reading Project Chekov: Nuthatch