Alive and Kickin’!

Least Flycatcher - Northern Kettle Moraine, WI 5-18-2016
Least Flycatcher – Northern Kettle Moraine, WI 5-18-2016

Four months! Yep, four months since my last post and my thoughts are, “Oh my!” So what’s been going on? Well, a whole of birding, reading, yard work, and laziness. And while I’ve been slacking on blogging, I’ve kept some reminders in my inbox from online friends (thanks Shannon) as motivation to get back at it. So with temps in the mid-80s, it seems like an ideal day to sit out back with a fan keeping me relatively cool and the  Dave Douglas Quartet providing some audio bliss as I try and catch you up. And while I work to catch you up, I’ll be peppering this post with photos taken during my absence.

Whooping Crane - Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, WI 5-21-2016
Whooping Crane – Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, WI 5-21-2016
Common Loon - Green Lake, WI 4-23-2016
The bird that started my obsession – Common Loon – Green Lake, WI 4-23-2016

Birding – yes, I’ve been birding pretty intensely the past few months; just haven’t been blogging or editing photos. Once May arrived, all non-essential activities (i.e. cleaning, doing laundry, weeding the garden, grocery shopping, etc…) ceased completely. I was out birding 12 of the first 14 days of the month (and 22 of the 31 overall days) as migration kicked into full gear and most of these excursions were 4-6 hours in length. May was one of the major reasons I decided to move to second shift and it has paid dividends! During the week I was typically out the door by 6am, in the field by 6:15am and then birding until noon or 1pm before heading home to start work. Ahhh yes, it was wonderful to be birding in the parks without the “expendables” – those non-birders whose actions and activities are antithetical to birding (high school kids running around yelling, joggers, little kids, etc…). And yes, I understand how selfish that is, but honestly, I don’t care. I’d be perfectly content to never hear another walker/student/child in a park complaining over a cell phone about some trivilality while missing the natural beauty all around them.  See, they frustrate me even when writing about them – it’s one of the reasons I said if I ever win the lottery I’m buying a huge parcel of excellent birding land and opening it to birders only; joggers, walkers, and kids under 16 need not apply (with the exception of Michael and anyone he vouches for of course).

Hooded Warbler - Northern Kettle Moraine 5-18-2016
Ahh yes, there is always one stick in the way of a perfect shot! Hooded Warbler – Northern Kettle Moraine 5-18-2016
Black-necked Stilt - Horicon, WI 4-23-2016
Black-necked Stilt – Horicon, WI 4-23-2016

And I recently completed one of my goals for the year as I spent the end of May and beginning of June in the Dakotas  birding. Since returning I’ve been limiting my time on the computer; hence I haven’t even edited a single photo from the trip…..yet. I do plan on at least one, and possibly two, posts covering the trip. Oh, and for those of you wondering, the answer is Yes – I do plan on completing my Costa Rica trip reports.

Great Horned Owl on nest - Calumet County, WI 3-11-2016
Great Horned Owl on nest – Calumet County, WI 3-11-2016
Red-headed Woodpecker - Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, WI 5-21-2016
Red-headed Woodpecker – Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, WI 5-21-2016
Trumpeter Swans - New London, WI 3-7-2016
Trumpeter Swans – New London, WI 3-7-2016
Black-capped Chickadee - Horicon, WI 4-23-2016
While I was neglecting my own housework, this Black-capped Chickadee was getting his order by excavating a nesting cavity – Horicon, WI 4-23-2016

So you know I’ve been birding, but what’s truly been holding me up from blogging? Well, that would be reading. I’ve been in the grips of an insatiable reading marathon for the past 4 months and there is no end in sight. For those avid readers out there, my marathons normally take on a different flavor from most. Without a wife or kids, I can dedicate a number of hours daily to reading because really, if I don’t feel like cleaning there is no one there to complain (thankfully I can’t understand my cats crying so who knows if she’s complaining about living in squalor). So when I haven’t been birding, it’s not unusual for me to spend 4-8 hours a day reading. Yes, an average day is probably in the 4 hour vicinity and on “ideal” days I can easily spend 8 hours engrossed in a book. And for those of you who have been birding with me during this period, thanks for putting up with my repeated diatribes against the government and the 1%.

Brewer's Blackbird - Buena Vista Grasslands, WI 5-22-2016
Brewer’s Blackbird – Buena Vista Grasslands, WI 5-22-2016
Least Sandpiper - Van Patten Road, WI 5-11-2016
Least Sandpiper – Van Patten Road, WI 5-11-2016
Great Horned Owl - Outagamie County, WI 5-1-2016
Great Horned Owl – Outagamie County, WI 5-1-2016

One final note before I sign off, I mentioned above that I’ve been spending less time on the computer, but I’ve also been focusing on spending less time online. Since returning from the Dakotas, I’ve been limiting myself to one day per week on Facebook, and on that day I’ve been trying to keep to under 10 minutes. I basically have been logging on, checking for messages, looking at the Northeast Wisconsin Birding page to see what my local birding friends have been up to, and that’s about it. I was an opponent of Facebook for a long time, but joined in order to keep up with bird sightings and birding friends. Over the past few years I’ve slowely slid into being on it way more than I care to admit. So I’m remedying the situation now and I can honestly say it’s very liberating! Instead of scrolling through my news feed multiple times a day, I’m burning through pages in a book.

Osprey - Green Lake, WI 4-23-2016
Osprey – Green Lake, WI 4-23-2016
Greater White-fronted Goose - Calumet County, WI 3-14-2016
Greater White-fronted Goose – Calumet County, WI 3-14-2016
Clay-colored Sparrow - Buena Vista Grasslands, WI 5-22-2016
Clay-colored Sparrow – Buena Vista Grasslands, WI 5-22-2016

That’s it for now – my plan is to post a photo gallery post next week which will be heavy on photos and light on text and then start to work on a recap of my trip to the Dakotas and get back to the Costa Rica reports. That being said, I plan a lot, but don’t always follow the plan. Until next time, Bird It Up!

Song Sparrow - Calumet County, WI 3-12-2016
Song Sparrow – Calumet County, WI 3-12-2016
Barred Owl - Mosquito Hill, WI 5-7-2016
Yep, horrible lighting – one of my trademarks! Barred Owl – Mosquito Hill, WI 5-7-2016
Rough-legged Hawk - Collins Marsh, WI 3-19-2016
Rough-legged Hawk – Collins Marsh, WI 3-19-2016
Pectoral Sandpiper Horicon Marsh, WI 4-23-2016
Pectoral Sandpiper Horicon Marsh, WI 4-23-2016
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14 thoughts on “Alive and Kickin’!”

  1. You’re welcome for the poke! (Or sorry?) Just read the whole thing, clicking from my inbox, and I have too much to say. For now, we’re off to martial arts and a full day afterward. Will be back to drool over your photos and come back to comment more properly.

    Welcome back, Matthew! So glad to see you’re still passionate and giving the middle finger where it applies. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Shannon….and I appreciate the poke!!! It’s always nice to get some encouraging feedback which then turns into motivation, so thank you!!! And rest assured, I will continue to rail against oppression wherever I see it 😉

      Hope all is well down in what I presume to be the very hot state of Texas! Mid-80s and low-90s here this past weekend.

      Like

    1. Thanks!! Yes, it’s a lot easier to edit photos and write posts when it’s 10 degrees outside and there’s 2 feet of snow on the ground!!! Although now that I can sit outside watching the birds, listening to music, and sipping on a glass of wine, I just might be a bit more productive on the blogging front 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. If I win the lottery Vicki, you’re banned from the park 😛 I’m kidding of course.

      As Jim mentioned below – I was a PERFECT kid! Ok, not really. And of course I’m teasing about the kids, but it sure is nice to be birding while they’re in school 😀

      Like

  2. Matt, enjoyed the post. [Note to Vicki: I remember Matt as a kid and he never played in the park, made noise or bothered his brother and sister. Of course, I am getting older and my memory isn’t what I would like it to be 🙂 ] Matt, don’t be too hard on the 1% crowd. Anyone who goes to the Dakotas and Costa Rica to look at birds may be in it. Looking forward to your next post.

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    1. Top 1%??? Yeah, it only took me a year+ of savings to take those vacations. Would have been a lot easier if workers wages would have grown at the same rate as CEO wages; that would place the minimum wage around $22 per hour. Or even better – if workers wages would have grown at the same rate as productivity, which would be around $28 per hour. But instead the top CEO’s drove their own salaries skyward; in 1965 the CEO-to-worker compensation ration was 20-1. Now it’s 360-1!

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  3. Okay, so I’m still stunned to see a Whooper on your post! The Red-headed WP even gets downgraded with Big Guy on the same page (and I’m still chasing RHW, same as last year). Wowza!!! What a great season you’ve had!

    Having four kids myself, I’m almost NEVER birding in a quiet environment; however I am a master at tuning out all noise non-nature because of this kind of training. We regularly approach rowdy kids to show them pictures of what we’re seeing (that they’re not) because we are quiet and looking, then remind their parents that we are in someone else’s living room and to be respectful of that. Usually shuts ’em up. I find this ‘kind grandma approach’ quite effective.

    You’ve seen my last birding outing post, so I don’t need to tell you that I’m longing for feathers now that it’s 95-100 degrees. Will wait until fall when the hummers arrive and it all cranks back up.

    Looking forward to your next post. I’m mostly off blogging (the reading part for sure), but yours come to my inbox so I know straight away when you’ve posted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the Whoopers show up at Horicon Marsh and at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge where I took the photo. It’s a 43,000+ acre refuge. Twenty-two nests hatched from 2005-2013, but only 6 of those resulted in chicks reaching fledgling.

      I know what you mean about kids in the park – and don’t get me wrong, my bark is worse than my bite. I can blog about it, but when you’re in the throws of migration I could be walking on melting lava at times, but be so wrapped up in the birds that I wouldn’t realize my legs were burning 😉

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Always enjoy your comments. I hope you get some cool weather down there soon! Stay cool ;-D

      Liked by 1 person

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