Sunday, December 29, 2013

Jacksonville - 1 day, 3 lifers

We (HFC David and I) took a trip up to Jacksonville to see the Snowy owl. If you didn't GOYB to join us, here's what you missed:

 First up: The star of the day, a magnificent snowy owl, sitting right out on the beach. I also got some nice video of her. Although this wasn't my life snowy owl, it was my first really good look at one.
The little one-legged guy on the far left is my life purple sandpiper.
 This is my life Harlequin duck.
My life Black Scoter.
This made me really sad. It was the second one-legged bird of the day, a ruddy turnstone who got caught up in string or fishing line. You can see his dessicated foot still tangled in the line. Poor little guy :-(

But other than the hurt bird, it was a great day birding. We got a lot of walking in on the beach especially as we were looking for a Snow Bunting which we never did find. But, we had an awesome time trying anyway.

Remember, you can see lot of cool stuff on the internet, but you can only experience it if you GOYB and join us on an outing!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Announcing the DeeMotivation 2014 Challenge!

I have decided to get next year's challenge out early so we can all get prepped (and by prepped, I mean clean out your cupboards.) Here is the official DeeMotivation 2014 Challenge for next year. Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
  • Traverse 1000 miles self-propelled (this can include bike, stationary bike, treadmill, rower, kayak, snowshoe, however you want as long as it's self propelled.)
  • Complete 1000 consecutive junk-free hours starting midnight January 1.
    • Many people have mentioned that "junk" is subjective. So, it's up to you, this is the honor system. Some people are using a tracker such as MyFitnessPal or Tap and Track, for them, taking in more calories than they expend is the bench mark. I found myself obsessing about food more than usual when I used a program like that so I will be journalling on paper. 
    • That said, I think we can all declare the following as "junk"
      • Any food that has any HFCS at all
      • Any food that has sugar as the first ingredient
      • Anything from a fast food restaurant (burgers, fries, pizza, fried chicken)
      • Candy, cookies, pie, cake, chips, soda, alcohol, donuts etc.
  • (Optional) I am afraid that at 6:01 a.m. on February 10 (that is, 1000 hours), people will go nuts and eat everything in site. So, to help prevent that, if you want, send me $14.00 before the first of the year. The money will be split 70/20/10% among the top 3 who make it the longest AFTER the first 1000 hours. In the unlikely event that no one makes it to 1000 hours, all of the money will be donated to next year's Kidney Foundation walk fundraiser.  And, since we are all human, if you have a slip up, it is not the end of the world, BUT you do have to pitch in another $7.00 each time you slip up if you want to stay in the competition. Oh, and to show I'm not s total killjoy:
    • You get 50 calories a day to do what you want. If you are doing an online tracker you still have to add them, but they won't count as a cheat. For example, I'll use this for my morning coffee.
    • You get your birthday off. Nothing you do on your birthday counts.
If you are in, please let me know either here, by email or on Facebook, and if you are in for the wager, please either bring the money the next time I see you or snail-mail it to be before the first of the year.

Please note that this is all on the honor system, and you are responsible for tracking your own mileage.

We gonna do this thing? YES! GO US!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Kidney Foundation Walk

We did our second annual walk for the Kidney Foundation today. It was quite awesome! The weather was perfect. My only complaint was I walked a mile (literally, I had my Garmin with me) trying to find a rest room. The irony of not being able to find a rest room at the kidney walk was not lost on me. But it's all good, that left me with 4 miles wracked up today.

Our team raised over $650, and they said the total of all walkers was over $60,000. Thanks again to all who donated!

Here are some pictures from the walk. If you didn't GOYB, here's what you missed!

 Our whole team.
Me and aunt Kathy. I am insanely proud of aunt Kathy, she was the first to complete the 1000 mile challenge this year! We are already planning next years challenge. Stay tuned.
Cousin Amy, cousin Beth, and me.

Oh, and there's one more thing... In exchange for people pledging me, I let everyone purchase an interpretive dance. I had a lot of donors, but there were only 4 people who actually requested dances.

I had a lot of people who said they wanted to see the videos, but did not donate. That didn't seem fair to all of the people who did donate, so I decided to keep the videos private this year except for the people who donate. The good news is that if you want to see all of the videos, you can still donate by clicking here. If you want a taste of what is in store for you, here is just one of them:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Peregrine Falcons and St. Augustine

We had a great weekend in St. Augustine. On Saturday morning, we met up with friends Alison, Chad and Hobie to look for Peregrine Falcons. After dinner, David and I went back to the beach for some more bird watching. Sunday, we returned to the beach for more birding, met a friend for brunch, and on the way home we (surprise) stopped to go birding (do you sense a trend?) Very active and awesomely birdy weekend. If you didn't GOYB to join us for this awesome weekend out, here's what you missed (click to enlarge pix):

This was a dragonfly I spotted from the observation deck. We were specifically looking for Peregrines for Chad, and we saw a few, but none were particularly photogenic. Chad, Alison and Hobie were quite photogenic, but I got distracted by shiny things and completely forgot to take any people or puppy pix at the observation deck.
 When David and I went out to the beach late in the day, it had just finished raining where we were. This huge sail boat was off in the distance getting rained on but was still picturesque nonetheless.
 Mmmmmm HFC David looking as gloriously yummy as always.
This was a first for me! I've never gotten a picture of a pooping bird before! This is a willet.
 This was a greater black-back gull and his little friends.
 This was a life bird, a Frankin's Gull, which if you look closely, you can see that he looks exactly like every other stupid gull.
There was a huge flock of black skimmers, one of my favorite birds.
Sunday morning, we went out to a boat launch area. This tri color heron posed nice for me.
I don't do a lot of landscapes, but in case anyone wonders why I live in Florida, this is why. The colors are amazing at dawn. I didn't edit this photo at all.
 This was a brown thrasher who posed nicely for me. Actually, he wasn't so much posing as he was taking care of a personal issue. I don't even think he knew I was there stalking him with my camera.
 This was a boat tailed grackle.  It's a common bird, but I've always thought they are cool. I love the way his feet look in this picture.
 The boat tailed again. I love the iridescent blues and purples.
 Ponce DeLeon. It's a little known fact that in addition to discovering Florida, he is also the inventor of the "Pull My Finger" joke, as commemorated by this statue.
 My little sweetheart coming back from a long morning of birding.
 On our way to Jacksonville to meet a friend we stopped at Bird Island Park in Ponte Vegra. This is just an Anhinga, but I thought it was neat seeing the way he grips the branch with his feet, it's not something I've ever noticed before or got a good picture of.
We were driving home from lunch in Jacksonville when David got a call about a Willow Flycatcher at Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge.  We took a detour and spent a long time exploring the refuge and looking for the bird. David heard the bird. I never did, but I did find this incredibly adorable froggie.

It was an awesome weekend, aren't you sorry you missed it? Remember, you can look at pictures here or on TV but you really can't experience nature unless you GOYB and come out with us!

Keep coming back here for updates and announcements of our next adventures.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Wings and Wildflower Festival

Had an awesome time at the Wings and Wildflower festival the last few days. Met lots of great people, had a blast giving some talks, and I just realized now that I even got a life bird out of it all! If you didn't GOYB and join us this weekend, here's what you missed!

David and I led a walk though the trail at Hickory Point Park. There were a ton of insanely cool spiders out there, including this little gal, I think she is an orchard orb weaver but need to verify the ID.
This is just an artsy picture of a stump but I thought it was cool.
A shot of the orchard orb weaver's tummy.
On this walk, I decided it would be better to not mess with the bees. They were at the top of a tall tree, so that made it much easier for me. (In case you can't tell, the darkness beside the silver is a bee hive in the trunk of the tree.)
 This is a cool shelf fungus.
 This was a life bird for me - a yellow throated warbler. I've certainly seen them before but I guess I always assumed I already had a picture of one. So this is 286 for me on my photographic life list.

 This is me, starting my "Profoundly Unscientific Birding Identification" talk. Other than Patrick and the burrowing owl puppet, I made all the props, including Barney the barn owl, and a bunch of puppet type things that are laying beside me.
Abusing poor Patrick in the name of education. I am poking him in the eye with a great egret puppet to demonstrate how they have straight pointy beaks. As opposed to the ibis, who has a curved beak and therefore would have to stand on Patrick's head and bend over if he wanted to poke Patrick's eye (which I also demonstrate.)
One of my two Bill Meyer stories, I am demonstrating here how he taught me to identify palm warblers by the way they pump their tail up and down.

It was an awesome festival, met so many terrific people. Already looking forward to next year's!

In the coming months, I'll be working the Space Coast festival and leading a bird walk for a women in the wilderness meeting. Make sure you watch my schedule here and come on out for some fun. Remember, you can look at stuff on the internet or TV, but you can't really experience it unless you GOYB and join me!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Video from Hands Across the Lagoon

We had a great time out at the Hands Across the Lagoon Event. Here's the video that I made for it:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Event Update: Goodwin Wildlife Management Area: The Good, The Bad, and The Owie

The good: Had awesome weather for a bike ride and I was joined by the lovely and always interesting Christy Pruett. We saw lots of cool stuff. The official bird list from Christy was: Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, White Ibis, Gossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, Northern Harrier, Cooper's Hawk, Osprey, Peregrine Falcon, Common Gallinule, Sandhill Crane, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Loggerhead Shrike, Barn Swallow, Tree Swallow, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Northern Mockingbird, Common Yellowthroat, Palm Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Eastern Meadowlark, Red-winged Blackbird, Boat-tailed Grackle, a deer and a snake.

The bad: I had a bad start to the trip. I was trying to top off my bike tires with air, and wound up spending $3.00 in quarters, and I accidentally let all the air out of my tires. I finally had to admit I didn't know what I was doing and I had to ask a little boy to fill my tires up for me. Duoh!! And even worse - don't tell David this - but once I got to Goodwin I realized that I had forgotten my binoculars. There is a reason I'm known as a very bad birder!

The owie: Once I finally got out to the park, I met up with Christy and we started off for a great ride, but then at the 3 mile mark, we stopped off at the tower to look out. The tower was a bit over grown, but we ascended with no problem. Coming down however, I accidentally ticked off some bees and they attacked us. Christy got out unscathed, and for all the cussing I did, I got out of it with only 2 stings. Unfortunately, one was on my knee, and I had still had to ride back 3 miles!

Here are the official pictures from the trip:

 This is a deer that just stood right beside us while I futzed with the camera. It was a little strange - I took this with the short lens. The deer was not afraid of us at all and just stood there watching us.
This was a cool owl pellet that Christy found on top of the tower.
This is Christy at the end of the bike ride.

Overall, the good far outweighed the bad, and any day outside birding with friends is always better than one stuck inside! Keep watching the web site and come out and join us for an outing soon!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Turkey Creek Video!

We had an awesome walk out at Turkey Creek today. I was joined by HFC David, and Suzy and Bob from Space Coast Audubon. Here's a video of some of the incredible stuff we saw out there today!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

September Update!

Been a long time since I updated here. I've still been walking but haven't led any official events in a while. I had a rough time over the summer, but things are looking up now, and I'm planning lots of cool trips for the fall, including looking for falcons in St. Augustine in October.

I am also starting to devise a long range plan, and it's a big one: I'm planning to hike (part of) the continental divide trail. I've already been warned that I not only have to be in be in good enough shape to cover 10 miles per day, but I also have to learn how to poop in the woods. 10 miles a day I am confident I can handle. Pooping in the woods, not so much!

I am still working on my 1000 miles. I am so proud that Aunt Kathy was the first to hit the 1000 mile mark. David is in the 900's, the rest of us are sorely lagging behind. I calculated it today that I need to do 4.3 miles/day from now till the end of the year to hit my 1000 miles. I have been getting a lot in in the gym with bike riding, rowing and the treadmill, but need to step up my game. I'll die of shame if I'm the only one who doesn't hit 1000 miles!

And speaking of walking, we (me, HFC David, and my partner in crime, Heather) had our first official walk in a while on Labor day. If you didn't GOYB and join us, here's what you missed! (Click to enlarge pictures.)

 The day was blisteringly hot, but it was a great day for butterflies. Here's a common buckeye.
 It was also a great day for spiders! Here is a beautiful golden orb weaver with either her boyfriend or her kid, wasn't sure which. At any rate, she is the much larger one. Golden orbs rock!
 Did I mention it was a great day for spiders? We saw hundreds making webs on the telephone wires.
 It was also a great day for bananas.
Lots and lots and lots of bananas.
This was wicked cool, wish I had my video camera out - hundreds of fish all jumped out of the water at the same time, most likely disturbed by a predator.
Heather found this - as we were coming back to the parking lot, right over our heads in a tree - was a golden orb weaver giving her buddy Mr. Dragonfly a big old friendly hug!

Now where else, but out in nature can you see a golden orb weaver snuggling her buddy? Remember, you can see stuff like this on the internet or TV, but you can't experience it, you can't hear the dragonfly giggling with delight at the warm fuzzy snuggles - unless you GOYB and come walking with us!

Be sure to join us soon!

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Oatmeal on Running

I love this cartoon, it made me cry. With the exception of the fact that I walk not run I know what he means, the blergh monsters that follow me around, quieting the mind, all so beautiful. I love the oatmeal so very much.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Stormwater Park III

I am still walking 2 days a week out at stormwater park if anyone wants to join me. For those of you who aren't up for getting up and wet at 7:00 am, here's what you missed:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Lollygagging at Sebastian Stormwater Park II

I've been trying to walk at the Stormwater Park a few times a week on my non-weight training days at the gym. Here is a compilation video from my last few walks. Sorry it's so shaky, I need to start hauling my tripod with me. If you haven't GOYB to join me on my morning walks, you have missed bunnies, duckies, baby woodpeckers, and tons of other cool stuff. Watch here, and join me for a future walk!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Trip to Sebastian Stormwater Park

Hot as blazes out there today but we had a nice breeze that made it a lot more tolerable.  I was joined by HFC David today. If you didn't GOYB, here is what you missed, for the first time ever, on video! (I still learning the video camera, I apologize for any weirdness in the video.)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Awesome Weekend Outside

Had an awesome weekend outside, joined by HFC David. I was trying out a new video camera, so we hit Goodwin, Joe Overstreet, and Vierra. Click here to see the video of the roseate spoonbills. Keep scrolling down to see what you missed if you didn't GOYB and join us. Click on the photos to enlarge:

Roseates dancing. It's amazing seeing the shape of the
dinosaur in this picure.

If I was this color I would show off like this
all the time.

This is a young one, he was so fluffy. 

Maybe they aren't descended from
dinosaurs, maybe they come from a
long line of cotton candy.

This guy in front looked like a ring leader.

There was something weird about this
guy's face.

This picture made me laugh, the one in
front looks like he is leading an
aerobics class.

Mmmm cotton candy....


Another poser.

This is one of my favorite pictures I've taken ever. I
love his eye, I love that he's standing on a
spider web.

Despite their nick-name, "The Butcher Bird"
I still love these guys and think they are
soooo pretty.

This picture makes me laugh. There is some strange story
waiting to be told here. For some reason I was
imagining the movie the Body Guard with the cow in the
Whitney Houston role and the cattle egret as Kevin

A long shot of the Vierra Wetlands.

An anhinga looking pretty.

Red-wing black birds are common
and I'm sure most people think they
aren't anything special, but I love
their little army stripes and think
they are beautiful.

Two baby great blue herons. 

A whole herd of young anhingas hanging out.

An adult anhinga who really really really wanted his
picture taken.

He was a total poser!

This was a second anhinga, trying to out-pose the
other one. Maybe they were working the runway

Another baby anhinga at the Click ponds.

A final shot of the poser anhinga.

Make sure you keep checking back here, we have a few road trips coming up including Orlando, Paynes Prairie, St. Augustine, and more. I am thinking of adding a Brevard Zoo trip too, drop me an email or reply here if you would like to join that, or any trip! Hope to see you out there. Remember, you can look at pictures, but you can only really experience this stuff if you GOYB!