#1N1T

The emotional rollercoaster that was the USA vs. Belgium game in the World Cup is hard to describe unless you were there watching it too. The ups and downs were so intense I was emotionally exhausted by the time it was over. Pretty sure I left marks whilst clutching my face during the intense back and forth. I’m sad that the team lost to Belgium but I have to try and look a the positives that came out of everything this World Cup.

First and most exciting for me is the fever about soccer (futbol) that is gripping the country. Soccer is here to stay and I love seeing that there are more fans now than there have ever been for the sport. I loved the costumes and the face paints and the ‘I believe’ chant. There was a lot of positive, hopeful feelings about our team which was really cool to see.

As sad as I am to see some of our current squad stars aging out we have a very promising crop of youngsters ready and eager to grow into their own. I look forward to the next World Cup in 2018 where our team will continue to keep doing better and go just that much farther.

The highlight performance of the match for me though was our goalie Tim Howard, who set a record of 16 saves throughout the game. The man was doing some serious work defending the goal from what could have been a serious route by the Belgians. Odds are Tim will be retiring from the international circuit now (he’s 35 I believe) and even though we lost it’s a hell of a send off for an amazing goalie and an incredible goal-keeping career. I’ll be sad to see him go.

The internet reacted in its typical fashion and some amazing memes and jokes were born.

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“Tim Howard was money today,” @TheWorldCup.

 

My Heart Can’t Take Another Game Like That

Sooooooo I’m really into futbol. Soccer, to most Americans. And this World Cup in Brazil has been a doozy so far. The USA team has been keeping me on the edge of my seat with the close scrapes and narrow victories. Or, in the case of the game last night vs. Portugal, major disappointment. I think I had scratch marks on my cheeks from gripping my face in tension and not knowing what was going to happen. The cheap giveaway goal to Portugal early just about killed me – I was super worried we were about to watch a route and that would have just been awful.

The team played very well despite that early goal though which is promising but now, without the straight win against Portugal, we have the harder road of needing points from our game vs. Germany on Thursday in order to advance out of the group stage. Germany will be a tough nut to crack. A draw with them should get us through but I would of course prefer a straight win to make sure that there is no question about the USA advancing.

You can’t deny it is exciting that is for sure. I really want the USA to get out of the group stage though so I will be glued to my computer screen on Thursday trying desperately not to give away the fact that I am heavily invested in what is going on for that game during work hours. Hey it’s every four years so I’ve got to support the team right? I just don’t know if I can take another game that is that tense again it might just kill me off. The game Thursday vs. Germany though will be just as tense if not more so now that our future rests on the results of both that game and the Portugal vs. Ghana game. Omg the anxiety. I guess we will see what happens. Go USA!!!

On a side note, I had a visitor to my patio yesterday. A random woodchuck was wandering around and actually peeked in my back door while I was watching an earlier game. Maybe he likes futbol too.

Woodchuck

Hey, you watching futbol?

 P. S. Men in Blazers has been entertaining me since the start of the competition with their commentary and amazing British accents. I’d recommend you check them out!

Baltimore Oriole Family Man

Work has been a major drag on my head space and I think I let it get to me too much since I literally haven’t gone birding in three weeks. Three whole weeks. That’s a lot of missed birding time. Today though, after some nudging from my parental unit, I got out and took advantage of this amazing almost spring-like weather we have today. Normally our summers are hot, muggy, and just plain miserable so I’m not sure how we warranted this benevolence from Mother Nature but I’ll take it. There were armies of gnats flying into every crevice of my face but aside from that it was a lovely day for birding.

I got to witness a sing-off between two Indigo Buntings which was a lot of fun. The highlight though was watching Mr. Baltimore Oriole feeding his babies in the really cool woven nests that they make. What was interesting to me was that there were two nests within 20 feet of one another.  I didn’t know if it was common for orioles to nest communally or if the two nests belonged to a single pair or what the deal was. I did some quick searches on the internet to see if I could find the answer but nothing seemed to mention multiple nests in close proximity to one another.

Here are some of my favorite shots from the outing.

Birding Roundup

We are nearing the end of the semester which feel great but there are still several end-of-year projects I have to get handed in before I can celebrate. All last week it was in the low 40’s and rainy which was just miserable. My coworkers and I were all getting restless not being able to do much besides going to work and back home and back to work again. The weather broke this weekend and it was like OMGINEEDTOGOBIRDINGNOW. So I’ve finally been outside and trying to see what sort of interesting migrants are out and about. The weird weather has definitely impacting migration for the worse with many species not yet where they should be.

Despite that here are some of my favorite pictures from my last two birding trips.

Unexpected Towhee

The last couple of weeks have been rough, both in terms of work and school which makes me want to be birding even more. Unfortunately the weather we have been experiencing has been less than sympathetic with the plight of migrating birds making it hard to actually get out and see anything. We just had another bought of snow if you can believe it not two days ago. Apparently the great state of Wisconsin doesn’t believe that it is supposed to be spring and is insisting on being difficult. The temperature since then has slowly crept up but it’s still not warm enough to keep the windows open at night which is my measure for nice spring weather. In any case though I made myself get out of the apartment and go wandering looking for whatever migrating species I could find. Right now I am particularly keen on trying to see migrating waterfowl since my friend has recently invested in a decent spotting scope making it easier to spot birds floating farther out in the water.

On my trip out looking for shorebirds I managed to snag three new species for my lifelist including, much to my amazement, a Spotted Towhee! I didn’t think they came this far east but there he was in his rufous-sided glory. When I first saw a flash of color I thought it was just a robin – I am so glad I decided to stick around to see what it was for sure before heading back to my car for the day. Sharing the picture and the experience with my local birding group has been a lot of fun. Others have wanted to see this bird and actually managed to relocate it which is pretty neat. I love seeing everyone’s photos as species move through on their migration.

Here are some of my favorite shots from the day:

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Yellow-rumped Warbler

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Incoming Canada Geese

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Killdeer

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Spotted Towhee

DSC_0034Song Sparrow