On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

This weekday feature is for Juicers who are are on the road, traveling, or just want to share a little bit of their world via stories and pictures. So many of us rise each morning, eager for something beautiful, inspiring, amazing, subtle, of note, and our community delivers – a view into their world, whether they’re far away or close to home – pictures with a story, with context, with meaning, sometimes just beauty. By concentrating travel updates and tips here, it’s easier for all of us to keep up or find them later.

So please, speak up and share some of your adventures and travel news here, and submit your pictures using our speedy, secure form. You can submit up to 7 pictures at a time, with an overall description and one for each picture.

You can, of course, send an email with pictures if the form gives you trouble, or if you are trying to submit something special, like a zipped archive or a movie. If your pictures are already hosted online, then please email the links with your descriptions.

For each picture, it’s best to provide your commenter screenname, description, where it was taken, and date. It’s tough to keep everyone’s email address and screenname straight, so don’t assume that I remember it “from last time”. More and more, the first photo before the fold will be from a commenter, so making it easy to locate the screenname when I’ve found a compelling photo is crucial.

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!


Without further delay – BIRDS! trav

Today, pictures from valued commenter Albatrossity.

It’s fall, and if you are a birder, you are thrilled because of all the migrant birds right now. I thought it would be good, and perhaps perk up some spirits, to show some of the fall birds in my part of the galaxy (eastern KS, USA). I know that they give me a thrill to see them, photograph them, and know that we share the same planet with them. A lot of these are sparrows, a vastly underappreciated (IMHO) group of birds. Enjoy!

PS – In August some of my images from a trip to the Northern Great Plains were featured here (https://www.balloon-juice.com/2017/08/01/on-the-road-and-in-your-backyard-11/). A essay that I wrote about that trip has been accepted for publication as one of their “Letters to America” in the online literary journal Terrain.org. If you are not familiar with it, it’s a great site, and worth a visit. Here’s the direct link to my piece – https://www.terrain.org/2017/guest-editorial/letter-to-america-rintoul/

Lincoln’s Sparrow

Common fall migrant in these parts, a notorious skulker, but quite pretty if you can lure one into the open.

Female Northern Cardinal

A subtle beauty, and familiar to most folks who live in the eastern half of the continent. I love this picture because it shows her fancy, but subtle, red eyebrow.

Pine Siskin

Not a sparrow, but a finch, and quite abundant here some years. This seems to be one of those years!

Southbound view of a northbound Osprey

Fall and spring migrants in these parts, and always fun to watch.

Savannah Sparrow

Another common migrant and also a skulker, although they are easily coaxed into view by squeaking noises (aka pishing in birder lingo)

Spotted Towhee

Yes, this is a sparrow, albeit a larger one. We have the Eastern Towhees here in the summer, but those head southeast and are replaced by these western birds in the fall and winter.

LeConte’s Sparrow

The prettiest sparrow in North America, I think, and if these guys don’t get you to appreciate sparrows, you need to stop reading about Trump and get outside more!


Thank you so much Albatrossity, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


One again, to submit pictures: Use the Form or Send an Email

20 replies
  1. 1
    Spanky says:

    Sparrows or not (and I vote “Yes”), it’s always better to stop reading about Trump and get outside more.

    Great shots, all of them!

    And with that, I’m off to the salt mines. :^(

  2. 2
    Schlemazel says:

    WOW, nice shots!

  3. 3
    raven says:

    It musta been a boid, I hoid it choip!

  4. 4
    Mary G says:

    Love sparrows. Your photography skills are off the charts. All these guys have personality.

  5. 5
    eclare says:

    Great photographs!

  6. 6
    J R in WV says:

    Nice work, Albatrossity!

    What equipment do you use to get these great shots? I also envy the ability to recognize and ID the birds you have photographed!

  7. 7

    Nice shots. I’ve tried bird photography, I’ve not had much success. It’s much easier to take photos of things that aren’t moving.

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    Pro level.

  9. 9
    Betty Cracker says:

    Echoing the general consensus: your photographs are exceptionally beautiful, Albatrossity! Thanks for sharing them!

    PS: Also enjoyed your essay very much. Thanks for that too.

  10. 10
    JPL says:

    Fabulous pictures!

  11. 11
    rikyrah says:

    The birds are beautiful 😄

  12. 12
    arrieve says:

    These are gorgeous pictures. I take a lot of bird photos myself (or try to) and they are the most exasperating creatures to try to photograph (for every recognizable picture of an actual bird, I get at least two of an empty branch that had held one a microsecond earlier.) Your sparrows are lovely.

  13. 13
    Elizabelle says:

    Moar Albatrossity. And respect the sparrows. Love your photos.

    We are lucky you share them with us, and I look forward to reading your essay.

  14. 14
    Tenar Arha says:

    That picture of the Female Northern Cardinal is beautiful. Thanks.

  15. 15
    MomSense says:

    Gorgeous photos. Albatrossity, there is an artist in Maine who drew birds eyes in pastel. They are exquisite. So far I’ve managed to collect four of them. He was another victim of the horrendous 2016 and fuck fucking cancer. There are only a few galleries who sell his remaining pastels.
    Paul Plante pastels

  16. 16
    Another Scott says:

    Stunning pictures, Albatrossity. I hate to think about the cost and weight of the camera gear you used though! :-)

    Thanks for the pointer to your Terrain peace. It’s in another tab now for when I have time later today.


  17. 17
    Miss Bianca says:

    Birdie photography is the best! Thank you!

  18. 18
    Albatrossity says:

    Thanks for the kind words, all. I’m glad to share these with such an appreciate audience! And thanks also for the kind words about my essay, Betty. I enjoy your writing a lot, so it means a lot that you enjoyed that piece as well.

    MomSense, those paintings you linked to are wonderful! Thanks for sharing that link, and that artist.



  19. 19
    Bill Arnold says:

    Since it’s an open thread, tech question, twitter web ui mystery.
    Does anyone know how one might make tweets visible in mobile twitter (web) and invisible in desktop twitter (web)?
    Yesterday I saw a case of this, a few tweets visible in mobile twitter on a phone and not in desktop twitter on a laptop, captured a bunch of screenshots with different browsers, and it initially freaked me out a bit (thought phone might be hacked), but replicated with mobile twitter on a desktop, and desktop twitter on the phone.
    (This was not my twitter account. Just want to know how it was done.)

  20. 20
    Betsy says:

    These are beautiful photos. Love the Lincoln’s.

    I’m a birder, have worked through quite a few warblers .. now it’s time to get on the sparrows. Had a nice grasshopper sparrow this spring. That’ll be a good start.

Comments are closed.