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Year Ago

June-July 2017

The Amateur Birder's Journal - Stories & Photographs by J R Compton
Redraw Screen Often [control or command r]; I change this page nearly every day.
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120 photos so far this month. Cameras Used  Ethics  Feedback  My Other Bird Pages: Herons  Egrets  Heron v, Egrets  Links & Bird Books  Pelican Beak Weirdness  Pelicans Playing Catch  Bird Rouses  Courtship Behaviors  Banding  Birding Galveston 2015 & 2013  The 2nd Lower Rio Grande Valley Birds page  & the 1st  Bald Eagles at White Rock  Coyotes  JR's resumι Contact  Dallas Bird Resources:  Dallas Audubon's Bird Chat  Bird Rescue Info  You want to use my photos?  How to Photograph Birds  Bird Places: Bird-annotated Map of White Rock Lake & the Med School Rookery & Village Creek Drying Beds  Please do not share these images on Pinterest, Tumblr or other image-sharing sites!

THIS PAGE IS IN DISARAY BECAUSE MY HARD DRIVE CRASHED. I'LL START A REAL JULY PAGE LATER.
I also like to post other photographers' work here. Full credit & ©. Unless you're an expert image corrector, email full-size jpegs (right out of the camera) of at least one-meg each to jrcompton 23 @ att.net (no spaces) with your name and the bird species as file name for each & Bird Journal as the Subject. Tell the City & State where they were photographed. They can be from anywhere.

Visiting Tawakoni — Posted July 3

Two Cows with Cattle Egrets - Copyright 2017 JRCompton/birdsa  All Rights Reserved

Cows with Cattle Egrets

After driving and driving and driving, we were thrilled to see Cattle Egrets in a field with Cattle. Right where their name pegs them. We see them at the lake often, and in fields on the way to deliver injured birds to Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation in Hutchins. But here, it was a surprise. We just laughed and laughed and laughed.

 Cattle Egrets with Cow and Shed -     Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Cattle Egrets with Cow and Shed

Anna and I have been wanting to check out Tawakoni and the surrounding area. There's been a letter from an area native and birder on Dallas Audubon's Bird Chat form for quite awhile and we used it as a basic introduction — where to go, in what order, etc.

Now, of course, I can't find the letter to link it, but we copied it and followed its bird-specific Tawakoni mapping rather faithfully. It was very helpful, but what we did of it plumb wore us out, because what we knew to look for was hardly ever where we were looking for it. Next time we might stay somewhere nearer there, get some sleep and breakfast and be brighter-eyed and bushier-tailed. But that probably won't be till autumn or spring when there will be many more birds, though the trip worked out pretty well considering. It's beautiful country, and we'd seen some of it before.

Barred Owl on the Side of the Road -   Looking Up at a Forster's Tern  x.

Dead Barred Owl on the Side of the Highway

We were there pretty early after having driven from Dallas before there was even a hint of sunshine, so we assumed this poor owl was hit by an automobile while headlights were still being used. One wing was bloodied. We didn't see what it might have been eating.

Barred Owl - opyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved

Barred Owl on the Side of the Road

I thought I'd shot it from all angles, but I guess I just shot the same three views over and over. Much as I'd rather not see road kill of any species, this offers an opportunity to see species I rarely get this up-close to. I'm not squeamish about dead things, and this one didn't stink — yet.

Cattle Egret Over Reeds - opyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Cattle Egret Over Reeds at Edge of Lake Tawakoni

Ah. Finally, Lake Tawakoni State Park, and our first extended visit up close and personal with the lake itself.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on the Ground - cpry

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on the Ground

I almost didn't recognize the breed, I'm so used to seeing them on a post, on a wire, or on the wing. I had to stare at this photo for awhile till it downed on me — oh, I know that bird. It was the red-orange epaulets that finally tipped me off. Its tail was, rather obviously, long and mostly behind it.

Forster's Tern - opyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Looking Up at a Forster's Tern

I'm not attempting to parse all the ages and stages of Forster's Terns this trip.

Forster's Tern - opyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved

Forster's Tern

But I was delighted to see this many of them fairly close-up compared with where they usually get in my line of sight at White Rock Lake.

Two Forster's Terns on the Beach - opyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved

Two Forster's Terns on the Beach

Nice to show and see details, for a change.

Two Forster's Terns Flying - opyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Forster's Terns Flying

While these birds were busying themselves flying near us on the beach, we were busy chasing them across the sky, but seeing them here, was a new opportunity to see their details.

Adult Breeding Forster's Tern on a Pontoon - opyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Forster's Tern on Pontoon

The rope delineated the far edge of the swimming area. Unfortunately, said "swimming area" was mostly wet sand, so I suppose this big red floating thing probably sits lower in the water when it's doing its job.

A Tern on Every Pontoon - opyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Tern on Every Pontoon

 More pix from the Greater Tawakoni experience coming later this week. I think I might be getting my reconsituted iMac back by about then…

 

  

 Photographed & Posted June 29, 2017

Storm-broken Tree - Copyright 2017 JRCompton/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Storm-broken Tree

Anybody who's ever visited my elder home knows I'm very partial to trees, so I generally notice stark, sad shapes like this. Which, in turn, lead to stark, sad shapes like this:

Fallen Nest -     x  x    x  x    x  x    x  x    x  x    x  x    x  x

Fallen Nest

I don't remember where this nest is/was, but it always dismays me. Of course there's been a lot of big winds pushing over and breaking lots of trees lately. But I bet this was a lovely nest when it was up in the relative safety of a tree.

Nest In Tree - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Western Kingbird Nest All But Hidden in Tree

An altogether other nest in a different place, but one we have visited before.

Same Nest in Same Tree - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Same Nest in Same Tree
 

Potential Parents Up in Arms -     x  x    x  x    x  x    x  x    x  x    x  x    x  x

Potential Western Kingbird Parents Attempting to Get Me Away from their Nest

Parents upset at my presence so near their nest. Even though it's a peculiarly public space, where lots of people go and settle in. I promised them I wouldn't go back till they had filled the nest, and then I'd be very circumspect and even quieter and more gentle than I was today.

Parent Flying Through Tree Above - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Western Kingbird Parental Unit Flying Through Tree Above

This is the closest to sharp any image I got of either parent in action.

parental unit -   x  x

Only Decent Exposure of Either Parental Western Kingbird

And this sharp shot might even lead me to identifying the bird family, whom I believe, are still working on that nest. In years past, they've included bright and colorful bits of cloth and other intriguing items threaded into their nest. So far, this one's kinda tame, but it does hide itself very well. Their old nest was just a foot or so more obvious, so maybe they're learning.

Juvie Mocker Practising Flashing - Copyright 2017 JRCompton/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Northern Mockingbird Practicing Flashing

This was the peak of its form in this attempt, but it's not even close.

Juvenile Mock Practicing Flashing - Copyright 2017 JRCompton/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Mockingbird Practicing Flashing

This is much more like what it was trying to do above. I've seen many Mockers practising this skill, but I've never seen any of them scare or bring up any worms or whatever else they are attempting to entice up to the surface. 'That I can remember. I used to could remember pretty good. Being 72 means remembering less and less.

Bee on a Blossom -  Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds All Rights Reserved.

Purple Martins on a Wire

Gradually, I'm managing exposure on these up shots, so we can tell the differences between the dark purple males and the mostly gray/brown females.

Already-too-far-away Egrets - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Already Too Far Away Egrets

They were plenty close when I first saw them, but the cam was set for point focus (the narrowest it gets — looks like one pixel), which is no good for several individuals getting farther and farther away at every click in a big, mostly empty sky. Then by the time I'd got the focus target set and working, the birds were way much farther away.

Big Black Bee on a Blossom -  Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved

Big Black Bee on a Blossom

 

 

First, The Storm. Then the Birds…

Storm Clouds and Rain - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com  All Rights Reserved

Storm Clouds & Rain

I saw dark skies in the direction of the lake and wondered how long it would last. I love that eerie feeling and that there were far fewer cars along DeGolyer Drive from which I shot these pix — often getting very wet with The Slider's driver-side window open.

Winfrey Storm Circle -

Winfrey Circle and the View Off toward Garland Road

I always have to at least try to drive around Winfrey Circle, which has several warning signs, but never any enforcement of no parking there. If I ever have a party there, I'd hire somebody to keep the "privileged" circle traffic moving. This day, I liked that the light atop the pole was brighter than any portion of sky. And lots of rain.

Arboretum Flush

The "landscape rocks" were probably placed there, but all that … uh … water and its many nasty elements comes down the hill from The Arborectum, and yes, that's rain falling into the slosh pit I've worried about people who walk in it barefooted, but then I worry about folk who put their bare feet into our lake — and all the idiots who insist on sinking or swimming in it. Notice through the trees in the upper portion of this dark and gray photo, we can barely see the other side of the lake. Storms do that.

The Creek Rising - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/  All Rights Reserved

Dixon Branch Rising

That's Buckner Boulevard (Loop 12) in the background, and here the creek is as high as I've ever seen it, but I don't really pay it a lot of attention usually, except to look down it to maybe photograph a big white bird standing in it. Here and then, that poor bird would be in trouble.
 

Great Egret Just Off Sunset Beach with Very Small Fish - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com   All Rights Reserved

Great Egret in the Brambles Just off Sunset Beach with Very Small Fish

I watched it hunt for quite a while after the (well, it seemed) sudden rain storm, but this tiny little catch hardly seemed worth all the fuss. Except it was probably hungry.

YCNH in the creek very near - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com   All Rights Reserved

Adult Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in a Tree this Side of The Spit

I showed a pic of this or another adult Yellow-crown by Anna P awhile back, but this was my first sighting this season of a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in Sunset Bay. I always hope there's a pair, and that they plan to raise a family. I love to watch juveniles romp around the edge of Sunset Bay, but it may be a tad late in the season for that.

Great Egret Hunting - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com   All Rights Reserved

Great Egret Seeking Something Small in the Grass at the Edge

Another Great Egret hungry enough to sink to watching grass move.

GBH Flying Up the Creek - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com   All Rights Reserved

Great Blue Heron Flying Up The Creek

My first several shots of this bird I'd been following up the creek for several minutes were skinny blurs. Then I got this one pretty sharp flying low.

YCNH Strolling Up the Creek - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com   All Rights Reserved

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Slowly Strolling Up the Creek

Its crown doesn't seem as yellow in this shot, but it is a very handsome critter.

Purple Martins on a Wire -   Great Blue Heron Just Over the Edge of the Creek  x

Purple Martins on a Wire

I wanted to show details more than I wanted to show high numbers so I closed-up telephoto to these three on the wire over the parking lot behind the Winfrey Building. Too wet to carry or use a tripod today. All of today's shots above were from my car, The Slider.

 

 

My iMac crashed, and while it's in the shop,
I'm slowly learning how to do this on my older Mac …

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher with a Bug -  Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com  All Rights Reserved.

Male Scissor-tailed Flycatcher with a Bug

I haven't been on vacation — one of the reasons I sometimes don't update this page, especially in the summer — I've just been inundated with issues. Macintosh issues and plumbing issues. Finally found whom I still believe to be an honest plumber, and I've got a newish bathroom, and the turtle don't leak no more. Hallelujah.

Blue-spec Dove - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com  All Rights Reserved.

Happy Mourning Dove

Last month I did a too close-up image of this type of dove, so I'd been watching out for a whole one to show which dove that blue-spectacled eye came from.

The Disappearing Buckner Pond - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com  All Rights Reserved

The Disappearing Buckner Pond

That's Buckner Boulevard (Loop 12) behind it. Hence the name. It's just a low spot among some elder trees out between Lawther around the outer regions of Greater Sunset Bay 'round the bend toward Stone Tables, then past the playgrounds and on to Dreyfuss Point. I like it, because it's only got water in it when it's raining or has been raining. And with dark skies, it's especially beautiful.

Then when it dries up, it disappears again.

Great Egret Hunting Close to The Edge - copyright 2017 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Hunting Close to the Edge

I kept following it, but it never got anything that I saw.

Wave Pattern with Mallard Mom & Three Ducklings - copyright 2017 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Wave Patterns and Mallard Mom with Three Ducklings

Three out of probably a dozen or thirteen. They're very lucky if one survives.

Mom Mallard and One of Her Ducklings - copyright 2017 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Mom Mallard and One of Her Ducklings

Two more were exploring nearby. There may have been others, but I didn't see them.

Hammock In Use on The Edge of Somewhere - copyright 2017 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Hammock In Colorful Use on The Edge of Somewhere

I have no idea where this is. I saw the kid and whom I assume to be a mom and all that color, and I just had to go click.

Oh, Gosh, this couldn't be a striped Grackle, Could It? - copyright 2017 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Female Red-winged Blackbird, says Kala, who is usually right about these things.

I didn't know what it was when I saw it, so I clicked it. Now, I don't know where to start looking for it in any of my books. It's a beauty, though. Originally captioned, "Oh, Gosh! This couldn't be a striped and spotted Grackle, could it? And, of course, it is not. I done it again. It is, of course, a female Red-winged Blackbird, and yes, she is beautiful. Thank you once again, Kala King. If only I'd had a sense of scale, I would have realized how small this bird is.

And friendly. Often, when I'm standing on the Pier at Sunset Bay, one or two female Red-winged Blackbirds wander around the pier, sometimes very close to me, usually a few feet away. Often, they are way too close to even photograph with the blunderbuss.

Another Unidentfied Bird Flying Low - copyright 2017 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Another Unidentified Bird Flying Low

I don't remember purposely experimenting with various birds today (Monday, June 26, 2017), but I keep finding pix that definitely fit the pattern.

Low Flight Slow - copyright 2017 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Same Bird Low Flight Slow

This one's colors are de-emphasized, almost unto abstraction. Not a great photo, but I like it.

Doves Diving for Bread - copyright 2017 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Doves Diving for Bread

The people who'd thrown gobs of bread under the tree near the puddle near the entrance out to the Pier at Sunset Bay were leaving when all the doves discovered all the bread and dog-piled on top of it.

More Doves Diving - copyright 2017 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

More Doves Diving — and More Wings Flapping

I didn't expect much from this series, but I'm joyed at all the wings visible in these mob scenes.

Not Much Food Left, But the Doves Are Still Seeking

And for my completely not paying attention to composition, these are rather nice, he says to himself.

Some Doves Keep Finding Something

Just a few wings flapping now, as it becomes more obvious that there's darned little white bread left. Now, if I can just get so-called Dream host to let my new password work on my elder website, we can all see the pix online.

 

 

Same Places, Same Birds, But No Fighting —
Photographed Recently; posted June 15

Snowy Egret and GBH and Slosh - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret and Great Blue Heron with Slosh

Way past the Great Blue Heron mating season, but note the remnants of the orange-ish nuptial feathers on the head and back toward the tail of the Snowy Egret. The Great Blue Heron is just plain handsome.

Don't worry, no fightin' and flyin' pix this time.

Preening Nuptial Feathers - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Preening Nuptial Feathers

A bramble of tree limbs has been resting just out of the main stream down The Lower Spillway ever since the recent rains started.

Dam Froth Great Egret - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret, Great Blue Heron and Dam Froth

Love that slosh.

Great Egret Landing in The Slosh -Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Landing in the Slosh

Here, the GBH's feathers seem as frothy as the water all around it.

 Poofed-out Snowy - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Poofed-out Snowy

Perhaps I should call it a Partial Rouse.

Five Egrets Reflections in Sunset Light - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Five Egrets Reflections in Sunset Light

At Sunset Bay, of course.

Standup GBH with Bowing GE on top step - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Stand-up GBH with Bowing Great Egret

It is bowed, but it appears to be concentrating on the toes of its left foot.

GE with Target Ping -Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret with Target Ping

My favorite part of this shot is the target-shaped ripple just below the egret.

CC Young Growing Up - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

CC Young Growing Up

I don't know who did it, but sometime back, there was a persistent rumor that some lake organization had emphatically requested that CC Young Senior Care on East Mockingbird Road not build tall additions to their current buildings, "so that White Rock Lake would not begin to resemble New York City's Central Park." They were afraid that, if they allowed CC Young to build tall, others would also.

I'd been hoping for a higher place to photograph the whole lake…

Big Fish Left at the Rrickle - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Big Fish Left at The Trickle

It's difficult to name a body of water that changes nearly every time it appears. So I've been calling the temporary bodies of water out, along East Lawther Drive / White Rock Lake Trail around Dixon Branch that sneaks into White Rock Lake Park under North Buckner Boulevard, past The Trickles, which is absurd enough I might remember it next time. I've been watching it for about the last half decade. Looks maybe like someone lifted this big fish out of the Trickle (Stupid name. Surely we can do better.) by its mouth, and the mouth stayed that way after the fisher-person got his hand back.

Yeah, I tilted the fish up so we could see it better…

 

 

Anna Palmer Photographs Some Unusual
Birds & One "Rare Sighting for this Area"

Anna Palmer photo of Adult White Ibis at White Rock Lake62

Adult White Ibis

These images by Anna Palmer are some of the highlights from their June 6 outing when Anna Palmer drove around White Rock Lake with our friend Annette Abbott, who was one of the first members of whom I still sometimes call "The Bird Squad," who gathered informally up form Sunset Beach in the evenings when Charles F feeds the gooses, ducks and any other avian species who shows up. 

Anna called Annette "a very good spotter," and from these birds, I'd have to agree.

Anna Palmer - Adult Male Nortern Bobwhite

Adult Male Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus)

Northern Bobwhite in the grass on the southeast side of Emerald Isle Drive, almost past the baseball fields up towards Garland Road. After Anna posted this image on eBird, she said, "The guy who reviews posts there emailed to say it was "a very rare sighting for this area."

Anna Palmer - Baltamore Oriole

Adult Male Baltimore Oriole near the Old Boat House.

Anna and Annette saw the Oriole at the same time as it was flitting back and forth between two trees in front of the car.

 

 

More Egrets at the Spillway
Photographed June 7 — Posted June 9
Sorry the rest of this month's don't show.
Guess I gotta fight it out with "Dream" Host now.

Flight Under the Garland Road Bridges - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Flight Under The Garland Road Bridges

The plumber was scheduled for 2:30, and after doing what else I had to do, I took an hour for the lake, stupidly starting at Sunset Bay, where I got nearly nothing, then driving home in the slow as usual far right lane going toward downtown about forty minutes early, I looked down into the Lowest Spillway, saw sluicing water and egrets gathered up down the slant shore, and even a Great Blue Heron.

So I made a quick turn on Winstead, parked in the lot across from the Sebben-Lebben, pulled off the telextender, then carried my cam down to the walking bridge over the lowest spillway.

Fl & Stand - Two GEs under the bridges - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Fly and Stand

Along the way, I shot these. I should have, but I did not also bring my little blue plastic fold-up kiddie stool that would have raised me about eight inches higher enough to photograph over the bridge parts I was stuck behind — and I really could have used a long-sleeved shirt, so I could lean on tops without burning arm skin.

Great Blue Heron on the Bottom Step - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron on the Bottom Step

 

Challenge -Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Challenge Among Snowies

It's called heads-up display, and it usually means a challenge. The Great Egret on the right is issuing, and the  one in the big middle of this pic is either ignoring it, might be interested in catching a fish or two, or hasn't noticed. Most of the not noticing is between species. On the left here is the beginning of a Snowy Egret chase scene, with a choice of chasees.

GE Flying Over Reflection - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Flying Over Reflection

I am always always always fascinated by Great Egrets' effortless elegance and sometimes grace.

This Way That Way - c pry

This Way / That Way

There was a lot of egret action going on down there. Almost all involving Great Egrets (the big ones with black feet) and Snowy Egrets (the smaller ones with orange feet). The larger, Great Egrets have better moves and are more noticeable, because they're so big, but Snowies get all het up and flash a lot of feathers.

Is This A Fight Or Are We Just Chasing Around?

Is This A Fight or Are We Just Chasing Around?

And a lot of chasing. In fact, more chasing than anything else, really — although occasionally two would fly up and shove or bump one another. In the eleven years now I've been doing this journal, I've never once seen any bird bloodied in these mostly ceremonial "battles" that determine who's dominant.

Hey, Eeg. You Wanna Fight? - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Hey, Eeg. You Wanna Fight?

And with all that flurry and elegant flying and thumping and bumping, Great Egrets' rather timid action never seemed to bother the surrounding bird species, who were either hoping to catch food or scheming their own attacks.

Who You Chasin'? - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Who You Chasin'?

Most of the action occurred only inches off what I call "the slant" — the approximately 45 degree concrete mass down the sides of the lowest steps down to and then under the water that today, at least, was moving fast. Only rarely did somebody get chased off enough to go flying around the inner area under and out from the walking and driving bridges parallel to but still near Garland Road.

When They're This Close, It's More than a Chase - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Whole Lotta Chasing Going On

Meanwhile, down on the surface, Snowies and other Great Egrets were busy catching fish — or trying to. Sometimes a crowd of egrets will gather around a chase/"fight" out in shallow water, but mostly they go about their own business, which usually involves catching and ingesting fish.

Some Chase. Some Watch - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Some Chase. Some Watch.

And I'm not kidding about swallowing fish whole. Once they get a fish or whatever's caught, then aligned into their beak toward their throat, they swallow it whole, which action usually only takes a few seconds. Often, especially with the larger, Great Egrets, it's possible to watch — though difficult to photograph — the lump go all the way down those long throats.

Because they swallow their prey whole, they swallow all the prey's bones — and everything else, and it's the calcium in those bones that makes their scat white. And why — especially here against a relatively dark surface — it appears so bright.

Maybe next time I'll get my cam & lens kit together while the slant is still relatively unscatted.

Three Snowies Flying - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Three Snowy Egrets Flying

As photographers know, bright white areas in a photograph tend to draw attentions away from their subjects. It is very noticeable and annoying, and I wish I could make it darker.

Snowies Dancing and Great Fishing - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowies Dancing while Great Egret Stands and Fishes

While I mostly concentrated on the action.

Egret & Water Chase -Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egrets With Water Chaser

These last several photos were my willful attempt to concentrate on the white birds a ways away from the massive candy stripes of scat.

Attack from Above - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Attack from Above

Which, there for a little while, was near constant.

Snowy Hat with Scat Texture - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Hat with Scat Texture

I love it when Snowies poof their feathers up and out to look more fierce.

Snowy Having Just Caught a Large Fish - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Having Just Caught a Large Fish

They usually kill their pray by stabbing them with that long, sharp bill. Then it's a matter of flipping it around to align with its beak and gullet without dropping it. I saw a couple of too-big fish dropped this day. Must have really been disappointing. Fishing on a slant helps those mortally wounded fish get away quickly, but then they're easier pickings for some other bird down the line.

 

Note that the Fish Is Bigger Than the Snowy's head

You might not think this little bird could get that big fish down its throat, but you'd be wrong. Where there's a will or hunger-enough, there's a way or two, too.

Snowy having just caught a big fish - _JR66786-Snowy_Having_Just_Caught_a_Large_Fish.jpg

Position It Just Right

The first step is to get the long, comparatively thin fish, aligned with beak and throat. Then it goes down quickly, although a bump shows in the throat as it does.

Big Catch -  Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds

Big Catch Aimed Down

Long throated birds take food down one few inches at a time, which we can often watch. First the bird widens its throat, so even very large fish have a place to go. Then it waggles its neck and throat this way and that, to be certain it'll go all the way down. It's fun to watch their wiggle-dance as it goes down, but my today photos look like they're just standing there with a thick throat.

 

 

Egret Battles at the Lowest Spillway
Photographed June 5 — Posted Later that Same Day

Snowies Drop Down Chase Up - Copyright 2017 JRCompton/birds  All Rights Reserved. 

Snowies Drop-down Chase Up

There wasn't enough light — is the photographer's lament. But there just wasn't. Except for no shadows, we'd all think there was a sun up already. Under the walking and driving bridges on Garland Road too early this morning. Before the sun got up into the sky — and could shine down between the clouds, instead of through them. But it didn't. I'm home now after checking while doing errands, and it's even darker with more clouds and booming, wet thunder. Mid-to late afternoon is better, brighter, more action-stopping — sunlight-assuring contrast and apparent sharpness.

Half A Snowy Fight - Copyright 2017 JRCompton/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Half a Snowy Fight

Right camera, wrong lens.

Well, the right lens, but I needed to lose the telextender to get back to good old 300mm and its wider window on the world. 500mm is just too-magnified for action this close. It'd be easier to aim and catch up with fast moving birds, like I so spectacularly did not do here. I got a lot of partial shots today, that if I'd got the wholes of them, would have been spectacular.

I'll do better next time — practice helps almost more than anything else, but these ain't bad. And it was the most fun I've had in too long a time. If I weren't waiting for a plumber, I'd be down there now, despite the forecast of rain. There's sunshine now, but it didn't last. This morning it was all filtered through thick clouds.

Snowies Squat and Jump - Copyright 2017 JRCompton/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Snowies Squat & Jump Battle

Great Egrets can be suckered into a fight, but I think they'd just as soon catch and eat more fish than all that silliness. But Snowy Egrets hardly even need an excuse.

Lean on Wet Tilt - Copyright 2017 JRCompton/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Wing Lean on Slant Up

I didn't see anybody fall over all the way, but there were some trips and leans involved in this ayem's fish-a-thon.

Secret Prance Battle - Copyright 2017 JRCompton/birds  All Rights Reserved.

What's Hoppening Here?

What looks like one egret charging down the slant with its right wing seriously awry is two Great Egrets battling, probably for space, fishes caught or uncaught or just cussedness. Each so intent, they've almost merged.

Tiptoe Tilt GE Down the Slant - Copyright 2017 JRCompton/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Tiptoe Tilt Down the Slant

Looks like a fall is imminent, but this elegant Great Egret took it all in stride, floating down the Slant — partly dancing and partly flying.

Three Egrets at the Trough - Copyright 2017 JRCompton/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Three Egrets at The Trough

Great Egrets are much taller, have long black legs with black feet and a yellow beak with green lores. Besides their usual feisty attitude and occasionally bouffant crown, Snowy Egrets have black legs with yellow feet, black beaks with yellow lores, and everything else is white.

 

 

I Finally Found That Mandarin Duck I Was Lookin' For & Other Adventures
Photographed June 3 — Posted the Afternoon of June 4

Adult Mandarin Duck on Sunset Bay - Copyright 2017 JRCompton/birds  All Rights Reserved.32

Adult Male Mandarin Duck on Sunset Beach

Kept hearing rumors around Sunset Bay of a Mandarin Duck family being raised at the lake, and some people who had seen all of them promised pictures, but I never saw them. Then, when Anna and I dropped by Sunset Bay for the Evening Feeding Saturday Night, someone pointed us to a Mandarin Duck already there. I spent much time photographing him.

Front Quarter View of Male Mandarin Duck - Copyright 2017 JRCompton/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Left Front Quarter Male Mandarin Duck

I had thoroughly checked out the rumors, visiting the supposed range at another part of the lake, but never saw the Mandarin family where they were supposedly hanging out, so this opportunity was a gift. I'd still love to see the pix of the Mrs. — and the ducklings, if any. But I have serious doubts.

Mandarin Duck - Copyright 2017 JRCompton/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Adult Male Mandarin Duck Profile

I had my trusty Nikon and the big tripod, so I set about photographing him — again. And again.

Front Quarter Standup Male Mandarin Duck - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Front Eighth View of Mandarin Male

I probably shot forty pix of this guy, but in the end, I settled on these several directional views. I photographed his shy attempts (most successful) at eating corn grain Charles poured out for all the gooses, ducks and other birds gathered up Sunset Beach, but he was moving so fast, he usually blurred into the semi-darkness.

Adult Breeding Male Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Male Wood Duck

Among various other ducks.

Various Wood Duck Plumage Stages - c pry

Various Stages of Male Wood Duck Plumages
(and some Mallards, too)

There was plenty of bird action to keep me occupied. 

Two Stages of Summer Eclipse Plumage on

Two Adult Male Mallards — The one on the right in Summer Eclipse Plumage

From what I understand, once their breeding is done, and they no longer need to attract a female, their feathers eclipse.

The Sky Is On Fire - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Sky Is On Fire
 

Anna Pointing Out Specific Bird Species -Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Anna Pointing Out Specific Bird Species
  

Anna Palmer's Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Adult Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Anna photographed in the Rain along the Creek

I've been wishing and hoping for some Yellow-crowned Night-Heron action in Sunset Bay for several weeks. I had begun to think they had vanished, till Anna told me about finding and photographing this one at Sunset Bay a couple days ago. I hope that means Y-c N-H chicks roaming the area later this summer…

Farside Sunset - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Farside Sunset (Note Jet in Front of the Cloud at Top Middle

I know where I am when I'm over there, and I'm over there nearly every day, but I haven't mapped that side from this side enough to name this place, although it could be Free Advice Point. See my bird-annotated map of White Rock Lake for specific geographical details.

Readying to Throw His Net - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Readying to Throw His Net…

…in the inundated field on the bend around toward Stone Tables and Dreyfuss Point from Sunset Bay. I probably should have waited till he threw that net.

Cottonwood Tree Snow

Cottonwood Tree Snow on the New Ponds

Created by the recent rains.

A Rabbit in the Dark on Rabbit Hill - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Rabbit in the Dark on Rabbit Hill on Dreyfuss Point

I call the part of upper Dreyfuss Point that overlooks the lake on toward the Bath House, Rabbit Hill, because we've seen dozens of rabbits there at a time, generally in the evening or after dark, when we can only see them with headlights. They're smart to stay off the concrete, so they don't get run over, but it's always fun to see some out in the weeds and wildflowers. I'd been calling that area different names over the now eleven years of this bird journal, but Rabbit Hill is the best and most appropriate yet.

Two Doves on a Wire - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Doves on a Wire

I wanted to put the Mandarin ducks up front in today's journal, so the rest of it — except these doves on the wire around the parking lot behind The Winfrey Building, appropriately enough on Winfrey Point. So, rather than arranging everything in today's entry chronologically, they are instead arranged geographically.

 

 

Photographed June 3 & as far back as May 30
— Posted June 3

Female Grackle Looking Around -Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Female Grackle Looking Around

This looks more like real colors.

 Blue-headed Grackle?  ???? - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Common Grackle with Friend

Corrected & Updated: I could only see the bird in the foreground. I didn't notice its odd coloration when I photographed it. The above caption did say "Blue-headed Great-tailed Grackle. Kala King to the rescue once again: It's not a Great-tailed Grackle. It's a Common Grackle, of which we see here much less often. Our more usual Great-tailed Grackles sometimes seem to have blue feathers, but it's usually over less specific areas of their bodies, and I didn't think I'd ever seen a blue-headed one. But I've seen, but not really noticed Common Grackles down along the Gulf Coast.

Mock on a Pitch Sign -Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mockingbird Making Sure Everybody Pitches In

I still think just as any Dasypus Novemcinctus armadillos' natural habitat is dead by the side of the road, Our State Birds belong on signs.

Dark Skyline behind the Pump and Filter Buildings - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Old Pump  House, Smoke Stack and Filter Building with Dark Skyline Back

In general, the more the telephoto, the larger the farthest objects seem. I've probably photographed this setup dozens, if not hundreds, of times. This is darker on the skyline and brighter on the old red buildings.

Great Egret Fishing Off The Spit - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Fishing Off the Spit

It's also where the pelicans (here mid-September through mid-April every year) nest n that same area. I've seen Green Herons hunt there, and Snowy Egrets and Little Blue Herons battle over fishing rights, right there. Probably many other birds, too.

Little Brown Bird at My Favorite Boat Ramp - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Li'l Brown Bird at My Favorite Boat Ramp

I'm assuming it's a wet English Sparrow, but I'm the amateur in the titles on the top.

Four Pigeons on a Branch - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Four Pigeons on a Branch Up Sunset Beach

I'm sure they perch on branches fairly often. They are birds. But I hadn't seen this flock do that before, so I photographed them doing it.

Family  Portrait - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Family Portrait

When I sit on one of those piers or their posts, I usually end up with strange bug bites in my butt. So I usually forgo that opportunity.

Love Locks - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Love Locks

We keep seeing locks locked into the ironwork on overlooks and bridges. More pop culture we've missed.

 

 

Wandering Around the South & East Sides of the Lake
Photographed June 1 Posted June 2

Great Egret Watching for Fish in the Trough - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret Watching for Fish on the Slant

Down into the Trough of the Lower Spillway Steps. I didn't see it catch anything, but I bet it did. I tried not to stay where it could see me very long.

Great Egret in the Raiin - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Doing the Same in the Rain

Was a rainy day, but I didn't have anything better to do after being at the VA Horse Pistol already too much of the day, then napping the rest of my nine hours sleep and eating decent food of which the VA had none available, and I didn't want to walk in the rain across the street to the Subway. Most of today's shots were shot from the driver's side of The Slider, whose nose is falling off after I slid it up yet another curb parking. But the Toy shop body repair guy said they could paint it any color I want, and I want yellow — even if green would be more appropriate for a Red-eared Slider.

Rain -Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Other Side in the Rain

Layers of rain-diminished scenery across the lake and the land beyond.

The Circle Tree Cut All the Way Down - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Circle Tree Cut All the Way Down

I was so much hoping they'd leave that tree standing, so mayhaps some more branches would grow out of it. It was a great tree while it lasted — till that last big wind storm — and many wonderful birds used it to rest, relax and look down from. Sadness is.

Thistles in the Rain on Winfrey Hill - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Thistles

in the Rain up Winfrey Hill

Wet Mocker on Bench - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Very Wet Mockingbird

on a Bench Around Winfrey Circle

Dead, Wet Mockingbird - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Dead Wet Mockingbird

On a White Stripe in Winfrey Parking Lot

Wet GBH Tring to Get A Little Dryer - Photograph Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Wet Great Blue Heron Trying to Get A Little Less Wet

I saw it flying low and slow around those trees twice, landed, then flew some more, but I was staying dry in The Slider and couldn't get a bead on it till it landed. But it was lovely to watch.
 


Last Month    unkept up Index of Pages     year ago     Bird-annotated Map of White Rock Lake      

Except as noted, all text and photographs Copyright 2017 & before by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium without specific written permission from and payment to Writer and Photographer J R Compton. I am an amateur. I've only been birding since June 2006, and the best of that is documented in this Journal, all the pages of which continue online — see links at top and bottom of every Bird Journal page. I've been photographing professionally and semi-professionally yet always amateurishly since 1964. A total of 53 years.


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