One Year Ago

November 2017

The Amateur Birder's Journal - Stories & Photographs by J R Compton
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39 photos so far in November   This month's best pix  Cameras Used  Ethics  Feedback  My Special Bird Pages — many include eggs, just-hatched, fledgling and/or juveniles: Herons  Egrets  Heron vs  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 resumé 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 SWMC Rookery & Village Creek Drying Beds  Please do not share these fully copyrighted images on Pinterest, Tumblr or other image-sharing sites!

Red, Reddish & Red and Something Ducks; Pelicans & a Kestrel,
@ WRL — Photographed and Posted November 6, 2017

red and reddish ducks

Red & Reddish Ducks Extravaganza

I thought I was photographing a bunch of ducks fishing — and yes, I have seen ducks catch and fly away with fish, so that's not out of the question. But though I didn't pay this bunch of ducks the attentions they deserved, I wish I had.

So I enlarged a portion of this fairly vast horizontal of red and reddish birds not particularly far from the corms and pelks, so somebody can identify them:

red ducks galore

Closer-up & Sharper Version of that Last Shot

I see Red-headed ducks, ducks with red heads, red and gray and white ducks, red & black ducks, red and brown ducks, red and red ducks, black and white ducks and various other ducks with some shade of red or reddish brown. I now know I should have stopped on DeGoyler Drive, parked, set up my tripod on the edge of the water, and clicked away until I had sharp-focused close-ups of all these birds. I'll go back tomorrow, but that rarely helps. But they be a buncha ducks involving red in here. And I shoulda, coulda but didunt.

Kala King emailed me that evening: "Looked at your enlarged portion. I have never seen such a mix. I see both male and female lesser scaups, male and female redhead ducks, male and female American wigeons, and a male pintail. Probably more in there but all that could be positively identified with this photo. That is awesome."

 some strange bird - copyright 20107

As Usual, I had no Idea What I Was Going to  photograph

I just hoped something would come along slow enough I could catch up with and get a decent exposure. At first I assume the bird on the right was a Red-winged Blackbird, but now I am  not at all sure.

pelk fly low past cormsPelican Flying Low Past A Snag Full Of Cormorants

Pelican Flying Low Past A Snag Full Of Cormorants

I shot a great many more shots of pelicans roving around the inner bay, but this was my favorite, and all the rest of them were pretty much like this one.

pelk fishing frenzy

Cormorant and Pelican Fishing Frenzy

After leaving Sunset Bay, I noticed corms and pelks  engaged in a large fishing group, so I went up DeGoyler Drive pausing often in the middle of that street to photograph birds close and far in the lake on my left.

peliican air foil

Pelican Air Foil

Somehow when I saw this, I knew it was an airfoil, but I didn't know exactly what an airfoil was. I know a lot of words and I know a lot of meanings, but I can't necessarily always match them up. So I axed the Internet, and Wikipedia said "An airfoil (American English) or aerofoil (British English) is the shape of a wing, blade (of a propeller, rotor, or turbine), or sail (as seen in cross-section). An airfoil-shaped body moved through a fluid produces an aerodynamic force." Which sounded good to me.

pelican landing with sideways look

Pelican Landing with Sideways Look

I love the sideways look as this American White Pelican flew over me as I was standing on the Pier at Sunset Bay aiming my camera back up at him for a 12X view.

Am Whie Pelican Over

American White Pelican Over

And this was my fave of these sorts of shots.

Kestrel with a Bug - copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Kestrel with a Bug

As I was leaving the lake, I drove over, around, down, then back up Emerald Isle Drive past the baseball fields on my right where was this critter. I assume that's some sort of bug in its beak. I guess it does look better than when it's on a wire.

American Kestrel Away - copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

American Kestrel Away

Then while I was watching, it fled west, but I captured its full wingspan.



Northern Pintail, Great-tailed Grackle, Some Gooses & Mallards
— Photographed and Posted November 3, 2017

Male Northern Pintail  - Coppyright 2017  All Rights Reserved. 29

Male Northern Pintail

Not sure if it's the same Northern Pintail Duck who visits us every year about this time and stays awhile — sometimes invites his mate, too — but there is one that does those things, and we're always happy to see him/them again. I also saw this one Friday night, by which time I was pretty sure he was the same one.

But I'm really very pleased to have seen and photographed it in the sunshine already. I recognized it in the dark, which may be indicative that my bird-I.D-ing is getting better, but I didn't feel need to photograph it in the dark when I had such nice pix of most of his views in sunshine.

Male Northern Pintail Preening  - Coppyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Male Northern Pintail Preening

There's probably dozens of poses and manners of preening that only Northern Pintails engage in, and I hoped to capture something distinctive, but I would have had to see it, and I did not.

Male Northern Pintail  - Coppyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Male Northern Pintail Looking Down into the Water

Standing in the water and looking down into it. Maybe. Or it was just comfortable this way. I liked the pose, because its colors showed more distinctively than any other I got.

Male Northern Pintail Reverse  - Coppyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Male Northern Pintail Reverse

And, of course, I had to get the best view of those vertical white stripes.

Adult Male Great-tailed Grackle - Coppyright 2017  All Rights Reserved. 28

Great-tailed Grackle

A Great-tailed Grackle who parked too close to the pier for me to get all his tail in the pic. And I just love his striped feet.

Cocks of the Walk - Copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Cocks of the Walk

The slanted blue thing between me and them is one of those guard rails. These gooses are Charles' geese taking their sweet time to walk across the road above Sunset Beach. I think they prefer to have a line up of cars behind them, but they're happy enough to walk across the road making loud goose noises.

Mallard Tossing - copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Mallard Tossing

This did not get posted yesterday when I photographed it, but it's here now. And it may even fit better now with the pix above and below. I remember seeing a male Mallard almost and all the way upside-down and rolling, head over heels over the rippled and splashed surface of the water. Kinda like this, but I'm sorry I didn't catch it more up-side-downy. It was very peculiar, and you've only seen about half of it.

Took me awhile to realize that its right foot has cast upon it its own shadow, so now it finally looks about right. Oh, well.

Mess of Mallard Wings and Feathers - copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved

Mess of Reeds and Male Mallard Feathers

I liked the visual confusion of this shot, but I did not manage the best of focus, and it's a rather large enlargement of the part of the shot that's least focused.



Larking @ the Pelicans, Cormorants, Anhinga, Coots, Green-winged Teal, Ring-bills
& Everybody Else @ Sunset Bay @ White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas, USA
Photographed November 1 & Extensively Corrected & re-posted November 2, 2017.

Short Logger pelk - copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Pelican on Short Log

The log is longer front to back than across the hump holding up the pelican from this point of view. It's just more comfortable on it this way.

Pelican Wing-stretch Flap - copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Flapping Pelican Wing-stretch

It went through the whole routine. Someday I'll adequately document it all, but it's not a specifically and-then-you-do-this sort of thing. Note the unextended left wing and the barely-begun-to-be-extended right wing tip. I'm fascinated by those tips and when they are extended, most often, in my limited experience, when they are coming in for a landing, as shown just below.

Pelican Turning on a Wing-tip - copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Pelican Turning On a Wing-tip Slightly Splashing in the Water

I didn't know it would splash wing-tips in the water, but if I had, I'd be even happier that I caught it on silicone. I've never been exactly certain where the extendible wing-tips start on their wings, but this pelican's wings are, I think, fully extended, because it wants and/or needs, the most control at this juncture of the landing process.

reddish duck olas - copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Kala Says these Reddish Ducks are Male and Female Green-winged Teal

I just wasn't sure who these birds were, and I wish they'd swum by considerably closer, so we could see more detail, so I'd have had half a chance identifying them. But I remember Kala King, who often helps me identify the unidentified birds here, talking about how red some birds' heads were in last month's bird journal. Found that, and she was referring to Cinnamon Teal, but these aren't those, either.

Pair of Pelks Coming in for a Landing - copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Pair of Pelicans Coming In for Landings

Most of today's incoming pelicans with presumably full pelican bellies (from being involved in large fishing fleets on the other sides of the lake, and catching lots of fish to fill their bellies) landed among the other pelicans. Sometimes they fly right by the pier at Sunset Bay, but usually they do not, because the wind is not blowing in the exact right direction for that to happen. Most of today's landings were into or behind a bunch of other pelicans.

Pelican Commanding Top Perch  xx  xx

Pelican Commanding Top Perch

Here, it had already decided where it was going to perch. I saw that body language, then started shooting. Watch them enough, and you know what they're thinking — sometimes.

Pelican Jumping for Top Perch  xx  xx

Pelican Jumping for Top Perch

Wings really help birds jump higher.

Pelk Jump for Top Perch  xx  xx

Pelk Jump for Top Perch

Lotta water splash around, but those other pelicans don't seem to mind a bit.

Pelk Jump for Top  xx  xx

Pelican Sticking the Landing

I guess it's all part of the game for them.

Last Pelk Hop into Low Flight  xx  xx

Last Pelican Hop into Low Flight

I like that its broken-up reflection under it, has about the same rippled white texture as it does.

Am White Pelican Flying - Copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Pelican Flying Over Snags & a Screaming Anhinga

This could be that same bird, but I photographed a lot of pelicans flying this day. I didn't notice it, but Kala King noticed that the pelican is flying over a Screaming Anhinga.

Two Droop-head Gulls Flying Together  xx  xx

Two first-year Ring-billed Gulls Flying Together

I'll be disappointed if I learn these gulls are Ring Bills, our usual over-population of gulls. All of today's other gulls are here below, out of chronological order, so I could compare and contrast them. Color me disappointed — again. Kala says these are all first-year Ring-billed Gulls. Which means they will grow into the same obnoxious, coot-attacking gulls as always. Alas!

But I'll photograph them and their activities and usual attacks and fights, as if they were real birds.

The Other One of the Gulls - Copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

First-year Ring-billed Gull Over

Because I'm not a big fan of gulls in general, and ours in particular, I notice when they start showing up, and I am in a kind of dampened ecstacy when they finally leave, which luckily is fairly soon. There were more than four, but I only managed to photograph these few in sharp focus.

Log Pelk's Wing-over - Copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Log Pelican's Wing Over

It looks sweet, but it's just a wing-stretch with not nearly enough room to stretch otherwise.

Double-crested Cormorant Landing - Copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Double-crested Cormorant Landing

I figured it'd hover there for awhile.

Double-crested Cormorant Near Touchdown - Copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

That same adult Double-crested Cormorant About to Touch Down Among Mostly Juvenile s

But it landed. Something about gravity, I suppose.

Pelk Wings Extended for Landing - Copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Pelican Wings Extended and Cupped for Landing

Birds employ a lot of very subtle technology as they come in for and eventually actually land.

Pelican Flying with Dreyfuss Point Back - Copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Pelican Flying with Dreyfuss Point Back

That white-over-dark-green (here, at least) portion of the behind-the-tree background is the wall partially around the real point of Dreyfuss Point.

Short-logger Beaking - Copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Short-logger Beaking to Protect Its Perch

I think the other pelican was interested in joining this one on that short log, but the beaking attack deterred it.

Pelican About to Land - Copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Pelican About to Land

After awhile, we'll get tired of photographing millions of individual pelicans flying in and landing, but for right now it's really fun and exciting.

Double-Pelican Landing - Copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved.

Double Pelican Landing

I've several times wondered what would happen if two pelicans attempted a landing in the same space during the same circumstances. Well, they both landed safely with no harm or hard feelings.


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The best thing about the Year Ago link  is clicking it early in the month to see what birds last September's change of season brought us and where to look for them this year.

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 the links at top and bottom of every Bird Journal page. I've been photographing professionally and semi-professionally yet always amateurishly since 1964. 53 years.

389 by end March; 1242 end April; 2327 end May; 3431 early July; 4217 end July; 4965 end August; 5720 end Sept; 6464 end Oct-16; 7200 end Nov.; 8012 end Dec; 8566 end Jan 17; 9145 end Feb; 9755 end March 17; 10390 End of April 17; 11077 end May 17. Then I lost the hit counter or it didn't count hits anymore. So I gave up on knowing numbers of hits, and I'm happier for it.