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The Amateur Birder's Journal - Stories & Photographs by J R Compton

This month's Best Shots: Mandarin Duck  Juvenile Grackles Growing Up  Long Green Heron Series  Red-sky Sunset  Blue Cooper's Hawk  Green Heron jumping into Air  Roseate dragonfly  Naming the Logs in Sunset Bay  Best shot of Female Anhinga  Adult Female Anhinga is back!  Visiting Canada Geese  Golden Great Egret Flyover  Fluffy Snowy Egret  Five Ibises  Hummingbird at WRL  Adult Breeding Spotted Sandpiper Takes A Bath  Mixed ducks in Sunset Bay  Willet  Late-season Scissor-tailed Flycatchers  Least Sandpipers  red diamond  If you assume I am a bird I.D expert, you will be disappointed.  red diamond  The Current Bird Journal is always here.  Cameras Used  Ethics  Feedback  red diamond  Bird Rescue Advice from Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation  red diamond  Herons   Egrets   Herons or Egrets?  Books & Links  Pelican Beak Weirdness  Pelicans Playing Catch  Bird Rouses  Courtship Displays  Duck Love  Birding Galveston  2nd Lower Rio Grande Valley Birds  & the 1st  Bald Eagles at White Rock Lake  Bird Banding Info  red diamond  Coyotes  800e Journal   G5 Journal  red diamond  JRCompton.com  Links  My resumé  Contact Me  DallasArtsRevue  red diamond  So you want to use my photos to make your project look better?  How to Photograph Birds  Bird-annotated map of the SW Med School Rookery  Even I use Site Search to find anything here, but that gets art-related finds on DallasArtsRevue, too.

314 photos, so far

Great Blues Flying
Away Together

August 29 2015

 Two GBHs Rising Out of Chaos - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two GBHs Flying Out of Chaos

Wet camera, wet lens, wet weather, wet J R and wet Eric — oh, so delicious weather and birds this soggy morning. I didn't mind the blurry — thought it was the raindrops gathering on my LCD, but it was real. And wet, and these two GBHs (Great Blue Herons) were a little Impressionistic around the edges. If you'd rather see sharp, color-correct Great Blue Herons flying in Sunset Bay, link down this page to them.

GBHs Flying Away - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

GBHs Flying Away

What they were doing, this time, was flying from not all that close in, to way much farther away. And the joy of it was that they were together enough to stay close as they flew.

Piggy-back-GBHs_Away.jgp

Piggy-back GBHs Flap, Flap, Flapping

Sometimes closer than others. Of course this is only optical delusion, one being farther, the other slower.

Two GBHs Off into the Horizon - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

GBHs Up to the Horizon

Flying together over the loggy swamp.

GBHs and away - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

And Away

Till flying together enough to be in the same frame — about 4 degrees at 500mm, maybe 3-point-something-riddiculous at 510mm.

Scraggley Wet Killdeer Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Scraggly Wet Killdeer

These are way blown-up, so they don't adhere to the same physics — Flying with water-logged wings and tail, and a flyaway feather or two.

Scraggley Wet Flying Low - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Scraggly Wet Away

That seem to dry a little as it flapped.

Two GBHs with an Orange Pylon - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two GBHs with an Orange Pylon

So many unnamed logs out beyond the edge of Log World in Sunset Bay.

Rain Amok - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Rainy Amok

So we bounce back to more near log and bird objects, including female Mallard flying and a Katy Mute Swan — female, probably, adult.

 

 

Some other birds
for a Change

August 28 2015

 European Starling and Two Monk Parakeets - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Monk Parakeets and a European Starling

Guess I'll have to set up a tripod and wait my wait for the perfect parakeet pose.

Monk Parakeets and a - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Three Monk Parakeets and a European Starling

Wish they'd show their faces.

Three Parakeets -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Three Parakeets on a Wire

I haven't had much luck photographing parakeets lately in the Oncor substation behind — or up the hill and in front of — the Old Pump House, but here on this wire, they're a little closer than there. It looks like somebody clears their extensive nests out of the substation. I won't mention names. But they seem to do it often. In reply, the parakeets are settling in higher and less accessible places. I'd love to see and photograph a helicopter dangling a nest-cleaner …

Where Wild Parakeets Have Moved to Since Oncor Keeps Uprooting Them -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

One of the Places Monk Parakeets Have Moved to Since The Electric Company Has  Uprooted their Nests

… like this one.

Skinney Crow on Fat Wire - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Skinny Crow in Molt on Fat Wire

At least I think crow, and Kala confirms, so it must be.

Fisher-man on Fisherman's Pier - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Fisher-man on Fisherman's Pier

I like trolling by this pier and its surroundings in The Slider, and I've grown to appreciate the serious and less-than-serious fisher persons who inhabit it.

Two Doves; One Rouse -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Mourning Doves; One Rouse

I'm not grasping which dove these are. That it's hardly unusual. I rarely photograph doves, they're so common. They're everywhere; they're everywhere. But Kala instructs me the differences "How to Tell a White Wing Dove From a Mourning Dove," so she's assuming I know this is one of those.

 

 

Willet, Swan,
Killdeers, GBHs
& Green Herons

August 28 2015

 Willet with Beak in the Water -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Willet with Beak in the Water

We've been seeing a lone Willet close in in Sunset Bay for a couple weeks now. Nice of it to visit today.

Four Killdeer -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Four Killdeer

And the Killdeer seem a semi-constant presence. We thank this bunch for offering us a back-view, stand-up back-view, front view and side-view.

Willet on the Sandbar -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Willet on the Sandbar

And yes, of course, all today's pix are in strict chronological order. After a little while the Willet just up and flew away.

A Mute Swan Named Katy - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Mute Swan Named Katy (or K.D. or The Lady Katherine or …

Kathy Rogers says this mute swan that she helped recover from a nasty infection is a male, even though several of us have seen her being mated with by a male, mostly white goose named "Patches." We all assume Patches would know better than to try to mate with a male of a species not all that different from a goose.

One Killdeer - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

One Ruffled and Partially Roused Killdeer

Mighta been a rouse. If so, this is the end of it.

Great Blue Heron Flying By - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Flying

I know I have a lot of favorite birds, but this is my favorite favorite bird.

GBH passing GBH at Dreyfuss - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Passing Great Blue Heron at Dreyfuss Point

Lovely early morning this. I had to get out to the lake early, because Jonathan is repairing my sheetrock today, so I was at the lake well before he was to arrive.

GBH over Trash Heap - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Flies Over _____

I knew we have a number — maybe three, four or more — Great Blue Herons who sometimes cavort (and no, that word does not always have a sexual connotation) across the sky, but when they decided to do that this morning, and I was there with long enough a telephoto lens to follow along as long as I could stand it.

Great Blue Herons Flying Across the Bay - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The beginnings of a Curve of GBHs

Sometimes they seem reddish in the rising sun. Sometimes not.

Chasing Across the Lake - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

GBH Chase

I keep thinking that, because I made so many, better-than-average photographs this morning, I'll just pour them all out on this page, then come back later and pitch about half of them.

Chasing Continued -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Chasing Continueth

But what fun, these guys (males and females, I assume) are having/

GBHs -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

GBHs

And though I've photographed them doing this before, I've never got quite so many "keepers."

etc. -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Etc.

After awhile I run out of captions. In each of these pix, there's a noticeable difference between the two Great Blue Herons, but I don't know what to attribute that difference to.

Chase with North Park Buildings -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Chase with Northpark Buildings

It's just two Great Blue Herons flying up and down and all around, having fun flying.

Mallard Pair Come Flying In - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mallard Pair Comes Flying In

If I could fly, I think I'd have at it, also.

Green Heron in Yoga Pose - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron in Yoga Pose

Yes, this is a Green Heron, even if it is in no way green.

The Red Herron - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Red Herron

But then, neither is the Great Blue Heron ever really Blue.

K D and the Red Flash -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Red Flash and the Mute Swan

And we're all still pretty sure that K.D. is a she.

Speed Green Heron - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron

Sometimes colors are just names.

Green Heron Heading West -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Heading West

Have you ever been blue?

Green Heron in the Weeds -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron in the Weeds

At least the weeds are green.

GBH Flies Past Trees -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

GBH Flying Past Trees

But this Great Blue Heron is about as green as the Green Heron was in this morning's red rising sun's light.

GBH Streaking Past -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Streaking Past

But I still readily identify this bird as blue.

Guess Who Won - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Guess Who Won?

I was carefully attempting to focus the Great Blue Heron flying across the bay and never even saw the rowers out there, but I'd bet the GBH won, whatever the race was. And I've got a lot more pix from today, but I'm tired, and I need to do something else.

 

 

Killdeer, Green Herons
And A Pretty Pigeon

August 27 2015

 Killdeer Landing on the Peninsula - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Killdeer Landing on the Peninsula

Early Weddy ayem, I joined Eric on The Pier at Sunset Bay, which looked bereft of birds. He said a paddle-boat had scared them all away. I'd like to have Sunset Bay barred to paddle-boats, off-leash dogs and idiots in canoes and kayaks who just love to scare birds, but I can't imagine the City of Dallas suddenly becoming enlightened, so we just waited and talked about birds and inexpensive, light-weight fold-up chairs like the one he was sitting in, and in a few minutes, as he had assured me, more and more birds came back.

Killdeer Having Landed - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Killdeer Having Landed

Killdeer put the "peep" in Peeps — those little shorebirds that, like Bo, go peep! In my limited experience, Killdeer are the loudest of the bunch. Their nearly electronic 'peeps' fill The Bay or Spillway sometimes, yet it's difficult to find them, their peeping so fills the space.

Green Heron on Stick Nest - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron on Stick Nest

There were also two Green Herons in the Bay. First one, then the other appeared flying in. They both ended up in the weeds on shore a ways from the pier, but spent a lot of time in various log formations, closer and closer.

Green Heron Heading for Land -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Heading for Land

I don't remember which one's which, but there were two. The other day [below], there were four, so two's not really very many. And I figure that if there were four in sight that time, there might well have been at least six. And, of course, if there were six …

The Prettiest Pigeon - Landing -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Prettiest Pigeon - Landing

I've had my eye on this pigeon, but getting it landing …

The Prettiest Pigeon Touches Down -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Prettiest Pigeon Touches Down

… and spread-eagled having landed …

The Prettiest Pigeon Just Standing There -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Prettiest Pigeon Just Standing There

… was special.

Green Heron Ascendant -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Green Heron Ascendant

Interesting in this shot is that the green heron's reflection on the water below, looks a lot like a dragonfly. I didn't notice it when I shot it, of course. Enlightenment comes after looking at all the pix and choosing just a few.

Three Red-winged Blackbirds - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Three Red-winged Blackbirds

Nothing really very special about Red-winged Blackbirds, except we get a lot of them in the winter and the summer. The two on the left are pretty normal. The one on the right has red-orange and yellow on its wing.

Least Sandpiper on the Sandbar - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Least Sandpiper on the Peninsula

And there more than a few sandpipers, too.

Least Sandpiper Foraging -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Least Sandpiper Foraging

And it's always a treat to see another.

One of the Smaller Logs - With A GE on it -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

One of the Smaller Logs

With a Great Egret on It.

 

 

Least Sandpipers &
A Rouse-ing Snowy

August 26 2015

Three Shorebirds Escaping - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Three Least Sandpipers Escaping from the Peninsula

Dark-brown stripes on their heads, tail-flapping, gray-outlined wings, with harder dark edges in the front toward the body. Who are these birds? Let's look carefully at each one, A, B and C, as enlarged from this image of them:

Shorebird A Detail -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Escaping Least Sandpiper A Detail

So far, shorebirds are my most challenging I.D experiences. I have a book called The Shorebird Guide that I've gone through slowly, page, by page, just as we are going through these three enlargements of whatever species this is.

Shorebird Escaping - B -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Escaping Least Sandpiper B

I've also searched back and forth and forth and back through The Sibley Guide to Birds, Second Edition; the Lone Pine Birds of Texas, and then I just gave up for awhile till I remembered The Shorebird Guide. Unfortunately I didn't find these in there, either, but I always enjoy paging through that book, too.

Escaping Shorebird C -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Least Sandpiper C

Kala says they're probably Least Sandpipers, and I'm inclined to believe her.

Three Little Shorebirds on a Peninsula -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Just-arrived Small as-yet unidentified Shorebirds

This is them before the suddenly rose up and flew away. They didn't stay more than maybe a minute, if that long. They might suddenly have become of me up on the pier staring down at them with a big camera and lens, but I kinda doubt it.

Three Shorebirds Escaping - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Three Escaping Least Sandpipers

And this is what their wings look like, flying away.

 

Adult Male Non-breeding Wood Duck -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Male Nonbreeding Wood Duck

Nearby. I am particularly fond of Wood Ducks, especially the females. But the males are oddly beautifully-enough to be fascinating, too.

Six Pigeons -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Six Pigeons

Actually, seven, but I cropped most of one out of the picture at the top right.

Adult Snowy Egret Landing with Crop WAY Up - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Snowy Egret Landing with Crop Way Up

Wish I could have seen this bird land from the other side. This has to be one of the highest crops I've seen or photographed.

Snowy Egret Landed Fully Roused - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Snowy Egret Landing Fully Roused

Compare this Snowy landing with another big, fluffy rouse with another (maybe) Snowy Egret [below] doing pretty much the same thing..

 

 

Nothing In Particular
Everything In General

August 25 2015

But It Doesn't Look Like a Great Egret - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

But It Doesn't Look Like A Great Egret

But I can't figure out what else it could be. The head looks like a Cattle Egret, except Cattle Egrets have orange legs, which, now that I look more carefully, this may have, and an orange beak. Ditto … Ash…! Kala says it's a Snowy Egret. She's almost always right about these things.

It Still Doesn't Look Like a Great Egret -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Kala says it's a Snowy Egret.

It could be a trick of the light — and shadow, which of course, is what photography is all about. Below on this page is another, rather extreme example of a Snowy Egret.

Great Egret Flying Low - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Flying Low

Here's a GE for comparison. Could be the same type bird. Might not be. I dunno.

Blue Dragon Fly - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Blue Dasher dragonfly

I found Blue Dashers on the internet, but none in my National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects & Spiders — not even in the Index in the back.

Killdeer Landing, I Think - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

One of the Two Killdeer Landing, I think

I'm adding this one, because of it's beautiful tail that shows rather nicely.

Two Killdeer in Flight - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Killdeer in Flight

It's just so unusual to get a telephoto shot of two birds flying together in sharp focus. No tricks.

Pink Dragonfly - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Roseate Dragonfly

See the last time I photographed one of these [below]. I may be getting better at this. At least this one's got more detail and more intense color. I still haven't got a decent shot of one flying, but I will.

GBH

Great Blue Heron

And some ducks and a mansion or two in the distant background, whose distance is distorted by the 510mm-equivalent telephoto with 1.7 X telextender.

Model with Photographer - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Model with Photographer

Luckily, she's looking our way, and he's not. And by the way, since White Rock Lake Park is a public place where some photographers find it interesting to photograph professional models that they probably have to pay, in spaces they don't have to pay for. And I don't, because they're fair game in public. I couldn't use the pic to sell perfume or flowery headbands, funny hats or whatever they're selling, but here in this public, non-commercial space, it's okay. And I do it often. It probably helps that I am not selling anything from this website.

One Of Those Towers - cpyr

One of Those Towers in Plain Sight of White Rock Lake

Where I was, looking for something — anything — worth photographing today.

One of those Yacht Clubs - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

One of Those Yacht Clubs Along Yacht Club Row

Which is north on the East side of the

Gooses with Swan -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Goose with a Swan Named KD

The swan used to be called Katie until it was taken to Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation to get it fixed, after it developed a subcutaneous infection. The guy Kathy Rogers got to repair Katie and Rogers decided somewhere along Katie's repair and recuperation that it was a male. So Katie became K.D when she got back to Sunset Bay, although there is still much controversy about what gender he/she really is. I and others remember Katie having sex with Patches, who is definitely a male goose — at least three different times — and some of us have photographs, so we are dubious of the new gender assignment, but KD doesn't seem to mind.

Just K D - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Just K.D. now — maybe

I see her almost every time I visit Sunset Bay in White Rock Lake.

Mute Swan Facts

Extended Wood Duck Family - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Extended Wood Duck queue

, some turtles and the plant life on the far side of the lagoon.

Small Great Egret with some Ducks -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Smallish Great Egret with some Ducks

I keep thinking I should just enlarge the egret end of this picture, since the ducks — Mallards, I think — are rather nondescript. But I love the shapes of the right end of the log here. Like a wolf or something.

Small Piece of Sometimes Stormy Sky - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Small Piece of a Sometimes Stormy Sky

I kept hoping I'd get rained on, but at least I caught a few cool gusts of coolish air. Nice breeze-lets out on Sunset Pier. But most of the sky action — including many lightning strikes that I never managed to capture but saw clearly north of the lake, where the sky was darkest.

Buncha Kids at The Leake E. Boathouse - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Buncha Boys at the Leake E. Boat House

I love that name. The Leaky Boathouse. Perfect. At first I thought these were all Jebbies, but I'm not sure, although they all seem to have black shorts, whatever that might mean. "Jebbies" is what I (who never was one) and other attendees of Jesuit High School in Dallas and former attendees thereof called them at the University of Dallas, where I attended college just past the middle of that last century a long time ago.

And Some Other Kids, Too - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

And Some Other Kids, Too

I didn't ask who they were, I just took their pictures. Because that's what I do.

odd little set-up - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Odd Little Setup I Found

On one of the sandbars / peninsulas, someone had set up this little set piece featuring a white feather, an odd bit of vertically striated wood, that branch of treelet and some bits of color that I didn't investigate closely, just took its picture. Many years ago, when I drove all the way around Lake Superior, I found a more-or-less circle of sticks stuck in the sand just a few feet from somewhere along the shore, where I'd decided to spend the night in my pick-up. A little bit of magic, intentional or not.

 

 

Catching Up & Proof of
4 Green Herons in Sunset

August 24 2015

My Current Favorite Duck - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

My Current Favorite Domestic Duck in Sunset Bay

I like the look of this particular duck. When I see it, I pay attention to what it's up to. I've photographed it often and will probably continue. Several seasons ago, my favorite ducks were Appleyard ducks, named for the farm somewhere where that subspecies was developed. Those ducks were much prettier, but then I hadn't seen this one's ruffles before. The Appleyards were dappled with amber and spots, but this one's got black legs and feet. Lovely yellowish among the white, with a sweater of brown and black.

GE with Throat Lump Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret with Throat Lump

It's probably eaten something and was busy swallowing when something scared it into flight. Or something's caught in its throat. Uh-oh, the "Bird Rescuers will Get It, and it'll lose its peaceful life in Sunset Bay.

Forster's Terns on the Bent Log - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Forster's Terns on the Bent Log

These birds seem to come for days and go for more days, but they're back, but will probably be gone by the time we go for a look. They used to perch on the sculpture installed behind the Bath House Culture Center, but the local citizenry there have had that art removed, but they are often also seen in Cormorant Bay and other places around White Rock Lake. I hope I've listed them in several places in my Bird-annotated Map of White Rock Lake that's always lined at the top right of new pages, like this one will be till September.

Two Green Herons in Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Green Herons on Sunset Island

In the Second Edition of Sibley's Guide to Birds, David Allen Sibley says of Green Herons: "Uncommon and inconspicuous. Nests and roosts singly in dense trees or shrubs over water. Forages most typically along tree-lined or tree-covered streams and ponds, but also seen in more open grassy or weedy marsh or pond-edge habitats." These two look like they are the same age.

Plust Two Green Herons in the Bramble Much Closer = 4 in SSB -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Plus Two Green Herons in the Bramble

These two do not. When Erin and I were photographing the one Green Heron [below] who was much closer in in The Old Boathouse Lagoon, we discussed just how many Green Herons have been consistently visiting Sunset Bay lately. She'd seen three at one time. I'd seen two, more than twice, but ya' never know which one's which unless we photograph them very close to all at once, which is what these last two images are about. They've been coming back and showing themselves more than in the last ten years that this bird journal has been going, so they must feel comfortable here now, probably because what they like to eat is here. Little fishes mostly.

But if there's four, there's probably more.

One Small Shorebird on the Sandbar - crpy

One Small Shorebird on the Sandbar in front of The Pier at Sunset Bay

Least Sandpiper? Kala King, who helps me with identifications, confirms my diagnosis of it being a Least Sandpiper. Wow, someday I may grow up and become a bird identifier …

Four Mallards and One Great Egret - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Four Mallards and One Great Egret

Here or with this one, the lump is chin-like. I've been wondering about the black splotches, little here, sometimes much bigger on other GEs. There's always been black visible just behind the forward edges of their wings.

One Splotch Great Egret and One Snowy - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

One Splotchy Great and One Pristine Snowy Egret

I haven't seen any Little Blue Herons either at the lake or at the rookery this year, but this looks similar to one of them transitioning from the white they are as young juveniles to all-blue adults. Its legs and beak, however, are the right colors for a Great Egret and the wrong ones for a Little Blue Heron, which right about at the end of August last year, were prominent along the upper Spillway. Years ago, I saw Little Blues often in Sunset Bay and other places around the lake. But not this year.

Nine Mallards Over a Dusky Landscape - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Nine Mallards over a Dusky Landscape

10:48:38 AM August 20. This journal entry is a catch-up, with photos from the last several days I hadn't used yet. I sometimes do that, since I shoot an awe-ful lot of images every week, and I don't always find someplace I want to put them quickly. They gather. I like the cool feel of this one.

Who Is This? - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Who Is This?

A juvenile Mockingbird or somebody else entirely? I looked at a full page of those, and none looked like this. Hmmm.

Kala King to the rescue once again. She says: "Looks like a Northern Mockingbird in molt. Adult. The juveniles have spotted breasts." Kala says she has "lots of juvy mockers in [her] yard and some adults molting. This one looks pitiful in molt … and one of the juvvies.

Three Egrets out in Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Three Great Egrets Out in Sunset Bay

Early in the mornings lately, I have seen lots and lots of egrets. Just a few hours later, though, there's only a half dozen of them, which seems to indicate they spend the night out among "the logs," then disperse to the rest of the lake for the day. I'll have to go out there before midnight (The lake officially closes at midnight till 6 ayem, but that may be only for couples in cars, who net a hefty fine, even if runners and a few walkers can often be seen at the lake midnight to dawn.

Some Gooses - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Some of Our Domestic Gooses

Most of these were bought at a feed store. Some left off at the lake. None really wild. Most can't fly very far, if at all. They're farm animals in Valhalla — fed dozens of times a day.

Yesterday I argued briefly with a woman who had brought a large bag of chips for the birds, but she wasn't just feeding them, she was throwing handfuls of the stuff into the mud in front of the pier — and teaching the children with her to do the same. A lot of the chips stayed there to rot. I leave when those people take over. But these gooses will eat just about anything. I keep remembering how serene piers in California were, and the big, legal signs reminding the citizenry that they will net hefty fines if they feed the birds, who should be feeding themselves.

I've never stayed all day 6 ayem to midnight just to count all the "kind souls" who feed the gooses, but I bet there's a couple dozen of them. No wonder the gooses are so girthy.

The Gooses at the Front of the Line - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Gooses at the Front of the Line

Gooses organize themselves into lines when they come and go. Often it's the goose with the biggest wattle who pulls the line. When the beloved Wilbur The Goos was still with us and with them, he was always at the front of the line. He was the boss. I'll have to watch carefully to see if this Graylag-type goose is always in the front as the long line of domestic gooses that trails in and out of Sunset Bay every morning and evening.

Great Egret Landing Near Wood Ducks - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret lands near Wood Ducks and one Snowy Egret

I rarely tire of photographing birds, especially Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Wood Ducks or just about anybody else.

680

 

 

Following an Adult Yellow-crowned Night Heron Up & Down the
Creek for about 65 Intense minutes of Tripodal photography

August 22 2015 - 426

 CNH with Open Beak - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

YCNH with Beak Open by Lump

First saw it standing just off the edge of the lagoon, but those were rather ordinary shots, so I clicked away, of course, but the series really started when it opened its beak. I don't know why, and to my knowledge, no sound was emitted. I've seen them yawn, but I don't think this was one.

YCNH Looking back from top of Lump - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

YCNH  Looking Back from Atop Lump

I followed it for one hour and five minutes, so I got lots of time to watch it carefully as well as photograph it intensely. I also got lots of time to practice sneaking up carefully while lugging a large camera, lens and tripod.

YCNH - almost like a prance - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

YCNH Almost Like a Prance

I'd brought the three-legged holder, so these shots are especially sharp. That's what tripods are for. I was shooting with my 300mm tele with a 1.7X telextender = 510mm, give or take.

YCNH on Edge of Sandbar - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

YCNH on This Edge of the Sandbar

Last week I was calling this land mass a peninsula, but it's no longer attached, so it's an island now. Hooray for rain, sporadic though it may have become.

YCNH with Crown Up in Rouse - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

YCNH in Partial Rouse with Crown Up Alfalfa-Style

It took a long time to winnow through all the shots of this bird to find different poses and places. Luckily it slowly changed locations, which makes this series more visually interesting.

YCNH at Mouth of Lump - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

YCNH at Mouth of Lump

It spent a lot of time at, on and around this tree object. Eventually it caught something in it, but it kept its front facing the shadowy insides. According to my Lone Pine edition of Birds of Texas, every Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron "stands and waits or engages in slow, methodical walking or wading; eats primarily crabs, crayfish and fish." I suspect it was one of the former that it found in there. I never saw it, but it took a long time to prepare, ingest and "chew."

YCNH on this edge of the Spit - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

YCNH near Left Point of The Spit

Its first jump was to this end of The Spit, where it periodically disappeared behind and/or into the greenery over there.

YCNH About to Touch Down in Water - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

YCNH About to Land in Water

Then it flew back over to the lump. Yes, today's journal entry pix are in strict chronological order.

YCNH Feathers Rushing Forward after its Body Stops

Some herons employ a pose similar to this to cast shadows on the water, but this was just a case of a feather body in motion continuing in motion even if the Yellow Crown itself quite suddenly stopped.

YCNH with Wings Flung Forward - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

YCNH with Wings Pointed Up and Forward

Then it pulls back the wings, still held up and pauses briefly.

After the Landing - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Folding its Wings After Landing

And just stands there while the water catches up with it.

YCNH head up from Weeds on Spit -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

 YCNH Head Up from Weeds on This Side of the Lagoon

Then it flew east to the weedy/reedy step-down edge of the shore, and I and my tripod and cam again snuck very carefully toward it. Right about here some children chasing gooses were getting a little too close, so I asked their leader, a very active boy of maybe five or six to "Please don't frighten away the bird I was photographing." He paused staring at me, took that in and retreated.

BCNH Flies Back from Spit -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

YCNH Flying Away from The Spit

Then the little heron — about two feet long with a wingspan of about 3.5 feet — took flight again, heading back up the creek.

Flat Out Down the Creek - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

YCNH Flying Flat-out Up the Creek

Rather eloquently, I thought, and I followed discreetly.

YCNH Reflection in the Creek - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

YCNH Reflection on the Eye Tree Up the Creek

It spent a lot of time in that one tree I'm calling "The Eye Tree," because it looked like an eye, with the little blue heron with the 'yellow' crown appearing as its iris and pupil. The reflection in the clear and calm water was an attempt to keep all the pix here from looking like the others.

YCNH Climbing Up Eye Tree - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

YCNH Climbing Upper End of Eye Tree

Then it climbed up the tree as if it had done that many times before. It looked easy.

YCNH Waiting in Tree - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

YCNH Waiting in Tree

When it settled up there, I decided I'd bothered it enough already, so I packed up my gear and left the area.

 

 Flying Down Jungle Creek - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Yellow-crowend Night-Heron Flying Up the Creek

Thematically, this image fits right in about here, though it was actually taken the next day near the same location. It's an accident showing either the same or a similar YCNH flying west over the SSB lagoon. You can probably tell why I'm calling it an accident. Its issues are overexposure, probably caused by a very slow shutter, which in turn might well have been caused by low light (my preferred excuse) or either my ignorance or stupidity. Maybe all of the above.

Although I have attempted to desaturate the color in our hero, the color in everything else is real or very close to real. I consider it a happy accident.

 

 

Male Mandarin Duck in one place, and in another,
Some Juvenile Great-tailed Grackles Growing Up

August 21 2015 - 226

Male Mandarin Duck - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Male Mandarin Duck in a Place Far, Far Away

I was taking way too many photographs — in the hundreds and for an hour and five minutes — of something that's not a Mandarin Duck or — thank goodness, another Green Heron — in this same place and closer, when I saw this colorful guy swim across on the far side of that particular lagoon. So this shot may be a tad soft, but it's extraordinarily colorful, and that mostly makes up for it. He only made that one appearance that I saw, but he'll probably be back to the delight of many photographers in SSB. I shot this on cool Thursday.

juve and fem adult grackle -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Young Great-tailed Grackle with Adult Female Great-tailed Grackle

I was already busy photographing the green herons below, this last Wednesday, but this little scene on the far rail seemed interesting enough to photograph, although I didn't know what was going on till later.

Juve Grackle Wants Fed - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Grackle Wants to be Fed

Later, I realized and was told — hard to say which happened first — the flappy one is a juvenile who's got used to having a parental figure feed its face every time it made a ruckus, and this is Part B of that education. As in, go feed yourself, chum.

Juve grack calm for a moment -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Grackle Calm for a Moment

And it really was just for a moment.

Juve grack w unsure footing -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Grackle Trying to Flap Wings and Stand Up at the Same Time

Then the kit began rocking and rolling and flapping and falling, all simultaneously, to try to show mom it really needed her help.

Juvenile Male Grackle - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile First-summer Male Great-tailed Grackle

This is a somewhat older male Great-tailed Grackle — maybe a month or two — maybe less, as it begins to really look like a male.

First Summer Female Grackle -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Young Great-tailed Grackle

And I suspect this is a similarly aged — probably hatched earlier this summer — beginnings of a female Great-tailed Grackle. Seems to be just growing into that big beak. Nice of them to show themselves. I did not find either of these last two age varieties in Sibley's 2nd Edition.

Pile of Turtles - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pile of Turtles

I didn't see red ears, but I was pretty sure these were Red-eared Sliders until Kala King, who is a much better bird-identifier than I, told me they were really River Cooters.

Great Egret Fling - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Flying Low

Saturday or Sunday or so, when I finish winnowing through 426, I think, shots of the mysterious bird who is not — thank goodness, yet another Green Heron, Mandarin Duck or Great, Snowy or Cattle Egret, I'll post that hour and five minutes of closely watching and photographing the next latest rather interesting — there was a buzz about it in Bird Chat here lately — bird. Stay tuned.

 

 

Some of the Best, Most Detailed and closest
Photographs of Green Herons I've ever shot

August 20 2015 - 226

 M First Shot Today - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

My First Shot of a Green Heron Today

But then it is Green Heron Season. They're very difficult to find in a landscape, but I hoped it was out about there, so I kept watching for the small movements that looked like a Green Heron, which seems able to change colors and tones according to what's behind it from my point of view. When I finally found one, I started hoping it would get a lot closer.

Green Heron Rapt Attention - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron at Rapt Attention

This shot is sharper, so I was able to blow it up more. The heron is not really very much closer yet.

Green Heron in Flight -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron in Flight

Green Heron in Flight -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron in Flight

This was when it was still quite far. Nice colors, but not much detail.

.Green Heron in Flight -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron in Flight

Right about here (in time) Erin Smith joined the shoot, and while I was paying attention to my camera or a nearby baby grackle demanding to be fed, she alerted me that the heron was flying. I turned around and started shooting.

Green Heron in Flight -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Still Flying

But after awhile, some grackles joined us where we were shooting from, and I photographed them. Till the heron again took flight, and I followed it around the lagoon.

Green Heron in Flight - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Across the Lagoon

I was really excited about photographing a Green Heron in flight this close. It was almost as if it were showing off for us.

Green Heron -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Standing Tall

When it settled, even closer than it was when it was flying, I was rewarded by amazing detail, like in its feet, face and feathers here.

Green Heron Looking Up At Us -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Standing Up Looking at Us

This is so close it nearly filled my full-frame camera viewfinder, which means if it got very much closer, I'd have to back up, and I didn't have the room.

Green Heron Hunting -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Hunting

Then, of course, it moved, but not a lot closer. Though it probably thought it was likely to be closer to fish, which it tried but did not succeed at catching. We both really would have enjoyed photographing that, but all we got was pix of it sneaking up on some possibilities.

Green Heron Looking Like It's Coming For Us -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Looking Like It's Coming For Us

Lucky it hunkered down.

Green Heron Sneaking In Low -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Sneaking In Low

Right about then …

Green Heron in Wing-drop portion of rouse -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Green Heron in Wing-drop Portion of Extended Rouse

… it went into a rouse. Crown is down, so is its left wing. I don't think I've seen that before, but I've seen a lot of Rouses.

Green Heron in Partial Rouse - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron in Partial Rouse

Both crop and wing are up at this portion of its quickly transiting rouse as I was rat-a-tat-tat photographing.

Green Heron Standing - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Standing

I shot a lot of pictures — how many is the green number at the top middle of most of my journal entries lately. I was getting wonderful detail, but after a so many great shots that were beginning to look and feel pretty much the same, I got tired and bored, so I stopped. Were great fun there for awhile, though.

 

 

Flowers and Bees, Sunset Skies, Ducks Shooting
"Touch & Goes," A Butterfly & a Green Heron

August 19 2015 - 107

 Big Bees Like Big Flowers -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Big Bees and Littlish Flowers

Lotta big bees buzzing around bright-colored flowers this hot hot day.

Why They Call It Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Why They Call It Sunset Bay

Gorgeous sunsets are a specialty at Sunset Bay.

Sunset with Clouds - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Sunset Clouds on the Western Horizon

These were, I think, yesterday. But so were the other photographs above.

 

 

Practicing Touch and Goes -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Practicing Touch & Goes

And these images are from today, which was Tuesday all day. A "Touch and Go" is Air Force lingo for landing a plane, rolling down the runway, then taking off again before stopping. Pilots use them to practice landing and taking off without doing all the silly stopping stuff that's usually in between.

Long Splash Landing -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Long Splash Landing

It looked like air-and-water-cooled fun. This was the female Mallard in the pic above continuing its wet landing. I'm always intrigued that landing including landing on the not-land of water.

Duck Splashathon -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Splish-Splash

Meanwhile, I was standing in the shade a little back from the front of the Pier at Sunset Bay trying to decide if it was worth staying awhile longer.

Adult Female Mallard Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Mallard Flying

Shooting whatever flew by.

Female Mallard either Landing or Taking Off - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Mallard Either Taking Off or Landing

I was actually looking for something specific, but I didn't find it, but I'll keep looking.

Butterlf in the Herb Garden - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pearl Crescent Butterfly in the Weed Garden

I might have got an even better pic of this, but just as I was about to, another photographer walked right in front of me and stood there while I was focusing the butterfly without ever noticing me. I guess because He was trying to photograph his wife at the other end of the pier.

A Familiar Silhouette - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Familiar Silhouette

I wanted a side view of it flying down the coast, and that's what I got, but I was hoping to get it focused before the bushes.

Upstanding Green Heron -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Upstanding Green Heron

Handsome little critter, and that smile is amazing, even if it's just feathers.

Down Sunset Beach -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Looking Down Sunset Beach

Photographing down one hill, across the street and down another hill to see the water and peninsula off Sunset Beach.

 

  

And these are leftovers from Previous Days' Shootings,
when I thought they weren't nearly good enough …

August 18 2015 - ?

 Blue Hawk -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Blue Hawk?

When a bird or human or other object is photographed in deep shadow on an otherwise bright, blue-sky day, very often the dominant color is that of the sky that reflects back into it down there where the sun can't get at it. So this hawk really does look bluish. Thoroughly throwing off what little raptor identify sensibility I might sometimes have. Plus, I don't actually remember making this photograph, and I've been wanting to photo a hawk for awhile. Keep seeing them but not getting them.

 About as close as I got to the Cooper's Hawk - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

About As Close as I Got to This Hawk

Except I'm pretty sure both shots are of the

's Hawk I saw the other day when I got a bit of raptor rapture when I just wanted to watch it fly over and by — instead of concentrating on photographing it. Except for the color, it's tail and various other parts looks very like our blue hawk above, so maybe both are the Cooper's that's been agitating and chasing crows here lately.

Smaller Crow Preening Larger Crow - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Larger Crow Being Preened by Smaller Crow

I hadn't seen this behavior. Or noticed it. Took awhile to put one and one together.

Co-Crow Preen - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Post Co-Crow Preen

Neither looks threatened or servile. More like bright-eyes and contained tailed.

Killdeer and Loose White Feathers on the Peninsula -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Killdeer and Lose White Feathers on the Far Side of the Peninsula

Looks young. Somehow it finally got to me today that Killdeer are our loudest Peeps.

Young Killdeer on the Peninsula - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Same Dapper-looking Young Super-peeping Peep

Very dapper, indeed.

White Duck Bath A - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

White Duck Splash Bath A

 

White Duck Splash Bath B - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

White Duck Splash Bath B

 

White Duck Splash Bath Flap -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved. \

White Duck Splash Bath Flap

 

White Duck with Wings on the Water -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

White Duck with Wings On The Water

 

White Duck Sloppin' Around In It -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

White Duck Sloshing Around In It

 

Guess That's Its Head Underwater on the Right  -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Guess That's Its Head Underwater on the Right

 

Flap Flap Flap and its nearl over - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Flap, Flap, Flap and It's Nearly Over

 

Oh, Why Not One More Flap - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Oh, Why Not One More Flap?

x

 

Adventures of A Green Heron in Another Lagoon

August 17 2015 - 186

 Green Heron Just Arrived -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Just Arrived

I saw something flying up the lagoon that appeared to be skinny and upright, so I watched carefully, keeping the cam I had with me ready. Green Herons really are much smaller than they appear here. It takes just a little time, however, for them to grow a lot bigger in our minds.

Here's my last great, multi-photo experience with a Green Heron off Sunset Beach last month.

Green Heron on Branch with Crop Up -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron on Branch with Crop Up

I kept shooting, because these little birds are often quick to disappear. Turn around, then back, and they're gone and too small to find, they blend into everything. Green Herons are generally about 15 to 22 inches long with a wingspan of about 26 inches; much smaller than Cattle Egrets at 19 - 21 long with 36-inch wingspans and Snowy Egrets who are 22 - 26 inches with wingspan of 42 inches; Great Egrets — 3 - 3.5 feet long with 48-inch wingspans; and our biggest local herons, the Great Blue Herons, who are 48- 52 inches long with 6-foot wingspans.

Green Heron on Branch -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron on Branch — Crop Down and a Little Poofed

Yes, this is the exact same bird barely a few seconds later. Not in a full rouse, but a lot of feathers are poofed-out here. It might have got over-heated flying in. Other times, rouses help warm them up. Since birds can move any feather on their body, they self-regulate.

Green Heron Fishing in the Lagoon - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Fishing in The Old Boat House Lagoon

I didn't see it catch anything, but it would poke beak into water, then tilt head back and appear to swallow something. Mostly Green Herons eat little fish, which is what it's looking for here.

Green Heron Flying Low over some Logs - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Flying Low Over Some Logs

I don't know if the dragonfly is just flying along with the heron or if the heron is chasing it or if it is chasing the heron. I was lucky to get this much detail in the bird. My little camera is the devil to follow something moving that fast that suddenly, because the viewfinder is digital, and fast moving objects or backgrounds tend to flutter. The much heavier singe-lens reflexes, like my Nikon, are much heavier (because of the mirror and pentaprism) and larger (because the sensor is so much larger), but they show me what's out there optically with no fluttering image.

Green Heron Hunting Up the Lagoon - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Hunting Up the Lagoon

I have no idea who that is in the water in the lower middle of this image. Might be a duck; there were a lot of those around. I guess there usually are.

Adult Black-crowned Night-Heron -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Yellow-crowned Night Heron (YCNH)

I noticed it and photographed it, but I didn't spend a lot of time on it, because once I got this one, nice, stand-up pic of it, it bent down and did some serious preening on its underside in positions that hid its head, so I went back to catching up with the little Green Heron that was busy traversing = the lagoon. As I've noted before YCNHs are comparatively rare since about ten years ago when a disgruntled Upper Lakewood resident illegally dismantled the YCNH rookery in his very large front yard.

Thanks to Kala King for catching me on my pedestrian original identification of this bird. It's a Yellow-Crown, not a Black.

Green Heron Flying Up the Lagoon - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Flying Up the Lagoon

Thus beginning another little flyaway adventure.

Green Heron Still Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Still Flying

Now that I know where it hunts, I'll have to go back with my Nikon and my much sharper, non-zooming lens — like that ever works.

Green Heron Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Flying

If I'd been shooting with my Nikon instead of my toy Panasonic, this series would probably have been sharper, but we photographers always have some excuse.

Green Heron on the Dragonfly Tree - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron on the Dragonfly Tree

And why I'm calling it that will be revealed soon, if not already.

Green Heron Watching Food Flitter - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Watching Dragonflies Flitter

Watching something upper than it was.

Green Heron on that Tree -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron on that Tree

Herons wait. That may be what they are best at. Well, that and being beautiful. I've been told I must have tremendous patience, but it's not anything I can identify with — and you could ask anyone who really knows me, although I could kill time almost anywhere. This guy has a purpose.

Watching Dragonflies Circle -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Watching Dragonflies Circle

At least that's what I think it was looking up at.

Dive-bombing Dragonflies -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron with Dragonflies

I don't know if those white splashes and flashes are dragonflies, too. I don't think these dragonflies, who might well be White-tails, quite qualify as super-sharp, but at least they are flying, not just perched. Have you noticed that almost every other time I photograph a Green Heron, it looks different?

Foot Up and Beak Open -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Foot Up and Beak Open

Sometimes when I miss the focus or use a camera that doesn't focus fast or well, I make the image the next size down. Bigger horizontal images on this journal are generally 888 pixels wide, which is about twelve-and-a-third inches on my iMac, smaller on your PC. Verticals that would otherwise take up too much vertical space are rendered at 666 pixels wide. This still doesn't look really sharp, but that's because it isn't. It started out at 888; now it's 666. You can tell by the smaller credit line, that many refuse to call a watermark. I'd have to make it infinitessimal to make it seem really sharp.

Green Heron -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron

It looked frustrated, but maybe it was just tired. And hot. Beaks open when it's blazing. Like dogs.

Green Heron Jumping into Flight  - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Jumps Into Flight

Anna and I saw whom I suspect was this same Green Heron later that evening, but this was the last shot I got of it before it disappeared Sunday afternoon. I'm still amazed my little Panasonic Lumix G5 that I usually use to photograph art and sometimes artists and / or family, often in low light, caught this bird escaping from my view. Yeah, I'd like it a little sharper and more perfect, but wow! I'm impressed with this one.

 

 

Geese, Trees, Scenic Views & a Half Dozen Doves on a wire

August 16 2015 - 47

Geese & Gooses - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Geese and/or Gooses

Today, I just mostly wandered around looking for something to photograph. I shot these guys off the Pier at Sunset Bay between some tall weeds, because I liked the vividly colorful darks and vivid bright whites involved here. I had already set my little Panasonic Lumix G5 to vivid colors, because I felt like a little more color today. At this time I didn't know I'd be photographing mostly landscapes.

That Same Roeate Dragonfly on that Same Stick - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

That Same Roseate Dragonfly on that Same Stick

As yesterday. Same all around, except this one is on this side of the stick and a lot sharper. This is a much better photograph. Sometimes my hands shake and that shakes my camera, which does no harm, but when my lens shakes, it blurs things. This time it didn't. My mother's hands also shake, but my father's didn't and most of my sibs' don't. Now if I could just get one this sharp while it's still in the air.

Winfre Point Framing Boyscout Hill - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Yacht Clubs and Boy Scout Hill

Boy Scout Hill is approximately in the middle center and left of this wide view of the north east end of the lake. I'm not sure where that flag is. I don't remember ever seeing it up there, though I've been up there often.

Up Winfrey Hill - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Up Winfrey Hill

I think this is from the parking lot at the bottom of Winfrey Hill. There's a building up over the top of this hill, and that circle drive that I do so much love driving around. Driving around in circles makes some people dizzy. Probably me, too, but I love driving in circles.

Near the Top of Winfrey Hill - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Near the Top of Winfrey Hill

A little downhill toward Sunset Bay from The Winfrey Building  is a little triangle of land with some trees. I think that's where little, intricate trunkery of trees are. Or maybe its on the south southwest side of the circle.  I don't think I've ever photographed this explicit set of trees before, but today, I was enough taken with it to need to.

Broken Tree Down from Winfrey Bldg. Parking Lot - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Broken Tree Down from the Parking Lot Behind The Winfrey Building

I overlook this tree every time I photograph birds on the line up over the parking lot behind The Winfrey Building.

Doves on the Line -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Doves on the Line

I flat don't remember where I saw these doves. I usually don't photograph doves. And this photograph's consecutive number is out of the continuing context of these other images, so maybe I didn't shoot it behind The Winfrey Building, but if I had, it'd look just like this.

Garland Road Up to Grande Avenue -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Garland Road up to Grand Avenue with Gaston Avenue off to the Right

I parked in a ritzy neighborhood so I could walk across the road to the dam and see what birds I could find along The Upper Spillway to photograph. Apparently, I needed to walk more than I needed to photograph birds, although I saw and photographed Killdeer and various Sandpipers down there, but it's kinda dismal in that big trough, and this is much more attractive than any of those photographs. Took me awhile to figure out that blue truck has crossed Garland Road from the cheap QT gas station off to the left.

Something else I've never figured out is why that walking bridge, which is where the Train Trestle used to be, follows a walking and bicycling path along where the tracks used to slide through Elderly East Dallas along Santa Fe street, then end up almost to the lake, but not quite. I guess once The City got it into its head that the path would follow the tracks, they didn't see any sense in diverting that way to the lake. One of my less important goals in life is to discover where that path really leads.

The Old Boat House -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Old Boat House

While I was near the dam, which is a little left of this viewpoint from across the street, I shot this view. I love repeating patterns, and here I got two, two, two repeating patterns in one shot.

Sailboat on the West Side of the Lake -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Sailboat on the West Side of the Lake

It just looked rail purty.

Same Sailboat Farther North -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Same Sailboat Farther North

That's the Old Folks' Home called Young in the background. If several lake-based organizations hadn't ganged up on them, they would have built higher, so we could have stood on the top and photographed the whole lake in one swell foop, but all those crazy folk were afraid it would turn out too much like New Yawk Sitty's dreadful Central Park (?).

 

 

Using My Little Camera at the Lake Today

August 15 2015 - 176

 Doves b the Side of the Road - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Doves by the Side of the Road

I wasn't very serious about finding birds today. I figured I would, but I wasn't looking for any in particular, for a change, and I was happy with whom I found.

Wings-up Killdeer on Peninsula - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Wings-up Killdeer Bow

If I had learned how to use my Olympus OM-D EM-1, I might have brought it, but since it still baffles me every time I pick it up, I instead brought my faithful Panasonic Lumix G5 that was significantly cheaper, but I already knew how to operate, since I'd previously owned and loved a Panasonic Lumix G-2, and I think I really should have bought a Panasonic Lumix G-6 instead of my stupid Oly. When I saw this bird, he was on the far side of The Peninsula with the strong sun lighting him up from behind, so all I saw was a dark bird-shaped shadow with its wings doing something sorta interesting, so I dialed the exposure brighter till it was about where I thought it should be and made a couple exposures. The other one was much less sharp than this.

Nice thing about Micro Four-Thirds cameras is they don't have complex mirrors and heavy pentaprisms to bounce the light around in the camera to an optical viewfinder where we can't see exposure or colors or shutter speed. Nope, we can see exactly what it's going to look like, and this is pretty close to what I saw, just a little brighter. All today's shots were taken with my trusty little Pany that utterly abandoned me during the last Mercury Retrograde. Now that I've taped down its too-loose LCD, it works.

Roseate Dragongfly - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Roseate Dragonfly

I couldn't find it in my National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects & Spiders, but it was easy to find on this stick in the water in front of the pier at Sunset Bay. Pretty little thing. Erin told me its name. It's been an ongoing ambition to photograph a dragonfly — there's lots of them right now, in white, black and other colors, but capturing them as sharply-focused insects flying has been difficult. Some years it's easy. Not this.

Squirrel Eating Corn - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Squirrel Eating Corn

This squirrel was just gobbling the corn grain down, and there was gobs of it. Although Charles is known for delivering the highly nutritious corn grain to the ducks and everybody else in the evening, he also delivers it in the mornings, and I suspect this bunch was from this ayem.

Fluff Brown & White Duck with Corn - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Fluffy White and Brown Duck with Corn

I've been watching this lovely little duck. Sorry I almost chopped its tail off here, but it's still very exotic for a duck. Amazing big black feet.

 

 

Naming the Logs in Sunset Bay

August 14 2015 - those same 176

The Left Box Y - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Box with Left Y

I asked a couple people about naming the logs in Sunset Bay and mentioned it previously here. I can't say the yeah votes were voluminous, but it seemed a pleasant exercise, so I did it anyway. You may recognize this log as where the Anhinga has been perching lately, pretty far out in Sunset Bay.

The Long Log with Muscovy Drake - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Long Log with Our Ornery Muscovy Duck

I think it's the longest log out in the bay. I'm not sure how it compares with Boom, below, across the lagoon from Sunset Beach, but both are long.

The Bramble - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Bramble

Those sharp-of-eyes and mind early might see a Green Heron hiding among the branches of this log, then jumping into the water for a little fishing.

The Lunk -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Lunk on the far side of the Lagoon

The Lunk has been floating around the bay for several years. Many birds have been seen and photographed over there, wherever there was.

The Junk Pile with Domestic Gooses -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Junk Pile with Domestic Gooses

I didn't see the egret out there, but I finally did working up this image.

The Anteater with Gooses and Ducks -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Anteater with Egret, Ducks and Gooses

I suspect the really filigreed little log the egret is standing on, too, but I can't think of anything yet. I think of anteaters when I see this, closer log, but maybe it reminds me of an aardvark, too.

The Wedge with Snowy and - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Wedge with Turtles and a Snowy Egret

Again, the Snowy Egret on the far right edge of the Wedge escaped my seeing before I got this image large on my screen, so I could make it small here.

The Lagoon Arc with - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Lagoon Arc with Canada Gooses

I've seen any number of ducks and pelicans and gooses and other birds on this slim log on or just this side of the far shore of the lagoon. I call it a lagoon, because I like to name things, and I like the name, lagoon. Just outside Austin, Texas, when I used to live there in the mid-1970s, there was a museum called Laguna Gloria that I loved to visit and see the art, then go outside to find art along the lagoon. Or what they called a lagoon. According to the dictionary on my iMac:

lagoon  {la' goon}
noun
a stretch of salt water separated from the sea by a low sandbank or coral reef.
• N. Amer. & Austral./NZ a small freshwater lake near a larger lake or river.
• an artificial pool for the treatment of effluent or to accommodate surface water that overflows drains during heavy rain.

None of which actually refer to this particular body of water. Or, for that matter, my other favorite lagoon at White Rock Lake, the body of water, now nearly crowded-out with tall reeds, northwest of the Old Boathouse, that I liked to call — because I'd heard it called that by bird- and other lake-experts from before my time — "The Old Boat House Lagoon." I figure this lagoon is about as much a lagoon as that one is, and they are similar in other ways I won't go into here. I think the individual pieces of wood in the pile behind this 'log' are too small to have names of their own.

Boom -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Boom

This is one big log. It, too has been differing places around inner and outer Sunset Bay. The City, in its infinite wisdom — NOT! — gathered up and destroyed all the logs that this spring's floods flooded in to or near shore. I don't think they have a clue about bird's needs or habitats, it just looked a little disorderly, so they trashed them all. Cleaned up!

Luckily, this one was and is a bit too far out in the wet, though shallow, for the City Idiots to get to. Yet. And there have been many discussions among the birders and bird-photographers about going out in that nasty, sewage-strewn water and dragging that big chunk out of there and chain it down somewhere convenient for us to photograph dozens of American White Pelicans on and around come September 15 or October 15, when they usually come back to grace our lives with their many odd and often beautiful shenanigans. 

Meanwhile, it just sits out there, and I for one, wouldn't mind terribly if it stayed. I bet the pelicans would feel a lot safer there, especially if we get more rain, because I'm pretty sure coyotes, small wild cats and other fierce predators live and hunt in that dense woods on the other side. I know that, because I have tromped through exploring its depth some years ago.

 

 

Another Attempt on the Anhinga, A Snowy, Fem Mallard,
The Canadas, a Great Egret, some scenics & a Schlepper

August 14 2015 - 176

Cleanest Far Anhinga This Season -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Cleanest Far Anhinga This Season

I keep thinking I've tried everything I know to render the female Anhinga who lingers on that same log often enough I've had several chances at her, then I think of something else. This time I lowered my ISO down to 160, which is very low for me. But she's still a little soft.

 Anhinga Showing a Little Wing - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Anhinga Showing a Little Wing

There's a couple more stops of bright left to try, but it'd be a whole lot easier, if she'd just be a little more friendly and come closer.

Another Snowy Landing - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Another Snowy Landing

Snowy Egrets are amazing and beautiful and elegant and …

Female Mallard in Standing Forward Flap - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Standing Female Mallard in Forward Flap

But then, so are many, somewhat less exotic birds, too.

Resident Canada Goose Flies Out of the Frame -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Resident Canada Goose Flies out of the Frame

I know I said our new threesome of Canada Gooses were wild, but apparently they were left off somewhere else than where they seem to center and can often be seen in Sunset Bay.

Great Egret Flies Somewhat Behind that Long Lost Log - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Great Egret Flies Past the Long Lost Log

It's not lost, of course, I just needed a name for it, and that one appeared.

Can Goo Up On One Leg -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Canada Goose Up on One Leg — with Mallards

I think this is the middle or smallest Canada Goose. I think there's a male, a female and an advanced juvenile, but I'm no expert.

Bikler with Pump House and Filter Building -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pump House and Filter Building on the Far Side with a Bikler on this

This is from the other evening when I was checking on the hummer's Yucca a little farther up the hill.

The Grove Near the Lot at the Bottom of Winfrey Hill - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Grove at the Bottom of Winfrey Hill

And this is past the rushing stream with rocks and reeds that I showed you all awhile back. The parking lot at the bottom of the hill is just to the right.

Skyline with Winfrey Trees - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Skyline with Winfrey Trees

And this is a whole 'nother time.

Schlepping Photo Gear - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Schlepping Photo Gear

I thought some folks were out looking for birds and doing it in the worst manner I'd ever seen, then along came this guy schlepping all that gear, and I decided they must be photographing people or something else entirely.

 

 

Two Exquisite Photographs by Kala King

August 13 2015

Kala King - Polinated Hummingbird

Pollinated Hummingbird

When I first saw Kala King's photographs of this female Ruby-throated Hummingbird, I was amazed. I'd tell you where Kala found this hummingbird that got a snoot full of pollen, but I think it should remain a secret unless you recognize the plant and know where it is, in which case you're entitled. Apparently, Kala happened along in just the right place at just the right time to capture this little beauty.

 Hummingbird with Yucca Flowers - copyright Kala King 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Hummingbird with Yucca Flowers

In all the years I've done this journal — nine so far — I've only seen two hummers at White Rock Lake, and those seeings only lasted a few seconds, and I never saw either bird again, and I was unable to photograph either one, at all. But I watched this place a long time twice today (Wednesday August 12), but this beautiful hummingbird did not reappear. I suspect it was because the plant had shriveled in the heat over the couple days since Kala saw and photographed it.

I bought 2.5 gallons of water for it, poured it inexpertly, then just after dusk, Anna and I checked it out with The Slider's headlights, and it had perked up significantly, so I might try Thursday morning again, but I bet the hummer is long gone. They travel far and fast, always looking for succulent red flowers.

Oh, and I'd like to publish work by other really good photographers here. All I can pay is what I pay me —  a copyright notice that shows your name and link. Contact me at the Contact Me link above.

 

 

Adult Female Anhinga back at White Rock Lake

August 12 2015

Female Anhinga Flying Over Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Adult Female Anhinga Flying Over White Rock Lake

Possibly, maybe even probably, the same Anhinga who was here about this time last year, when she was then the first Anhinga photographed at WRL. Kala King told me about her return yesterday, when I found other interesting species, but by then the Anhinga had flown away. Today I got to watch the Anhinga fly away. And tomorrow, unless I can get decent pix of it, I'll show you an amazingly beautiful and rare sighting Kala made at White Rock Lake. I tried to find that one this cool morning, and I will try again this hot afternoon. Meanwhile, here's more Anhinga shots from early today.

Anhinga Preening on Big Log - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Anhinga Preening on Big Log

Before that, I got to watch her preen and flap prior to flying away. It was lovely to see her back, even if she tends to stay far out on the lake

Anhinga Wing Flap - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Anhinga Wings-back Flap

At least today I brought my tripod, which helps me settle my camera and 500+mm lens with 1.7X telextender. My 2X telextender just doesn't render far shots as well. And either extender makes capturing close flying birds, much more difficult to find or focus.

Anhinga Flap -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Anhinga Wings-forward Flap

She got a little closer last year, maybe she will again this. This is about as far away as I can adequately render even as large a bird as an Anhinga — 2.5 – 3 feet long.

Female Anhinga Rouse -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Anhinga in Wings-up Partial Rouse

I'd like that. I also saw two hawks — the first one I was enjoying watching too much to even pull up the camera and try to aim, and the second one was moving too fast agitating crows — or the crows were agitating it. I also think I saw an eagle — something massive and reddish-brown — flying up Winfrey Point toward the baseball fields. I was driving, so I couldn't just stand and look, let along get a pic, but three people were watching something moving fairly fast, with rapt attention, which was why I slowed down. I asked the last guy what it was, and he flat did not know. Me, neither.

 

 

Three Visiting Canada Gooses at Sunset Beach

August 11 2015

 Three Canada and Four Domestic Gooses - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Three Canada and Four Domestic Gooses

Originally, I said, the Canada (Not Canadian) Geese were wild and just visiting. Sunset Bay's domestic gooses were either left off at the lake by well-meaning or ignorant people or bought at a feed store, then liberated there, but lately I have learned that the Canada Geese — all three of them: The large, tall one, the medium-sized one and the ever-so-slightly smaller one, were all left off at a different part of the lake, then they found their way to Sunset Bay and its copious humans who feed any bird.

Over the years, I have been instructed by more-or-less well-meaning bird folk that "geese" means two or more birds that look like those of the same species, and "gooses" are always of differing species. But everywhere I've looked online today, it has stated that goose is one and geese is more than one, species notwithstanding. Not that what Google points to is ever necessarily the truth.

Three Can Goos and a domestic - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Canada Gooses and a Resident Graylab-like Goose

Though I looked carefully, I didn't see them when I drove around the bed past on my way to the pier, but they were there when I walked back over. I was careful not to frighten them away, although I am rarely that careful around our resident goose population, who sometimes hiss, rarely anymore attempt to bite, but almost always raise a noisy ruckus when humans invade "their' space.

Two Canada Gooses Trundle Down to the Sand Bar / Peninsula - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Canada Gooses Trundle Down the Beach toward the Sandbar Peninsula

While I watched carefully from a good distance, they headed down the beach toward the sandbar.

Trundle Pause -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Trundle Pause

Reconnoitered at the edge of the beach, then looked for something to eat.

Two Can Geese with Domestic Gooses Back -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Canada Geese with Domestic Gooses Back

This peninsula is not a permanent land mass. It will probably only last till it starts raining again. I keep thinking whoever decides those things, let the lake level go over the dam back when it seemed the rains would never stop, and now that we kinda need the water, there isn't enough. But awhile back, Ben noted that when the lake level gets lower (like about now), more strange and/or non-resident birds would visit. And sure enough, they have been.

Three Canada Geese find food on the Peninsula - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Three Canada Geese Find Something to Eat on the Peninsula

I like photographing them when they put their heads together. I've never considered Canada Geese particularly intelligent, but they do know how to work a crowd for food.

Three Can Goo on the Peninsula -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Canada Geese Employing Various Canada Geese Neck Poses

And they are adept at stealing food from unwary picnickers.

Three Canada Geese - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Three Canada Geese — Crook Neck, Short Neck and Tall Neck

Our visiting geese show us three of the well more than those three neck and head positions of Canada and other gooses. They were back the next day, too, so they may become regular visitors here. Some ducks and gooses, like the Snow Goose from last year and the Pintail Duck, tend to stay awhile.

 

 

Two Green Herons, a Great Blue Heron & Some Terns (?)
I have yet to identify & Nobody on Bird Chat responded

August 11 2015

 Green Heron Flying Out - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Flying Out into the Bay

I know I saw two separate Green Herons in Sunset Bay today, because I didn't go anywhere else, because it was too hot to wander around aimlessly as I sometimes do, and what I did see I watched very carefully. I got out at SSB (Sunset Bay) with tripod (to hold the cam still) and long pants (to keep the bugs from eating my legs), and stayed out on the pier quite a while, because I kept finding new and interesting birds — even if I never did see the female Anhinga who Kala King told me she'd seen out there this morning when I was talking with a prospective electrician.

Green Heron Flying Out - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Still Flying Out

I'd promised me not to even go out without an awfully good reason, but each of these birds probably fulfilled that, even though I didn't know I'd find them there.

Great Blue Heron Far - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Far

Well, maybe not the Great Blue Heron. I've been seeing it regularly, though almost never as close as I'd really like to.

S-Curve GBH - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

S-Curve GBH

But maybe it's getting used to seeing me and will gradually learn I'm no trouble for it.

Green Heron on Y-log - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron on Y Log

Sometimes I think I should name each log out there, so we'll know just where each new, kinda interesting bird, was perched or flying over or swimming toward when we photograph them. Shouldn't be that difficult since the floods earlier this season widely dispersed many of them. Then again, I have trouble enough naming birds, let alone where they settle.

Tern with Turtles - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Forrester's Tern with Turtles on Big Log

These birds were out way too far a mere 510mm lens, so I got my tripod, hoped they'd stay where they were, so I could find them, then photographed them several more, slightly soft times.

Four More Terns -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Four More Terns

I'm probably looking for them in the wrong places, which is typical of my bird-identification skills, but I'd sure like to know who these are. I'm pretty sure about the tern part. Could be a Foster's or a Least. An Arctic is kinda out, because there is rather far from here. Several nonbreeding terns have receding-hairline-like bald white spots on their foreheads …

Tern Up -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Foster's Tern

But none I've seen so far have that black patch under the wings on its back, though bird I.D. books don't always show that. So this slightly blurry, far shot of one jumping into flight doesn't really help my identification. If I had to guess — and I don't seem to have any alternatives yet, though I posted it as an unsub on Bird Chat; just no one's read my message or see these pix posted there and responded yet. As I was saying, if I had to guess, I'd go for Forester's or Least; they both map through here, though in winter, not the heat of summer.

More slightly strange birds for tomorrow. I'm too heat-beat to work them up now.

 

 

I Went Out in Triple-digit Heat Twice Today

August 11 2015

 The Test Shot - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Test Shot

As I walk out to the pier at Sunset Bay these days, hoping to see something I haven't already seen a couple thousand times already, I point the camera down along the boardwalk path out on the pier, between the tall weeds in The Herb Garden, straight out to the big logs rimming Inner Sunset Bay, out to Dreyfuss Point and the trees thereon. Click, chimp the LCD, adjust exposure. Click, this is about perfect. No birds, but great exposure. If I'm lucky, there's already some shade on the run out to the pier. Not today, but sometimes…

GBH, An Island Unto Itself - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron — An Island Unto Itself

GBH pretty close in. Then, just when I was starting to get used to photographing it that close, it flew out much farther away. Of course.

Great Egret Flies Past Some Logs -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Flies Past Some Logs

It was hot the first time I went out, just after my doctor told me after my first-ever strip-down Physical Examination in a room almost cold enough to freeze water, "Stay out of the heat." I minimized my time on the pier, as I minimized my time out of The Slider, but I still felt exhausted all day. Woke up in the middle of the afternoon, when strange birds often visit Sunset Bay, and drove out there again.

Great Egret Over the Peninsula -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Over the Peninsula

It's already acquired a bunch of names. The sand bar. The spit. The Peninsula, and probably several I haven't heard yet. It's connected to the land mass that surrounds White Rock Lake, so it's a peninsula. When I say that I often remember the bit of joking at the end of a Jefferson Airplane song, wherein the bank jokes, "No man is an island. … He's a peninsula."

The Only Double-crested Cormorant I saw today - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Only Double-crested Cormorant I Saw Today

And the only Double-crested Cormorant in Sunset Bay this hot day.

Snowy Egret Reaches for a Landing - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Snowy Egret Reaches for a Landing

In the water.

A Crow Staying Out of the Sunlight - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Crow Staying Out of the Sunlight

If I were that dark, I might also. I tried to, and I'm only this dark.

Like a yawn or cough - cpryu

Like a Yawn or Sneeze — Maybe a Cough

I watched this egret by the creek that feeds the lagoon just 'above' Sunset Bay for a long time today.

Great Egret Hiding in Plain Sight - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret in Plain Sight

I don't know if it thinks it's invisible or if it's just standing there till it decides what to do next.

That GE Fling Over the Creek - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

That Same Great Egret Flying Over the Little Feeder Creek

Then it dropped its flight path down into the trough of the creek, thus entirely disappearing from my and my camera's view.

Aggressive quirrell Has To Decide -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Overly Aggressive Squirrel Has to Decide

I kept encountering squirrels today that would not back down or back out. They stood their ground, didn't shoot up trees to get out of my way. This guy stayed in front of me as I walked down the pier, always a couple dozen feet in front of me. But I was getting closer, and in no mood to stay out in the heat it was likely pretty much stuck in. Would he jump down off the pier to land in the dark, shady grass below? Or would it stay and fight the human?

It jumped. And I walked back to The Slider and slid away.

 

 

Other People's Photographs

August 9 2015

Glenn May - Wood Duck 

Glenn May   Male Wood Duck   Taking Off

From time to time I get pictures sent from pretty much anywhere of birds that I never quite know what to do with. Now, suddenly, this early afternoon I realized I could post the really nice bird and/or pertinent people pictures right here on The Amateur Birder's Journal on those occasions when I really don't feel like working up my own pix. So, if you send me a maximum of two bird pics, be forewarned: I may actually use them starting from the top of this page that's always the first page you get when you type www.jrcompton.com/photos/The_Birds/J/. But I'll only ever use the very best. I probably need to come up with a better headline for other people's bird pix here.

Thomas Diekwisch - Mr Goose

Thomas Diekwisch   Mr. Goose   Charles Fussell with Goosey

Please be so kind as to name the image file with your name and any proposed title for the pic. And please, please, please only send files of at least one megabyte of jpeg. Please.

Tom D also sent me a lovely portrait of myself, which I have lately planted at the top of my personal website, of which this suite of pages is but a part. Check that warts-and-all portrait out at www.jrcompton.com. Goosey became Charles' pet when he was left off at White Rock Lake and never did quite fit in with all the other gooses. Hence the ascot, of which I have seen two, and he may have more. Now, I kinda wish I'd kept others of the better pix I've been sent over the last nearly ten years I've been doing The Amateur Birder's Journal. My latest email is always available via the Contact Me link that often gets lost in the text at the top of the page.

 

 

An Early Morning in the life of Sunset Bay as
Photographed from My Favorite Pier

August 8 2015 - 209

 Great Egret is the Wind - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Is The Wind

As always in the mornings around seven ayem, lots going on in Sunset Bay.

GBHs cavorting in Outer Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Herons Cavorting in Outer Sunset Bay

Unusual to me, at least, he's a cavorting (No, it doesn't always mean sex. I have no idea of their sexes or gender or want or needs to. It just looked like they were having a blast flying around and through each other all across the bay.)

GBHs Chasing Out there - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Herons Chasing Out There

When they flew far apart, I didn't photograph them, because they'd have to be in a narrow angle out of my 510mm scope to look like two GBHs.

GBHs Fling Together - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Herons Flying Together

And it always looked like much more fun when they were close.

GBHs Nearing End of Romp -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Herons Nearing End of Romp

And where would they settle?

GBHs Settled -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Herons Settled Near Winfrey Round

And is there any likelihood we'll see them again out there that far?

Two Wood Ducks Across the Bay - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Wood Ducks Across the Bay

Another, much smaller, pair, winging their way back across Sunset Bay.

Pair of Woodies Past a Pair of GBHs - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Pair of Woodies Past a Pair of Great Blue Herons

Right past guess who? I could not have planned this better.

Wood Ducks Across SSB -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Wood Ducks Across Sunset Bay

So we follow the Wood Duck pair — two of them, not necessarily a mated pair — flying across the early morning bay's lilting early-morning colors.

Fem Mallard Across the Bay - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Female Mallard Across the Bay

Just about any time I see a bird — especially one of any size — flying across my field of vision — I feel need to follow it in my lens.

Great-tailed Grackle Up Close - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great-tailed Grackle Up Close

Nothing like a Great-tailed Grackle stare to bring us back down to earth.

Great Egret Flyover Turn - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Flyover Turn

I don't always catch up focus when birds fly me over so high I have to point the camera almost straight up.

Turned Great Egret Flying Over - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Turned Great Egret Flying Over

And that's always an ungainly point and shoot. Still, up that high, this egret has the early rising sun all over him, and it makes such a lovely photograph.

Not A Lotta Dancing, but a Snowy Egret Dancing anyway - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Not A Lot of Dancing, But  A Snowy Egret Dancing Anyway

Perhaps I expect too much. Whenever I see a Snowy Egret, I expect a bit of precision dancing and prancing in service of catching numerous little fishies. Alas, this was about as dancy as this one got this morning. Nice do.

Great Egret Catches a Fish in Upper Lagoon - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Great Egret Catches a Fish in the Upper Lagoon

I got two pix of the fish hanging in its beak like this. Then when I adjusted exposure, the fish was gone.

Great Blue Heron Flying Through the Trees - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Flying through the Trees

I don't often get a chance to catch a GBH flying with wings high and head low. Is that really a bird?

Fem Wood vs GBH in Lagoon - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Female Wood Duck faces a Great Blue Heron

Guess which one disappeared by my next shot?

 

 

Five White-Faced and Just Maybe A Glossy Ibis or two
& An Adult Breeding Spotted Sandpiper takes a bath

August 7 2015 - 283

Long-way Frontish View - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Almost a Front View of Five White-faced Ibis with Maybe One Glossy Ibis in Sunset Bay

Erin Smith called me this hot afternoon to report five "Glossy Ibises" out in Sunset Bay. I rushed over there, and they were still there, though farther than I expected or I'd have brought my 1.7X telextender for my 300mm lens.

The full discussion of who these particular birds are is on Dallas Audubon's Bird Chat at AudubonDallas.org/forum/showthread.php?t=4254.

Ibis Flap-jump -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Glossy or White-faced Ibis' Flap-Jump

I shot a bunch of images from the pier, went home, worked up the first few of these shots, got a bit of rest and water, posted a notice with one early pic on Bird Chat, then drove back, shot more of that same view from the pier, then walked west along the shore to get some other views. All three shoots are mixed in this entry of the Bird Journal.

Glossy Ibis in SSB - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

One of my earlier photos of the Five White-faced Ibise and Maybe One Glossy Ibis in Sunset Bay

The first feedback from my Bird Chat notice was from Ben, who said he was sure that at least the right-most Ibis was a White-faced Ibis, not a Glossy. I know I'm a terrible bird-identifier, said that there, and now I'm just not sure which are which — another good reason to photograph them from more than one view. And I kinda doubt a White-faced would be traveling with some Glossy Ibises, so I'm just not sure.

The second Bird Chat feedback, from Ken said "most" of these birds are definitely White-Faced Ibises, and his assessment is "maybe one Glossy out of the five, but this is far from certain and not a life bird view at least from these photos." He continued: "Remember that Glossy Ibis is still rather rare in our area, though sightings are increasing, and most dark plegadis ibis we see should be assumed to be White-faced until proven to be Glossy."

Five Ibis too light - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Five Ibis rendered way too light, so we can see almost all their faces

David Allen Sibley includes an inset of five dark Ibis heads under the subhead, "Identification of Dark Ibises" on page 116 of his The Sibley Guide to Birds Second Edition, that is probably to this point exactly. If you have that latest version of Sibley's Guide, you can see one head each of Dark Ibises (Yes, he plurals Ibis as Ibises.) including Bright Adult, Typical adult, Drab adult, Pale adult and Intermediate. I won't rip him off here by quoting more of that text, but this way over-exposed image above finally may give us a pretty good idea what these five Ibises would look like if they had light shining on them on this side. Using Sibley's aforementioned Identification, I see five dark Ibises, who are probably all White-faced Ibises.

Five Ibises — Mostly Side Views - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Five White-faced or Glossy Ibis— Mostly Side Views — Later Shot

This was shot from the largest opening in the shore trees west of the pier. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I guess because it shows the actual birds in full light, and it shows what their sides look like.

And with this effort, I am going to quit trying to prove these birds' identify.

White-faced or Glossy, they weren't moving around much, so I'm guessing they're resting. We didn't even see them looking for food. My apparently out-of-print Lone Pine edition of Birds of Texas describes Glossy Ibises feeding as "probes bill into mud or sand, eats crayfish, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects" and White-faceds as "probes and gleans soil and shallow water for aquatic invertebrates, amphibians and other small vertebrates." Their exacting descriptions would help more if I could see the birds better.

Five Ibises with Turtles and Logs - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

One of the later views of the Five White-faced  or Glossy Ibises with Trees, Logs, Turtles and the Far Side of the Lake

It's awe-fully hot out there today, but now that I've go preliminary images up, I have to go back with a tlextender, because 510mm beats 300, even if most of the light is coming from behind the birds. Thank you, Erin.

 Backlighted Side View -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Back-lighted Side View — Early

Shooting into the sun generally renders birds too dark.

Beak-up Five Ibises - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Beak-up Early Shot of the White-faced or Glossy Ibises — Early

The left-most Ibis has its beak aimed up, probably with it coming back over from preening his wing feathers. I kept trying to catch it in this position, and now I don't know why.

Closest Front View - Partially Obscured by Foliage - with Details Over-emphasized - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Closest near-Front View with Exaggerated Details and Partially Obscured by Foliage

This is the most recent addition to this collection of fairly bad images of the Ibis I saw and photographed in Sunset Bay. I've purposely exaggerated the facial details and let the rest go hang. This one was photographed through a partial hole in the foliage along the coast west of The Pier at Sunset Bay. In my Lone Pine edition of Birds of Texas, its authors state: "This species and the White-faced Ibis present one of the more difficult field identification problems — they are virtually indistinguishable in the nonbreeding plumage." And in that book's species maps, both White-faced and Glossy Ibis show presence in what we Dallasites mistakenly call North Central Texas, though Dallas is actually in the north easterly quadrant of Texas.

Five Ibises and a Duck - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Five White-faced and Maybe one Glossy Ibises and a Duck

A little too high-contrast a rendering, but with the sun doing most of its illumination on their other side, it's about all I could manage. I'm hoping they'll still be there in the morning when the sun rises behind us and to the right, so we'll get much better exposures. If I look at this pic very much longer, it will probably disappear by the next version of this page. It's still here, because I was so excited when I got that right-most Ibis with wings up on its very short hop.

 

Adult Breeding Spotted Sandpiper About to Take A Bath - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Spotted Sandpiper About to Take a Bath

This Adult Breeding Spotted Sandpiper was busy bathing while I was busy photographing the Five Whatever Ibises, so I switched back and forth between the bird actions in Inner Sunset Bay.

Adult Breeding Spotted Sandpiper Settling in -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Spotted Sandpiper Settling In

Spotted Sandpiper Staying Wet - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Spotted Sandpiper Staying Wet

Sandpiper Splashing - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Spotted Sandpiper Splashing

Airing Out a Little While Staying Soaked In - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Airing Out a Little While Staying Soaked In

Spot Sand Head-Dunk Bath -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Spot Sand Soaking Down In

Spot Sand Puff-out and Dry - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Spotted Sandpiper Rouse Out and Dry

A Little Preen & Everything's All Right - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Little Preen & Everything's All Right

x

 

A couple of weeks ago I photographed a Juvenile Yellow-crowned
Night Heron, and much later found this link to its uncle or aunt.

 

 

The Curly-tail Rule & Other Duck Pix

August 6-a 2015 - 23

 

Mostly Mallards Waiting for Charles to Feed Them on Sunset Beach

Probably there are a few Wood Ducks sneaking up the hill at the edge of the lake, but the Mallards always give them trouble, because they think this is their territory, not Wood Ducks'.

The Curly-tail Rule - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Curly-tail Rule

Three more, uncurly-tailed ducks. But I think I know the one in the middle, with all the light on him is a male. White neck ring gives it away in these hot, summer months, when Mallards of both sexes turn mottled brown.

Fancy Black & Gray & White Duck - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Fancy Gray & White & Black Duck

Quite a bit of difference in head shape, beak shape, body and feet colors here, when most odd ducks come from Mallards. Maybe this one did not.

Three Femlae Mallards - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Three Female Mallard

 

 

Not exactly the crack of dawn

August 5 2015 - 107

Least Sandpiper - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Least Sandpiper in the Narrow Wet Path down the Upper Spillway

When I promised yester that I'd be there at the crack of dawn, which was when Ben told me I should be at the Spillway to see all the varieties of Shore Birds there, I'd forgot the VA appointment I had at 6:45 ayem on this otherwise lovely Weddy morning. So I didn't get there till ten something after meeting my new VA doctor. I guess I'd already forgot that I'd tried that crack of dawn biz at the Spillway and got nearly nothing but Least Sandpipers and Killdeer. Guess who was there this late morning when I finally showed on the scene. Yep. Same birds.

Five Itty-bitty birds down there - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Five Itty-bitty Birds Down There

Trouble with shooting at the Spillway is that a photographer is seriously disadvantaged by being far away from the action. Unless they are down on the Spillway itself — which is way dangerous for having to tunnel one's vision through a camera and not being able to see and sense balance all the time, we are way too far away to get any kind of detail.

Of course, having a superb lens would help. But I didn't have one of those this morning. On the whole, it's best to wait for the littler birds to come to Sunset Bay before attempting any serious portraits of them. I shot these with an elderly and significantly less that superb, 100-300mm Panasonic Lumix Micro FourThirds (m43) zoom lens at its maximum magnification.

300mm on m43 format is supposedly the equivalent of 600mm, but I don't believe that equivalence crap. My Nikon 300mm lens shining an image onto the same size of sensor is still a 300mm lens, although it is at least several times sharper than this pitiful zoom. And only if the birds dare walk or fly closer to the wall I was standing on top of — like the next shot down, could I get even this slightly better resolution.

Because of its better resolution, my Nikkor 300mm lens at this same distance, would enlarge to a useful image size, which I don't think this is. It would have helped if I could have got my silly Olympus to focus where I wanted it to, but that technical ability still escapes me. And my Nikon's only about eight times as heavy. I brought the lighter, smaller cam and lens, because I still need to learn how to use the fool thing. But I still haven't.

Killdeer and Least Sandpiper - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Killdeer and Least Sandpiper, I think.

I don't know my shorebirds. Yet. But I'm pretty sure the blurry bird in the foreground is a Killdeer.

Mama Mallard Leads Her Ducklings to the Waterfall - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mama Mallard Leads Her Ducklings into the Falling Water at the Dam

Bright sunlight helps, as does the closer distance. I still kinda wish these Mallards were something more exotic, but all birds gotta procreate and teach their young the ways of the world. I don't know what Mama was going to teach them, because by 10 this morning it was already too hot to be standing around waiting for a Mama Mallard to do something esoteric like teaching her young. Soon as they're out of the nest, they know how to eat. She's just gotta lead them to where they can find more of that.

Pumphouse, Filter Building and Old Boat House - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pump House, Filter Building and The Old Boathouse

Actually, we can see little slivers of the big silver new boat house behind the greenery of trees and shrubs right of the Filter Building. But Leaky's new Boat House is architecturally nothing compared with the aging splendor of the Old Boathouse. Also just visible between the trees around the new one and the old Boat House is the new wood and steel bridge across The Old Boat House Lagoon, just under the swaying span of those wires between those two tallest metal poles over the lagoon.

 

 

On A Mission to Photograph A Willet

August 4 2015 - 15

 Willet off the pier in Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Willet in Sunset Bay

Kala King emailed me about it, then I read her message on Dallas Audubon's Bird Chat forum and saw the pic of a Willet, an unusual bird this far north. I'd photographed them from time to time along the South Texas Coast, once even photographed their mating ritual, but I still rushed over to Sunset Bay, and as luck would have it, it was still there. I set the exposure before I could see it, only the other birds on the spit of sandbar in front of the pier, while I was still only halfway down the pier. Three clicks-check-click-again and got it. So I proceeded slowly and carefully and quietly to near the end of the pier. Shot three times, one when it was looking off toward Dreyfuss, two near-identically posed like this.

My full half dozen shots of Wallets' Courtship at Matagorda on the South Texas Coast are in my May 2009 Birder's Journal page that also shows various other birds who usually didn't but now sometimes do wander as far north as Dallas and points beyond — including Ruddy Turnstone, White Ibis, Whimbrel, Royal Terns, Tricolored Herons, Roseate Spoonbills, American Oystercatchers and the prize of that glorious day, a Reddish Egret in the throes of romance, all down that one journal entry that goes on and on.

Willet Over Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Willet Over Sunset Bay

Then I chimped the LCD to make sure the exposure was right, and when I looked back up, it was gone, and a blurry bigger flying bird was winging toward Dreyfuss. I shot the blur and these two more, better focused shots of it flying, which should help identify it, except Kala King, who's the best bird-identifier I know, already had. All I had to do was get over there before it split, which I only just barely did.

Willet Over Dreyfuss - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Willet Over Dreyfuss

Ben said there's probably more on The Spillway, and I'll check that out tomorrow morning, if I can get up early enough to beat the heat.
 

Wood Duck Looking Up from under the New Wood & Steel Bridge by the old boathouse - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Female, I think, Juvenile Wood Duck

A female juvenile Wood Duck looking up from under the new steel and wood walking bridge by The Old Boathouse a couple days ago that I never quite managed to place here previously.

Nine Wood Ducks Swimming - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Nine Wood Ducks Swimming

All look female. I guess that's possible. I think these could well be juveniles, but then maybe not.

Two Female Wood Ducks Swimming Up Boat House Lagoon - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Wood Ducks Swimming Up The Old Boat House Lagoon

I suspect the one on the left is a juvenile — it's smaller and its eye seems not quite like the one's on the right — and the one on the right is an adult female Wood Duck. Or they both are.

GE Up the Old Boath House Lagoon - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Hunting in the Weeds in or around the Old Boathouse Lagoon

I shot these yesterday or the day before. Just hadn't a good enough place to post them till now.

 

 

Wandering Around the Lake Photographing Birds

August 3 2015 - 138

 Sunset Island - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Sunset Island

I never even saw the Great Blue Heron in the leaves at the left of this shot, but I did notice the two egrets on the right.

GBH on Sunset Island - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron on Sunset Island

Recently, I've been enjoying photographing whatever I could find at the lake, and wishing I could go somewhere else but White Rock Lake. But I've got sheetrocking in my house to fix and clutter to remove and electricity to upgrade. Anybody out there know an honest electrician, sheet-rocker or declutterator?

Elephant-eared Egret -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Elephant-eared Egret

Especially the Elephant-eared one on the left. And I only noticed that one when I lined these photos of to choose which I'd work up for this journal entry.

Four Crows -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Four Crows along Yacht Club Row

If I were a Crow I'd know what these guys were up to. Seemed mostly like just hanging out in the grass.

As The Crow Flies - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

As the Crow Flies

Till eventually one, then another, then another, started flying. By about the third one to jump up into the air, I was ready for it.

Crow Flies with Yachts Back - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Crow Flies with Yachts Back

And by the fourth, I got it in sharp-enough focus.

Yacht Club with Skyline - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Yacht Club with Skyline

Usually, when I shoot one of these, either the skyline or the boats are out of focus.

Mallard on Rock Framed by Shore Trees - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mallard On Rock Framed by Shore Trees

I think this is over near where SMU and maybe other rowing clubs keep their boats.

Picnic Table Nap - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Picnic Table Nap

This is in Greater Sunset Bay, and that's those Apartments in the trees in the background. I like it here as a sort of transition.

Two Birds Want the Same Food - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Great-tailed Grackles Want the Same Food

The one on the left has just put her beak on the food then rapidly removed it again. There's more than enough to share, but they aren't sharing.

Crow Gives it The Eye - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Crow Keeps Its Eye on the Interloper

The left one is a female Grackle. The right one's a male Great-tailed Grackle, and I didn't I.D either till Kala King helped. And yet readers and Googlers keep sending me birds to identify for them. : (

Framing the Swamp at Parrot Bay - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Framing the Swamp at Parrot Bay

This is another transition. A couple years ago, Anna and I visited every swampish area at the lake to learn which had the loudest animal-vegetable-insect noise after a good summer rain, and this one, at Parrot Bay — See my Bird-annotated White Rock Map — was significantly louder than even the one at The Old Boat House Lagoon. We reveled in the delicious cacophony it created with bullfrogs, crickets and other insects and the wind through the tall weeds.

 

 

Late-Season Scissor-tailed Flycatchers Reappear on Winfrey Meadow
August 2 2015 - 127

Hairry-lipped Flycatcher - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Hairy-Lipped Flycatcher

I gave up looking for Scissor-tailed Flycatchers two or three weeks ago, although I still scrutinize Winfrey Meadow every time I drive down DeGoyler Drive and up Winfrey Hill, circle the circle drive unless somebody is illegally parked there, then slide slowly down the hill from the parking lot down toward Sunset Bay. Today, I saw perhaps three scissortails, and at least tried to photograph all of them, though I really have no idea which one was which shot.

Yeah, I know, birds don't have lips.

Scissor-tail Aloft - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Scissor-tail Aloft

Not exactly flying high, but flying. When I'd finished shooting them for about a half hour, I figured I might have one half-way decent shot of a mid-summer Flycatcher Flying, but as you can see, I got considerably more than just one — in fact, a whole half dozen.

Cup-winged Flycatcher Flying Left - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Flying with Wings Cupped

Or at least that's what it looked like. I suspect it's one of many possible wing configurations useful for various specific flying purposes — slow down, speed up, control flight, etc.

Scissortail Flying Among the Stalks - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Scissor-tail Flying Among the Stalks

Their usual modus operandi is to perch atop a fairly high look-out point and look around and around until they spot something flying that might be worth pursuing. Then they chase it, catch it and eat it. I think this is about a half step from perching, wings out to catch some air, just before setting out to fly.

Scissortailed Flycatcher Flying Low - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Flying Low

And largely in its own shadow, making it a little darker.

Scissortail Flying Back - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Flying the Other Way

Their colors seem muted, compared with the same species in the same places, earlier this summer and later in another year. But if you do a sites search for "scissor-tailed flycatcher," you'll find dozens of other examples that are all, usually, more vibrantly hued.

 

 

Sandpipers a Little Closer to My Favorite Pier In the World
August 1 2015 - 134

GATHERIN OF PEEPS IN SUNSET BAY - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Gathering of Peeps in Sunset Bay

I scared away a Great Blue Heron earlier this week when I visited the Pier at Sunset Bay early in the morning, so I'm still overcompensating and going out to the lake end of the pier slowly and ever so carefully, careful not to raise my camera too quickly — or fall, although I may be finished with my falling for awhile. So imagine my surprise after photographing peeps at the huge canyon of The Spillway recently so very far away, to find them this close and up personal-like. Wow!

Gathering - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Gathering

A treat I really wanted to take max advantage of. This trip was more like four PM, in the hottest part of the day. I didn't even see anybody else around with a camera. Some people have more sense, I suppose.

Killdeer and Least Sandpipers -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Killdeer & Least Sandpipers

I had my 300 on my Nikon with a 1.7X extender = 510mm. Not equivalent of, 510 actual millimeters of focal length. The distance between the nodal point of a lens to its focused image, although I have not much notion now, just about exactly 50 years after I taught Photography in the Air Force, what a nodal point is. Amazing how some stuff scintillates through time, and other stuff just won't last a couple hours. Issues when one is 70 years old, I suppose.

The Least Sandpipers on the Edge -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Least Sandpipers on the Edge

Two birds on the island created as the water evaporates away from the shallow bottom of White Rock Lake in Sunset Bay.

Sandy Pipers - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Sandy Pipers

It does damage to the acuity, for which I have no definition handy any more, of the image, but I cracked the aperture back to f11 to try to get as many of these guys in focus at once.

Too Much Fun for the Pigeons Not to Join In - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Too Much Fun for the Pigeons Not to Join In

Then along come the pigeons on probably their thirtieth or fortieth, "oh, gosh, where are we, guys. Better jump up and fly around in a couple circles, so we remember where we are, again." Then they see the Sandpipers (I sure hope that's what those littler birds in the background really are. I'm terrible at knowing Shorebirds. So the pigeons land and loiter briefly.

Wh Not Everybody Join In and Up - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Why Not Everybody Join In and Up?

Then they rise into the skies and flap away, and some of the sandy pipers take wing, too. It's a game. Up! Up! Up!

 

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

Except as noted, all text and photographs Copyright 2015 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 most of that is documented in this Journal, all the pages of which continue online. I've been photographing professionally and semi-professionally yet always amateurishly since 1964.

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