63 photos so far in December Cameras Used Ethics Feedback My Special Bird Pages — many include eggs, just-hatched, fledgling and/or juveniles: Herons Egrets Heron vs Egrets Links & Bird Books Pelican Beak Weirdness Pelicans Playing Catch Bird Rouses Courtship Behaviors Banding Birding Galveston 2015 & 2013 The 2nd Lower Rio Grande Valley Birds page & the 1st Bald Eagles at White Rock Coyotes JR's resumé Contact Dallas Bird Resources:Dallas Audubon's Bird Chat Bird Rescue Info You want to use my photos? How to Photograph Birds Bird Places: Bird-annotated Map of White Rock Lake & The SWMC Rookery & Village Creek Drying Beds Please do not share these fully copyrighted images on Pinterest, Tumblr or other image-sharing sites.
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Nearly All Pelicans All The Time Today. Driving Slowly by, I saw
Pelicans Heading for the Beach — shot & posted December 12
Cormorants twice in a row, and whom I saw as I was hoving into view of Sunset Beach this cold day were pelicans deciding this end of The Spit wasn't good enough for them today, so they were circling around back toward Sunset Beach and settled inches off it — and I thought I could sneak up on them easy, albeit quietly and slow, and only two sets of people came by, each of whom I asked gently not to get closer, since it took me twenty minutes to get this close. I forget which bird species was getting too close for the Pelicans' comfort.
Frankly, I was surprised, pelicans usually don't park this close. But it was cold, and not many of us humanoids wandering around. But at 500mm, it makes for amazing details if the lighting is right, and I thought it was.
I saw it, and I photographed it. End of story. All of today's 179 shots were taken with my lens attached to a tripod. Otherwise, we shake too much.
I liked this photo for showing the remarkably differing textures on one pelican.
The lower goose head is in the shadow of something.
Lots of different colors and tones of white.
I name them as I process them, but the titles don't have to be particularly prosaic, but sometimes I manage a little poetic.
I've photographed this simple act from nearly every other angle.
It's a pelican in a tree. The tree happens to be floating in the water held up by its branches, but it's still a tree.
No Letters or Number Visible. On this side.
I saw this much and captured it. That's all I know. Mayhaps more than.
Sometimes naming these pieces is the best part.
Today's pictures, of which these are my favorite 13, were all taken between 3:39 PM and 4:11 PM December 12, 2017, and as usual, they are presented in strict chronological order. About three-quarters into today's shoot more pelicans coming into the lagoon area decided that the spit was just fine, and they settled there instead.
So I Went Back to Cormorant Bay for More Double-crested Cormorants
Photographed & Posted December 11
Searched all the usual places at WRL for birds, then ended up back at Cormorant Bay, because several of yesterday's shots didn't turn out as I'd hoped.
Subtle splash line across the surface of the water.
They do practically all the actions pelicans do, but pelicans have longer beaks, and they are white. I wonder how much color enters into why people love pelicans and often hate cormorants.
Handsome critters with a smelly reputation.
Sinking into the water now.
It is seldom, but sometimes I really do get tired of photographing pelicans. Today, this was a treat.
This is one of two, essentially similar photos of this particular bunch of cormorants. The other shot didn't seem quite so organized, and that corm in the middle didn't have both wings out and slightly up.
Tail-dragging slows them down. Feet dragging across the water will slow them even more.
Sometime it's tempting to get right up under some of those cormorants occupying the trees on the north end of Cormorant Bay. But beware!
One of the reasons they are up there is to rain white excrement on whatever is below. Joking about all that white in winters, we call it "hoar frost," but hoar frost is actually "a grayish-white crystalline deposit of frozen water vapor formed in clear still weather on vegetation, fences, etc."
What cormorants actually deposit is said to destroy trees, but I've checked in springtimes, and it does not. It might actually help the trees, but I don't know that. I do know enough about it that when I walk through that area at night in late autumn or winter, I listen for the loud sizzle and avoid it.
One Male Canvasback, a Gull and Some Cormorants
photographed and posted December 10
I was almost desperate to see somebody different, so I asked Anna to drive to The Bent Bridge on the northwest edge of the lake, where I've often seen red and crimson birds this time of the year — although the white egrets are beginning to congregate elsewhere.
There was only one Canvasback in sight, so I kept photographing it and maybe a few cormorants and other birds as they showed themselves.
I call it Cormorant Bay, because that's who flies into and out of and sits high in the trees all around that bay and scats till the trees beneath them all look like hoar frost. See my Bird-annotated Map of White Rock Lake to see that and other places on the lake whose names I've changed, I think for the better.
Life continues to be interesting as I made my second, many-hour-long stay in the Emergency Room at the VA Hospital in South Dallas. I knew I had to, but did not want to, but in the end, I let Anna drive me there and help me try to remember what all the doctor told me to do and not do, and now I'm nearing All Better Again. Again.
Thank the goods and goodnesses for Socialized Medicine, without which us Viet-Nam draftees and Officers Training School Dropouts might never heal from our elderly diseases. Why on earth everybody in America can't get it is an long-term mystery to me. Congress won't do it, even though they made sure to get it for their own…
Finally Published 4 art reviews, Visited WRL in the
too cold. Didn't want to Freeze. Posted December 8.
Possibly everybody else has, but I hadn't seen the female in awhile, so glad to see the pair of them — beauties both — sliding across the lagoon together.
No clue how to spell tousled, but here it is anyway. I got a project that will keep me too busy a little while, then too many more birds, I promise.
Seemed behemothic poofed out and tucked in for the cold that just got colder. But they're from the frozen north, west, and east, so our American White Pelicans can probably handle it.
Wasn't sure how to spell down, but it's the same as the other ones — "soft fine fluffy feathers." I love the dictionary's alliteration. And that eye barely above all its down looking out at us. Attempting to stay warm in there.
They didn't even wait for a car to stop, in such a hurry was the Sunset Bay Goose Squad.
Photographed & posted December 3rd
I love autumn's colors, and I'll take almost any excuse to show them here. I don't know what kind of flower this might be — or even if it is a flower. Kala King says, "Your first photo of a lapel rose must have been at Winfrey where they have weddings. Looks like some guy lost his boutonniére." I guess every season is wedding season.
Crystal clear American White Pelicans contrasted with barely out of focus trees and bushes along the edge of the lake. There is no real Winfrey Point. Winfrey Point is all the points around Winfrey almost to Sunset Bay.
Remarkably good exposure on the Pelicans, although the Cormorants, as often, are too dark.
A little overexposed, but grackles really are blue. Sometimes.
Left to right: Blurred male grackle, in-focus Male Grackle, Female Grackle and the legs of another male grackle. The pigeon is the closest bird that is mostly out of focus. Then comes the male, then the female Great-tailed Grackle.
Took me awhile lightening the grackles without lightening the tree or sky.
They were busy stealing bread from coots — and looking fierce.
Anybody know what kind of tree this is? I may have called it a Popcorn Tree …
Kala King responds: "The popcorn tree is actually called that as one of its common names. Better known as the Chinese Tallow. First tree to show autumn colors. Very pretty but considered invasive. It is not native and can take over and crowd out other trees that are native. Still, I love them for their colors and the popcorn seed pods attract a lot of little birds."
The pelican's on the left's beak seemed noticeably long, but it's probably normal-sized.
Or one female adult Red-winged Blackbird and a juvenile. Or something. Every year I mistake female Red-winged Blackbirds or some other species. My I.D. luck, these are somebody else entirely. Kala King says, "Yes, 2 adult female red-winged blackbirds, it is just the angle that makes one look smaller. Juveniles look different. Love the spraddle legged one in the next shot."
Note the narrow band of in-focus flooring. Both birds are in sharp focus, which at that close distance, means they are close to equidistant from the camera. The larger one is slightly farther than the smaller one. The one on the left is distinctly smaller than the one on the right, although their markings are nearly identical. The littler one also has smaller feet that are slightly out of focus and a small tidbit in its beak.
Beautiful color stripes.
Finally, an exposure with the bread not bleeding into a bright white splotch.
I shot a bunch of differing wing positions, of which I liked this one best.
Odd stance for an American Coot. Not sure why amber color splotches the photo.
Kinda handsome birds …
Same cormorants as in the photo above, just shot from a different direction — while being very careful not to be standing under any bloated cormorants or a large, splattered white stain on the sidewalk.
Autumn Visions including Birds
Posted December 1, 2017
On the other side of the lake, where we haven't seen Muscovies since dozens and dozens of them got poached. We got cops doing something, but they don't seem to ever catch poachers. Just put up signs.
I've been meaning to photograph this storm-upturned root and tree for several months. This day, I took my time to do it right. Got up close-enough to it to fill the frame with this.
It's always a little surprising to see white caps at White Rock Lake, but the sun was still shining.
Drying its golden wings.
It looked dead to me. I've watched a crow eat from dead squirrels in the middle of frozen, snowy winter, so it's probably a good food source for it. There may be more squirrels than crows.
Then it investigated much more closely — and what I didn't get on silicone was the crow nipping at the squirrel's nose, then suddenly jumping back …
But I did get the next great stance. I'd hoped the crow would investigate further, but instead, it flew back to the creek. Leaving me wondering whether the squirrel wasn't quite dead. Squirrel teeth are sharp!
Not far away.
Sometimes I go off into abstractions.
The best thing about the Year Ago link is clicking it early in the month to see what birds last September's change of season brought us and where to look for them this year.
Except as noted, all text and photographs Copyright 2017 & before by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium without specific written permission from and payment to Writer and Photographer J R Compton. I am an amateur. I've only been birding since June 2006, and the best of that is documented in this Journal, all the pages of which continue online — see the links at top and bottom of every Bird Journal page. I've been photographing professionally and semi-professionally yet always amateurishly since 1964. 53 years.