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December 2016  

The Amateur Birder's Journal - Stories & Photographs by J R Compton
Redraw Screen Often [control or command r] I change this page often.

20 photos so far this month. The current Bird Journal is always here  Cameras Used  Ethics  Feedback red diamond My Other Bird Pages: Herons  Egrets Heron or Egrets Links & Bird Books Pelican Beak Weirdness Pelicans Playing Catch Rouses Courtship Behaviors Banding Birding Galveston 2015 & 2013 2nd Lower Rio Grande Valley Birds page & the 1st  Bald Eagles at White Rock red diamond Coyotes red diamond JR's resumé Contact red diamond Area Bird Resources: red diamond Dallas Bird Chat red diamond Bird Rescue Info You want to use my photosHow to Photograph Birds Birding Places: Bird-annotated Map of White Rock Lake & Spillway & the Med School Rookery & Village Creek Drying Beds  December's Best Pix: Kestrel In Flight, Beaking from Beneath. New map of the Old Fish Hatchery Area & Spillway On my other job, I'm an art critic and I've reviewed 2,320 movies this century. Please do not share my images on Pinterest, Tumblr or other image sharing sites.

Male American Kestrel Chasing an Invisible Bug,
photographed December 3 & posted December 4 2016

 Male American Kestrel on Wire -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Male American Kestrel on Wire

Other White Rock Lake photographers find him elsewhere, and some even find him with his mate. But I haven't seen her in a couple years. Wrong place. Wrong time, I guess. But I love finding him on the wire at the edge of the downhill to the lake behind the Winfrey Building.

Male Kestrel Up Off the Wire - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Male Kestrel Up, Off the Wire

Because with him up on the wire, there's always the possibility I can capture him taking of and doing some serious fast flying — usually after a flying bug. I never saw the bug, but I think he did.

And Away - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

And Away

He flew fast and directly to something out there, and he must have swallowed it while I was trying to keep the cam in focus on him.

Back Up Toward Wire - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Back Up Toward Wire

Because I never saw it, but for a big change, I managed to keep him in focus.

Male Am Kestrel Back Up On Wire -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Male American Kestrel Back Up On Wire

All the way back to the wire.

 

 

Avian Action in and Around Sunset Bay
photographed December 2 & posted December 3 2016

 Pelicans on the Spit - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans on The Spit

It's always amazing to watch this pile of pelicans writhing up from sleeping to do the all-important preen.

Beaking on The Spit -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Beaking On The Spit

Pelicans are a social bunch until another one gets pissed off. Then they beak at each other, which can sometimes cause great harm, like poking a hole in the mostly flexible lower pouch area. And though we sometimes, rarely, see holes in the lower mandible, it hardly ever happens. They don't have hands and they need their feet to stand on, so it's seminaries to engage in beaking.

Really Beaking - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Really Beaking

Beaking rarely lasts more than a few seconds, but a heated battle can last a minute, maybe. The Pelican with the longest beak often wins.

The Saddle - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Saddle

I think the pelican looks dismayed. This mount has become the most popular pelican perch, and here the cormorants, who have taken over every other perch in Sunset Bay, have also taken over this one. Pelicans often get into beaking wars over The Saddle. Inter-species warfare, however, seems unthinkable.

NEW Then Kala wrote to tell me of a photo Eric has in a FYI email:

"Regarding pelicans and cormorants competing for that favorite perch, next time you see Eric, get him to show you a pelican pooping on a cormorant that wanted the pelicans' perch. He has it on his phone… He said it looked like the pelican did it on purpose."

Or Not -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Or Not …

And the pelican heads off somewhere else.

Cormorant on The Saddle / Throne -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Cormorant on The Throne

I haven't seen a pelican attack a cormorant, but now I'll be watching for it.

Jack H -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Jack H.

I keep meeting new photographers at Sunset Bay, which is great, because it is my most effective social grouping.

And Sometimes Black -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

… And Sometimes Black

Great Blue Herons sometimes look blue and some other times they look brown and here, most of it looks black.

The Brown Muscovy - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Brown Muscovy

About five minutes prior to this photo, I watched this comparatively comely Muscovy fly remarkably elegantly over the near-shore bay. I was too amazed to see it, because I remember the huffing, train engine sound other have made, and this one did not.

I Looked Up & A Pelican Was Landing - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

I Looked Up And A Pelican Was Landing!

This was the first shot I got off as maybe six pelicans came in.

Pelican Suddenly Materializing at the Outer Logs - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Another Pelican Suddenly Materializing

Several of us Sunset Bay photographers have developed the theory that pelicans returning to Sunset Bay suddenly materialize right at the point where all the "logs" are on the perimeter of Sunset Bay. We rarely see them before they get there, so it's magic when, poof! they materialize and we have to get our cameras in aiming and firing positions.

Second Pelican Touching Down - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Second Pelican Touching Down

I was slow on the uptake and did not achieve focus again until they were near.

V or Double-crested Cormorants -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Double-crested Cormorants in V Formation

Meanwhile, even more cormorants were flying into the area. Like we needed more cormorants.

Pelk Low & Inside -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pelican Low & Inside

Lots of out-of-focus (oof) shots intervened. Cameras have more difficulty focusing in low light.

Pelican Landing by the Weeds By the Hidden Creeks Area - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pelican Landing by the Reeds on the Hidden Creeks Peninsula


 

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

Except as noted, all text and photographs Copyright 2016 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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