INDEX

One Year Ago

December 2017

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

NO ADs & NOTHING FOR SALE!  Just photos — mostly birds.

Nearly All Pelicans All The Time Today. Driving Slowly by, I saw
Pelicans Heading for the Beach — shot & posted December 12

 Pelks Fight or Flight Ready - Copyright 2027 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans Fight or Flight Ready

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.

Sparkle and The Pelks - Copyright 2027 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Sparkle & The Pelks

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.

Pelk Flying Along the Edge - Copyright 2027 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pelican Flying Along The Edge

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.

Back-preening Pelican - Copyright 2027 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Back-preening Pelican

I liked this photo for showing the remarkably differing textures on one pelican.

Two Gooses & a Coot with Pelks Back - Copyright 2027 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Two Gooses and a Coot with Pelks Back

The lower goose head is in the shadow of something.

… And One Goose Head  - Copyright 2027 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

And One Goose Head

Lots of different colors and tones of white.

Two in the front; Bunch in the back - Copyright 2027 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Two in the Front; a Bunch in the Back

I name them as I process them, but the titles don't have to be particularly prosaic, but sometimes I manage a little poetic.

Leg & Wing Stretch From the Back - Copyright 2027 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Wing & a Leg Stretch from the Back

I've photographed this simple act from nearly every other angle.

Pelican on a Snag - Copyright 2027 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pelican On A Snag

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.

Blue Tag Pelican - Copyright 2027 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Blue-Tag Pelican

No Letters or Number Visible. On this side.

Wing Bite - Copyright 2027 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Wing Bite

I saw this much and captured it. That's all I know. Mayhaps more than.

Pop Top & The Preener - Copyright 2027 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pop Top & The Preener

Sometimes naming these pieces is the best part.

Three Pelks, A Goose & A Tree - Copyright 2027 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Three Pelks, a Coot and a Tree

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

Red-neck Juvenile Cormorant Above  - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds All Rights Reserved.  

Red-necked Juvenile Double-crested Cormorant Flyover

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.

Juvenile Cormorant Splash Line  - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Cormorant Splash Line

Subtle splash line across the surface of the water.

Juvenile Cormorant Low-fly Flyby   - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Cormorant Low-fly Flyby

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.

Adult Cormorant Profile Flyby  - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds All Rights Reserved.

Adult Double-crested Cormorant's Profile Fly-up

Handsome critters with a smelly reputation.

Diagonal Skid-in Cormorant   - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds All Rights Reserved.

Adult Cormorant Skid-in Landing

Sinking into the water now.

Cormorant Flyover  - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Cormorant Flyover

It is seldom, but sometimes I really do get tired of photographing pelicans. Today, this was a treat.

Cormorants on a Fat Log  - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds All Rights Reserved.

Cormorants on a Fat Log

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 Cormorant whose feet will soon touch water   - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds All Rights Reserved.

Tail-dragging Cormorant whose Feet will Soon Touch Water, too

Tail-dragging slows them down. Feet dragging across the water will slow them even more.

Juvenile Cormorant in Tree Above   - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Cormorant in Tree Above

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

Male Canvasback in Cormorant Bay - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Male Canvasback in Cormorant Bay

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.

Adult Male Canvasback - I call it Cormorant Bay, because that's who 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.

Adult Male Canvasback Tilting Back

There was only one Canvasback in sight, so I kept photographing it and maybe a few cormorants and other birds as they showed themselves.

Blissed-out Canvasback Engaged in Neck Scratch - I call it Cormorant Bay, because that's who 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.

Blissed-out Canvasback Engaged in Neck Scratch

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.

Juvenile Ring-billed Gull 0 I call it Cormorant Bay, because that's who 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.

Juvenile Ring-billed Gull, I assume

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…

Juvenile Double-crested Cormorant

Juvenile Double-crested Cormorant Engaged in Preening Its Backside
 

Double-crested Cormorants Lurking in the Trees AboveI call it Cormorant Bay, because that's who 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.

Adult Double-crested Cormorant in the Trees Above the Bent Bridge
 

Double-crested Cormorant FlyoverI call it Cormorant Bay, because that's who 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.

Adult Double-crested Cormorant Flyover
 

Double-crested Cormorant Perched Above Us - I call it Cormorant Bay, because that's who 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.

Double-crested Cormorant Perched Above Us
 

That Same Canvasback Again - I call it Cormorant Bay, because that's who 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.

That Same Canvasback Again on Our Way Back Down the Bent Bridge
 

Corms on Snags - I call it Cormorant Bay, because that's who 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.

Mostly Juvenile Double-crested Cormorants on Snags South of Cormorant Bay

 

 

Finally Published 4 art reviews, Visited WRL in the
too cold. Didn't want to Freeze. Posted December 8.

Mrs. & Mr. Northern Pintail - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Mrs & Mr Northern Pintail

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.

Tossled Pelican - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Tousled Pelican

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.

 Shaggy Pelicans Shallow   x  x

Shaggy Pelks Shallow

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.

Watching Out   x  x

American White Pelican Tucked in Its Own Down

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.

Goose-stepping Across the Street   x  x

Goose-stepping Across the Street

They didn't even wait for a car to stop, in such a hurry was the Sunset Bay Goose Squad.

 

 

Photographed & posted December 3rd

Yellow Flower - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.   

Yellow Flower — Lost Boutonniére?

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.

Three Pelicans Off Winfrey Point - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Three Pelicans Off Winfrey Point

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.

Corms, Pelks, Gulls - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Corms, Pelks, Gulls

Remarkably good exposure on the Pelicans, although the Cormorants, as often, are too dark.

MGraks, heads-up Display on Pier - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Male Grackles in Heads-up Display on the Pier at Sunset Bay

A little overexposed, but grackles really are blue. Sometimes.

A Pigeon and three Grackles - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

A Pigeon and Three Grackles

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.

Treetop full of Grackles - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Treetop Full of Grackles

Took me awhile lightening the grackles without lightening the tree or sky.

Two Upset Gulls - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Three Upset Gulls

They were busy stealing bread from coots — and looking fierce.

Delicate Autumn Tree - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Delicate autumn Tree

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."

Two Pelicans Resting - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Two Pelicans Resting

The pelican's on the left's beak seemed noticeably long, but it's probably normal-sized.

Red-winged Blackbirds - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Two Female Red-winged Blackbirds

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.

Female RWBBs  x  x

Female Red-winged Blackbird Minutely Inspecting the Surface of the Pier at Sunset Bay

Beautiful color stripes.

Fem Grack with a Wadda Bread  x  x

Female Grackle with a wad of Bread

Finally, an exposure with the bread not bleeding into a bright white splotch.

Pelk Flap with Corms and Gulls  x  x

Pelk Flap with Cormorants and a Gull

I shot a bunch of differing wing positions, of which I liked this one best.

Coot with Too Much Amber  x  x

Bowing American Coot with Too Much Amber

Odd stance for an American Coot. Not sure why amber color splotches the photo.

Cormorants on a Log in Cormorant Bay with a Gull  x  x

Double-crested Cormorants on the Big Log in Cormorant Bay

Kinda handsome birds …

Cormorants with Gull Over  x  x

Cormorants with Ring-billed Gull Over

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

Young Muscovy_1130361-young_Muscovy.jpg - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  -  All Rights Reserved.  

Handsome Young Muscovy

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.

root ball - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  -  All Rights Reserved.

Root Ball

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.

White Caps & Cormorants - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  -  All Rights Reserved.

White Caps & Cormorants

It's always a little surprising to see white caps at White Rock Lake, but the sun was still shining.

Wingspan Cormorant - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  -  All Rights Reserved.

Wingspan Double-crested Cormorant

Drying its golden wings.

Crow Considers - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  -  All Rights Reserved.

Crow Considers Dead Squirrel in the Middle of the Road

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.

Crow Investigates - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  -  All Rights Reserved.

Crow Investigates Closely

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 …

Then Recoils in Fright - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  -  All Rights Reserved.

Then Recoils in Fright

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!

Autumn Illumination - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  -  All Rights Reserved.

Autumn Illumination

Not far away.

Autumnal - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  -  All Rights Reserved.

Autumnal

Sometimes I go off into abstractions.

Glow  - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  -  All Rights Reserved.

Glow



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

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.