78 photos so far in May — all the links and other info fallala that used to be up here is now at the bottom of the page. link fixed
NO ADs & NOTHING FOR SALE! Just photos — mostly birds, but some of White Rock Lake in Dallas and other pretty places in America. If you see ads, you probably let them happen. Do not share these fully copyrighted images on Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook, or other image-sharing sites! And if you just gotta share one of my phots, send them the URL link, not the pic.
Stories This Month
Random - incl Mockingbird Flashing, and Red-shouldered Hawk Feeding Young
Audubon Tour of The Lowlands
Sunset Bay after Sunset
The Southwestern Medical School Rookery
The Last Pelican & some Wedding Pix
The Last Pelican Again & a Coupla Wedding Pix
It usually looks like all one unit, but sometimes American White Pelicans raise their wings to begin to fly or dry their wings after a bath. When they're really wet, like after a splash bath, they keep their wings up for long minutes and swim around like parade floats.
And everybody's gotta stretch now and then.
I haven't timed them, but I suspect that pelicans spend more time preening than anything else but sleep.
I'd been standing on The Pier at Sunset Bay all this time answering questions like, what's that big white duck over there? That was this American White Pelican. I explained to the questioner that this was the last pelican left, then I explained that they usually all fly north for the summer. To mate and nest and raise young, then a lot of them come back here the middle of next October.
She wanted to know why they did that, and I told her, and then she wanted to know where, and I told her, but all that information only seemed to confuse her, so I returned to Photographer Mode at the far, right end of the pier.
Then a guy who had been hovering off to my left, closed in on me and told me that the light coming from the side "wasn't going to do [me] any good." I replied that any light would do good for me, and I wondered where he'd got his information, but I didn't ask. I didn't tell him I'd been doing this for 53 years, and that I pretty much knew what I was doing. Nor did I thank him for his information. And soon thereafter, I split.
I knew that, by then, I had enough pix.
I like it so much better when the pier is occupied mostly with other photographers — then the conversation is much more intelligent, and informative, but then I had come out there on a Saturday afternoon, and I know better.
A wedding in White …
Wedding photographers usually pose them somber and joyous, together and apart. I just happened to get this one.
Around the SW Medical School Rookery
About as ordinary a bird as a bird can get in Texas. Our — and about half the other Southern states' — State Bird, the Northern Mockingbird, whose Latin name, "Mimus polyglotto," that means "many-tongued mimic."
"They have also been known to mimic other sounds such as dogs barking, pigs squealing, wheels squeaking and car alarms. When singing another bird's song, the northern mockingbird usually repeats each phrase at least three times. The mockingbird's own mating song is sweet and gurgling. The northern mockingbird is the state bird of Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas and is found from the maritime provinces of Canada west to British Columbia and south into Mexico."
It was hot, and I'd forgot to load my tripod in Anna's car, so it was a quick trip all the way around the central-campus woods called "The Rookery." Seems like nonstop, but I stopped for each of these. If I'd brought my tripod, I would have stayed in each spot long enough to work- and figure-out what was wrong with all the other shots I made — and won't show you — and make some of them right.
I can hand-hold the behemouth sometimes when I forget that I cannot. But I rarely show you the pix where I could not hold the fool thing still enough.
One of the few — of just a few — shots in the open canopy of a tree that didn't turn too yellow (green with light).
I have my doubts about this one.
Nice to see Cattle Egrets. Missed them the last trip to the Rookery. Seems like at our current, slow, schedule, we get obvious new birds every time. I was gonna stand on top of the free parking garage and try for more flying birds, but my disappointment drowned out my enthusiasm for that. I've brought the too-yellow coloration of this shot somewhat back.
I just need to go back oftener.
Sometimes they look magestically tall and svelt.
Sometimes they're just short and squat.
Sunset Bay Past Sunset from the Pier at Sunset Bay
It was getting dark, but I had a good feeling about standing on the pier and photographing with my 500mm of telephoto on my tripod.
The odd bits of curly-que edges are about me lightening dark internal tones without darkening the gray-blues of fore- and back-grounds. Usedta could do that with slight solarization, but this isn't that. This is purely mechanical, and at first I wanted to hide it, then I grew to like it — took its own sweet time, then I really appreciated it, and decided I shouldn't tell, so you could discover it yourselves.
Took awhile before I even saw birds, I was so fascinated by the distant sky.
But bright white, nearly glowing pelican — the only one left now. I chose this shot, because it shows the folds and tonalities in that bright, glowing white. And the two orange bits, too.
By this point, my friend Tom had, he told me when he got there, seen me from across the bay, and had come for a visit. We talked photography, of course, and birds, and we were standing close together — he, of course, way taller than I — when we shot these Red-winged Blackbirds off the west end of the pier.
And this one just a little farther down and away.
The sky kept changing — or I thought it was, and I kept needing to record it. Again.
Gradually, I calmed down even more and started catching up with the birds in the bay. Yup, more Mallards.
Especially whom I've been calling "The Last Pelican." All the others have gone back north to breed and nest. I've asked other photographers, but so far, none have reported seeing it fly. Maybe it cannot. Once, several years ago, a couple pelicans who had been released by Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation stayed all summer long till the rest of the pelicans came back, then the next autumn, they flew off with the rest of the flock.
These were swimming and "rowing" by leaning their necks and heads back into one stroke, then forward in the next. I kept messing up the back-strokes by cropping off one goose or the other, but I'd hoped to show them both in both strokes. Everything but the fore goose's beak is sharp enough.
I did with this one Canada goose, what I'd failed utterly to do with the Mallards near the top of this journal entry — lighten the bird while letting the background go medium dark red and gray.
Yes, the only American White Pelican who did not flock off with all the other American White Pelicans around Tax Day Last.
So nice to be in Sunset Bay again for the sunset and the birds. I missed it.
Audubon Hiking from Joppa Park
Soon as Ben told us into which direction we'd be walking from South Central Park in Joppa, Texas (Google calls it Joppa Park, and there's a sign in the park that calls itself Joppa Park), I walked up Fellows Lane, past Soul's Harvest Church on the right above, and looked out onto a majestic, open space with trees and water and flowers and … well, you'll see below.
This was on the way, pointing into the sun, where the paved road stopped, looking out — left to the Dallas Skyline [below], straight out into the sun, and right — where we were headed. It was cool and bright, and the far side of the lake we'd walk along was suffused with sunshiny clouds.
This is the link to the (one-time) event: http://public.ntmn.org/archives/event/birding-and-life-in-the-lower-chain-of-wetlands?instance_id=1415264 and the info participants got before they showed up here.
Color pictures of each of the major birds we could expect to see on the trek. Color pictures on one side. Text on the other.
It took awhile for everybody to arrive and figure out what we were in for: a gentle walk down a paved path (with just one muddied place between pavements, past birds and nature, more or less along the edge of a long, stringy lake. We had been urged to bring binoculars and cameras. I brought the right camera and lenses for people, but not my heavy, high-powered camera for birds — or the tripod.
The tripod in the center of the crowd in the pic above is Ben's scope.
A great place from which to look down into the Valley, out into the sunny clouds, and connect to the rest of the concrete pathway via mudway. Our park where we initially gathered was just down the road and to the right from here. We all followed Ben down the far side of this hilltop toward the lake, just visible to our left of the pink jacket worn by the woman just left of Ben at the left edge of this photo.
The skyline's well of to the left of the concrete platform above. We went right, through the only muddy patch, then down to the paved road to continue our trek.
The lake is a long, thin one, looking, but not flowing, like a river. That's it below.
I didn't walk all the way to the bridge. By then I was dis-spirited by how far away and small the many sighted birds were. I kept thinking, you guys could go to White Rock Lake and see most of the birds we were seeing, up close and much more personal. But I did keep thinking how beautiful this place was. How could you not. I want to go back with tripod and long lens on a drier day.
I had thought before — and after, about binoculars. My longer telephotos would have done the trick. But they would have been heavy and clunky, and they would have required me to carry a tripod, too.
So the resulting scale of most of the birds we discovered, for me, were tiny. But with a telephoto, scope or decent tripod, it would have been fine. But for this event, I decided I needed to travel light, and I'm glad I did.
If I were to go back after a rain, I'd bring higher-topped mudders.
Lots about that trek was utterly beautiful.
Master Birder Ben Sandifer led the tour carrying a tripoded scope for bringing faraway birds (most of them) up closer — if they'd stay still long enough.
The ones in the trees are Great Blue Herons with one Great Blue Heron nest under each. I don't know who the smaller specks might be.
I think I remember that this was one of several Little Blue Herons briefly strung out across our sky.
These were smaller, but closer.
Perfect distance for binoculars. This lens, however, was no match.
At first I thought this was a lovely flower, but upon closer perusal, I realized it was a mud scraping with great presence.
At White Rock Lake, getting close to a Great Egret is nearly no sweat. But it's not this pretty everywhere there.
In every direction.
Growing close over the sidewalk, branched out where it could catch the most sun.
Ben providing a patter of travelogue along the way, pointing out so many birds, most of which I could neither see nor focus. But everybody else seemed to get an eyeful.
The farther we got from civilization, the more flowers and green there were.
My legs, un-used to walking, got to hurting, and I lagged back and returned early, where I found opportunities right around the gathering place in Joppa Park, to see lots more, smaller birds, somewhat closer.
Common birds but brilliant colors in the still rising sun. My focus, however, was not.
Here, I've rested my camera and lens on a concrete picnic table under the shade of a picnic roof.
This one's shot between two large trees, down toward where we drove into the area, on a big trash bin.
I've long liked photographing the Franz Klein-like abstractions of posts. I love the DayGlo ones at White Rock Lake, and too often photograph them there.
Lots of birds around the picnic area on the top of the hell this side of the hiking lake. Too far for me to identify.
Random, Recent Pix at White Rock Lake
If their grandparents teach them dozens of dozens of birds songs, who begins their teaching about how to flap wings where grub, worms and bugs hide in the dirt and grass until they see the little Mockingbird above them making themselves appear bigger than they'd ever been before? One of the zillion or so things I don't know, either.
Intriguing concept. I've seen the little or adult Mock do the wing-flashing, and seen grub and other strange things crawl up out of the mud and get eaten by the bird. But I don't understand why.
Soon — I assume — There'll be cute, little Cottontails bouncing around the lake's edges. I love watching Cottontail juvies bounce. I'm thinking, however, that this one is more like an elder states Wabbit than any kinda Bunny.
I don't remember the purple, mid-front part of this Starling. I was thinking that portion was blue, like a Grackle's.
It's definitely a stick, but I'm no longer convinced that's a Grackle on top. Uh-Oh! But if it's blue, it must be a grackle, right? May be, maybe not … Help!
Today, for the first time in several weeks, I used a 1.7X telextender on my Nikon 300mm lens. = 500mm in Nikon logic.
Growing out of the ground at The Lake.
Much discussion around from whence I shot this image a couple nights later about this Last Pelican. Can it fly? We've 'kept' isolated pelicans previously, who could not fly, or who could only gradually learn to. Maybe it's waiting for a friend.
A little angel, lost in the grass, pointing upward.
Then an opposite.
I had a photograph of the back wall of this very lower-middle Spillway that The City of Dallas had painted bold yellow bars over thicker blue smears, that the curator at what was the last-ever Art In the Metroplex show — and my Tenth —, which had been my all-time favorite local art show, before it moved from TCU, whose less-than-stellar juror accused me of painting on my own photograph. But I've never been any kind a painter but porches and postcards.
Under the blue and yellow, City-painted abstractions had been a mess of graffiti. I already didn't think highly of her selections, so I didn't say anything, but this photo reminds me of that, because those columns behind this guy illegally fishing on the concrete slant down very nearly at water level, looks like they could have been penciled in, and isn't that composition really too perfect with green plants, trees, T-shirt, cap and maybe even matching shoe tops?
And black and gray horizontal lines everywhere else but behind him, kinda ties it all together. His shirt even almost matches the brighter leaves. Not sure about his hat, that matches his shoetops. And there's even a duck back there, since this is a bird journal.
(I don't have a cell phone, so I didn't call the cops, whose schedules of existential threats put illegal fisherpersons so far down their lists, they might come next week.)
I liked this classic composition of the female Wood Duck and the American Coot, but I didn't notice her sole remaining duckling down there in the bottom corner till much later. Or I might have attempted to stretch the focus — unlikely without Schleimpfluggin'. I'd hoped they'd have a better picture, but Wikipedia lets those things come and go.
And trees up the hill to Loop 12 Buckner.
Attached to a sign post and all aglimmerin’. Probably had more air in it once upon a time.
On the far left, near the green-ish blurry part of the tree, is(/are) a (possibly two … Maybe even three…) downy young, mostly white (I suspect) very juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk(s) with dark eye peeking out between twigs.
Same two birds their usual colors about this time in their youthly development.
I know I see two (maybe more) Downy Young Red-shouldered Hawks. These shots were made with my Nikon and 300mm — and no tripod, although my hands shake … But it didn't and did help that I'd left the iso @ 3200 from the night before.
All Site Navigation Links are now at the top of the page.
MY SPECIAL BIRD Pages (Herons, Egrets & more…) include photos of eggs, just-hatched nestlings, fledgling, downy young and/or other juvenile birds as well as some of the adult stages from each species: Links & Bird Books Courtship Behaviors Pelican Beak Weirdness Pelicans Playing Catch Birds Rousing Banding Birding Galveston 2015 & 2013, the remarkably popular 2nd Lower Rio Grande Valley Birds page & the 1st Bald Eagles at White Rock Lake Coyotes Dallas Bird Resources: Dallas Audubon Bird Chat online Bird Rescue Info So you want to use my photos to make your work professional? My own How to Photograph Birds. Bird-annotated Maps of White Rock Lake & The SW Med School Rookery & Village Creek Drying Beds Please do not share these fully copyrighted images on Pinterest, Tumblr or other image-sharing sites, although you can use the link to this main page, which is always my most recent page of bird photos. Cameras Used Ethics Feedback Courtship Behaviors, Bald Eagles at White Rock Coyotes JR's resumé & Contact pages. Email Me
Please help me identify birds that aren't identified here yet. I'm terrible at I.D.-ing most birds, and it doesn't look like I'm going to get better at it after 12-plus years. I'm really happy to get them in focus, although I have learned a few compositional tricks — like click even when I don't think I have a prayer of a chance, because sometimes it works …
The best thing about the Year Ago link (at the top of every Bird Journal page) is seeing what birds this month last year brought us.
JR's resumé is finally back online.
Except as noted, all text and photographs Copyright 2018 & before by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium without specific written permission from and payment to J R Compton.
Please don't post my photos on Facebook or other photo-stealing sites.
This Journal has been going since June 2006. It began as a way for me to start writing again. Then it became a tool for me to learn how to photograph birds. Still is. Maybe in a few more years, I'll start entering bird photography competitions, but I've got too much more to learn.
I quit using hit-counters, because I paid them too much attention and most — especially the free ones — don't work anyway.
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. There is an index, but I quit updating it years ago.
I've been photographing professionally, yet always amateurishly since 1964, which adds up to 54 years now. My photos have been in more than 100 art exhibitions (and I think I'm finally over that ego boo idiocy) and 50 publications including Life Magazine and some others you might have heard of.
Online is by far the best way to show color photographs. Used to be slides, but light coming through images offers the best possible way to see them, ad it's here, for free. Prints — especially those big enough to wonder at — are way too expensive. Usually about a hundred and a half, for the smaller ones.