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

Adding New Images at least Three Times a Week

The Current Bird Journal is always here. Best Pix in July:   Surf-Jumping Sparrows   Richland Creek WMA  Documenting the White Rock Lake Spillway Fireworks across the lake  Adult, Juvenile & 1st Summer Little Blue Herons, Adult and Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron  Mockingbird Flying   All Contents Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. blue dot Cameras Used blue dot Ethics green square Feedback green square Coyotes red diamond Bird Rescue Advice green square Herons green square Egrets green square Herons vs Egrets green square Books & Links green square Pelican Beak Weirdness green square Pelicans Playing Catch green square Rouses green squareCourtship Displays green square Duck Love green square Birding Galveston green square 2nd Lower Rio Grande Valley Birds  & the 1st  green square Bald Eagle blue dot 800e Journal blue dot G5 Journal     JRCompton.com  Links   resume  Contact Me  DallasArtsRevue

Birds Swing from The Cornell Lab has a goofy title, but if you like bird songs, you'll find this video short and sweet.
All About Feathers

Surf-Jumping Sparrows

July 18 2014

 Surf-jumping Sparrows - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Surf-jumping Sparrows at White Rock Lake

If I watch carefully, there's never any knowing ahead what will happen with birds. I visit this place often, because it's something I can just drive up to and point the camera/lens out the window and shoot. Usually, I have to wait a minute or so before any birds come. Sometimes — often — no birds come, and The Slider and I slide off to the next bird place. Today, I may have waited a minute and a half when these guys, then a lot of their friends and neighbors, arrived on the scene.

Surf Jumping Sparrows - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Surf-jumping Sparrows at the Beach

I could understand them using incoming waves to bathe. I've seen several species do that there. I can only imagine the jumps — short flights if you will — almost vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). Grand fun to watch from a safe distance. Safe-feeling for them. I think I have nothing to fear from sparrows. I think they were having a blast. But I was only watching.

surf-jumping sparrows - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Surf-jumping Sparrows - 3

I can't tell what's what here. Tail folded and pointing down, no doubt. Wings on either side, check. But where's the head? And do I really see a vestigial beak facing left? I do not know. But if I could fly, I might like to try it.

Surf-jumping Sparrows - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Surf-jumping Sparrows -  4

At first I assumed they were all House Sparrows, because I recognized some of them as that. Now, I'm not so sure. I looked their images up in Sibley's and all these birds are not perfect matches for variously aged House Sparrows, so I'm settling back to just call them sparrows, and hope at least that much is correct. If you know, please tell me.

Surf-jumping Tail-Splashers - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Surf-waiting Wing-Splasher

They didn't all jump. Some stood and splashed, and others watched and waited. Sometimes a group backed up tail-to tail and and only one of them splashed. I remember a family reunion just like that.

Surf-jumping Sparrows - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Surf-jumping Sparrows - 5

Maybe they were taking turns. Maybe they weren't paying much attention, and when the notion struck them, they jumped. Looks like fun to me. Another instance of birds having fun. I've seen American White Pelicans Playing Catch, why not sparrows surf-jumping?

Moments Before the Splash - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Surfs Up!  Bracing for the Splash

Some headed into the incoming surf. Some just stood there. Some seemed to be watching other jumpers.

Surf-jumping Sparrows - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Surf-jumping Sparrows - 6

An important few jumped.

Surf-jumping Sparrows - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Surf-jumping Sparrows - 7

I tend to identify with the ones who jumped.

Surf-jumping Sparrows - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Surf-jumping Sparrows - 8

Me next. Me next. I just gotta try it.

Sparrow Sidewise - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Sparrow Sidewise on the Beach

Notice the extremely shallow depth of field — distance front to back of sharp focus. Maybe three inches, centered on the bird, but visible in the pebbly, sand and concrete ramp. That depth of field may account for some of my failure to keep all the flying birds sharp.

 

The Spillway During & After Rain

July 17 2014

 Slippin' & Slidin' On The Upper Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Slippin' 'n Sliding' on the Upper Spillway

Two Black-crowned Night-Herons, one of which is slidin' along with the current.

Sli;;in' & Slidin' Part II - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Slippin' & Slidin' Part Two

Getting up and getting on with fishing in the madly sluicing rainstorm current.

GE Up The Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Flying Low Up the Spillway

Essentially, the Spillway is where the water goes after it tops the dam. The whole thing's a big slant down the The Lower Spillway Steps, where it makes a sharp left turn, then continues out one of the many creeks in Dallas called White Rock Creek. This particular White Rock Creek either speeds — like today — or drips — as usual — off toward I-30, but birds through Samuel Park Golf Course and Park.

Two BCNHs on the S;illway - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Two Black-crowned Night-Herons On the Spillway

There were way more Great Egrets, and far fewer Black-crowned Night-Herons, although today, I was more interested in these guys, and eager, since they were more colorful and around in even smaller numbers, to capture some Little Blue Herons doing what Little Blue Herons do, too.

A Sudden Change of Directions - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

A Sudden Change of Directions

I remember, when going click in this moment, wondering if I'd manage to render this Little Blue Heron as a blur or the sharply-etched blob of dark blue body and maroon neck. A little of each, I guess, but it's often to render much detail in such a low-contrast situation with gray clouds overhead and nearly no hint of sunlight.

Adult BCNH with a Wing Up Over the Falls - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

An Adult Black-crowned Night-Heron Getting a Wing-up Over the Middle Falls

After the water splooshes through the slots in the dam where all the water goes, it slides down the Upper Spillway, then as it nears the trees under that big slant, it turns to rocks and falls of water splattering. Then it falls down the falls and heads for the island whose name I can never remember, and only after it goes through or around those trees, does it gather itself together again to make that sharp left turn and crash down The Lower Steps and out onto White Rock Creek.

Multispecies on the Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Multi-species along the Upper Spillway

The Upper Spillway is mostly flattish but slanted down to the left from this, Garland Road side that used to be its own small park with its own small parking lot that probably was helpful in flushing it all (both park and parking lot) past the retaining walls and down the creek. So we can't park there anymore, but we can still stand at the edge of the spillway and look down into that amazing fast spillway spilling water down the spillway.

First-summer and Adult LBH - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

1st summer and Adult Little Blue Heron

It's actually called 1st spring, but it ain't spring no more, so I'm calling it a First summer Little Blue Heron. Shown here with who may actually be its own adult parental unit.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron

Staying comparatively safe in the much slower eddies of water at the edge of the Upper Spillway.

ersatz fishing party - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Ersatz Fishing Party

Of course, it's not really a fishing party. More likely, it's just who showed up at this part of the spillway that was far enough away from the photographers overlooking the sluicing water to render these as a group. There were lots of overlapping groups. I chose this one, because it had that one Little Blue Heron, whom I am a little more partial to than the Great Egrets on the left or the Snowy Egret on the right.

BCNH Up the Spills - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Black-crowned Night-Heron Up the Spills

 

Around White Rock Lake

July 16 2014

 Adult Male Nonbreeding Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Male Nonbreeding Wood Duck

One of those days when wandering around netted a big bunch of little colorful birds. Wood Ducks galore at and around The Old Boathouse.

Adult Male nonbreeding and male nonbreeding Wood Ducks - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Male Wood Duck and Male Nonbreeding Wood Duck

Where Wood Ducks go to grow up.

Some Bird's Delicious Potential Meal - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Differential Grasshopper — Some Bird's Delicious Potential Meal

Grasshoppers galore now in the weeds in the water down the creek.

Adult Male Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Male Wood Duck

I liked the inverted V wake he left.

Juvenile Male Wood Duck and Female - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Male and Female Wood Duck

I think it must be where the Wood Ducks go to live happily.

Muscovy Drake on Floating Wharf - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Muscovy Drake on Floating Wharf

The floating wharf is opposite the Old Boat House and under the pier that The City may never get around to fixing, even if fisher persons love it and catch many fish thee, and birds of assorted ilk like being there.

Brown-headed Cowbird - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Male Brown-headed Cowbird

Along the road that soothes me on the way to Winfrey Point.

Purple Martins Line Dance - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Purple Martin Line Dance

On the wire over Winfrey Point.

Elegant Yet Noisy Killdeer - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Elegant, Detailed, Yet Incredibly Noisy Killdeer

Just west of the pier at Sunset Bay. Having an ear ache makes it extremely difficult to discern where that electronic-like peeping is coming from, and whence it came was nearly right below me.

Femaole Great-tailed Grackle - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Female Great-tailed Grackle Cooling Herself Off

In Sunset Bay. Text from YouTube: "They pant, like dogs which releases heat through evaporation of moisture along the bird's mouth, throat and lungs. Large birds like kites and hawks soar to high elevations where the air is cooler. Birds with lighter plumage will face those light-colored feathers towards the sun to reflect heat away from their bodies. They splash around in the water to cool themselves. Ruffling their feathers allows cool breezes to cool off the skin. On very hot days birds rest under some shade during the day and restrict their activities to the cooler hours. Beaks also help in regulating the body temperature."

More about birds keeping cool in the hot from Global Animal and Audubon magazine.

Young Ducks Wood and Mallard - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Young Wood Ducks

Off Sunset Beach.

House Sparrows on the Bridge - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

House Sparrows

on the New Old Wood Bridge.

A Tree Petting an Eastern Cottontail - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

A Tree Petting an Eastern Cottontail

Along the side of the Arboretum.

Somewhere Between Wood Duck and Mallard - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Somewhere Between Wood Duck and Mallard

Floating down some creek.

 

July 15

Western Kingbird on Winfrey Meadow - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.  

Western Kingbird on Winfrey Meadow

I actually took this last week, then it got lost in the Richland Creek melee.

Female Cowbird - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Female Cowbird

Looking up facts about Wood Ducks today, I learned that they, too, sometimes deposit their eggs in other Wood Duck nests, for someone else to raise. Though I doubt that ongoing activity will seriously damage the reputations of Wood Ducks like it has of Cowbirds.

Female GTG - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Female Great-tailed Grackle

I don't remember hearing what she was saying, but my hearing has been suffering lately.

European Starling Eating Low - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

European Starling Eating Low

When we can't see what they're doing, they're probably eating.

Mourning Dove Hunting - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Mourning Dove Hunting

I saw at least five of these as I drove along the arboretum this morning.

Juvenile Male Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Male Wood Duck

Nice to see members of the latest batches of Wood Ducks "out on their own."

Adult Female RWBB - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Red-winged Blackbird

The book I used to confirm my identification spoke of rosy-colored feathers under her chin, just like this.

One of These - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

One of These

I should know this one, but I do not. I was intrigued by its mysterious wing display. Its head was inside preening.

Female RWBB Tail - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Female Red-winged Blackbird Tail

It was nearly at my feet, so this is all of it I could get, but she's in focus.

Female Mallard - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Female Mallard

Guy on the pier today who had just told me that he'd seen the "Little Blue" [Heron] who had been there earlier fly off awhile ago, asked me what bird this was. I telephotoed out and told him it was a Mallard. He told me he'd never seen a Mallard with a head stripe. I guess I didn't specify that it was a female. So he did not believe me, but that's just who she is. And I later learned from fellow photog Kayla that the bird that she'd identified as a "Little Blue" there was actually a Tricolored Heron. I noticed when I looked this one up in my Smithsonian Handbook's Birds of Texas, that this one looks almost identical to the small image on their Mallard page.

Probably my greatest failure as a birder is identifying birds, but even I know a Mallard when I see one. And as much as I like the looks of female Wood Ducks, that reddish breast on Mallard hens lately sure is prtty.

American Coot - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

American Coot

The guy also seemed to disapprove of my answer to his question, what bird was I looking for? I told him it didn't matter that much to me. I was in the mood to photograph anything I could find. I didn't tell him I'd had an excruciating ear ache the last several days and was probably reeking of garlic I'd been eating to forestall the infection.

Scuffling Birdlet in a Tree - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Eastern Kingbird?

I saw several birds whom I thought were scuffling, but now I better understand that their parental unit was teaching them how to be birds. This is the first shot I managed to actually get in focus. Note its tiny wings.

Eastern Kingbird with Kits - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Eastern Kingbird with Kinglets

My lousy far vision kept me from identifying these birds from watching them, but with a nice, long telephoto lens, I could at least see enough to focus, although like the image above, these are tiny portions of the full frame.

Eastern Kingbird with Kits - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Eastern Kingbird with Kits

I'm pretty sure I've never noticed Kingbird juveniles before, and what a lovely family gathering atop of not-so nearby branch. This shot differs only slightly from that last one, but here the juvenile on the left has turned slightly, so we can see its face a little better, while the other one has turned farther away.

Lost Parrot - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Lost Bird

Anna and I had seen a young couple posting these a week or more ago, and seeing it again reminded me that I hadn't posted it, so here it is.

Green Heron Accidentally - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Accidentally a Green Heron

It wasn't hot today, but it had been being Dallas' usual summer weather, and it would probably continue awhile longer, so I though I should check out where I usually find Green Herons, just in case. I saw a familiar flutter of red and blue feathers, aimed the Blunderbuss in that general direction and clicked several times in several direction, netting this shot, my FOS (first of Season) Green Heron. Only I didn't know it at the time, because I shot several places, because I can't see that far that easily or in that much detail. Later, when looking carefully through today's shots, I recognized it immediately. But I wish I had (or could have) earlier, because I would like to have photographed it awhile. But it was just too far away and too small.

My lovely, not even newish anymore camera makes it possible, especially in bright sunlight, to blow tiny portions of tiny frames way large, like this.

 

Richland Creek Wildlife Management Area

73 photographs taken July 9, and the last ones posted July 14, 2014

Why Did the Great Egrets Cross the Road - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Why Did the Great Egrets Cross the Road

It's simple, birds cross the road, so bird photographers in cars will notice them.

 American White Pelicans - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

American White Pelicans

For a long time this was the first shot in this story, but I think the one of the Great Egrets looks more like an into picture. I can't explain it; it just does..

Anna and I were surprised to see American White Pelicans at Richland Creek WMA near Athens, Texas this early, cool breezy morning. They usually don't show up at White Rock Lake till mid September or more likely, mid-October. And they're gone from there by Tax Day, although we've seen them at John Bunker Sands several months before we usually see them at White Rock. Now we know at least some of them are wandering around the area mid-summer and maybe even earlier. I could easily understand why they might like Richland Creek.
 

Great Egrets in the Swamps - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egrets in the Extended Swamps

I keep calling the wide swaths of marshland "swamp," although that doesn't begin to describe the amazing diversity and wildly extended varieties of wetlands at Richland Creek. Rich land, indeed. And though we saw trees in the distance, we did not visit them close-up, and sooner or later, I just gotta.

Little Blue Heron in the Swamp -cpry

Little Blue Heron in another Swamp

I brought my little camera with its wider angled lenses, but I only shot a spare few times with it. I always think about landscape much later, after telephotoing in on bird after bird this cool, breezy morning that gradually turned into a hot, fetid swamp.

Two Great Egrets Flying - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egrets Escape Over Wide Expanse of Wetlands

Got lots of pictures of big birds flying rapidly away, as if they'd never seen an automobile before, especially a comparatively quiet one colored the same as they were. At our previous favorite car-drive-around birding place, The Fort Worth Drying Beds — before teenagers started using the much less extensive grid system than Richland Creek's, and Fort Worth closed it to cars altogether, most of the birds were intimately familiar with cars crawling around between the pans of water and/or dry mud or dirt.

GBHs over the bounding wet - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Over the Bounding Green

They'd look up. The more nervous would fly away, but mostly cars didn't bother them that much. Here at Richland, however, birds fled over and over and over again. Almost enough to give us a complex. Even when we were running on pure battery, birds fled in singles and doubles and flocks. Mostly a good thing for them. Not so much for us in The Slider. I don't think we ever saw another birder all the time we were there, although we did encounter four or five working truck there.

Cormorants in the Road - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Neotropic Cormorants in the Road

Cormorants didn't seem phased by cars — or at least The Slider — any, whatsoever. I drove exceedingly slowly toward them, hoping they'd take the hint, and eventually they did. Clearly, it was their road, not ours. As it should be.
 

Something Splotchy in the Distance - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Something Splotchy in the Distance

Not sure why David Allen Siblery calls Little Blue Herons who are transitioning from white to dark (black, blue, deep purple, whatever) "First spring" little blues, when it's clearly summer before many of these LBHs start turning splotchy all over, and now seems to be high season for Little Blue Heron transition. We used to call them "transitional," and that term made a lot more calendric sense. Perhaps LBHs in other parts of the country are well behind Texas ones.

Snowy Egret and 1st summer LBH - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret and 1st summer Little Blue Heron

I saw some birds almost hidden in the tall grass, took their pix on the off-chance that they were something important, and it turned out they were. My far vision sucks, and I'm usually too busy dealing with photographic details like composition and exposure to also deal with whom it is out there and in my frame. I do notice focus, but the big picture usually has to wait till I get it up on my screen late that night. It is 2:15 AM Monday July 14 as I just worked this final version of this shot and it them on this page. The first version that included more birds and less intelligent detail was done the night of out morning trip to Richland Creek.

As I've noted before or after this text and image insertion, Sibley 'talks' about 1st spring LBHs, but since this is no longer spring in the Northern Hemisphere and especially in northeastern Texas, I've changed the appellation in the caption of the Snowy and the nearly all blue Little Blue Heron.

See larger and more detailed images of 1st spring Little Blue Herons below on this page.
 

Red-winged Blackbird doing what Male RWBBs do - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Doing What Male Red-winged Blackbirds Do

Unfortunately, this RWBB is facing the other direction, so all we can see of its beak is the slight silhouette. But those bright red epaulets are raised off the yellow off the black, and pretty good detail out there considering how far away it was. It was noticeable.
 

Two Wood Storks - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Two Wood Storks

The promise of Wood Storks and various hoped-for Ibises is largely what drew us south this very early morning after neither of us got near enough sleep last night. Those and the possibility of a Roseate Spoonbill sighting or two.

More Detailed Wood Stork - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.  

More Detailed View of a Single Wood Stork

They're not exactly beautiful, but there is a classic elegance to them.
 

Five White Ibises, Two Trannies and an adult Little Blue Heron - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Five White Ibises,  Two Transitional Little Blue Herons, and One Adult Little Blue Heron in a Tree

We tried to sample as many areas at the WMA as we could. But it is immense, covering 14,238 acres, mostly in Freestone county but also slightly north into Navarro county in Texas. I'm sure we missed plenty, although there will be more to explore next time. A PDF of the map is available at this webpage. I've seen it referred to as "near Athens, Texas" but my favorite description is "south of highway 287, just east of Hogpen Slough in the Richland Chambers Reservoir southeast of Corsicana, Texas," where it averages 40 inches of rain a year.

Adult White Ibis in Flight - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult White Ibis in Flight

Great Form, but imperfect focus.

White Ibises — Juvenile, Juvenile and Adult - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

White Ibis Family:  Juvenile, Juvenile, Adult Hunting

Family values.

Ibises Flying - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Ibises Flying

Counting Only the ones who are flying, these are top left, juvenile White Ibis; bottom left, Adult White Ibis; bottom right, slightly younger juvenile White Ibis (no white stripe on its back yet).

White Ibises Flying - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

White Ibis Family Landing

Continuing the flight of the White Ibis Family across the wetland.

White Ibis Wing Landing - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

White Ibis Wing Landing (detail)

This is looking a little abstract and expressionist, and that trend continues in the next image.

White Ibis Landing Abstractly - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Two White Ibises Landing

This image was of a very real occurrence. It just looks abstracted, maybe a little like an abstract painting — the soft, fluffy white birds and their feathers against the very real, cool blues and greens of the wetlands at Richland Creek.
 

Spoonbills in the Rookery - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Betsy Had Told Anna about a Rookery at Richland Creek

But we really did not know where or how to find it. But we were very busy exploring, so eventually we came upon it. Neither us nor The Slider was geared for off-road experiences, so we stayed on concrete surfaces, which skirted the rookery area but left it in rather plain sight, so we freely photographed it from a small afar, very much like we do at the more legally posted Southwestern Medical School Rookery in Dallas.

But this is just our first pass at the Rookery. We'll be back.
 

Juvenile and Two Adult White Ibises

During their May and June breeding season, and, according to my Lone Pine Birds of Texas, "Bachelor parties of hopeful males are commonly seen preening, soaring in circles or performing graceful acrobatics."

More White Ibieses Out into the Varied Landscape - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

More White Ibises Out into the Landscape

I'm growing to appreciate landscapes rendered with long telephoto lenses.

Heading Toward the Dam - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Heading Toward the Dam

It was a picture very like this one that had me wanting my littler camera out and ready. I wanted to show where the dam was in relation to all the other landscape, but this does it not bad at all and from afar. Let's call this Landscape With Birds.

Two Ibis Flng Off - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile White Ibis Flying

The white feathers on their backs begin to appear in December.

Ibises As Far As The Eye Can See - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

First a Juvenile White Ibis, Then Adult Ibises as Far as the Eye Can See

In the wetlands that go on forever and a half.
 

Snowy, Juve Wood Stork and Cormorant - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret, Wood Stork, Juvenile and Adult Cormorants

My Macintosh System is going so painfully slow, I just can't type what I want anymore. The end of the world is nigh.

Juvenile Wood Stork - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Wood Stork Flying

Juvenile Wood Storks have feathers on their heads and necks, but adults do not.

Male Cardinal - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Male Cardinal

We only saw a spare few small birds close enough to photograph. But we are generally big-bird people. The first half dozen shots of this guy were way too dark. So dark I couldn't figure out who it was until it raised its wings to fly and flee.

Cattle Egrets Growing on Trees - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.  

Cattle Egrets on Trees

Cattle Egrets are called that because they often follow grazing animals with hooves.

Cattle Egret Flying - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Cattle Egret

Probably flying to or from the rookery for food or nest sticks.
 

Black Crowned Night-Heron on the Slant - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Black-crowned Night-Heron on the Concrete Slant

The first half dozen shots of this guy were way too dark. So dark I couldn't figure out who it was…

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron on one of the Concrete Saddleback Road-connectors

…until it raised its wings to fly or flee. until it raised its wings to fly or flee.

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron in a Tree

Then I was amazed to see two of my favorite night-herons in a row. After careful scrutiny, I believe this is a Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, although I saw no adult Yellow-crowns.
 

American White Pelicans Landing - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

American White Pelicans Landing

I'm still amazed to see pelicans in the middle of summer. Such a lovely and familiar scene, though I rarely see them this far away.

The Rookery - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

The Rookery

First time we went by it, the Richland Creek WMA Rookery seemed just too far away, and it didn't occur to me till much later, that I was letting my telephoto lens focus on the front sticks there, so everything looks even farther away.
 

Roseate Spoonbill on Gnarley Tree - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Roseate Spoonbill on Gnarly Tree

I can't get away from the feeling that this spoonbill was smiling at me.

 adult roseate and first summe White Ibis - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Roseate Spoonbill and 1st summer White Ibis in a Tree

The trees at Richland Creek were bounteous with flowering birds.
 

Female Grackle I thought might be a heron - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Female Great-tailed Grackle I Thought Might Be a Heron

I followed her for a long time, because I couldn't see her well behind all those plants, but what I did see led me to believe I might be following a small heron or bittern, but it's none of those, it's a Great-tailed Grackle, and I was misled by the distance and scale. It's another case of my distance vision getting in the way.

Two Cattle Egrets - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Two Cattle Egrets

Not much solid land to follow cattle around, but there's a rookery close, where Cattle Egrets figure prominently.
 

Who's up for some action - Black Vultures - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

“Who's Up for a Little Action?”

Black Vultures along the side of one of the many crisscrossing stone, gravel and dirt roads. This is one series of phtos I remember vividly.

Black Vultures in Action - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Black Vultures in Sudden Action

I wasn't ready for them to move this fast, and I scrambled to keep up. I'm still amazed I caught them in this much action. I was clicking away without being any kind of sure I was getting anything but blurs. I've long felt a kinship with Black Vultures. Kathy Rogers of Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation told me they are very intelligent, and I told her I'd had many long, winding conversations with them., and they always looked like they were interested and didn't interrupt.

Black Vulture on Wing - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Black Vulture Flying

Great form.

Black Vulture - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Black Vulture Landing

Black Vultures rely on their keen eyesight to find food, because their sense of smell is much less developed than that of Turkey Vultures, with whom they sometimes hunt, because TVs can smell where they're going, and Black Vultures cannot.
 

three ibis and a gbh in the road - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Three White Ibis and a Great Blue Heron

The Ibis are: One Juvenile and Two Adults. The big gray bird is a Great Blue Heron.

Adult and Juvenile White Ibis in the Road - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult and Juvenile White Ibises in the Road

My Lone Pine Birds of Texas that is so sadly now out of print says about White Ibises, "Breeding is heavily dependent on the rainy season of May and June when freshwater pools form, a necessity for feeding salt-sensitive young."

Adult White Ibis into the Swamp - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult White Ibis into the Swamp

Great form. Gorgeous landscape. We could almost feel the color.

Juvenile Ibis in the swamp - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Two Juvenile Ibis with One Adult

They're just standing there now, but the adult behind them is going at something to eat. The juveniles may learn something.

Juvenile and Adult White Ibis Flying - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult White Ibis Flies Over Juvenile

Watching over from above or in a hurry to get there.
 

Another Stork - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Wood Stork in the Wet

My treasured and now out-of-print Lone Pine Edition of Birds of Texas says, "The Wood Stork was once a breeding species in Texas, but all of the current birds appear as postbreeding dispersets, mainly juvenile, probably from eastern Mexico."

Wood Stork Dining Detail - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Wood Stork Dining

That book also notes that Wood Storks are considered an "indicator species," and monitoring one or more indicator species allows scientists to judge the overall state of an ecosystem without untangling its intricate details." Among the detailed information at the bottom of that page, it describes Wood Storks' feeding method: "sweeps partly open bill back and forth in shallow water while wading," which sounds a lot like the big pink bird on the page before that, the Roseate Spoonbill [below].
 

Juvenile White Ibis in Tree - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

1st summer White Ibis

I am amazed at so very many bird-photographing possibilities in one giant place. We have to go back and back. Eventually, I'll find one place to stay for several hours and see what happens. I always wanted to do that at the Fort Worth Drying Beds, but just never had the time.
 

 Cormorant Tree with Ibises - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Cormorant Tree with White Ibises

Birds grow on trees.
 

Black-necked Stilt in Broken Wing Display - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Black-necked Stilt in Broken wing Display

At first it didn't look like her heart or body was into it, but its voice surely was. All we could hear was this rather normal stilt flying around and making a lot of noise. Gradually, it dawned on me that I'd seen — and heard — that behavior before‚ last month near Rockport, Texas on the South Texas Coast. That stilt was was much more practiced. This one seemed to need some coaching.

Black-necked Stilt in Broken-wing Routine - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Black-necked Stilt in Broken-wing Routine

After flying around and over several times, this stilt returned to the mound above us for one final stab at the Broken Wing Routine, and the behavior began to make visual sense.

Wounded Wing Suddenly Cured - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Wounded Wing Suddenly Cure and the stilt Flies Away

Then it was off to ply its trade elsewhere.
 

Wood Stork Over Tree - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.  

Wood Stork Over Tree

Sometimes magnificent.

Wood Stork Fly-by - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Wood Stork

Not sure about that folklore about storks delivering babies, and I know babies may not be able to focus on details at their tender ages, or notice that the deliverer is so much more different than others of its own close family, but surely moms would notice.
 

Roseate Spoonbill Flyby - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Roseate Spoonbill Flyby

Not that everybody's favorite bird, the Roseate Spoonbills are much lovelier.

Roseate Spoonbill through the Egrets - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Roseate Spoonbill Flying Over and Past Egrets

Except those amazingly distinctive colors.

Spoonbills in the Rookery - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Spoonbills in the Rookery

And a bunch of big white birds and litter white birds with orange feathers, who are known as Cattle Egrets.

Roseate Spoonbills in the Rookery without a Nest - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Roseate Spoonbills in the Rookery without a Nest

I didn't want to wade through the weeds without my 25% DEET, but I would like to have discovered if Spoonbills were actually rooking there, or just passing through. Likely the latter.  

GE,Roseate Spoonie, and a Snowy Egret - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.  

Great Egret, Roseate Spoonbill and a Snowy Egret

With white and vivid pink reflections splattering in the water.
 

Turkey Vulture on the Slant - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Turkey Vulture on a Tall Slant

Unfortunately, this was the only TV we saw. Turkey Vultures rock!
 

Juvenile Cormorant Out In Front - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Cormorant Out in Front

Fierce-looking and small.

Little Blue Heron on a Vertical - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Little Blue Heron on a Vertical Perch

Notice ow it's adapting to the verticality of its perch. Holding on.
 

Black Vulture Conversation in the Reeds - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Black Vulture Conversation in the Weeds

They stand around looking like their conversations must be fascinating.

Black Vulture Conclave - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Black Vulture Conclave

Black Vultures always seem to intelligent. I think they must be.
 

Tricolored Heron - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Tricolored Heron

I kept hoping — and half expecting — to see a Reddish Egret. That would have fit right in.
 

Cattle Egret in the Abstract - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Cattle Egret in the Abstract

Magnificent-looking, big and bold Cattle Egret.

 Little Blue Heron in The Great Yellow - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Little Blue Heron upon the Great Yellow

Chartreuse..
 

Who Is This? - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Who Is This?

One of the few small birds we got close enough to photograph. Though we saw flocks flying to and fro. But who is this?
 

Little Blue Heron, Ibi and Great Egret - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Little Blue Heron, White Ibises, Great Egret and Another Great Egret

Why do they do it in the road?

Adult Breeding and Juvenile White Ibis and Great Egret - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult White Ibis, Juvenile White Ibis and a Great Egret

Coming, going or just got there. A brief encounter.

 

Birds On the White Rock Lake Spillway

July 6 2014

Not Ezzactkly Sure Who This Is - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Little Blue Heron

These, oddly enough, are in chronological order. Once again, today's plan was to find Little Blue Herons, and this time I struck the jackpot. There were more adult LBHs yesterday morning, but today I also found Juvenile and First Spring Little Blue Herons. Juvenile LBHs are not blue, as you can plainly see. They're white, with pinkish lores and greenish legs and feet. According to the books. Ours, here, today, were exactly these colors.

LBH Family Tree with Killdeer - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

A Couple Branches of the Little Blue Heron Family Tree with Killdeer

Left to right: Great Egret (called great, because it's bigger, not necessarily better); Snowy Egret (because it's white, and yeah, I know, that other one is, too.), Killdeer peeking out behind the shoulder of another Snowy Egret (who's even whiter) and our hero of the moment, an adult Little Blue Heron.

Snowy Mock Wars - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Wars

Compared to Snowy Egrets, Little Blue Herons are kind and gentle and superb at catching fish quickly. Snowy Egrets are feisty and combative. This is their combat style, and it's extremely difficult to stick to my plan to only photograph Little Blue Herons (far left in this photograph), when Snowies are going at their peculiar sort of mock battle (upper far right).

Trying Not to Be Swayed by the Antics of Egrets - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Trying Not to Be Swayed by the Antics of Egrets

Sometimes Snowies do it on the ground, but isn't it just so much more spectacular when they carry out their mock battles — never any blood or even torn feathers — in the air. But Snowies aren't the only egrets who do this. Great Egrets do, too. And it's even more spectacular, because — well, they're bigger.

Sculling By - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Sculling By The Dam and All the Dam's Birds

It's an intriguing feeling to row by the edge of the lake that drops precipitously off, down onto wet concrete.

I got to the Spillway just at 7:30 today, so the light was brighter than yesterday morning, and my exposures and focus was usually right on. But I may have to come back next week earlier, so I can study the Little Blue Herons, who had mostly gone by 7:30 today. I had expected them to spread out over the lake since I first saw them here a couple weeks ago, but I have only seen them this year at the Spillway.

Juvenile LBH Landing - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Little Blue Heron Landing

This is about as action as my Juvenile Little Blue Herons got this morning. June to April is when Sibley — as in The Sibley Guide to Birds — classifies juvenile Little Blue Herons. First spring Little Blue Herons are classified as what they look like from April to June, so they'll be losing their white parts by the end of this month, by which time they'll be all blue, red or maroon, depending upon what sort of light you view them in or under. They don't start out white, like I previously suspected. I got a pic of them just past egg stage last month in San Antonio, and they start out as in this one's next stage, white with splotches of blue/black — and very fluffy, which is why they are then called "Downy Young."

First Spring Little Blue Heron Walking - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

1st Spring Little Blue Heron Walking

Then they're white for a while, and gradually start developing dark edges then splotches like this, and eventually they turn all dark blue.

First Spring Little Blue Heron - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

First Spring Little Blue Heron

And yes, I am aware, it is no longer spring.

1st Spring LBH - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

First Spring Little Blue Heron

I wanted to get it from several different angles.

Relative Size to Mallards - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Compared to 1st Summer Little Blue Herons, Mallards are Huge

I always think of Mallards as small, but compared to 1st Summer LBHs, they are huge. This LBH has caught a fish.

Juvenile AND 1st Summer LBH - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile (top) and 1st summer Little Blue Heron

With a handy duck to round out the triangular composition. Note the bit of black/blue on the Juvenile LBH's (farthest from the camera, at the top of this image) tail (actually its wing tips) and around its folded down wings. Those are the main giveaways that this is a Little Blue Heron and not an egret, but those notes are subtle, and I assumed it was an egret when I clicked this picture, because my attention was on the actively splotched bird, not the one prancing around the background.

Standup Rowing with Yachtclub Back - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Detail of Standup Rower with Yacht Club Background in the photo below

These two images are from the same original photograph shot over the dam from somewhere far back. The Standup Rower looks like he is, but he is not really that tall, and his shins are not longer than anything else.

Over the Dam at White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas, USA  Copyigight 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

This is the full-width image of this Horizontally Compressed image of the West Side of the White Rock Lake as Photographed Over the Dam

There's a large-winged bird near the far left and one of those big, colorful floating balls on the far right, and that guy standing on a Stand Up Paddle Board somewhere in the middle. This image would have to be hugely larger to figure out what everything here is, but it is the other side of the lake. I didn't squeeze it, it got squeezed optically by the extreme telephoto and the landscape — maybe the air hovering over the water…. The red ball is round — not oblong tall; the paddle boarder is normally proportioned, though tall; and the Yacht Club building (behind the totally out of focus bird standing at the top of the dark dam) is wide and not so tall.

And I am intrigued by that high meadow to the right. Might that be Winfrey Point?

Canada Goose Flyover - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Canada Goose Flyover

I didn't promise myself not to photograph anybody other than egrets, so this was a safe bet.

 

Adult BCNH with Adult Female Mallard - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Black-crowned Night Heron Front

And this front bird is the bird I really wanted great pix of yesterday.

 

On the Spillway Early

July 5

Duck with First Summer BCNH - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Duck with First-summer Black-crowned Night-Heron

This is from the same earl spillway as in the journal entry below, because it was the same day. It's a duck on this side, and a not quite fully grown Black-crowned Night-Heron on the other side.

Juve BCNH - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile BCNH

It doesn't really look like any BCNHs in any of the books, bet because there were always a couple adult Black-crowned Night-Herons nearby, I can only assume that's who this is.

BCNH - front - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Black-crowned Night-Heron

Resting one leg while standing on the other, an adult BCNH stands and stares.

BCNH in Flight - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

BCNH In Flight

Black-crowned Night-Heron flies by.

Big, Little, White and Blue - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Big, Little, White & Blue

Sometimes Great Egrets jump into the air and mock battle, too. But without a lot of other Little Blue Herons to contend with, they don't.

GE Past Green Cloud - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Past Green Cloud

 

On the Spillway Early

July 5

 Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret and something - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret and Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron

I started off too early with too-limited auto-ISO, and these do not seem to be in chronological or much of any other order. My prime targets were anybody but Great Egrets, which are too easy to see and photograph. I needed a challenge. Snowies are pretty universal, so they don't really count unless they're doing something interesting.

Busy Under the Dam - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Busy Under the Dam

Little Blue Herons are much more challenging to find and photograph. There's not as many of them, and it's difficult to photo them, because they're smaller and darker. Still, Little Blue Herons were my prime target for this early morning's exploration. I've been meaning to get up about when I got up this ayem for a week or so.

xAn Even More Odd Bird - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

An Even More Odd Bird Looking Down from the Top of the Dam

Due to an injury, I've been taking pain pills, which put me to sleep, which is considerably more worthwhile than hurting.

Great Egrets Paralleling - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egrets Paralleling

I tried to only photograph Great Egrets when they were doing something interesting, which they spend a lot of time doing.

Great Egrets Fighting -Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egrets Fighting with Herons Just Thee

But Black-crowned Night-Herons were prime candidates on this morning's shoot. And That juvenile at the bottom right here, was invited, too.

Great Egret Wingspread Landing - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Wingspread Landing

This great is showing great form. The Snowy Egret is just there.

Black-crowned Night-Heron - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Black-crowned Night-Heron in Flight

Lovely form by the Black-crowned Night Heron adult.

Little Blue Heron Flying - crpy

Little Blue Heron in Flight

And there the BCNH (Black-crowned Night-Heron) is sharp and in the foreground. The Little Blue Heron is less sharp but in the big middle. And the last one is another Great Egret.

Snowy and Little Blue Heron - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret & Little Blue Heron

Snowy Egret and Little Blue Heron

Wing-spread GE with LBH - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Wingspread Great Egret with Little Blue Heron

I was just going to put up eight pix today, but then I started getting into it, so I'll show a least sixteen. Not a problem, I shot hundreds (actually, almost six hundred images)

Big Fluffy Juvenile Something - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Big Fluffy Juvenile

It's difficult to discern the differences between a juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron and an juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, but since I saw no adult Yellow-crowned Night-Herons and at least a half dozen Black-crowned Night-Herons, I assume this is a juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron — with one feather out of place.

A Bunch of Herons - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

LB, GE, 3 BCNHs, 2 GE and 3 more BCNHs

With one of the big steps near the top gushing water in the background.

BCNH Wings and Beak - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Black-crowned Night-Heron Wings, Beak and Feet

With what looks to be a female Mallard.

BCNH Past Falls - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

BCNH Flying Past the Falls

Which, today at least, seems to be reflecting back the light blue sky.

BCNH Up the Falls - crpy

BCNH Up the Falls

Flying.

BCNH still flying up the steps - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Black-crowned Night-Heron Still Flying Up the Falls on the Upper Spillway

I think I have at least this many more bird pix from this morning's shoot.

BCNH Landing Near a Duck - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

BCNH Landing Near a Duck

And I hope to shoot more tomorrow morning, though I'll go a little later, so there'll be more light, and I'll set my auto-ISO to let the film speed increase way past ISO 800, to maybe ISO 3200. I might even lug a tripod, so I'll be able to enlarge the pix more magnifications, so they'll be bigger on this page.

Last time I photographed Little Blue Herons at the Spillway, I assumed I'd be seeing more of them around the lake, but I did not. So I'll just photograph them wherever I find them.

 

Along the Spillway Late on a Cloudy Day

June 20 2014

 Snowy on Slant with Turtle - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret and Red-eared Slider Hunting on the Slant

Nope, I didn't get the date wrong. I shot these images on June 20, way last month, along The Spillway — upper and lower, after I'd shot other photos in Sunset Bay, and I was going to put these up  the next day, except I forgot all about them, from photographing something else somewhere else, and since these fit among this week's Spillway photos, I'll fold them into about where I put Black-crowned Night-Herons after they've been up here for a day or so.

GE in a Tree Over the Middle Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret in a Tree Over the Middle Spillway

Let's set the stage a little. There's usually a lot going in, on and along the Upper and Lower Spillway — from the dam down the spillway, through the island of trees the flood flows around and through, down t where the Walking Bridge parallels the Garland Road driving bridge, and the water takes a left turn to flow through land bordered by Samuel Boulevard and I-30 East. Lots of species competing for food. Or none at all.

I've been hunting there for eight years, and I missed my high perch while The City filled that trough with cement a few years ago, after rain got down under the ground between what had been considered retaining walls, until it didn't retain anything anymore. And almost every chance I get since then — except in winter when the Upper is clogged with Ring-billed Gulls. I do that mob maybe once, then leave it alone till the herons (including egrets) come back.

Mother Mallard and Five Young - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Mother Mallard and Five Young on the Lower Steps

Always nice to look down on the next generation. I'm either hanging on the iron fence leaning my camera out pointing down into the spillway proper or shooting through the struts on the running bridge over the Lower Steps, where every time anybody takes a step, the whole bridge jogs me queasy and makes photographing impossible till everybody walking, jogging or biking clears the bridge.

Great Blue Heron Preening - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Preening

On the Upper Spillway.

Two BCNHs Hunting on the Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Two Black-crowned Night-Herons Hunting on the Upper Spillway

Sibley doesn't note most species' sexes, unless they're obvious. These are more subtle than, say, ducks or smaller species like Cardinals. If just two are out hunting, are they probably a pair, or just two of something, friends not parents? Till I know better, these are just two BCNHs hunting together.

Classic BCNH Pose - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Classic BCNH Pose on the Upper Spillway

Long, lean and staring intently into the water beyond its beak.

Adult BCNH Wings in Tree - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Black-crowned Night-Heron Wings in Tree

Where it had just arrived. I didn't get focus till it had.

Adult BCNH in Tree - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Black-crowned Night-Heron in Tree

I'm often startled to see Great Egrets or Great Blue Herons in trees, but BCNHs there seems obvious.

Two BCNHs Hunting on the Edge - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Two Black-crowned Night-Herons Hunting on the Edge

Hunting along the lower Upper Spillway, whose steps are jagged and uneven, with sudden drop-offs like just past where these two are standing and hoping to catch something to eat. Perfect for flying up or down them, when stepping isn't enough.

Hand in Pocket, BCNH in a Tree - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Like Holding Your Hand in a Pocket

Keeps it warm or cool or whatever it needs to feel just then. A comfort.

Angled GBH in Water - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron

Just standing there looking intently at the water and whatever lurks underneath …

GBH Bust from Above - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Profile Portrait

Which allows plenty of time to do a shoulders-up portrait.

Down View of GBH Preening - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

High View of Great Blue Heron Preening with Side-view Reflection

From where I'm standing, probably along the iron fence along the new sidewalks up the north side of Garland Road slanting past the lake and The Spillway, I'm looking almost straight down on the bird, but I can still see an nearly side view of it in the green water beneath it as it preens and cleans its wing feathers.

Great Egret with Feathers Dripping - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret in Partial Rouse

A Great Egret rouses on the Lower Steps as seen from the jiggling Walking Bridge that runs parallel to Garland Road.

The Headless Dripper Jumps - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

The Headless Dripper Jumps into Flight Up the Lower Stairs

Then while I'm imagining that it's going to stand there awhile, it suddenly jumps into a short flight up the steps.

A Different Turtle Up the Slant - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

 A Turtle Up the Slant

Looks like a Red-eared Slider. The white streaks are egret and other species' scat adhering to gravity's dicta. Since most herons, including all egrets, swallow their prey whole, there's high bone content, so lots of calcium in there, which can often be seen as splattered down the slant of concrete around the Lower Steps and the part of the Spillway that changes the direction of the water sluicing through it.

 

Fireworks Across the Lake

July 4th, 2014

Fireworks Across the Water - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.  

Fair Park, Lakewood Country Club and Downtown Fireworks

This year we set up cameras and selves on the mound at Dreyfuss Point to watch fireworks across the lake, mostly to avoid the madhouse parking lot slow traffic at Fair Park, where it's fun to be right next to all those explosive lights.

The Luminous Family Behind Us - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

The Glowing Family Behind Us

It seemed a little crowded at Dreyfuss, but nothing like Fair Park, and afterwards, we just got in the car and drove away, no traffic at all.

Waving A Glowstick - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Waving A Glowstick Earlier

We were surprised how cool and pleasantly breezy it was on Independence Day night.

 

On the High Wire over Winfrey Point

July 4th

 Purple Martins - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Purple Martins

I think they're smiling. Looks like they're happy, too — all thirty or forty of them from whom I chose these as the happiest of all. It's good to have happy birds, huh?

pupple mahtinz - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

More of them

Nice of them not to line all up and look the same on Independence Day. Could not have asked for a better bunch of birds today. The ones with white fronts are juveniles. Spotted fronts are first summer males. Those with dingy gray-brown fronts are adult females, and none — according to Sibley are yellow-ish or brown like these, they are gray. Maybe they're just glowing, because they're so happy.

 

Sunset Bay

July 3

 Egret in Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Hunting Off Sunset Beach

This sort of sequence is nearly impossible to plan ahead. It either happens or it doesn't. Usually, it does not. This time, it did. The big trick is to get the bird to fly toward the photographer, not away.

Great Egret at Sunset Beach Crouching to Jump - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Off Sunset Beach Crouching to Spring into Flight

I'd seen it on that blump of log as I drove 'round the bend as I drove into Sunset Bay proper. I stopped, because I wanted to photograph it there. The reason escapes me now, but I'm glad I did.

Springing into Flight - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Springing into Flight

My expectations were that it would stand there awhile. So much for expectations, and I prefer it this way, anyway.

Pick a Course - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Pick A Course

Any course.

And Fly in that Direction - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

And Fly in that Directions

And follow it down.

Land Where You Want or Can - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Land Where You Want or Can

Air brakes and great form.

And Pose with a Big Bumbly Bug - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

And Pose with a Big Bumbly Bug

Flying along minding its own business just a little behind your.

Stride Past Noisy Ducks - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Stride Past Noisy Ducks

I thought I was finished so I gathered up my stuff, stuffed it in The Slider and drove around Sunset Loop, past the building that used to be Sunset Restaurant, and as I was about to turn right, back through the park to Buckner, I saw my egret, and drove over to photograph down the street that not only nobody ever drives the one way that it was, now no longer has any one-way signs, so there aren't any, and I was happy to drive the way I wanted, so I could hang out the driver's side window and photograph the Sunset Bay Egret one last time today.

Then Be Found Back in the Lagoon - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Then Get Found Back in the Bay

Click.

 And A Mockingbird Flying with its wings folded in front - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

And A Northern Mockingbird Flying with its Wings Folded Together in Front

 

All Around the Lake

July 2

Mostly Just the Tree - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.  

Mostly Just the Tree

I often check out this tree down the slope toward the lake from Winfrey Parking Lot. In winter, it often has Kestrels and Red-tailed Hawks. In this version I could see that one bird whose tail sticks out of that one knothole, though there may well be another House Sparrow in this shot. It took me awhile to notice all these little brown birds flying and flapping and walking up and down this tree.

House Sparrows in the Storm-damaged Tree - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

House Sparrows on the Storm-damaged Tree

My first visit today was my soothing ride down past the arboretum and up onto Winfrey Point, then down the road, take a look at Sunset Bay, then drive down Garland Road, turn left onto Buckner, drive up past the hospital and down Poppy Lane to Greater Sunset Bay. Then to the Spillway and The Old Boathouse, where I could feel the heat at every step, and I kept thinking about Green Herons, whom I often see there when it's that hot. I used the "Last Year" link at the top leftish of this page and learned I'd seen one there just past mid July last year, so I'll keep my eyes open.

Brown-headed Cowbird - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Male Brown-headed Cowbirds

Cowbirds get a bad rap because of their adaptation to their environment full of other birds more than willing to raise the largest bird in their nest, even if it was snuck into another species' nest by a cowbird. It might be a cosmic lesson. Cowbirds grow bigger, faster, and the poor other species bird who can't tell the difference, feeds it, and lets her same species chicks die. Just one of the grisly details that make the bird world spin..

Not Exactly Innocent - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Not Exactly Innocent

Not exactly a face a mother could love.

Female Wood Duck Patrolling - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Female Wood Duck Patrolling

I love looking at and photographing female Wood Ducks, though their beauty is subtle.

Great Blue Heron on the lower steps - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron on the Lower Steps of the Spillway

I thought I'd seen a GBH (Great Blue Heron) as I drove down the hill past the Spillway. Then when I walked up to the Lower Steps I didn't see it till the electric last moment, when we saw each other, and it did not fly away, maybe because I withdrew immediately and put as much distance between it and me on the grass overlooking the steps. I was amazed it didn't fly away.

Great Egrets, Cormorants and a Duck - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egrets, Cormorants and a Duck

Then waltz up to the dam, hoping for Little Blues but finding none. Just cormorants — they're still here? — Great Egrets and …

GEs, Snowies and Ducks - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egrets, Snowies and a Mallard Pair

Snowy Egrets and Ducks, along with the Great Egrets.

GEs and Snowies - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets

Greats are much bigger, and Snowy Egrets are much smaller.  There are other differences, but you can't see them.

Male Mallard on the Lower Steps - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Male Mallard on the Lower Steps

Duck hunting whatever ducks eat.

Juvenile Male Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Male Wood Duck

Very pretty ducks.

Teen Fem Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Female Wood Duck

Very young, looks like a female Wood Duck under the bridge at The Old Boat House.

The Old Boat House on a Sign for the New Boat House - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

The Classic Old Boathouse illustrated on a sign for the ugly, highly reflecting metal New Boat House
that doesn't look anything like the illustration.

 

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All text and photographs Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.
All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium without specific written permission from and payment to the writer or photographer.

I am an amateur. I've only been birding for about eight years — nearly all of which is documented in this Bird Journal, the first several years of which is indexed on the Index page. Lately I've been indexing on the top of each new page.

I've been photographing professionally and semi-professionally and almost always amateurishly since at least 1964.

Thanks always to Anna.

 

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