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

May's Best Shots: Baby Barn Swallows in a Nest  Fun Photographing Scissortails  Anhinga Courtship Display with links to online Florida videos.  Birds taking dust baths  Killdeer taking a beautiful but inelegant bath  Female and Young Wood Duck racing a snake  Mandarin Duck Visit  Grackle mauling Fledgling Starling  Scissor-tailed Flycatcher catching a fly  Katy the Swan taking an ungainly rolling bath  Possum evacuating two Joeys  Dead and Red Cardinal  Cliff Swallow pix  Tricolored Herons at the Rookery  & Anhinga, too  The Biggest Goldfish I almost ever saw   Adult Breeding American Avocets at the Spillway 

The Current Bird Journal is always here. All Contents Copyright 2015 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. Cameras Used  Ethics  out-of-date Feedback page red diamond Bird Rescue Advice   Herons   Egrets   Herons or Egrets?  Books & Links  Pelican Beak Weirdness  Pelicans Playing Catch  Bird Rouses  Courtship Displays  Duck Love  Birding Galveston  2nd Lower Rio Grande Valley Birds  & the 1st  Bald Eagles at White Rock Lake  Coyotes  800e Journal   G5 Journal   JRCompton.com  Links  My resumé  Contact Me  DallasArtsRevue  Bird Banding Info  So you want to use one of my photographs in your work?  How to Photograph Birds  Bird-annotated map of the SW Med School Rookery  Even I use Site Search to find anything, but that gets art-related finds, too, because it includes DallasArtsRevue, my other website.

 

Barn Swallow Nest Full of Barn swallows

May 29 2015

Barnswallow Tailfeathers with Mudball Nest - copyright 2015 by Kala King. All Rights Reserved. 

May 11: Barn Swallow Parent Sitting Eggs by Kala King

Kala King, who helps identify birds here sometimes, sent me these top three photographs shortly after she took them, told me where the nest was, and like an idiot, I procrastinated visiting the site, although that probably gave the kits a longer time of piece as they grew up.

Kala King - Barn Swallow Nest 

May 26 photo of Adult (left) Barn  Swallow Feeding its Young

As I learned later, when I finally arrived on the scene, it was a real challenge to get pictures in focus or otherwise sharp in the dark and mostly human place where the nest was.

May 16 Photo Showing those same Four Young Barn Swallows Showing How Desperately They Needed Food

Essentially, this nest was built over the shade on a compact fluorescent bulb lamp, which may have helped keep them warm, perhaps a little too easily seen, and probably dry these last few, uber wet weeks.

May 27: Parental Barn Swallows Keeping Eyes on their Babies

Eventually, Kala re-reminded me of her find, then finally, I hot-tailed it over there and attempted to take photos. Problem was, the camera I usually shoot art and people with refused to let me see what I was photographing through the LCD on the back, and I couldn't photo the nest with the camera close enough. My already ailing Micro FourThirds cam has been not automatically switching views from the eye viewfinder to the LCD lately, and today it refused to switch at all, so I had to either use the eye-level finder, which put me too far down, or just hope. These shots are 'just hope.'

Barn Swallow Parental Unit - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Barn Swallow Parental Units Making Sure I'm Up to Good

M43 cameras aren't usually fast-focusing enough for fast action, as shown here.

Slow Fly-by by Adult Barn Swallow

Most of my shots either did not include any birds, or made blurs of them. But these two captured recognizable images of Barn Swallows, which was the idea.

May 28: Two of more Barn Swallow Young in Mud Ball Nest

"Nesting," my Lone Pine Edition of Birds of Texas says of Barn Swallows, is created "singly or in small, loose colonies on a vertical or horizontal building structure under a suitable overhang, on a bridge or overpass or in a culvert; pair builds cup nest of mud and grass or straw; pair incubates 3-5 brown-spotted, white eggs for 13-17 days." And these birds look about ready to fly away. But I got them barely before they flew the coop,

Barn Swallows in Nest - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

One Barn Swallow Juvenile Looking Out and a Couple Others only Showing Tail Feathers

Then later the night I almost got this shot in focus, after I'd given up on that little camera, I tried it once again, and it worked just fine (and it's worked since). I fiddled with it long enough to learn where the loose wire is, and I've taped the swing-and-tilt LCD, back pretty solid to the camera body. Here's hoping it will continue to work, at least till I can get a replacement, if I ever figure out which one that will be.

Four Tiny Bird Swallow Babies in the Nest - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Four Barn Swallow Young in Nest

Note the use of soft feathers of (I assume) other bird species in this nest, which now stands empty, over though somewhat above an area splattered with Barn Swallow residue.

All About Birds Barn Swallow pageWikipedia on Barn Swallows; and their Audubon page.

 

 

At The Rookery Again; This time mostly for Cattle Egrets,
But there's a Couple other Species in today's Mix.

May 27 2015

 Cattle Egret Looking Up - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Breeding Adult Cattle Egret Looking Up

Although I photographed any birds I got the opportunity to, I was mostly interested in Cattle Egrets this fine, sunny day when rain was, as we have come to expect that it always must, prognosticated, although I didn't see or feel any.

Breeding Adult Crouch-down - crp

Breeding Adult Crouch-down in Anticipation

When I see a bird crouch down like this, my anticipation is that it will soon be in the air, although I didn't do much this time.

Cattle Egret — And Away - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Breeding Adult Springs into Flight

And I was rewarded with, at last, a full view of the Cattle Egret, although we have to piece the three photographs together to have that view.

Couple of Egrets in Trees -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

A Couple of Egrets in Trees

At the time I saw this happening, I thought the large, wing-spread Great Egret was attempting to intimidate the smaller egret, but now I think they were in somewhat separated trees and not the close, near-contact I at first assumed.

Red-eyed Cattle Egret - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Cattle Egret with Crest Up

Nice to see a lot of Cattle Egrets flying their breeding colors today — vivid crimson eyes and beaks, orange Mohawks, breast and tail-feathers, …

Cattle Egret with Crop Up -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Another Breeding Adult Cattle Egret with its Crop Up

and a look of anticipation.

Cattle Egret Pair Tending a Nest -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Cattle Egrets Tending a Nest

Took a much longer time for me to track down betrothed pairs on or about nests.

Another Cattle Egret Pair Tending a Nest -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Cattle Egret Pair Tending a Nest

I don't think this is the same pair of Cattle Egrets, but it's possible.

Adult Female Anhinga Sitting a Nest - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Breeding Anhinga Sitting a Nest

Thanks to Erin for guiding me to the far-back part of the rookery where this was happening.

Male Anhinga on Top of the Trees - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Adult Male Anhinga at the Top of the Canopy

This actually could be the same Anhinga I photographed last time, but this time I used my tripod, and I tried several differing exposures. Instead of distant silhouettes, I'm now getting a little of the gleam and detail of who probably are the most elusive of birds at the Medical Center Rookery these days, although I've yet to see any White Ibis. Other people have, however, seen them there. I'll keep looking.

First Summer Black-crowned Night-Heron - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

First-summer Black-crowned Night-Heron

I knew the species soon as I saw this picture, but it looked different, so I had to track down its age.

Three Young Great Egrets Still in the Nest - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Three Young Great Egrets

Still in the nest.

See my bird-annotated Map of the SW Med School Rookery.

 

 

Fun with Scissor-tailed Flycatchers up Winfrey Hill,

Photographed May 26 2015

 Scissortailed Flycatcher Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Flying after a Fly

These shots are hit or miss, with a lot of misses, especially focus-wise, but I didn't care, because I was having so much fun shooting them with my 300mm Lens and a 1.7X telextender, making the combination a 510mm lens, which is a booger to keep aimed at a flying bird, and especially so with an erratic flier like these guys, and usually unlikely to hold focus on moving objects.

Sciztail Fling Off Sign - pcyr

Scissor-tail Flying Off Sign

After flying food, no doubt. Hot on its trail.

Scissortail Flying Flat Out - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Same Bird with Wings Full out and Flat Out

Always amazing to jut get them sorta a little bit near in focus, even if it's really just the tail.

Scisstail Aerobat -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Scissortail Aerobat

Watching them fly is just too much fun.

About to become unperched Scissortail - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Scissortail About to become Unperched

Readying for launch.

Scissortail Fling Right at Me - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Scissortail Flying Right At Me

Launched.

V for Scissortail - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

X or V for Scissortail!

Another one launched.

Scissortail Fling to the Right - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Scissortail Flying to the Right

In most of these shots, the flying bird is within a few feet of its launch. Any more than that, and I'd lose them. They fly fast, and I react slow.

Upwign Scistail Profile - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Upwing Scissortail Profile

It's not like I follow them along clicking and snapping. It's more like I aim when they're still perched, and I hope focus is close enough when they let go.

Juvvie Mockingbird Fling, Too - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Mockingbird Flying, Too

These are the best shots of about 156 attempts today.

 

 

Mating Pairs of Various Species Photographed Last Week

Rising Young Wood Family - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Rising Young Wood Duck Family

These are gathered from the last week or so. Just some pics I never found just the right place to put in the Journal.

Sewer Water Engagement Photo - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Sewer Water Engagement Photo

The brilliant photographer posing these persons in an Engagement Photograph has just instructed them to wade barefooted through the water just off Sunset Beach. Since I'd recently been told by whom actually knows these things and had done a chemical test of that water right there, and learned that that water contains dangerous pathogens, I warned them, so they perched instead atop a bird-excrement-encrusted log. I did not tell them there's an open sewer line upstream, dumping literal crap into the lake water.

I didn't think I could get them into the fairly restricted frame without tilting the image, but I might have been wrong. Result seemed about right, though.

Mallard Pair - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Mallard Pair

 

 

Male Anhinga in Courtship Display at the Med Center Rookery

Photographed May 22 2015

Rowing -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Male Anhinga in Courtship Display — frame #1824

I photographed this bird Friday afternoon at the Medical Center Rookery, where I've lately been able to find not just singles but smaller groups of Anhingas, although I haven't made the locations public yet, and probably will not — especially after the debacle a few weeks ago with the juvenile Bard Owls, who are a far more public species around here. I will not that I stayed completely within the public areas when I made these photographs — and the best shots were from the outside of the pathways.

Anhinga Courtship Display - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.  

Adult Male Anhinga in Courtship Display — frame #  828

It almost seemed to be rowing itself across the sky, with its wings. Except it was staying right where it was, only its head, wings, body and tail were moving. It maintained its perch on a comparatively tall treetop.

Anhinga Courtship Displa - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Adult Male Anhinga in Courtship Display — frame # 1831

I didn't post these pix until I had a better idea of what it was doing, and today, Sunday afternoon, I was finally able to think about it long enough to guess it might be a courtship display, and when I looked it up on the internet, sure enough, that's what it was.

 Rowing - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Adult Male Anhinga Courtship Display — frame # 1832

These are part of an ongoing courtship display. First I found a written description with drawings online, then some more still photographs and then after considerable more Internet searching, a lengthy but nervous-inducing video that closely duplicates what I saw on the top of this treetop, and finally, I found a much shorter but more stable video of the same thing. And, of course, I kept finding more information.

The other pix of Anhingas and other species at the rookery are down this page a few clicks at Med Center Rookery shots.


Myocastor coypus in Sunset Bay Saturday Morning

May 23 2015

 Nutria Swimming - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Nutria Swimming

When I arrived at the Pier at Sunset Bay, youngsters were telling their mother they thought it was a beaver, and it does kinda look like those, but I told them it was a Nutria, and spelled it so they could look it up on their ever-present phone-amajigs. They lined up at the far end (closer to the Nutria) of the pier and in unison photographed the invasive rodent swimming toward the Herb Garden (my new name for the area, lately inundated) of verdant plants growing on either side of the entrance to and the pier proper.

Nutria on Land - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

So Sorry I Couldn't Manage a Photo of Its Bright Orange Teeth Today,
Which are Shown in their Vivid Glory  on my February 2014 Journal,
Where one of these River Rats is standing up and eating in plain sight.

Living With Wildlife has probably the most extensive page; Coypu on Wikipedia; Nutria — Myocastor copus on National Geographic; and Nutria, an Invasive Rodent on Wildlife Services' page, which seriously underestimates the Nutria's body size, all offers more information.

Drip-drip Mallard Young in the Rain - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Drip-drip — Mallard Young in the Rain

Cuter than the dickens.

Mallard Drake Watching Out - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Mallard Drake Watching Out

I'd heard they sometimes eat their young, so I watched this guy, who was hovering around our latest batch of cute downy young Mallards, but he fought for the tykes at every opportunity.

Flapping What Wings It's Got -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Flapping What Wings It's Got

I've been avoiding photographing yet another ever-so-cute downy young duck, but sometimes I just can't avoid it — or find something more interesting.

 

 

Aix galericulata on Sunset Beach Friday Evening

May 23 2015

 One Duck in a Million - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

One Duck in a Million

The light was lousy, and our hero didn't seem anywhere near invincible. In fact, he seemed almost afraid of his own shadow, except there weren't many shadows around.

Almost Looks Like a Cartoon Character -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

The Mandarin Duck Almost Looks like a Cartoon Character

I was shooting high ISO, and at noon Saturday, I'm looking out the window, and it's not very much brighter now. But I think I have finally have enough pix of our strange, red-whiskered immigrant. Kala King to the rescue again. Yup. It's Yosemite Sam, alright. I knew the character, just couldn't place the name. I've always pronounced it, Yo - sem - ite.

Mandarin with Mallard -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Mandarin with Mallard

When I wasn't clicking away at him as he got closer and closer, I was watching him very carefully, paying lots of attention to how bold he was — not very. He actually seemed very shy. I knew he was hungry, but not enough to get into the fray of competitive feeding along Sunset Beach's piles of corn grain.

On the Edge of Back and Forth -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

On the Edge of Back and Forth

I saw him being thwarted by a female Wood Duck, a Great-tailed Grackle and a couple of feint-attacks by Male Mallards. It took him the longest time just to make it up onto land. I already had plenty of swimming shots of him, so I didn't take a lot more yesterday (Friday date cited above), but it seemed to take forever for him to decide he actually wanted some corn, then do something about it.

Mandarin on a Near Log - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Mandarin on a Near Log

Wikipedia says, "The Mandarin duck, or just Mandarin, is a perching duck species found in East Asia. It is medium-sized, at 41–49 cm long with a 65–75 cm wingspan. As the other member of the genus Aix, it is closely related to the North American wood duck. Wikipedia." Beauty of Birds has more info.

Sometimes seems a lot clownish -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

He Sometimes Seemed A Lot Clownish

But more poignant shy than assertive. Back and forth from the relative safety of the nasty water along the beach (that's got a sewer line dumping into it a ways up the creek,) so it is literally dangerous to humans.

Rushing Forth and Back - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Rushing Forth and Back

Such a shy duck, although Ben Sandifer reports seeing it eat a snake at White Rock.

Standing -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Standing a Little Closer to the Corn

Wikipedia also cited this site of recent Mandarin research.

Ever War But Finally Eating - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Ever Wary But Finally Eating

Note the distance he keeps between him and any other species, especially the larger Mallard Drakes.

The Closest I got to a Flying Pict - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

The Closest I Got to a Pic of Him Flying

He was nibbling at corn, and something quite suddenly frightened him into what I perceived as a back-flip into the air. While I watched, he did not come back.

 

 

I keep Finding Anhingas at the Rookery, Great Egrets, too

May 22 2015

 Feed Me, No, Feed Me, No -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Feed Me! No, feed me! No! Feed me.

Egret young sometimes get a little frantic.

Like This One Was - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Like this one was.

Maybe they know that the one that gets the least food will probably get pushed out of the nest.

GE parent and three young - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Parent and Three Young

I'd seen the dark skies all afternoon, but when I first got to the Medical Center Rookery today, then's when the sky let loose into the biggest rain of the day. Although by this shot, it wasn't raining any more.

Snowy Egret on Curved Limb - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret on Curved Limb

But it was a lot darker than it looks here.

Great Egret - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret

When I was working up these pix, I kept thinking maybe I shouldn't go unless the sky was a lot darker or blue. Remember blue, as in blue skies?

Juvenile BCNH - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron

I had to use flash in this shot, so this heron would come out of the darkness all around it. That's why the gold-eye.

Angel Wings in Devil Wood - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Angel Wings in Devil Wood

I don't really believe any of that, I just thought it would make a good title for this white on black composition. Although ever since the Littlest one, I have been partial to angels, especially in movies, but also in real life.

The only mating behavior I saw was a breeding pair of humans who'd filled the little, front parking lot with their two vehicles, so they could partially strip and do it on a chair in the Memorial area during a iight rain. I was surprised. I'd seen people reading over there, but …

Anhinga Over-wing Watch - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Adult Male Anhinga Watching over His Extended Right Wing

Odd angle, my best Anhinga shot of the day, although there were many.

Adult Female Anhinga - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Anhinga

If it had black feet, I'd peg it as a juvenile.

Anhinga Famil Tableau - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Anhinga Family Tableaux: i

Involving Anhinga A, Anhinga B, and Anhinga C all in one somewhat separated group — the most Anhingas I've ever photographed in one picture, I think. The building graying in the background is beyond the Southwestern Medical School campus.

Anhinga A - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Anhinga A — (Adult Male)

I love my telephoto lens.

Anhinga B — (Adult Female) Preening

Preening.

Anhinga C - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Anhinga C (in nest)

Adult Male sitting nest.

Another Set of Great Egret Siblings - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Another Set of Great Egret Siblings

 

 

Quick Trips to Spillway, Winfrey Meadow
and down the back side of Winfrey

May 21 2015

Great Egret Flyby - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.  

Great Egret Fly-by

My first trip to the lake earlier and darker and colder this morning was nearly a complete disaster. I followed this bird for about a half dozen clicks across the sky over The Spillway.

Scissortailed Flycatcher Among the Flowers - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Among the Flowers

Me sidling along the meadow in The Slider hoping for something a little more interesting.

Scissortailed Flycatcher Hovering - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Male Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Hovering

When I saw this flycatcher hovering. Not so much flying away or over or around, but just hovering in very near the same spot. Watching it today, I remembered seeing other Scissor-tailed Flycatchers hovering in this and other fields long and shot times ago. And I plumb forgot all those other hovers.

Poignant Mockingbird Moment - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Poignant Mockingbird Moment

The short and stocky one is a juvenile. We can tell that in this shot, because we can see its breast spots. It landed on that post, then was careful to just touch beak to wing as shown here.

I think this is a little older juvie - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

I think this is just a little older a Juvenile Mockingbird

No spots, but similar hunch and horizontal stripes configuration.

 

 

Great blue heron, Great egrets, Eastern Kingbird,
SpillWay, Dust Baths & Mr. Malicious Mischief

May 20 2015

Extravagent GBH Landing -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Extravagant GBH Landing

A somewhat spectacular landing.

GBH & GE Chase -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

"Chase"

I guess …

GBH in the Wash -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

GBH in the Wash — Spin Cycle

Sploosh!

Some Bird - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Eastern Kingbird

On a slant wire over the new wood bridge behind the Old Boat House.

GBH in the

Great Blue Heron in the Maelstrom

I thought I'd got a pic of it catching a fish, but apparently not.

About to eat a fish Bigger than its head -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

About to Eat a Fish That's Bigger than its Head

Another bird on another slant.

Great Egret Fling - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Flying

Most of the other birds I tried to pan along with rendered as ugly blurs.

Dam n Spillways - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Dam and Spillways

Maybe you can see why I call the various upper steps the Upper and Middle spill ways. At the bottom is what I call the Middle Spills. This side of that green patch is Egret Island on the right and its moat around that island. Then comes The Lower Steps under the Walking Bridge, which almost directly parallels the Garland Road car bridge.

House Sparrow Engaged in Dust Bath - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

House Sparrow Engaged in Dust Bath

I was happily holding down the shutter button without ever looking at the shutter speed or any of the results. This was about the sharpest of the bunch, and it shows everything you really need to know. A bird wallowing in dust whilst flapping wings and moving tail feathers to keep the dust flowing and the bath taking.

Fully Blurred Dustbath Sparrows - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Fully Blurred Dustbath Sparrows

If I'd planned it better, I'd have much less descriptive pictures and more action-stopping high shutter speeds. So here's to Being Not Prepared, and pressing on irregardless.

Dustbath Birdies - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Dustbath Birdies

Shakin' up the dust in my favorite of the dust bath birdies.

High-tail Dustbath Birdy - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

High-tailed Dustbath Birdy

A pretty bird, too. I guess I'm assuming it's another House Sparrow. Pretty oranges and browns.

Mr. Malicious - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Mr. Malicious Mischief

I'd just leaned over to talk to this Muscovy Drake, then turned my attentions elsewhere, when it attacked me, biting my ankles repeatedly and hauling ass into me. Repeatedly. He probably bit me a dozen times. Thank the goodnesses, they don't have teeth. I guess I should say it gummed me repeatedly. It was very annoying. I tripped but did not fall, but I was afraid I might step on the ornery critter.

He kept charging me, and I kept backing off, and he'd just charge again. I tried to move him by lifting him up with my feet, but he's a heavy son of a pest, and I just wore me out. I didn't want to fall and break my camera or lens, so I hightailed it to The Slider, with him biting my ankles at every step of the way.

So much for me thinking of Muscovies as gentle creatures.

 

 

more birds

May 18 2015

 Female Mallard as Abstract Art - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Female Mallard as Abstract Art

I love to photograph birds with their wings stretched or displaced or whatever's going on here. When those feathers are arranged 'realistically,' the birds look like birds. When they're displaced, those feathers seem to separate themselves into an abstract composition. Makes them more beautiful in many unknown or un-knowable ways.

Male House Sparrow Taking Flight -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Male House Sparrow Taking Flight

There's a little of that same abstraction when they're taking off, too.

Habitat Destruction Machine -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Habitat Destruction Machine

Just it driving down Lawther and turning toward the shop up past Sunset Inn (name of the restaurant that the building there once was) Circle

Snake -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Snake

Kept seeing various bits of movements along the shore left of the pier. Most turned out to be birds. Another rule: Don't look for birds. Look for movement. And I found lots of little movements, some of which I could focus on. And some I couldn't. Nice to see snakes. I was happy to have something I could keep shooting and keep attempting to focus on. The lovers on the other end of the pier, were scared of it, and I was afraid they'd throw something at it, but they did not. They only withdrew a few feet.

Three Mallards and a buncha turtles -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.  

Three Mallards and a Buncha Turtles with Far Landscape

So lots of reptiles, and a few rather ordinary birds.

Great Blue Heron -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

GBH Landing

Till I saw probably my most favorite of birds, a Great Blue Heron. When I had business cards for this journal, it was a Great Blue Heron picture that was featured on it. Even if this is not the same bird I've seen there so many times before, I still call them all "The Bay Gray," because GBHs just are not blue, unless they're in the shade.

GBH with extended wings -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron with Extended Wings & Framed by Logs Full of Turtles

Focus suffers fore and aft in this shot, but then I noticed that this GBH has unfolded its wing extensions all the way out — I assume to have more control as it flew low over the outer bay. I'd first seen the behavior in American White Pelicans out there years ago. Long and low. I knew birds could move any of their feathers at any time they want or need to, but this always strikes me as amazing.

 RWBB Takeoff -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Female Red-winged Blackbird Taking Off

Pretty much the same lean forward, flap high and push behavior as the House Sparrow above.

Goose Flap -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Goose Flap

I assume if I had big fluffy wings, I'd want or need to flap them from time to time, even if flying with them is a lot more difficult.

Wood Duck Clan -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

A Wood Duck Clan

Gathered on a water main.

 

 

Not Many Birds in the water in Sunset Bay, but a few on the Beach;
& a Drive Down DeGoyler netted four more photo-worthy birds.

May 18 2015

 Mallard Pair Flying Together - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Mallard Pair Fling into

Flying birds. Click, J R, click.

Female RWBB near Pier - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Female Red-winged Blackbird Eating Something Amid Trash and Nature

Maybe four birds visible from the Pier at Sunset Bay today. Not many ducks, no gooses swimming, darned few birds. I assumed some kayakers or a Parks & Wildlife Department habitat-destruction machine had mowed through the area.

Not Sure What This Is -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

I Thought it was a Grackle, but now it Looks Like a much Smaller Bird

If it had a blue-ish body and a brown head, as seen in all three of these photographs, it might be a Brown-headed Cowbird. But a blue-headed brown bird?

That Same Bird in Flight -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

That Same Bird in Flight

Brewer's Blackbird, Rusty Blackbird, Common Grackle and Great-tailed Grackle are species showing the same, brown-body, blue-black head, configuration.

And Again -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Great-tailed Grackle in Flight

So I'm assuming that this is our good-old usual, every-day-you-probably-see-a-dozen-or-two bird species, the Great-tailed Grackle. Oh, well, so much for finding a rare bird. For that there's the fact that I was the first photographer to photograph an eagle [on another page] at White Rock Lake — and I suppose, the Mandarin Duck [below] from last week.

Kid Looks Good, but Mom is Bald -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Kid Looks Good But Mom's Head's Been Damaged

I wasn't looking any higher than the downy young Mallard duckling, so I missed Mom's head, possibly damaged while protecting her young.

Katy in an unexpected place - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Katy in an Unexpected Place

Driving down DeGoyler Drive looking for something ornithologically interesting, I found this always noteworthy species that I know so well, I knew her first name.

Three Double-crested Cormorants - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Three Double-crested Cormorants

Two slightly older juveniles and a younger juvenile, I'm thinking.

 

 

That Same Evening in Sunset Bay

May 17 2015

RWBB Proclaiming - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.  

Red-winged Blackbird Proclaiming

I waited at the bottom of the hill till a woman with a short telephoto lens romped through the high, flowered weeds trying with absolutely no success to get closer to these birds. I thought, once again of the real-world rule: Birds are afraid of people, but not of cars. So I drove up to about where she'd been charging through the weeds, stopped The Slider along the near, left side of the road, so others could pass without honking or scaring off even more birds, and shot these and other, less successful shots.

Nobody's shots are always perfect. I usually get about one in twenty or thirty. The trick is to keep shooting.

Dark Bird on Winfrey Meadow - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

I'm guessing it's a Flycatcher, just not sure which one. Well, it's not a scissor-tail…

My full-frame view up the hill at another bird, with a wonderful sky I never even noticed while I was glued into getting this bird in sharp focus.

Attaining Flight - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

I'm thinking this was a Western Kingbird, but I really don't remember.

This was shot at that same distance, and when I started with it, I thought it was turned 180-degrees around and facing me. But it wasn't.

Northern Mockingbird in a Tree - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Northern Mockingbird in a Tree

Staring at me, daring me to make a photo out of it. This shot was much closer, and I was much more successful at pulling it out of the relative darkness, but the background went white, as I knew it would. This is my fave Mockingbird portrait in a long time.

Northern Mockingbird in Flight -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Northern Mockingbird in Flight

When I see them fly, all I remember is their flashing, fluttering, white-stripe wings. This may be the photograph that most accurately duplicates that sensation, although I'd need video to get it right, and though I took classes in video editing, I've yet to go over to the darker side.

Fem Wood Duck Talking - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Female Wood Duck Talking

I've read that if we hear a duck quacking, it's more likely that a female is making that sound than a male.

Red-winged Blackbird with Mallard and I think a pigeon - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Red-winged Blackbird with Female Mallard

Both intent on getting fed wheat bread.

Katy with Leg-up, Eating - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Katy with Leg Up Eating

The eighth find on an internet search for what do swans eat, came up with a page that's most informative. More pertinent right here is this quote, "Swans also love grass, and a special treat for them is the opportunity to graze the grassy areas around the lagoon in the springtime. This tender grass is essential to the development of new cygnets’ digestive systems, and it’s one of their first ventures abroad with Mom and Dad, to find the greenest areas where they can happily nibble."

I think Stanley Park is from whom I got the best advice about what malady Katy was damaged with earlier this year. My big error was thinking that just because I'd found a place that deals daily with swans, somebody like Kathy Rogers would take their advice after I told her I'd found it on the Internet. My bad, apparently. Rogers Wildlife would not even communicate with the experts at this place, just because they, like Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation, have a website. My mistake.

 

 

Really Wet Early Sunday Morning At White Rock Lake

May 17 2015

Wet Killdeer - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.  

Wet Killdeer I Almost Didn't See

I think I remember seeing this Killdeer just across the road that wind up around and over Dreyfuss Hill from the Dreyfuss building. I'd seen its profile from a way off, but had the devil of a time visually separating it from the grass till I got The Slider just up from it. All I could figure was that it was hungry enough to be out in the rain.

GTG with long worm -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Great Tailed Grackle with Long Worm

This guy is trying to decide if it wants to attempt to eat this really long worm.

Grackle thinks better of it -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Grackle Thinks Better than to Try

He's tasted it now, and is thinking. What it decided, either about now or a few second later when it spat the tiny morsel of it he tried to get down its throat, was a resounding, "No way."

Still Another Soggy Squirell - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Still Another Soggy Squirrel

But then, everything else was wet, too. I think walking around the grassy knoll between Sunset Beach and the Pier at Sunset Bay was the only time I got out of The Slider and walked carefully around.

Great Egret Flyover - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Flyover

I realize this is a lousy shot of a Great Egret. Fact is the sky was darker and the egret almost charcoal. I'm just showing you it here, because it figures somewhat less prominently in the next shot down.

Some Skyline and a Guy in a Boat - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Some Skyline and a Guy in a Boat

The egret is just on the right edge of the building on the left. The guy was one of three or four, all in different trucks, who arrived about the same time I did — 6:20 ayem — today and set out to do some serious fishing.

Flight of the Mallard - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Flight of the Mallard

I was still trying to figure out a way to show you a wind-angle view of the grassy area just on land from the pier and the rest of the water in Sunset Bay when  I saw this male Mallard flying. I've trained myself to click away and flying ducks when I think I have have a chance to get them in focus.

Flight of the Mallard Part II - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Flight of the Mallard - Part II

Here you can see just above and to the right of the mallard flying, the info sign that shows some of the birds that can be seen — or could have been seen 10 or fifteen years ago — in Sunset Bay. That sign is on the far side, from here, of the entrance to the Pier at Sunset Bay that I would like to have been on this morning. But it was too wet to venture there then.

Flight of the Mallard -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Flight of the Mallard - Part C

Sorry, no interesting new species today. But it was wet.

Pair of Wheelbarrows atop a Class Act Concrete Truck - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Pair of Blue Wheelbarrows atop a Class-Act Concrete Truck

I watched the guy unload fishing gear and must have been a boat from the business end of this truck.

Male Wood Duck with Two Young - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Male Wood Duck with Two Precocious Young

I call this age of baby ducks "teenagers," because they group up so incredibly fast. But I can't recall seeing a male with any of his 'children' before. I've seen the adult male satelliting around the adult female with young many times, but I don't think I've ever seen him alone with them.

The Bobber on the other side - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

The Bobber on the Other Side

I've seen this 'other side' identified on some few maps as the Hidden Creek area, which is why I called it that on my bird-annotated Map of White Rock Lake, and it's generally a pretty though densely foliated place, but it's hardly impossible for humans. Many fisher persons of whom and photographer and occasional bird murderer hides.

Young Wet Great-tailed Grackle - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Young Wet Great-tailed Grackle

Who else would have a beak like that and a yet-unfinished growing tail like this?

Great-tailed Grackle in short flight - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Adult Male Great-tailed Grackle in Short Flight in the Rain

Rain drops bubbling the pond around the barbecue thingy.

GTG landing on the BBQ - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

GTG Landing on the BBQ

x

Wet Bunny - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Wet Bunny

If it was out this morning, it probably got wet, and if it was out long enough to find food, it got soggy. I saw a lot of soggy squirrels out today.

RWBB Proclaiming - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Adult Male Red-winged Blackbird Proclaiming

Not so many flycatchers — Scissor-tailed or otherwise — lately, but lots more blackbirds, including RWBBs and Grackles.

 

 

Scissortail & Nest, Swallows, Killdeer Taking a Bath, A
Sparrow & a Swallow on a bridge, & Wood Ducks v. Snake

May 15 2015

 Scissortail Flying Low - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Flying Low

And somewhat serene.

Might be a sciztail nest - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Might be a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Nest

I saw two visits by two — or perhaps one who came twice but separately; it might have been worried about my presence, though I did not photograph it while they were nearby, though I'm not sure why. Doesn't make any sense now. I think I remember a site or a book of bird nests, but that's escaped my mind, like so much else has.

Adult Barnswallow Resting - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Adult Barn Swallow Resting

Resting on a rusting handrail.

Killdeer Testing the Water -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Killdeer Testing the Water

I love being able to get close enough we could almost count the feathers.

Killdeer Getting Into it -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Killdeer Getting into It

It took more steps that weren't even this interesting to get its body into the water. It was hesitant, and the only killdeer in sight. Finally after much preamble, it just lay back into the water.

Killdeer Letting Its Feathers Sink In -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Killdeer Letting its Feathers Rouse and Sink In

But I loved it when it/she/he let all its feathers go loose into the water. One wet rouse to get the water into all the betweens.

Shake It Up, Killdeer -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Shake It Up!

Then shake it all about.

Then Pause to Refresh -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Then Pause to Refresh

Birds don't smile, but this Killdeer looks truly refreshed..

I Assumed It Were a House Sparrow -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

I Assumed It Were a House Sparrow

But I don't think it is. It's on one of the fat wires that hold the Old Boathouse's new Wood Bridge together and apart.

Barn Swallow I Wanted to be a Juvenile -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Barn Swallow I Wanted to be a Juvenile

But it might just be small as Barn Swallows tend.

Us Watching wee, but the Didn't Seem Concerned - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Us Watching Were, But the Wood Ducks Didn't Seem At All Concerned

Ben reported that he saw the Mandarin Duck fight and eat a snake yesterday. I wonder whether a pissed-off Wood Duck mother could do that? I wouldn't put it past her. Maybe the snake knew that.

Snake Sharp -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

The Snake Sharp

It didn't seem to be interested. Until they all went under the bridge where we couldn't see any of them, and we waited, but nothing came out the other side.

 

 

Mandarin Duck and Yellow-crowned Night Herons

Evening, May 12 2015

Mandarin Duck Swimming - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Male Mandarin About to Jump Up on a Log

I'd heard there was one, so I showed up in time to see it before the light faded.

Mandarin Duck Swimming -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Male Mandarin Duck Swimming

I shot 408 pix of it and the Black-crowned Night Heron Tuesday evening, but I went through the images surprisingly quickly, nine at a time.

Mandarin Duck with Ruff Up -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Mandarin Duck with Ruff Up

I tried to pick unique poses among all those pix, which I had sorted surprisingly quickly.

Mandarin Duck Flap in Water -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Mandarin Duck Flapping in Water

The light, though waning, was almost always adequate. I think these were shot at ISO 800.

Mandarin Duck with Head Down Preening -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Mandarin Duck with Head-down Preening

I really liked watching its ruff go up and down and sometimes get swept back.

The several of us photographing this duck — Ben, Robert and me, kept wondering about its origin. Ben kept saying, "China," which, no doubt, is where they originated. But various zoos have them — as do duck farms. They are sold at eFowl on the Internet: 1 Male/Female Juvenile Pair for $139 with full wings, clipped wings (temporarily flightless) or pinioned wings (permanently flightless). According to eFoul, they eat "nuts, acorns and seeds during fall and feed on insects and grubs during spring and summer. They do not typically associate with other ducks, but they do enjoy the company of their own breed during winter months."

Mandarin Duck in Wing-back Flap -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Mandarin Duck in Wing-back Flap

I had hoped to get to see it flap its wings, so I paid attention for that, too.

More information can be found on birdinformation.com and Beauty of Birds, which cites them as a Chinese symbol of conjugal affection and fidelity, as which they often show up in Chinese art. These two sites have the most info on this species I've found so far.

 Wide-flap, Stare Streaight - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Wide-flap, Stare Straight

Not as utterly cute as Ben's shot on the Dallas Audubon Bird Chat [You have to scroll up from this link on that page to see Ben's startling shot.], but this pose is very distinctive, nonetheless.

Mandarin Duck in Fluffy Stand-and-Flap - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Mandarin Duck in Fluffy Stand-and-Flap

I especially enjoyed this slowish, fluffy flap.

Mandarin Bent-forward Preen - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Mandarin Duck in Bent-forward Preen Showing off Wings and Tail

Somewhat similar to that other bent-over preen above somewhere, but this one shows off wing details.

chasing wood ducks - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Mandarin Duck Chasing off the Wood Ducks

Note the differences and sames of the Mandarin with the Wood Ducks it usually stood with on this large log. Some of the time, the Mandarin was with the Wood Ducks in apparent peace, but often it busied itself running off anything near it.

Mandarin Duck Take-off -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Mandarin Duck Take-off

It's a bird, and this is one of its repertoire of ways to get into flight. My next shot of it actually turning and flying off, is a large blur, but the Mandarin came back, and after awhile, I tired of photographing it — hoping it would come closer. Still, not bad for my first-ever sighting of this beautiful and distinctive bird.
 

ellow-crowned Night-Heron Along Creek - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Meanwhile, we got visited by a more usual White Rock Lake resident Night-Heron.

YCNH Flying into the Woods - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Flying into the Woods

Who stood around awhile, eventually even showing off its legs and feet, then something inevitably spooked it, and it flew off into the woods.

YCNH Flying Out Over the Lake - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Flying Out Over the Lake

Then it must have flown through those woods, out and around and back, then flew up the creek past us suddenly photographing them in various states of unreadiness, and they flew out over the lake.

Two Black-crowned Night-Herons Flying Out Over the Lake - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Two Black-crowned Night-Herons Flying Out over the Lake

Suddenly two Yellow-crowned Night-Herons.

 

 

A Grackle trying to kill a Starling

Morning, May 12 2015

Grakle on Small Bird - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

RWBB watches as Male Great-tailed Grackle stands on a Fledgling European Starling

At least I thought it was a starling, but I'd never seen one beat up so, so I wasn't sure till Kala King assured me it was not only a Starling but a fledgling Starling. I was dozens of feet away, because at first I just wanted to get good shots of whatever was going on. Later I thought I should have driven up and scared the grackle away, though there's no reason to believe that would have stopped him. Besides, I've been taught not to interfere with Mother Nature's plans.

Grakle on Small Bird -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Grackle vs. Fledgling Starling

Fledgling Starling gives the grackle what for.

Grakle on Small Bird -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Grackle vs. Fledgling Starling

And the grackle trounces it.

Grakle on Small Bird -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Grackle vs. Fledgling Starling

Grackle has his big foot on the small bird. Pretty obvious symbolism here.

Kala King, who often helps me identify birds here — Thank you again, Kala — says "The grackle was most likely trying to kill it in order to bring back as food for either a nest-sitting mother grackle or baby grackles." Kala cites Audubon's Guide to North American Birds page on Great-tailed Grackles, which describes their Feeding Behavior thus: "Forages mostly on the ground, or by wading in very shallow water. Also forages in trees and shrubs, especially searching for nests to rob. Generally feeds in flocks."

Grakle on Small Bird -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Grackle vs. Fledgling Starling

Other smaller birds, mostly starlings — possibly one of the starling's parents, flew about and called, perhaps for help. But nothing seemed to phase the much-larger grackle.

Grakle on Small Bird -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Grackle vs. Fledgling Starling

Grackle, starling, starling.

Grakle on Small Bird -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Grackle vs. Fledgling Starling

It was raining all through this sequence. Starling above seems to be calling. I didn't hear it from my far perch in The Slider.

Grakle on Small Bird - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Grackle vs. Fledgling Starling

Grackle holds starling at bay.

Grakle on Small Bird -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Grackle vs. Fledgling Starling

Up against the wall.

Grakle on Small Bird - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Grackle vs. Fledgling Starling

Then peck it some more.

Grakle on Small Bird - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Fledgling Starling After Attack

Last I saw it, it was leaning against the curb. I doubt it survived its attack. It's likely already become Grackle food. I'm sure it was much easier to carry back to the grackle's nest.

 

 

A Scissor-tail, A Great-tailed Grackle & the Rescue Muscovy

May 11 2015

Scissortaile Flycatcher with a just-caught bug - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher with Just-caught Bug

He jumped off the wire, swooshed through the air, up, out and down again, caught the bug, and …

Scissortail taking the fly back to eat it - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Scissortail Taking the Fly back to the Wire to Eat It

Then he took it back to the wire, so he could transfer the bug to its throat.

Great-tailed Grackle Flying - with Downtown Skyline - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Great-tailed Grackle Flying with Downtown Skyline Behind

The grackle caught my attention Lurch-ing on the upper left corner of that bench, but by the time I got the camera ready to shoot, it jumped into the air. Nice enough.

Rescue Muscovy Flying - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

"Rescue" Muscovy Flying

I saw a big, black bird flying from right to left in Sunset Bay from my usual vantage on The Pier. After a couple shots, I knew it was that Muscovy that Ben rescued. We sometimes wonder whether that rescue was such a good idea, since this particular Muscovy (called that, because it was once believed that these birds were from Moscow or Russia. But they're not. They really came from South America.

Muscovy Flies Past Turtles - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Muscovy Continues His Flight past a bunch of Turtles

The turtles are lined up along what we call "The logs" in outer Sunset Bay.

 

 

Sublime, Sublime and a House Finch

May 10 2015

Hydro Splash - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.  

Hydro Splash

Maybe a big rock or something that is impeding the tremendous flow of water just down from the dam.

Sublime - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Sublime

Chemically speaking, when a solid substance, like for this instance cool water is warmed enough to change it directly into vapor, it has sublimed. Then there's always sublime meaning of such excellence, gradeur or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe, like when water roars over the dam, filling the trough that is The Spillway, warms enough to sublime off the bottom edge of it.

That's pretty sublime, also, and many people gather on both sides of The Spillway not just to see the water, but to feel its immensity and power.

Black Water Over the Dam -Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Black Water Over the Dam

Looks like tar, but it was moving powerful fast.

Male House Finch -Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Male House Finch

Again shot from the driver's window of The Slider as I slowly slid up Winfrey Hill.

 

 

Last Saturday I shot these, then never found time
or web space to post them, so here They are…

Wing-up Egret Preening - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Wing-up Great Egret Preening

At the Medical Center Rookery.

 Looping S Curves -Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Looping S Curves

First time I've visited that place that I didn't get to photograph any. And certainly no Tricolored Herons. And I've yet to see Cattle Egrets there. Maybe I missed them entirely, and I'm not sure anybody's seen Ibis there this season.

BCNH Staring -Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Black-crowned Night-Heron Staring Ahead

Looks almost like a noble beast.

Parental GE and two oung in a nest - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Parental Great Egret and Two Young in a Nest

It always takes so much longer to get decent pix of downy young Great Egrets till they're out of the nest, where I hope to photograph them on my next visit. I kept having to wait till I could see them up over the nest's edge. I think they get the most energetic when they're expecting to be fed.

 

 

Katy the Mute Swan Taking a Rollover Bath in Sunset Bay

May 9 2015

Katie Rollover Bath - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Katy Rollover Bath

Standing on the Pier at Sunset Bay, I was looking for something to photograph and witnessed Katy's first rollover of her extended bath.

Katie Rollover Bath - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Katy Rollover Bath

I don't know if the whole thing's a routine, but it probably is.

Katie Rollover Bath -Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Katy Rollover Bath

I've seen gooses turn themselves over in the water for the same purposes, not not nearly so elegantly.

Katie Rollover Bath -Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Katy Rollover Bath

Or effectively.

Katie Rollover Bath-Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Katy Rollover Bath

Whether they use water or dust (like English and probably other sparrows) or lake water, all birds gotta wash.

Katie Rollover BathPhotograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Katy Rollover Bath

Photographing Katy's bath was mostly a matter of seeing it, wanting to record it, then when she started again — with intricate bits of preening in between — just lean on the shutter button for my, I think, four clicks per second (comparatively slow for rapid shutter fire), but plenty fast for Katy.

Katie Rollover BathPhotograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Katy Rollover Bath

Her head was under in various positions for what seemed an awfully long time for a swan — as if I'd seen other swans do this before.

Katie Rollover Bath- Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Katy Rollover Bath

Eventually she righted herself, brought her head up.

Katie Back to Preening - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Katy Rollover Bath Over and Back to Preening

And went back to preening.

 

 

Spillway Splashing

May 9 2015

 Great Egret Flying Past the Far Slant Wal - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Flying Past the far Slant Wall

Been spending a lot of time walking up and down The Spillway these last few weeks. Sometimes it's a whole different set of birds each time, although some species run through them all. Egret, great and small, for one instance. Great being Great Egrets, who are significantly larger and more placid than Snowy Egrets.

 

Pigeon Flying Up to the Walking Bridge - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Pigeon Flapping up to the Walking Bridge over the Lower Spillway

There's often lots of spider webs among the struts and braces on the walking bridge. Sometimes there's even spiders, which I like but avoid. Usually, there are pigeons.

Great Egret Landing - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret  within inches of Landing on the Near Slant Wall

One of my favorite pastimes is watching and photographing egrets take off, fly and land.

Milliseconds to Landing -Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Landing Within Milliseconds

One of my photographs found its way to a book about fluid mechanics because of all the individual feather settings birds know how and use often to get themselves exactly where they want to go.

Great Egret Taking Off from the Near Slant -Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Taking Off from the Near Slant

I rarely catch this moment when they're not just standing there and they're about to become airborne.

GBH on the Upper Spillwa Floor - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Standing on the Upper Spillway Floor

I love me some Great Blue Heron.

GE with Big Fish on the Near Slant - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret with Big Fish It's Just Pulled from the Wet Maelstrom

It always amazes me when these birds stare and stare into the rushing water, see what they want and impale with their sharp beaks, then move the fish into their beak and down the hatch.

Snowy Egret over the Spill - crpy

Snowy Egret Over the Spill

What else, besides spills, would anyone have in a spillway? Snowy Egrets have yellow feet and black beaks, while Great Egrets have black feet and yellow beaks.

Feet-dripping Egret Landing - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Water-dripping Great Egret Landing

I'd wanted more detail in the bright white parts of this bird's wings, but that's difficult with what light there is, is streaming through all those feathers.

 

 

Spillway Splashing

May 8 2015

Mallar Pair - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.  

Mallard Pair

I keep promising myself I'll limit it to a dozen or fewer shots, but then I get carried away again. These first few shots are from the pier at Sunset Bay.

Three Sibslings on a log -Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Three Teen Siblings on a Log

Love that all three of these eight or ten "teen" Mallard ducklings have their heads cocked to their left.

Adult Male Scissortail -Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Adult Male Scissor-tail

It's still spring! And I'd tell you where I shot this, except I'm tired of watching idiots stalking through the forests of flowers and wildflowers and scaring away all my birds. It shouldn't be hard to find. They're everywhere; they're everywhere.

Brown-headed Cowbird -Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Brown-headed Cowbird

A little notorious. A lot handsome.

Western Kingbird Fling Sidwise - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Western Kingbird off the wire to Catch A Fly

Or some flying insect. It just has to do that, because it's a flycatcher.

Fem RWBB? - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Female Red-winged Blackbird?

I think.

F/16 -Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

f16   Great and Tall

The big one's a Great Egret and the feisty little one is a Snowy Egret. We'll see some feist in a minute. We've moved to the spillways under the dam.

Snowy on a Curved Slant - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Snowy on a Flood-curved Slant

Mid-rouse

Breeding Adult Great Egret - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Breeding Adult Great Egret showing its Vivid Green Lores

Such vivid colors.

I Thought it were a hummer - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

It was so fast, I thought it was a hummingbird.

But it's a big black bug. I never actually saw it still and in focus, I only saw a humming demon flickering from flower to flower, but I kept shooting, and this one shot is pretty close to in focus. Kala King shot this same insect last August in pretty much the same place, but closer though about the same focus, but she learned it is a Southern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa micans). Thanks again, Kala.

Snow Egret with its Dander Up - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret with its Dander (and its crop) up

It's charging another bird, whom I did not see, in attempt to protect and proclaim this as its own territory.

Snowy in a Hurry - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Snowy in a Hurry to Defend its …

When it gets feisty, those fine feathers atop its head pop up and stay up, till it cools down.

Snowy Up the Spills - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Up The Spills

I used to specialize in shots like this. I needed the practice.

Bald Pigeon Watching the Show - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Bald Pigeon Watching the Show

Something icky going on on top of its noggin I didn't even notice when I shot this pic, I was so busy crouching down to take it.

Spillway from the Stoplight - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Spillway from the Stoplight at the 7-11

Sitting at the stoplight, waiting for some idiot to finish his texting, I saw this and swung the — I know I used to call it The Blunderbuss, but I think I changed my big, chunky camera with lens' name, but I don't remember what to. A window sill is almost as good as a tripod.

 

 

Babies Galore

May 7 2015

11 of 14 Mallard Ducklings Being Taught to Beg - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.  

11 of 14 Mallard Ducklings Being Taught to Beg From the Humans in a Car

Nice lady was feeding them crackers from the passenger's seat somewhat above them — and smiling. One of those crackers is falling toward the ducklings, which have finally turned to face the photographer.

Adult Eastern Kingbird on a Post - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Adult Eastern Kingbird on a Post

Tyrannus tryannus is known for its daring attacks on hawks, crows and even humans. But this one just perched there, keeping a sharp eye out for the white car with a human poking a camera out of.

Adult Eastern Kingbird Flapping -Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Adult Eastern Kingbird Flapping

Flapping like a Mockingbird, but without the flash and practiced perfection, and it didn't eat anything after the flapping. What's happening here? One answer, provided by my Lone Pine Birds of Texas, "Eastern Kingbird rarely walk or hop on the ground — they prefer to fly, even for very short distances." This bird was only hopping for inches.

Possum and two Young -Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Possum and Two Young

Usually Possums are stealthy, but this one seemed brazen, in deep need to move its babies, and it crossed the expanse of Cottonwood snowed-upon grass and nearly straight up the tree — not exactly right in front of me, but pretty close for a mere 300mm lens..

Possum + 2 up the tree - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Possum + two Up the Tree

Surely she must have seen me standing there in plain sight with my large lens aimed at her, but she paid me no never mind.

Wood Ducklings on the Edge - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Wood Female and Sixteen, I think, Ducklings on the Edge

 

 

Red and Dead

May 6 2015

Dead Red Bird

I was driving up Buckner toward Garland Road, and I happened to see this bright, blazing red object in the grass in front of Doctor's Hospital. My first thought was, "It's a bird," but I had several other guesses.

Driving Home in the Slider - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Driving Home in the Slider

So despite 5 o'clock traffic, I drove up and into their hospital lots and looked up to the berm, and didn't see it, and didn't see it, then when I drove up Buckner again, I did see it, and I saw what it was next to, and I drove around, parked and found it and photographed it in situ.

Red and Dead -Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Red But Dead

Then I photographed it in the seat next to me in The Slider, because I didn't have a plastic bag or anything else to put it in. Then I photographed it on the front porch with natural light, and then I put it in a plastic Fiesta grocery bag and deposited it in the trash.

 

 

Too-White Swallow Gets Attacked & Chased Away; Purple Martin; Spotted Sandpiper & Ross's Goose

May 5 2015

Swallow but which one? - Copyright 2015 by JRCompton.com  All Rights Reserved.

Cliff Swallow on a Wire

Looks to me like a Barn Swallow, except for that white fur jacket it's wearing. Earlier this Swallow season I saw some very similar ones.

Ah! Kala King to the rescue, again. Thank you so much, Kala. For paying attention and getting them right, time after time.  These are, as she so rightly but subtly suggested, Cliff Swallows, and not so far from where I'd seen Cliff Swallows before, just up the hill at one of those picnic shelters. I'd photographed them there many years ago, when I was slow on the trigger and they were fast in and out of the roof-and-one-wall building, up in a joining of roof and wall, right over picnickers, who likely complained, because the City's crack Habitat Destruction folks cleared them out.

Swallow Preening - Copyright 2015 by JRCompton.com  All Rights Reserved.

Same Cliff Swallow Preening

On March 21 (first day of spring) this year, I noticed some, what I thought were overly white Barn Swallows, so I asked on Dallas Audubon's Bird Chat Forum, and Blaine Carnes replied: ""The white feathers are extremely bleached juvenile feathers. Barn Swallows usually go through their entire molt over several months on their wintering grounds in South America (and it's amazing how ragged they can get down there). I've never seen them still finishing up by the time they get back here (or never noticed it). Given how pale-bellied these two are and the relative shortness of their tails, it looks like they're both female. In quite a few other birds, young females are often the last individuals to finish molting, so it would seem that it's the same in Barn Swallows. This is very interesting. Thanks for posting it."

But I was wrong again. This is a Cliff, now a Barn, Swallow.

Barnswallow Attack - Copyright 2015 by JRCompton.com  All Rights Reserved.

Barnswallow Attack

So either these are more of those same juveniles or something altogether different. I sure don't know. Anyway, along comes another one and attacks the first one while I'm sitting there photographing that first one. I managed to get one click of the initial attack.

Barnswallow Attack II -Copyright 2015 by JRCompton.com  All Rights Reserved.

Barnswallow Attack Chase

And several more shots of the subsequent chase.

Barnswallow h

Barnswallow Attack Chase

Which ended for me when they left the frame, and I was not able to follow.

Male Purple Martin Incoming -Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

One Male Purple Martin Incoming

So I visited the Martin Houses along the road overlooking the Bath House Cultural Center just to see what condition their condition was in.

Martins -Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Male Already There, Female Arriving

Pretty much the same.

Spotted Sandpiper Pecking Wet Log -Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Spotted Sandpiper Pecking Wet Log

And here, on another of my several favorite boat ramps was a familiar character.

Ross's Goose in spring Splendor - Photograph Copyright 2014 JRCompton.com. All Rights Reserved.

Female Ross's Goose in Spring Splendor

This is Sunset Bay, where our Ross's Goose seems to have more black feathers than any of the pictures in Sibley's Guide to Birds, while still not quite matching colorations of other, similar birds. If it's a male, I'd think of the Northern Pintail who was with us until the dark of winter, who grew his tail feathers — that elegant pin tail — longer and longer, but I don't have such a comparison if it's a female, so basically, I did not know.

 Kala King's Portrait of a female Ross's Goose - Photograph Copyright 2014 Kala King . All Rights Reserved.

Kala King's Close-up portrait of Our Female Ross's Goose

But Kala King knows now and cites her reference. She is basing this on the fact that this bird does not have the wart-like swellings at the base of her bill that males have. Here is a link to where Kala learned the difference between the sexes of Ross's geese.  And this is Kala's portrait she did of of our sunset bay Ross's which shows her bill clearly enlarged.

Thanks again, Kala.

 

 

Duck Fight; Dog off-leash chasing Ducks & Gooses; and a coupla other birds

May 3 2015

 At Least Two Male Mallard - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

At Least Two Male Mallards Fighting

Kinda violent an afternoon in Sunset Bay today. I stood on the pier for twenty or so minutes, then this erupted left (facing out into the lake) of the pier. All I saw at first was water splashing. Eventually, I realized ducks were fighting. Didn't find out why till they were done.

Duck Wrassling - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Duck Wrasslin'

Sometimes the splashing subsided, and I could see that there's at least two ducks into it.

Whole Lotta Splashing Going On - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Whole Lotta Splashing Going On

And sometimes they seemed fewer than that.

Head to Head - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Head to Head

They kept at it for about eight minutes.

Inverted Wing - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Inverted Wing

But this one looks like at least three birds involved.

Splooshasploosh - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Splooshaloosh

No telling in this one.

Chaser Getting Mean - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Chaser Getting Mean

But as they were wrapping it up, though perhaps that one on the right was even angrier by this moment.

Wrasslers with Passer-by - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Two Male Mallards Wrapped Around each other

Still looks vicious.

Escape - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Escape

A little milder splasharasha here. I like.

Idiot off-lease dog running amok in Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Idiot Off-leash Dog Loosed by near humans to chase birds in Sunset Bay

Then came this. If anyone can think of a wash to prosecute the semi-humans who unleashed this dog so it could try to catch and kill shorebirds in Sunset Bay, I have photos of their car with license close-ups and images of both the woman and man who seem to own Ben here. Now, watch as this idiot-released dog wreak havoc..

Canada Gooses I hadn't noticed earlier - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Canada Gooses I Hadn't Noticed Earlier

I didn't see these guys, and I also didn't see the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks on Sunset Beach that a woman stopped me from going back to my car later to go back where I'd been for a long time staring at every bird in sight, whom she said she'd just seen right about where I had been standing. More invisible birds. Hard to photograph them till the re-materialize.

Mallard Escapes Dog - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Mallard Escapes Dog

Ben did not catch anything, but there would have been nothing to stop him. The pair of owners called and called and called for Ben-ee to come back, but Ben was having way too much fun to start obeying now. I kept wondering what would have happened if that duck with the broken leg or others on the injured or lame lists might have been there. Those poor birds could not have escaped as easily as these guys did.

Fem RWBB I think - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Female Red-winged Blackbird, I think

So now we explore a couple of stripey bird s that caught my eyes there after they finally tricked Ben back into his heavy-duty leash and she carried him back t their new car.

Mom & Tyke - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Mom Mallard and Tyke

Nice to see the various birds growing up in Sunset Bay and watch their progress.

 

 

Tricolored Herons, Anhingas & Great Egrets —
Adults & Downy Young — All at the Rookery

May 3 2015

Tricolor Aloft - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Tri Fly

Was a pleasant surprise to see Tricolored Herons at the Medical Center Rookery toady. See also my Bird-annotated map of the SW Med School Rookery.

Pair of Tricolored Herons - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.  

Adult Breeding Tricolored Herons

I carefully investigated the area where they have nested in recent years, but I didn't find any. I assumed they'd gone farther into the interior of the rookery, where humans are prohibited (but some still go), but until I saw them where I generally find Anhinga, I wasn't sure.

Tricolored Heron Aloft -Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Tricolored Heron Aloft

I am sure I didn't find any White Ibis there, either. But I have seen them often along the Trinity adjacent to West Dallas, where I usually drive about once a month.

Anhing on Dead Tree - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Anhinga

Anhingas also were perched in prominent places if you know where to look, and I've been looking for years and years. I am always surprised when I find them, but it's a pleasant surprise.

Adult Female Anhinga Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

I also saw many of them flying toward the Trinity River and just around and over. The reason this looks like I was as high as she was is because I was — standing on top of the parking garage that little used on the weekends.

Adult Male Anhing Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Male Anhinga

I spent a lot of time up there photographing Anhingas especially. I got a lot of blurs till I upped my shutter speed significantly, and it took awhile to hone in on each one. I assume they were off to the Trinity River to feed.

Female Anhinga Flying High - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Anhinga Flying High

Now I have all these Anhinga flying pix, I need to show a few more here. I tried to get one to bank heavily one way or the other in a close-order fly-by, but they weren't interested.

Female Grackle Maybe - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Female Grackle? Flying Past the Wire Fence atop the Parking Garage

For awhile I shot high-flying egrets, also, but the differentiation in exposures for an essentially dark bird and an all-white one drove me a little crazier switching back and forth, so eventually I gave up on the egrets and concentrated on the Anhingas.

Snowy Egret - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret

Didn't see any Snowy Egrets last time I visited the rookery. Saw several this trip, but they weren't as active yet. I was surprised not to see any Cattle Egrets this trip, but Erin said she'd seen some a few weeks ago, so they're probably in there, too.

BCNH _ Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Black-crowned Night Heron

Many more Black-crowned Night Herons, too, although I didn't see any babies.

BCNH - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Black-crowned Night Heron

This guy looks blue instead of gray, and I'm not exactly sure why. In deep shade, they seem very blue, but this is partial sunlight.

Downy-beaked Great Egret Parent - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Downy-beaked Great Egret Parent

When you tend carefully to downy young egrets, you're likely to get some on what you use to move and arrange and feed them.

Downy Young Great Egret Hatchling Waits to be Fed - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Downy Young Great Egret Hatchling Waits to be Fed

I probably tried this shot forty times today. I used a tripod, and that helped hold my aim, so the focus point on my screen stayed on the younger's face, but most of my shots got the nest sticks instead of the little fluffy white bird. Getting the tyke sharp, however, meant getting the parental unit a little soft, although some of its plumes are rendered well.

 

 

Western Kingbirds, Duck, Pelican, coot & A Mockingbird

May 2.5 2015

Western Kingbirds Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Western Kingbirds Flying

As way too often here, I'm hoping that my identification of this bird is correct. It doesn't really look hugely like the one in Sibley's Birds, but that's who I thought it was when I photographed it.

Western Kingbird - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Western Kingbird

But I'm pretty certain this is a Western Kingbird, and this shot truly resembles Sibley's drawings, and yeah, they do look a lot like the one above.

Mallard with Broken Beak - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Mallard Drake with Broken Beak

Near Sunset Beach.

The Lone Coot - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

The Lone Coot

It looks kinda lonely, but there's still gobs of coots running around loose this late spring.

The Really Lone Pelican

I think there's only one left, and it may well be one that was released by Rogers Wildlife, but I haven't heard about any such release — not that I would, anyway. All the other pelicans have gone north by now — to anywhere along a long down-curving arc across the northern United States and southern Canada from British Columbia, down and across to southeastern Idaho and up to eastern Minnesota. Probably a lot of other places along that curve, too.

Mock Landing or Mock Take-off - I dunno which - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

A Mockingbird, but it's either landing or taking off.

I'm not sure which, but I think it's landing.

 

 

Fish, Egrets, Doves, Mockingbirds, Ducks & a Kite

May 2 2015

Big Fish - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Big Fish

I don't usually shoot fish, but this one — and one other one today — was/are huge. Must be huge fish season.

Big Gold Fish - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Maybe Even Bigger Gold Fish

I couldn't get my camera to focus on this one, under the textured water, while I bounced my camera on the rail overlooking Egret Island, but I think it may have been even larger than that other one.

Snowy Egret Landing on the Slant - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Snowy Egret Landing on the Slant

I followed it across the amphitheater under the walking bridge on the lowest Spillway, but never got real focus till about here. I like the shadow and the bird, and those yellowish plume feathers in back are what shows this bird (any egret I know about) as a Breeding Adult.

Two Great Egrets on the Edge of the Lower - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Two Great Egrets on the Edge of The Lower Steps

I like the space with its deep, dramatic shadows, and the shadow of the walking bridge framing it.

Two Doves on Stones -c pry

Two Mourning Doves on a Stone

Puffed up to cool or warm themselves or something. Doves are handsome creatures I usually don't give the time of day, but it's spring.

Male Scissortail in the Grass - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in the Grass

See all those flyaway featherlets around its beak? Those are what helps this bird catch its flies and other insects as it flies through the air.

Mock or something coming this way - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Mockingbird off the wire Flying This Way

At first I though it was yellowish, and that threw off my already weak identification skills, but now It think it's just all that green reflecting off the vegetation below. Those wing stripes seem spectacularly Mockingbird-ish

Mockingbird with Ladybug - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Mockingbird with Ladybug

Still chewing.

Mocker Crouching to Leap - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Mocker Crouching to Leap

One of the few posture predictors I know well.

Mock Leaping - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Mockingbird Leap

Into the wild green yonder.

Pile of Ducklings - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Pile of Ducklings

Mallards, I assume, but I always hope for more Wood Ducks, since we seem already to have a surfeit of Mallards.

Female Mallard Preening and Stretching - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Female Mallard Preening and Stretching

When they spread their wing and tail feathers like this, I always pay attention.

First Anglos I've ever noticed Fishing Illegally - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

I told them they were the first Anglos I'd ever seen fishing illegally on the Slant

They also scare off all the birds in the vicinity, but they obviously don't care about such subtleties. The guy staring at the camera gave me the finger in the next shot that I'm not using here.

Is she the Boss or the Bride? - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Is she the Boss or the Bride?

Is there a difference? Whichever, she was in charge, and all those big guys were following her instructions carefully.

Flying a Kite beyond the Wedding Door - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Flying a Neo-Geo Kite behind The Wedding Door

With the skyline of Dallas showing beyond, so this must be by the Dreyfuss Building on top of Dreyfuss Hill.

Note: I've gone back to using the date I photographed whatever's in the pic instead of the date I post the pix, because a year from now, I want to use the Last Year button at the top to see exactly what was going on the date and year and month previously, so I know what to start watching for, although I tend to pay attention to everything already.

 

 

Adult Breeding American Avocets a t the Spillway
And Many Other Birds there, too

May 1 2015

Avocets Flying In - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.  

American Avocets Flying In

Flying in from the other side of The Spillway.  

Two Avocets - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Two Adult Breeding American Avocets

I was looking out over the wide expanse of wrinkled water sluicing down the upper and middle spillway areas, and was startled to see these guys — I think I counted seven, although I only ever got six at any one time. When I first saw them, they were on the far side toward the dam, so the next time I walked up Spillway Hill a couple hours later after I worked out, I walked up the Garland Road side, and of course, they were on the dam side, so I employed my famous but nearly non-existing patience and…

Six Avocets Resging - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Six Avocets Resting Much Farther Away

of course, of course, they slowly moved back to this side.

Ad Br Am Av - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

American Avocet

And got to take them much larger and closer.

American Avocet - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

American Avocet  Facing Right

Handsome critter when it's exposed correctly. I overexposed a lot of avocets today. I think maybe my mind was on vacation after imbibing strawberry wine last night with great friends and conversationalists.

One of These - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Breeding Adult Spotted Sandpiper Landing

I caught it flying, too. But it was just a little out of focus. Well, just a lot.

and these guys - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

A Gathering of Least Sandpipers

At least I think that's what they are. I've been badly misidentifying things lately — and not just birds. So I'm just not sure.

Blue Teal on Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Blue Teal on the Spillway

The teal have been there for months, of course.

One Very Wet Starling - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

One Very Wet European Starling

But I don't remember seeing starlings out in the water as if waiting for a nice, big, fat, juicy fish to come along. According to my trusty but out-of-print Lone Pine edition of Birds of Texas, which is the easiest bird book in my library, says: "forages mostly on the ground; diverse diet includes many invertebrates, berries, seeds and human food waste." Hmm… doesn't say anything about foraging in rushing water. Must just be taking a bath.

Crows Landing at the edge - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Crows Landing on the Edge of the Middle Falls

Nice to see such a variety at the Spillway today. American Avocets were of the most interest, but lots of others, too. I can't wait till all the herons gather and fish together.

Great Egret in Aerial Chase - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egrets in Aerial Chase

I was really excited to see the Great Egrets engaged in Mock Battle today. That's one form of dance I sill love to photograph. And I'm really looking forward to their recitals on the Spillway and on and around the Lower Steps. Most of the time lately, I seem to be getting birds in focus lately.

 

Last Month    Index of Pages    A year ago   White Rock Lake Map    

All text and photographs Copyright 2015 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 2006, and most of that is documented in this Journal. I've been photographing professionally and semi-professionally yet always amateurishly since 1964.

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