INDEX

Last Year

Redraw page often.
SITE SEARCH

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

The Current Bird Journal is always here. All Contents Copyright 2015 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. Cameras Used   Ethics   notoriously out-of-date Feedback page red diamond Bird Rescue Advice   Herons   Egrets   Herons vs Egrets   Books & Links   Pelican Beak Weirdness   Pelicans Playing Catch   Rouses   Courtship Displays   Duck Love   Birding Galveston   2nd Lower Rio Grande Valley Birds  & the 1st   Bald Eagle    Coyotes   800e Journal   G5 Journal   JRCompton.com    Links   resume   Contact Me   DallasArtsRevue   Bird Banding Info   So you want to use one of my photographs in your work?   How to Photograph Birds  

Even I use Site Search to find anything, but you may also get art-related finds, because Google scan includes DallasArtsRevue.

Best February Photos & Info:  Great Egret Looking Down Sideways  White Ibises Along The Trinity River   Juvenile Egret offers both a fish and a stick to a potential mate    Egret Vs. Egret Attack    Female Grackle   Cormorants & Pelicans Chase Fish North Up the Lake in the Rain and Cold on a gray, gray day

The SW Medical School Rookery map is now on its own page.  GUEST PHOTOs So Far on this page now include a Red-shouldered Hawk by PJ Burright. Would you like to have your photos published here?  I may add a whole page of Guest Photos with the rules for submitting.

 

Several Nice surprises at The Old Boat House Lagoon

February 26 2015

 Redshouldered Hawk Watching Prey - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Red-shouldered Hawk Watching Prey

My usual method for determining where I'll look for birds this time is to head for the lake, then as I near the Spillway, try to imagine someplace there, Today, The Old Boathouse Lagoon Area popped into my mind. Nice of it to do that, since I've driven past a couple times without seeing anything interesting, so I was willing to try it on a lark.

Before I even turned into the entrance there, I saw what I thought was a small, reddish hawk heading in that direction. I had to turn around, then back in on the left side, so I wouldn't scare it off with setting up a tripod, etc, and just shot out the driver's window of The Slider. Got this, wondered why it was looking down, then learned.

Red-shouldered Hawk Stoops - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Red-shouldered Hawk Dives

It's called a stoop when birds stop flying forward then fall forward in what an airplane pilot might call a stall, except the bird flies into it, often gaining speed. This one didn't have far to go, though.

Diving Red-shouldered Hawk - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Diving Red-shouldered Hawk

So it streamlined itself and fell faster. It wasn't a big tree, so there wasn't far to fall.

RSH on the Ground - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Red-shouldered Hawk on the Ground

It disappeared for about a minute in the brambles down there, then just stood there pointing toward the boathouse and bridge. I never saw whether it caught anything, but I assume it did, since it took that time between landing and standing.

Flew Back Up and Disappeared - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Flew Back Up and Disappeared

It perched in a tree a little farther back, where I could only see parts of it, and when it was below, I opened up the exposure, then didn't have time to minus the EV back again, so those were overbright to the extreme.

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

Killdeer on the Opposite Side of the Street

I just Google mapped it, and the street's name is also West (the side of the lake) Lawther Drive, the same name as the street it exits off to visit the lagoon. So briefly, I was at the corner of West Lawther and West Lawther. Ain't it grand that in Dallas, you can do that many many times? Looking down at me from the hill there were several  Killdeer, but only one by the time I got it in sharp focus and had corrected the exposure.

Cormorant Flying Low - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Cormorant Flying Low Over the Lagoon

I'd parked and probably was standing on the new wood bridge looking for something to photograph.

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

Cormorant Landing

Really nice little landing.

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

Wing-dryer Across the Pond

I waited till it had stopped flapping.

Adult Breeding Pied-billed Grebe - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Pied-billed Grebe

There had been shadow it its face, so I popped up the on-camera flash and tried it a couple times till I got this. When I was learning photography in the Air Force after I learned it at the U of Dallas (no classes, just editing the newspaper/magazine so I needed a photog), they called this flash technique "Synchro-Sunlight Flash," and there were always shutter speeds that wouldn't work, so I'd just get light on part of the image. Now I pop up the flash, and the camera takes care of all that.

Male Great-tailed Grackle -Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Male Great-tailed Grackle on the Bridge Rail

I was in the mood to photograph any bird I saw, besides I like grackles.

Adult Female Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Wood Duck (FOS)

My first of season (FOS), I think. I was surprised to see her standing there, since it'd been awhile since I had. But the lagoon will be alive with young families of new baby Wood Ducks soon enough. I look forward to that.

Adult Breeding Great Egret - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Great Egret

The green lores are a dead giveaway of her breeding status, although the little green we see now — as will the breeding plumage we see below in the picture above will grow bigger and more obvious in the coming weeks.

I hate to do it, I love so much going to the lake every single day of my life, but I've got to work on somebody else's website for about a week, then I'll probably sleep a couple days tell I'm almost human again, so I won't be able to grab a dozen or more shots of birds every day then. I would if I could, but I can't. See ya next week some time.

 

 

Hardly Anybody there but Birds

February 24 2015

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

Great Egret High in a Tree North of Parrot Bay

I'm still not used to seeing Great Egrets in trees, even though I've probably seen hundreds of them in those. Today was pretty cold, and the streets were nearly empty. I like that, and of course, except for one very colorful family shindig on a pier in the Big Thicket, I saw only a half dozen people all the way around the lake.

Red-winged Blackbird Preening in the Reeds - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Red-winged Blackbird Preening in the Reeds at Green Heron Park

For awhile I waited, hoping it'd bring its head up and I could just shoot that, but this journal is devoted to photographing birds doing what birds do, not just pretty pics of birds perched somewhere, so here it is.

Joove Male RWBB in the Reeds - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Male Nonbreeding Red-winged Blackbird

Which, I guess, means there's really no excuse for this shot of another bird not far away, except that I got it in pretty good focus.

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

Urban Waterfall with Snake Head

The snake is on the right end of the log, its head just left of the green hose-looking thingy. I only saw it after I put it up on my monitor. It was an accident. The water is falling down from Mockingbird car bridge. I thought about making another photo, but the snake's about as sharp here as it'll ever get. Years ago, I did a series of Urban Waterfalls — mostly about this size except for the fall height — around Dallas.

Dappled Duck with Friends - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Black-dappled White Duck with Friends

Friends are, left to right, white duck, white duck and I think a male Mallard. But the prettiest of the bunch is the dappled duck with a black neck, who was probably designed to look just like that, so it's its own variety, if not species.

I thought it was a canvasback but it's probably some sort of duck - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Male Canvasback in Wing, Leg and Foot Stretch

Chronologically, this guy belongs at the top of this journal entry, but it's just not good enough for up there, so it's down here.

Female Mallard Sleeping - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Female Mallard Sleeping

Somewhere along Yacht-club Row in The Big Thicket. I've read that this configuration of wing feathers, head and only one foot down is called "rest pose."

Corms on a pier w downtown back - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Cormorants on a Yacht Club Pier with Downtown Skyline Back

I kept backing up and forth to get as much of the skyline in as possible. I remember when I was a Dallas Times Herald photographer, anytime we'd get a skyline in a photo, it was almost guaranteed to go in the paper.  The hoke lives!

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

Coot and Female Mallard

Once she swam into this place with the coot in the background, it was worth clicking the shot after I'd panned along with her awhile.

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

Either a Cormorant Flapping or Drying its Wings

I suspect drying. There almost always is a blur when they flap.

Red-shouldered Hawk - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Saw this high in the sky almost to the loop end of Lawther through the Big Thicket area and off to the left or the neighborhood houses.

Red-shouldered Hawk Closer - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Red-shouldered Hawk Closer

I never thought I'd get it this good, but luckily I had received this much better, closer and more beautiful shot by PJ Burright I'd been waiting to use in just the right place:
 

GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER PJ Burright TO THE RESCUE

Red-shouldered Hawk by PJ BUrright

Red-shouldered Hawk by PJ Burright

This shot gives us a much better idea of what a Red-shouldered Hawk looks like. Thanks, P J.

Making Snowballs on a Pier - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Making Snowballs on a Pier Along Yacht Club Row

I worried about that stick, but kept seeing more smiles on the adults, then I saw the pile of snowballs, and I remembered what this colorful bunch was really up to. I don't think I saw any other group at the lake, not two or three or five or, like here, a full dozen. I did see singles of humans all around the lake and park, mostly running, and two guys on the west side arguing out by the lake's edge.

Buncha Corms on a Yacht Club Pier - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Buncha Cormorants on a Yacht Club Pier

I think it was a different pier than the pic above.

Red-tailed Hawk's Red Tail - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Red-tailed Hawk's Red Tail

I photographed this a stone's throw from White Rock Lake Park, where I had to stop and park The Slider along the inclined side of the road before I could shoot, because of traffic, then I decided I might be able to see its head if I backed up, and while I did that, it flew away. Nice red tail.

Pelicans Out on the Lake - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans Out on the Lake

I'd stopped to photograph a much closer bird on this side of the lake, but that turned out to be a round anchor-thing. Then I saw these birds and the crisscross of ripples they left as they swam.

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

Cut Tree(s)

Hope it wasn't another state or national treasure, but you can never tell what The City will cut down next. Lately, they're running neck and neck with the Arboretum (which I prefer to call the Park-O-Retum, because that's what they do.) for cutting down valuable trees and generally destroying nature.

 

 

Gulls, Pigeons, Coots, Pelicans and scenics with Snow

February 24 2015

Ringbill Gull Flying Low - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Ring-billed Gull Flying Low

Someone asked for this journal's URL today and suggested it was all about the birds at the lake. I didn't think I could sum it up that quickly, but I supposed that's in here, too. This is the most common species of gulls at the lake in the last — oh, it seems like forever, but I remember when they came back, although that doesn't excite me nearly as much as when they leave.

Dark Adult Rock Pigeon? - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Dark Adult Rock Pigeon? with Yellow Bread

I don't know my pigeons, and this particular color combination is something I've seen too many of not to find it in one of my bird I.D books, so I'm just guessing for this caption.

American Coot in the Snow - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

American Coot in the Snow

I'm a big fan of coots. I love their amazing lobed feet that let them walk or run on the water and the fact that they're difficult to photograph, especially in snow, an occasion I never foresaw me attempting, let alone nearly succeeding such a pix.

One Coot Stepping on Another Coot with Gull Back - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

One American Coot Stepping on Another Coot with Gull Back

I'm not always quick on the uptake, but when I saw this happening, I clicked. I have seen coots taking care of and preening an injured coot, but I've never seen one step on another, although I have seen them fight viciously a little later in the season. If I had a zoom, I might have pulled back a little on this composition, but I really do like the abstraction of it. I'm assuming that gull dancing behind them is a Ring-billed.

First-winter Ring-billed Gull? - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

First winter? Ring-billed Gull

I like the idea that this might be a first winter juvenile and its amazing coat of many layers. I only had four layers today, spent 20 minutes warming up the car to melt all the ice and snow on it, dragging my mileage down to the mid 40s from the 52.5 I'd got it up to in the warm days previous. But if I had a coat like this, I'm sure I'd be warm. Birds usually don't have nerve endings in their feet, so going barefoot in the snow is not the problem it would be for me.

The Pavlov Bird Again - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

The Pavlov Bird Angling in to Land

Pavlov's bell goes off in my mind every time I see an American White Pelican winging into Sunset Bay or anywhere else. I just gotta clickety-click-click as fast as my cam can. Nice of conditions to fluff out the background so the American White Pelican stands off so smartly.

Fly through the air with the greatest of ease - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Fly Through the Air with the Greatest of Ease

And getting two of them flying low and inside and both in pretty good focus is kinda amazing.

Two American White Pelicans Flying Together Still in Focus - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

The Same Two Pelicans Flying Together Still in Focus

And to keep that going is a minor (very minor) miracle. Nice of the gulls to pose under them.

Sunset Beach in Snow - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Sunset Beach In Snow

I especially wanted to get Sunset Beach in the snow. The picnic tables are not really stacked, just juxtaposed in this telephoto view. Nice mist out on the lake. Too bad no pelicans were landing just then, but I shot this at significant distance, since I only have that one lens.

Winfrey Parking Lot with Copcar and Snow - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved

Winfrey Parking Lot with Cop Car and Snow

I kept passing cop cars all afternoon. Everybody was going slow, and I purposely avoided driving down Lawther from Garland Road to Winfrey Point, because I was worried I might not make it to the top of Winfrey Hill. But the police person probably did that. I'd thought about doing a panorama from here all the way out to the point of Winfrey, but this is just fine.

I so often photograph from that lot, it's about time I photographed it, too.

 

Rain, Rainy, Rainyer

February 23 2015

 Bird on a Pruned Branch of a Dead Tree - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Bird on a Pruned Branch of a Dead Tree

Today wasn't intended as an experiment. It was just raining and getting colder, and I felt like getting out of my nice warm house and go to the lake to see how the birds were coping with the sudden weather change, that they've probably known about longer than we have.

Front Yard Melee - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Front Yard Melee

But when I got out on my front porch, I heard such a racket of birds I had to try shooting.

If This Is A Grackle, Then So Probably Was That Other One - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

If This is a Grackle, then Probably So was that Other One

Even managed to get a few shots through all the trees at birds hiding in plain sight.

Rainstorm Fishing Across the Lake - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Rainstorm Fishing Across the Lake

Rainin' cats and dogs and elephants at the lake as I drove down my quietudinous, gentle drive to calm my nerves and stick the Blunderbuss out the window, getting it all wet, but photographing some birds, too.

I Can Usually Do Better than This - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

I Can Usually Do Better Than This

Even if they were all the way across the lake.

Bristly Wet Squirrel Chewing Something in the Rain - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Bristly Wet Squirrel Chewing Something in the Rain

Looks like a nut in there.

Coots Escaping from Something - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Coots Escaping from Something

I never saw what, but I leaned on that shutter button hoping.

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

Coots Escaping

And I got lots and lots of coots racing north.

Coots on the Run - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Coots On The Run

Near and far, zooming with my mind, since The Blunderbuss isn't a zoomer.

Back from Fishing - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Back from Fishing

Eventually, I ran out of fast-moving coots, when the fleet started coming in.

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

Home Again

Or so I thought, but they just kept going north and norther.

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

And On and On

Till they filled the lowered horizon.

 

 

Saturday Afternoon at The Lake

February 23 2015

 Fishing Close to Shore Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Fishing Close to Shore

First I saw the Pelican - Cormorant - Gull Fishing Party at about half past the Park-o-retum. Then I kept seeing them as I slowly — about 11 mph — drove down along Lawther …

Photographer on Parkoretum Hill - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Photographer on Park-o-retum Hill

And past the Park-o-retum where a Hooded photog photographed the lake from on high — approximately whence the summer Thursday evening concerts are/were broadcast out over the lake.

Male Bufflehead Sploosh - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Male Bufflehead Sploosh

I thought after this long a sploosh through the water, it would take off and fly away.

Buffle Flap A -cpry

Buffle Flap A

But it didn't. It stayed in the water, unfolded its wings and …

Buffle Flap B - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Buffle Flap B

… began to flap them..

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

Female Bufflehead

Almost every time I got a good bead on either the Mr. or the Mrs., they'd jump up a little, then dive down a lot.

Brown-headed Cowbird in the Brakes - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Brown-headed Cowbird in the Brakes

I had been photographing Male and Female Red-winged Blackbirds, and I thought I still was when I photographed this. But nope.

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

Balancing Act

They finally twigged I was photographing them about six images later, so they just stared and pointed till I drove the rest of the way up Winfrey Point Drive. I hadn't seen this game in years. But the weather was perfect.

Winfrey Building Up the Hill - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Winfrey Building with Red T-shirt

Since I talk about these places so often here, I thought I should show them to you.

Body At Rest - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Bodies At Rest

Taken from at the crest of Winfrey Hill just past the east end of the circle drive that's way too-often blocked by vehicles illegally parked in front of the Winfrey Building. I wouldn't care, except I love to go round that circle drive, and I just can't when it's blocked by some self-important person attending or organizing or just watching an event in the Winfrey Building.

I hope someday to have a party there, and I know whom I will hire to keep such persons from parking along the almost never-enforced Do Not Park Circle.

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

"Lake View"

Is what the sign just right of the big yellowish building says. I thought I was shooting toward the Leaky Boat House across the lake, but I was instead photographing over the dam somewhere south of there. I think.

The Fishing Party Rounds the Bend at Wingrrey - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

The Fishing Party Rounds Winfrey Point

I kept catching up with the fishing fleet again and again. Here they're heading around the south coast of Winfrey toward the Op Birders.

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

The Optical Birders

I kept wondering what they were aiming at, this time from the south of Winfrey Round.

People And Birds - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Op Birders, People Walking by and Staring and a Jogger

Usually I avoid the lake on lovely weekend days, because of all the people. But today, I enjoyed the people, though not as much as I enjoyed the birds and the landscape.

The Yacht Clubs from Winfrey Peak - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

The Yacht Clubs from Winfrey Peak

It's really not any more a peak than it might have been a thousand years ago a Point, but the view is nice.

 

 

Some Things I Know & Things I Don't Know:
Pelicans, Ducks, Gooses & a Grackle

February 21 2015

Skyline with PUmphouse and Dam - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.  

Skyline with Pumphouse and Dam

Watching and photographing birds involves a long list of what I know and what I don't, even if the latter still hugely outweighs the latter. I'd been promising myself for some time to stop at the base of of Winfrey hill, because I like the lineup of building near to buildings far across the lake. Today, I finally took the minute or so and shot this out The Slider's window. And yes, the sky beyond downtown really was that yellow. Something about the front coming in that should turn Dallas frigid this weekend.

Am Whi Pelk Flap - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

American White Pelican Wingflap

Birds flap their wings even when they're not flying because: It feels good; it helps keep them ready for sudden flight if needed; it strengthens its wings during flight. I like this photo for its whirl of feathers as they change directions. My trusty Lone Pine Birds of Texas mentions a "pale yellow crest on the back of head" noting breeding status, but nothing about a swath of yellow on its breast — although this pelican wasn't the only one with it..

Pelican Mounting the Inner Log - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Pelican Mounting the Inner Log

A lot of the visual action off Sunset Beach is pelicans mounting the inner log(s). This one's got it relatively easy, if only because there's no other pelicans on the log yet. Even with all that space available, pelicans tend to thwart newcomers, even if they're related. Apparently, a good perch is of prime importance to a pelicans, and there's often squabbles out there.

Dark Duck with Banded Beak - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Dark Duck with Banded Beak

I was talking with a woman at Sunset Beach who'd asked about species names, then told me about this duck. I told Erin, who has the need to rescue, though no net yet, and soon several people were trying to herd the duck into capture under a blanket, up the hill, but the duck's instinct kept it "safe" from the rescuers.

I know exactly what's going on here - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

I Know What's Going On Here

This goose, whom Erin calls "Mr. Merrymac," and lets him chew (gooses have no teeth, but they chew, nonetheless) on her body, clothing and purse. We surmise the goose was raised by a woman, because it really does not like men, some of whom, like Erin's boyfriend, get attacked. He attacked me once too often, and I chased him six times around Erin one day last autumn, and he's left me alone since, although I give him wide berth anyway.

Tony gets attacked often, so he carries an umbrella when he's where Mr. Merrymac's likely to also be., and he uses it to protect himself from Merrymac's charges. I don't know precisely what's happening here, but the goose started it, as usual, probably because Tony was standing close to Erin.

Snow Goose Among Coots - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Ross's Goose Among Coots

I hadn't seen or noticed the little white, duck-sized goose in a few weeks, so when I saw it, I paid it photographic attention. Last week when my brother Dale was visiting, he was just amazed at the hundreds of birds and wide variety of avian species in Sunset Bay. Yeah, me too.

Male Great-tailed Grackle - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Male Great-tailed Grackle with Lamp Light

The lamp was on the building that used to be a restaurant called Sunset Inn, which I know because on the map, the drive around back of it is called Sunset Inn Circle. I wished it hadn't been in my direct line of sight, but I clicked the shutter anyway.

Injured Pelican Moored Between Two Other Pelicans - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Injured Pelican Moored Between Two Other Pelicans

Erin and Tony had pointed the hunkered-down pelican in the middle here many minutes before it settled in between these two pelicans. They said it had a large, dark lure attached to its foot, and I watched it for a long time, hoping to catch sight of the impediment, but it didn't move enough, swimming across the bay from the pier area to the beach-front to see much except it leaned away from its injured foot when it had to turn, and it never stood up from this low posture. It seemed to be conserving its energy whenever possible. Erin said there were no pelicans in the area before she noticed the lure-attached bird, so we surmise it can still fly.

I Know Why - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

I Know Why

I heard a couple people at Sunset Beach talking about the "stupid" gooses lying in the middle of East Lawther Drive. It wasn't hot, and it wasn't cold. But it was cool, and I suspect the road's surface held warmth that's comforting to these burly birds, and they seem unafraid of cars, bicycles or people walking down the road, because there's no walking path through the area.

 

American White Pelicans, Great Egrets & some Coots

February 19 2015

Woggling Beak Pelk - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Woggling-beak Pelican in Sunset Bay

Today, I drove my favorite 11mh drive past the lake on the visible left side and the Park-o-retum on the invisible other side, so everything worked out fine. After pausing in the parking lot behind the Winfrey Building and briefly photographing that same American Kestrel but not getting anything interesting at all, I in The Slider slid down that hill, stopped and turned left down the hill on Emerald Isle Drive, where I parked on the bottom, neatly missing the chunk of concrete The City in its infinite wisdom keeps stored sidewise down there for no good reason, and walked into Sunset Bay, over to my favorite pier, with my tripod, because I couldn't decide whether to take it or not. These shots are in strict chronological order for any who care.

Shot and posted on Thursday February 19, 2015. I shot several of the pelicans' lower mandible stretch routines, that this mandible woggling behavior sometimes follows, though they were too far away, and this pelk probably just felt like doing it. More of these sorts of oddities are on my Weird Things Pelicans Do with Their Beaks page.

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

Scooping Great Egret

This one and the next four more were all the same Great Egret flying across Inner Sunset Bay.

Great Egrt Flat Out with Coot - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Flat Out with Coot

Of course, this is just one segment in a normal flying routine, but I've rarely caught them doing it, so it's here.

Fingerdipping GE = Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Finger-dipping Great Egret

This is not rare, at all, it's just what happens sometimes. It hardly seems intentional, as in to slow its flying speed down, but I never know, and I'm so busy trying to keep its whole body in frame, which I just managed to do, so I don't remember what it was doing before and after, but I got it in pictures.

Great Egret Flying in its Own Shadow - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Flying in its Own Shadow

I kinda miss photographing Great Egrets. They're so beautiful and elegant and really quite common at the lake.

Great Egret Landing near the logs South of the Pier - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Lands near the Logs North of the Pier at Sunset Bay

Pretty - pretty - pretty.

Pelican Flat Out and Flying Low - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Pelican Flat-out and Flying Low

I like this shot, because we see its primary feathers curling at the far edges, but the pelican in question really doesn't look all that elegant.

Pavlov's Ding - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Palov's Ding

But this one does.

 

 

RWBB, GTG, Pelicans, Cormorants & Gulls

February 18 2015

 Juvenile RWBB Proclaiming - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Red-winged Blackbird Proclaiming

I've heard it called by various names, but I still like "proclaiming" best. He's saying, "I'm here. This is my territory. Who are you? Where are you? and What's going on.

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

Male Great-tailed Grackle in the Grass

Beautiful birds whom everybody loves to hate. Not particularly popular among the general populace, but some of us birders can appreciate these guys.

I thought of this pairing as unusual - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Cormorants & Gulls

I thought of this pairing as unusual, but it's really not. Gulls are often a part of Pelican (the missing elements here) and Cormorant Fishing parties on the lake. And, sure enough, pelicans came to the group later, as they all got farther and farther from Garland Road just past the pier but well past the dam and well before Lawther cut-off past the Park-o-retum.

Pelks, Corms & Gulls Fishing - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans, Cormorants & Gulls Fishing

These are the species I most often see hunting / Fishing together, and I photographed these guys the day before the fishing party above.

Pelicans Past the Bath House - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans Past the Bath House Cultural Center

Ever since I've been photographing White Rock Lake — starting  ca. 1963 — I've enjoyed photographing birds fly in front of the Bath House, one of whose great attributes is that it has the finest — and cleanest — rest rooms at the lake. It's closed most Sundays and Mondays, but when it's available, those bathrooms offer privacy, warmth or cool (seasonak), plenty of toilet paper and real, flushing toilets.

There's also a water fountain on the way to the art galleries, and a gorgeous back porch view of the downtown skyline and what's left of the controversial White Rock Lake Water Theater sculpture installation (the white poles seen above), which won't be there much longer, although there's often art in the galleries on the right (in this pic) and theater on the left.

Cormorants Past the Bath House - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Cormorants Past the Bath House

These corms had been flying and fishing with the pelicans above.

 

 

The First Guest Photo

Tommy Fisher - Ruby Crowned Kinglet 

Ruby-crowned Kinglet by Tommy Fisher

This is a photo by Tommy Fisher of Mesquite whom Anna and I visited last year sometime at a park near his home. I've photographed a few of these speedy little birds over the years, but never this close or sharp. Thanks, Tommy

 

other Guest Photos from Readers, So Far

February 17 2015

Bill J Boyd - Ladderback Woodpecker - copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Bill J Boyd photo of a Ladderback Woodpecker t

Both these beautiful photographs were taken at Pedernales Falls State Park near Johnson City, Texas. Bill Boyd shot this one on February 7.

Bill J Boyd - Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Bill J Boyd photo of a Golden-fronted Woodpecker

And this one at 10:16 AM, January 27, 2015. More Bill J Boyd photographs can be found online at smugmug.com
 

Seeking Guest Bird Photos from Around Here

If anyone has good pix of North Central Texas birds that I haven't shown recently, and you would like to share them here, I'd be interested in seeing and perhaps selecting some. I don't make money off this site, so I can't pay. But I need to start off with your full-resolution, multi-megabye image file straight from the camera in JPEG format — Please no RAWs or TIFFs — so I can apply my own gentle corrections, but I'll copyright each image to you and/or your site in the same style I do mine. I won't I.D birds you don't know who are, because I'm lousy at that already with mine. And it might take awhile to decide to use your images.

The pix need to be taken within the last several weeks. Please put your name and the exact bird species in the image file name, so they don't get lost. Get my latest email address from my contact page, and include in your cover email the link you want posted. Just send two images and maybe more in at least a month.   — J R

 

 

Red-wings, Mallards, Coots & A Ruby-crowned Kinglet

February 17 2015

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

Red-winged Blackbirds (RWBB) Blobs

Didn't spend long at the lake today. It was cold. I needed rest. I drove down Lawther past the Park-o-retum, looking the other way, out onto the lake until the trees intervened, then I got caught up in a flock of Red-winged Blackbirds, comprising males and females. Later in the season, the sexes will travel alone. Now it's mixed.

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

RWBBs Rising

Really didn't have the camera set right for darking everything, but it looks nice, even if it wasn't really a pastel multicolored world. Mostly it was browns and grays.

RWBBs Up Into Tree - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

RWBBs Up Into Tree

So glad some red epaulets show here, or we wouldn't know what birds these are they are blurring so.

Mallard in Mallard Land - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Mostly Mallards in Mallard Land

Later, on Sunset Beach, I didn't really even want to get out of The Slider and there were mass amounts of Mallards and Coots and probably some gooses, though I didn't notice them or even our Mute Swan.

Starring the Female Mallard - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Starring the Female Mallard

So I mostly concentrated on getting a couple Mallard portraits.

Coot in a Crowd - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Coot in a Crowd

And a coot in a crowd of mostly mallards.

 

A Lot about Great Egrets is in the scholarly Habitat Suitability Index Models: Great Egret

 

 

Mapping The Southwest Medical School Rookery

February 15-16 2015

Great Egret Looking Sideways Down - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Breeding Adult Great Egret Looking Down Sideways

I posted the link to my new map on Bird Chat, anticipating that someone there might not like that I'd made the place easy to navigate to paricular bird species, since I've often been castigated for posting information about where, exactly, bird nests or unusual species were available, and I've finally learned that lesson and do not, post time and space specific info about where some idiot might go to shoot, damage or steal certain birds.

But nobody responded to my plea there. So I may delete the notice altogether, since I got zero feedback on my questions. So I just don't know or understand the working of people who complain when I don't consult them, then do nothing when I do consult them. 

There were few Great Egrets at The Rookery Friday the Thirteenth, and most of those had well-camouflaged nests, so it was difficult to find one who was not at least mostly hidden. I had no idea this one was looking down sideways, but I love the one, really bright eye looking down at me. Many more birds will arrive later this month and into March and April and May and June. I just though I ought to get started on the Rookery Maps.
 
 

Aerial Map of Rookery Using Google Map © 2014 Google
 

With My Annotations showing Usual Breeding Areas and Points of Interest

A - Black-crowned Night-Herons, Snowy Egrets and other birds can be seen.
B
- Little Blue Herons have most often been sighted.
C - White Ibises used to nest, but now they nest on the left, facing the Inwood side of The Rookery.
D - a full-pay Elevated Parking Garage on the North East of The Rookery with exterior stairways that can be comparatively easily climbed. We walk to it, then climb to the top, where are low, concrete walls that help stabilize telephoto lenses.
E - the top of the higher trees in the middle of The Rookery where are mostly Great Egrets, although other white and dark bird populations will grow in the coming months.
Towards D from E is where Anhinga may sometimes be seen, usually at some distance from the composite path.
F Offers the shade of that tree, the shade of the basketball court or the comfort of extended, hard seats and backs from which to watch or photograph egrets and other birds flying low or high on this side.
G - the free, five-story high Parking Garage just South of the Rookery.
H are the Rest Rooms southeast of the basketball court, behind the littlest building, along a sidewalk that angles away and up a slight hill toward Butler Street.
J - White Ibis (if any) can be sometimes be found along the northern edge of the rookery. Anhingas can be seen in the taller trees well back from the edge.

 ABC Map of the rookery - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Photographed from the top of the five-story parking garage [G] opposite basketball court [C]
 

This is a slight areal view of The Rookery, which Google Maps calls "Bird Sanctuary" near Inwood Road and Harry Hines Blvd. in western Dallas, Texas, USA, south of Love Field Airport.


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

Great Egret in the Taller Trees in the SW Medical School Rookery from Parking Garage — G

This is a view from the top of the five-story, drive up and around and up and around Parking Garage.

Rules

The main rule is not to enter the woods inside the obvious No Trespassing Signs. We all want to get closer, but inside the path is the bird's home turf, where juvenile and adult birds wander, fly and feed. Leave them alone, and stay on the path. Humans not allowed. Most people keep to the outer edges. If you do not, you will likely get yelled at, and there are people in the surrounding buildings who watch the rookery with great care and have the campus police on their speed dial.

Signs showing the variety of species and rookery rules are posted on two sides. I'll pos a pic of that here, soon as I get one.

If you have any corrections for this map and/or story or comments, send them to the latest email on the contact page.

Last time we visited, it looked like the grounds-people had been busy cutting down trees around the outer edges. This and the supply of water have long been at issue. What "looks nice" is not always best for birds, who need  habitat as well as protection. Whenever birders complain, groundsmen promise not to cut back any more, then we get lax in our vigilance, and they cut down more trees. At this rate, I don't know how long it would take to destroy the entire rookery, but it often seems that's some people's goal.

I have mixed feelings about rescuing injured or sick juveniles pushed out of nests by their parents to favor stronger siblings for the survival of their species. But Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation will help and while you're there, a donation will help. They're at 1430 E. Cleveland Rd., Hutchins, TX 75141, just south of the Metroplex off I-45. In summer, there are often corpses hanging from the trees.

 

Two Breeding Great Egrets - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Two Breeding Great Egrets

I can't tell much more than you can about the Great Egret who appears to be lying down here.

 

 

Down to the River unstabilized

February 13 2015

 Two White Ibis Flying Along - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.  

Two White Ibises Flying

One of whom is about to land. There's a duck out of focus behind the upper Ibis, but I have no idea what it is.

I thought of something that might help long-distance focus so I went back to pretty much the same place plus a mud pit The City's doing something with, where Anna and I had photographed Tricolored Herons or some such some years back, again today. Today's journal entry has nothing to do with chronological order, as you probably don't care.

Two Wide-flap Ibises Landing - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Two White Ibi Landing with Their Wings Wide and Cupped

I could not have planned those wings to be like this. Nice of it to happen. I counted 33 total flock-members down by the river or in the soggies this side of the levees. Not sure where I was when I shot what, but I spent most of the afternoon trying to get closer to the river the wester I got.

I'm always disappointed when someone reminds me that the plural of Ibis is Ibises.

 Ibis Landing Among Ibises - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Ibis Landing Among Ibises (detail)

I kept being intrigued by the details in the above, dual landing, photo, so I tried this.

White Ibis with Green-winged Teal Pair - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

White Ibis with Green-winged Teal Pair

As you can see, turning off the Image Stabilization (IS) when the Blunderbuss is on the new tripod makes all the difference. One of my favorite photo writers told me in an article very recently that if I left the IS on on a tripod, it would wiggle it wrong instead of compensating for my own wobbles. World of difference. I'm impressed. Gotta pay attention to the details.

White Ibis Over The Rest of the Flock - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

White Ibis Over Its Flock-mates

Four Green-wing Teals - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Four Green-winged Teals

In a soggy soggy place.

Two White Ibis Racing Across the Landscape - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.  

Two White Ibis Racing Across the Landscape

They'd take a step or two, sink that long, curved beak down into the mud, then pull it up, take more steps and do the same thing, over and over and over again, all across the landscape.

White Ibis Racing  - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

White Ibis Racing

Oh, I am so very glad it's not something wrong with my lens. Just my brain.

Killdeer Six Miles Away - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Killdeer

Even though the viewfinder, these already tiny birds looks like patterns that moved in the marsh. I took the pix, but I had no expectation whatsoever that anything would come of it. Not the greatest shot, and they're still a little lost in the pampas here, but so much better than with the IS on.

Great Egret Flying Over Trash - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Flying Over Trash

In the aforementioned trash pit that used to be a big pond.

Great Egret Landing in a Trash Pit - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Landing in a Trash Pit

A colorful trash pit, but a trash pit all the same.

This Was A Coot - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Was A Coot

When I aimed at this place on this bog, there was a coot in the middle of the ripples. When I clicked, it beat me down. I waited and waited, but it never showed itself again. Maybe it's still down there.

 

 

Supposedly Stabilized Down in The Trinity River

February 12 2015

But It Wasn't an Egret - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.  

But It Wasn't An Egret

I thought I was photographing another Egret, then I noticed its black wing tips. Oh!, I thought, an Ibis. We'd already visited the Medical School Rookery, but either nothing was happening there, or there weren't many birds. Ibises are often the second earliest arrivers there, and we saw not a single bird, and we drove all around it, but I went back the next day, and I saw egrets only, and I'll post those pix here soon, but I've got houseguests and that'll have to wait a few days. I bet there were some grackles and mockingbirds, too.

White Ibis with Large Turtles - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

White Ibis with Large Turtles

Kept photographing it, concentrating on it, not the background whizzing by.

Green-winged Teal and N. Shoveler - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Green-winged Teal and Northern Shovelers

Green-winged Teal left and right and a pair of Northern Shovelers in the middle. Colorful ducks I hadn't seen much of at the lake lately.

Five Grackles in a Tree - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Five Grackles in a Tree

A bit of respite from photographing birds way, way far away. Uncolorful birds that are pretty much everywhere in Dallas.

White Ibis Landing and Standing - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

White Ibis Landing and White Ibis Standing

This is the best shot — the one with the most faraway detail of comparatively small objects — of the 150 or so I made today.

White Ibis Flock with Downtown Dallas Skyline - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

White Ibis Flock at the Bottom with Downtown Dallas Skyline at the Top

And this one has the worst resolution of the biggish white birds out there, but this is the full frame, and the two ibises above were a lot closer (We'd moved west, still hoping to find the secret passage to that wonderful little park with the big stone cows scattered about.

The Trinity As It Was - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

2006 Trinity photocollarge by J R Compton   Collection Matt Kaplinsky

This is what the river end of that once lovely little park (Trammell Crow Lake at Trinity Park) we were searching for used to look like from the little, two-lane bridge just south of it that I doubt is still there, but I loved that funky little bridge almost as much as the dangerously steep boat ramp down into the river. Back then both sides seemed nearly solid with trees. Now it's winter and they've been working it over down there, so it looks a lot less lush, but they're buiding a boardwalk.

This Great Egret and Dragonfly were superimposed on the landscape in my submission (explained here) to the 2006 Member Show at The MAC.

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

Pipes Near the River

And these are just some pretty things we found as we tried — without a bit of success — to find our way the Ross or Somebody Perot park under the new, non Calatrava bridge. I'm often appreciative of artful objects that probably have not much to do with art, but that are art, whether they like it or not.

Pool Needing Birds - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Pool Needing Birds

 

  

Back to Sunset Bay Again

February 10 2015

 Adult Breeding Great Egret in a Tree - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Great Egret High in a Tree

Note the very green lores on this bird. It's breeding season, and he or she looks ready. Note also those long nuptial plumes streaming back.

Adult Double-crested Cormorants Braying and Fighting - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Double-crested Cormorants Braying and Fighting

I've often heard them braying like donkeys, but today I noticed that these two, who seemed surprisingly small. But loud.

Mostly Cormorants on the Logs - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Mostly Cormorants on the Logs

There's also one American White Pelican at the far right, three I think I see Ring-billed (probably) Gulls this side of the big log, and more than four dozen more beyond it. I'm not worried about cormorants, but I thought the pelicans were much safer when they were out there.

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

Great Egret Landing

I kept trying to watch each and every non-cormorant species in the bay, but that was just goofy, because every time I paid attention to one bird, xis others were doing something interesting. I was retreating from on-pier goofiness — guy I knew in another life, acting and worse than that, sounding like a goose — when the only pelican I saw today came in from the logs, so I didn't get a single shot.

Lesser Scaup Victory Flap - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Lesser Scaup "Victory Flap"

I know better than to ascribe a human-like expression of sudden emotion to a bird, but it's what I've always called post-coitus ducks when they did this rise-up-out-of-the-water-and-flap behaviors. And I saw this same one not that long ago on a Cornell online video, where it was identified, but I don't remember as what.

I have not seen a female Scaup for a while, but looking back at previous sightings here, I see there I photographed one in December 2006, March 2007; in February and December 2008, and four female Lesser Scaups on March 26 2009.

Male Lesser Scaup with White Walls - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Male Lesser Scaup with 'White Walls"

I saw the usual four male Scaups in Sunset Bay today. It looked like at least one of them was not a lesser. The differences between Lesser and Greater Scaups has always seemed confusing to me. When I looked them up in my main guide, The Sibley's Guide to Birds (2nd Edition), he says of Lesser Scaups — "Extremely similar to Greater Scaup, distinguished (with difficulty) by subtle differences in head shape. Also averages slightly smaller and is the expected species on most interior lakes and ponds," when I had thought it had more visibly a difference between the comparative brightness of their sides.

Male Lesser Scaup with Drrk Sidewalls - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Male Lesser Scaup with Dark Sidewalls (Probably the same bird as our Flapper above)

And now that I've learned that, it puts the kibosh on everything else I was going to say about these guys today. White Rock is an interior body of water considerably distant from the nearest ocean, so the differences in tones I thought I saw, and we can all see here, don't matter. By Sibley's logic these are all Lesser Scaups. Oh, well.

Three Pelicans - One with a Fin - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Three American White Pelicans — One with a Fin

At least that's what I call that fin-like growth on Adult (both sexes) Breeding American white Pelicans. My Lone Pine Edition of Birds of Texas calls it a "small, keeled plate on upper mandible," and it an the "pale yellow crest on the back of head" mark these pelicans of breeding age and disposition.

And I might need to go back to Sunset Bay later this week. Somebody's been taken our domestic gooses — three at a time. More then.

 

 

Great Egrets, Ducks, Coots and Cormorants
at the Spillway's Lower Steps

February 10 2015

Walking Bridge Shadow with three Egrets - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.  

Walking Bridge Shadow with Three Great Egrets on the Top Step of the Lower Steps

I'd wandered up Lawther past Winfrey, around the Barbec Turn, down Garland Road, then driving by the Spillways, Upper & Lower, I saw the lower had a variety of black and white birds — cormorants and Great Egrets (not counting or mentioning all those gulls), and I guess probably a couple other species, so I turned right on Winstead, into the parking lot in easy sight of the walking bridge, and grabbed the Blunderbuss.

As usual, but not always, the images in this journal entry are strictly chronological.

Two Ducks, 3 coots and some Egrets - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Two Ducks, A Coot and Three Great Egrets

Plenty of bird elegance to choose from. The angled concrete slabs help control the water over the steps. The white smear is probably heron scat. Egrets are one of the herons.

Three Cormorants in a Tree - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Three Double-crested Cormorants in a Tree

White and black.

Great Egret Drag-toe Slowing - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Drag-Toe Slowing

Probably every shorebird with big-enough feet employs this technique to slightly slow air speed coming in for a landing when they think they might be going too fast — or tired.

Great Egret Arc-ing In - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Arc-ing In

Landing among other GEs (Great Egrets). I still remember in the long dimmed past Dr. Louise Cowen asserting that there is no such word as arcing, but there needs to be, so I inserted a hyphen and get away with it, because it never reads right without.

Double-crested Cormorant Landing - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Double-crested Cormorant Landing

Today, at least, more cormorants flew over than GEs, though I usually think of egrets as more elegeant, but it's not so.

Juv Dbl-crested Corm Soaring w Trees Back - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Double-crested Cormorant Soaring with Trees Back

Luckily with these dark birds, the lower steps were bright with reflected light, so I got lots of detail in the dark parts.

Juv Double-crested Cormorant Flying Up up up - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Double-crested Cormorant Flying Up and Over

The real trouble was catching focus up to their speedy flyovers. I was kinda out-of-practice, but the cam did me proud.

Double-crested Cormorant Tree Landings - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Double-crested Cormorant Tree Landings

Whenever I'm around a tree full of cormorants, I try to do something like this, but here the light was brilliant.

American Coot Ascending the Lower Steps - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

An American Coot Ascending the Lower Steps

Coming back down from the Middle Spillway "steps" over the gut-shaking walking bridge, but only photographing from the paces with metal bands across the flooring, which helps stead the shake, I watched awhile as little American Coots ascended the Lower stairway.

Am Coot Ascending - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

American Coot Ascending

That same one catching onto the upper part of the stair.

Am Coot Ascending the Final Step - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

American Coot Ascending the Final Step

And a different coot catching the top step where water flows even with the pond behind.

All of today's shots were taken Tuesday February 10, 2015

 

 

Cormorants & Pelicans, That Tree, An American Kestrel,
Two Unicyclists, a Runner, Some Gulls & another Pier

February 9 2015

That Tree, Pelicans Cormorants and Ever Thin Else - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

That "Hoarfrost" Tree, Pelicans, Cormorants and Ever-thin Else Out to Central "Expressway"

The parking lot behind the Winfrey Building on the east side of the lake offers a great view out over a large portion of the lake, especially north. These pelicans have just swum out from Sunset Bay, where they live and occupy space most of every day. Once they're out in the lake, they usually wander around following the schools of fish, who seem always to lead pelicans and cormorants and sometimes other species, including coots and gulls, on a merry chase back and forth across and up and down the lake. I'm sure cormorants are with them in this shot, just they're too dark to see against the indigo lake.

That Tree Top - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

The Top of That Tree with the Offending Double-crested Cormorants perching in Cormorant Bay

The Peninsula Homeowners across the lake, whose homes are not far from Tom Orr and Frances Bagley's deteriorating sculptural installation behind the Bath House Cultural Center, believe that cormorants kill trees by perching in them and scatting, so these birds perching on the sculpture, as they were meant to by the artists, is why the sculpture is deteriorating, never mind that it is only damaged under the water line. Maybe they should blame it on the fishes the pelicans and cormorants chase all over the lake till they can eat it, and go home with a full stomach.

Is This Tree Dying or Dead Already - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

The "Hoar Frost" At and Near the Bottom of that Same Tree

So I've been watching the trees, especially around Cormorant Bay, where cormorants sit and scat. I've been watching for months now, and I don't see any dead trees in the area. If I had full use of my faculties, I'd probably carry an umbrella as I make my inspections, but carrying The Blunderbuss seems onerous enough, adding a tripod, as I sometimes do, seems almost formidable.

Pelicans Getting Excited - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans Getting Excited About Catching Food

Today, I drove down the west side of the lake, noticed a line of pelicans — cormorants low in the water that far away are difficult to see — heading across the lake, and they looked like they might get a whole lot closer.  Instead, they headed north of the parking lot, so I walked a little north of there, but kept photographing.

Pelicans Swimming By - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans Swimming By

Then they turned around and headed the other direction. They were following fish, and the fish probably knew that.

Pelicans and Cormorants Swimming By Looking for Food -  Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans & Cormorants Swimming By

American White Pelicans almost always have to catch their fish on or very near the top of the water. Cormorants can dive down to catch fish a little deeper.

Cityscape/Treescape - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Cityscape / Treescape

Mainly, today's journal entry is about catching up with the pix I've been taking this last week and weekend, and I'd almost forgot a lot of those images, there's been so many of them. I like it better when I go out, shoot some pictures, then work them up that night and post them just before or just after midnight, so the date on the journal entry is pretty close to the date I show them.

Not, really, for the readers. For me when, a year from now, and I start a new, montly page, I cancheck back via the "Last Year" link at the top of the page, and see what happend pretty close to one full year ago. See what birds might be on offer, what I can look forward to this month, and who else might show up. But it's more difficult to know if certain birds show up at the same time, if I can't figure out when they got here the year before, because I was running late posting photographs.

It's just confusing. That's why I go through the silliness of noting the posting date as differenciated from the taking date, which the last few days, I've been posting in blue text [which color I'll have to change now I think on it, because people associate blue text as a link., and I don't want to confuse readers any more than I do naturally.

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

Male American Kestrel on the Wire Over Winfrey Parking
Lot that Overlooks the North End of the Lake

 

Kestrel in Flight - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Kestrel in Flight

 

Adult Male Kestrel Watching for Food - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Male Kestrel Watching for Food

 

Kestrel Dive from Wire - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Kestrel Dive from Wire

 

M Kestrel with Lizard - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Kestrel with What May Be a Lizard or Snake

 

 Pelk/Corm Fleet Toward Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

The Fishing Fleet Heading Back Toward Sunset Bay

 

Unicyclist from Dreyfuss - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Unicyclist from Dreyfuss toward Greater Sunset Bay

 

Unicyclist Down the Hill from Dreyfuss - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Two Unicyclist Down the Hill from Dreyfuss

These last two pix are an attempt to show a trend I keep noticing and to lighten the procedings of this journal. They're also me, usually without thinking about it in these words, exploring landscape.

Running Up Dreyfuss - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Running Up Dreyfuss Near Sunset

 

Now, What Could Possibly Wrong with This Pier - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Now What Could Possibly Be Wrong with This Pier?

This is the pier at Free Advice Point, almost directly across the lake from The Bath House Cultural Center. It's been closed and posted with warning signs for months now. So, of course, the gulls have taken over. No repair has been attempted yet. Not sure what they are waiting to fix it, but it is not going to be pleasant or get any more pleasant with those gulls out there scatting.

They don't seem to mind the smell, but people react differently, yet people still want to use the pier. At least until they get past all the signs and actually get out there. I haven't seen anybody that stupid yet, but I'm sure there have been attempts, probably including successful attempts. Despite all the signery, I really don't think all those notices help keep people off the piers.

Today's shots were taken February 7, 8 and 9, 2015

 

 

Crow, Warning Pier, Wet House Sparrow Reprise
and a Gull Doing Something Odd with its Beak

February 9 2015

Crow on a Post - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Crow on a  Post
 

 Crow Attempting to Eat Recently Deceased Squirrel - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Crow Attempting to Eat Recently Deceased Squirrel

First it pecked about mid-body, then here it's trying to get to some meat around the fluffy-tailed rodent's dislocated lower jaw. Eventually, it just flew away.

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

Dock Even More Closed Than for the Last Year Or So

This dock has been closed forever already. It is and was a very popular dock for fisher-persons as well as fisher-birds. All the time it's been closed, it's had some form of warning sign as well as chain-linked fencing patched over its opening well out on the elevated path, although I have seen human fishers out there fishing, despite all the signs and warning caution tape. A couple of times, the fencing got extended left and right of the entrance to the dock. Did I mention fisher-humans really really like this area for… uh… fishing and communing.

Closed Due to Repairs - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Closed Due to Repairs

Well, not really closed due to repairs, more like closed because there have been repairs due for at least a year, and in all that time, nobody's done any repairs at all. I think a paper said it and all the other broken and damaged and falling apart piers at White Rock Lake were being saved up, so some company who got the contract can repair them sometime in the distant future. Meanwhile, there's all those fishies to be caught that can't be caught, because all those fisher-ers can't figure out any way other than standing on the pier to catch fishes.

Ragg Mopp - Ragmop - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

R-A-G-G  M-O-P-P House Sparrow After Bathing there in June 2012

I like that pier, too. But not for catching fish or standing on it. I like driving by and photographing the Great Egret who often fishes down under that pier where there's what looks like a floating dirt garden with some plants growing. Kinda interesting as places at the lake go. Just up the hill to the right is the Leaky boat house and to the left is a boat ramp where almost every time I drive up some interesting bird is either already there or will be soon as I give it a little time — unless there's a fisherman there (although I have seen fisher-women there, too, but more than a year ago).

I can do that when the fisher-guys are out on the pier catching fish, but when they're wandering around getting into other things or the same old thing in other places, they scare my birds away. Or just by standing there, they make sure birds don't come to pose for me. So fix the damned pier, City. So all of us frequenters of the place, can do what we came there to do.

Pul-leeze.

Two Gulls, One Looks Like It's Yawning - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Two Gulls; One Looks Like It's Yawning

It either is, or almost is breeding season for many of our fine, feathered friends, and I guess this could always be some sort of courtship behavior, but I really think the gull on the right is preening its breast-feathers. The one on the left held its beak open long enough for me to pop off a couple dozen variations of it doing exactly this — it facing this way, that way or away. I don't know Ring-billed Gulls well enough, but there doesn't appear (in the books) to be any obvious sex differences, but even I can tell that there are other distinctive differences in these two gulls, and if I were designing courtship behaviors, I might include that yammering (no sound I could hear from 70 or 80 feet away) stuttering beak yawn, and maybe even the one-legged stance, which I know is a rest position.

Today's shots were taken February 5 2015.

 

 

Great Egret "Fishing Party" Full of Chases, Races & Escapses

February 7 2015

3:35:11 - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.  

3:35:11

After finding the best shots only every 20 or 30 shots, finding this quick series seemed like a great opportunity to show — uh … er … my better shots. These egrets are, once again, part of a fishing party in the park at Williamson and across from the Official Entrance to White Rock Lake Park.

3:35:11 - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

3:35:13

But I really think the reason for these, what I'm calling Fishing Parties, goes beyond just catching something to eat. It's just gotta be about showing prowess for catching fish. And the fact that there seems to be a lot of competition and chasing and mock fighting might mean there's a courtship aspect to this group activity. Or maybe not. But …

3:35:15 - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

3:35:15

If you haven't noticed, look back at those last two shots, starting from the top of today's journal entry. Count the fishes. This egret has caught two in one dunk, which is pretty good prowess.

3:35:15 - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

3:35:15

Now all our great fisher egret has to do is defend them against anyone who tags along with the aim to separate them from it.

3:35:17 - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

3:35:17

These captions are numbers, because I, not being an egret, don't really know what's going on or why, or why this sequence goes like it does. Here one fish disappears, but a lump appears on that egret's throat, and a stick suddenly replaces the other fish.

Betsy, who is Dallas Audubon's Bird Chat free bird forum's Administrator, has suggested, "Too bad we can't tell the gender of these egrets by looking at them. But that bird with both a stick and a fish in its beak, which it appears to be offering to another egret? The message looks a whole lot like "I can build a nest and I can bring food. I'm a great provider. Choose me to make babies with!" to me. Since it has only minimal breeding plumes, either it's on the early side and is just showing off or flirting, or perhaps it's a youngster hoping to get lucky this year but not sure of the rituals yet."

The caption numbers are the time (although I think the time — here three thirty-five in the afternoon — is probably off by an hour from Daylight Slavings. I don't attempt to catch the camera up with all that silliness. I barely do.

Birds don't pay much attention to it, either.

3:35:19 - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

3:35:19

Okay, everything before this shot leads up to this shot. Lotta jumping and facing off and making stances going on here. And as we can see, the fish and stick are still in our hero — or heroine's beak.

3:35:19 - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

3:35:19

After this shot, I lost interest. It's a whole other nothing really going on, but there's more really good shots, so why not. The following is a chronological display of other shots made about an hour earlier at the same place with probably most of the same cast of egret characters. I just like the above series so much better.

 

Earlier & later that same Great Egret Day

2:45:08 Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.  

2:45:08

AN HOUR EARLIER:  Here's another Great Egret who's just caught two fishes in one beak, just to show it's not altogether difficult, although I'm sure it would take me years of practice — and I've got hands. I've often seen them do it. Here, I'm sitting in The Slider on the north side of the road, right at the car bridge over the creek that continues under the bridge to the other side of the road, where couple dozen more great egrets were doing about the same things as these birds. I tried to photograph them, too, but the angles were all wrong, because that pond is surrounded by low bushes all along the street side, then a grassy drop down to the water.

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

2:47:36

Using a long telephoto lens, so space tends to appear compressed.

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

The Chase  7042

Lots of chases going on. Some for fishes, some for other, often unfathomable reasons. Hey, they're just like us.

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

Another Chase   7024

That's some kind of traffic sign in the middle of everything. This chase had already begun many yards behind them, but those pix weren't good enough to go here.

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

Chase, Race or Escape

 I'm pretty sure this shot is from the other side of the road, where I only got a couple usable pictures.

Chase the One with the Fish - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Chase the One with the Fish

Who's usually out in front in these chase things.

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

Two Bodies Cannot Occupy the Same Space Under the Same Circumstance

The tip-off for which side of the creek under the bridge we're on might be the color of the grass. Again, I'm fairly confident this is the other side from the little park across Williamson Road / West Lawther Boulevard from the Entrance to White Rock Lake Park, where Lawther still goes under a trestle, just no trains go there anymore. It's not really an intersection, because there's a little triangle just outside the trestle.

You Can't Do That - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

You Can't Do That

I was never close enough to the creek in Wabash Circle Park (one possible name for that place) to see down into it like this, but a couple times I got my tripod set up on the other side of Lawther. The second-to-last time I got back to this area, I stood near the trestle with the tripod, and a guy in a red car wearing a bright, blazing red shirt kept advancing on the egrets along the creek. He'd stop, take some pictures, then walk closer to them. Each time, they'd recede away from him — flying, jumping and running. And he'd get closer, failing to see his part in their retreat.

I was afraid he'd scare them all away, so I finally shouted to him that he was scaring them, and he stopped. Except by then, most of them were either leaving or gone. So I walked back to my car, fiddled with the tripod awhile, then drove back, did a 180 at the first house on the far side of that little park and sidled The Slider up to the north side of the bridge. Again.

 Flying Across the Creek - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Flying Across the Creek in Egret Dance Park
(another name possibility for that place)

I'd read Good Birders Don't Wear White, tested that theory, and found it wasn't true. Then I learned that birds really didn't like red T-shirts. So wearing red and aggressing on them was probably a double whammy. Eventually, I'll learn that there's nothing I can do about civilians who are naturally aggressive toward birds, but I really wanted to tell Red Shirt that birds are afraid of people (probably rightly) but not of cars (Go figure.)

These pictures may look like I was pretty close, but a 600mm telephoto lens on my camera is like a 12X telephoto, meaning I was always at least twelve times farther away than these images appear, sp I don't scare birds, if I can help it. But neither do I wear vivid red or large areas of white. For more of my bird morals, see my Ethics page.

All of today's shots were taken February 5 2015.

 

 

Gulls and a Macro Geo Lesson

February 6 2015

 Way Too Many Gulls - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Way Too Many Gulls

These several hundreds of gulls are standing around just under the dam, as seen from the lookout point adjacent to the Winstead parking lot, which provides the best view yet of the dam (top); the Upper Spillway (where the gulls are standing); the Middle Spillway (below the upper spillway), but not what I've recently begun to call "The Moat," which (I'm looking at the Satellite View on a Google Map here) surrounds the area of dense trees  that are only hinted at in this image (at the far right).

 Five Gulls and a Splashy Rock - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Five Gulls and A Splashy Rock

Here is the dam being a dam and carefully letting some of the water through, and birds being birds and perching at the top.

Gulls At A Stoplight on Garland Road - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Gulls At a Stoplight on Garland Road

I'm standing at the fence along the edge of the ersatz path up to the south-most point of the dam, where, eventually, supposedly, the walkways on the Garland Road side of the Spillway(s) will be connected by a walkway above the dam from this side to the dam that is now a near-constant perch for one of about twenty species of birds.

Gulls Over the Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Gulls Over the — from left to right: lake, dam and Upper Spillway

This is my favorite pic of this journal entry's photos. It shows the decorated insides of the supposed "Retaining Walls" along the south side of the dam, upper and lower spillway areas. When the next "100-year flood" occurs in distinctly fewer than 100 years, we'll find out whether those retaining walls retain any better than the last ones that fell in the flood a couple years ago.

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

One Road on the Garland Road Side of the Spillway

The car and truck are headed in the general direction of downtown. Who knows where the gull is going.

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

The Moat on the Winstead end of The Spillway Area

I'm not exactly sure where this is. I shot it from the viewing area at the top of the dam closest to the Spillway. That is Egret Island on the left. The Moat is the muddy-looking water at the bottom right. Behind all this, on the other side of Winstead, is the renta-closet company to the right of the convenience store, so what's at the upper center of this shot might be the sidewalk up to the Garland Road walking bridge. I'll have to reconnoiter the area to find out.

Not Too Many Gulls - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Not Too Many Gulls

All of them together are, IMHO too many, but this is just a small subset of those too many, so these are Not too many. A closer view of all those gulls seen in the top pic of today's journal entry, taken from the more northerly side of the Spillway. It seems to me, who rarely takes notes or crosschecks birds' presence in places with dates or conditions, that the gulls (mostly Ring-billed Gulls) have been gathering near the dam along the Upper Spillway much longer than ever before. Seems being the operative word here.

All the photographs in today's journal entry were shot February 4 2015.

 

 

A Female Gadwall Taking Off

February 5 2015

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

A Duck Swimming

It's a Gadwall, and it was swimming away from shore as I drove up East Lawther toward Winfrey, saw it, grabbed the camera and started shooting. Male Gadwalls show gray in the I.D books, but this one shows brown here, so it might well be a female.

A duck Splooshes into the Air - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

A Duck Splooshes into the Air

Luckily, I had a bead on it before it took off, and the cam followed focus with it.

The Duck Flies Away - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

The Duck Flies Away

Ah, now that I can see its markings, I can be sure it is a female. I've been meaning to do more, shorter journal entries. Sometimes, they just gotta be long, but many times, I can just do one bird doing one action, then it's nice to have time for the rest of my life, and not stay up all night working up my bird pix. He says, yawning, good-night.

 

 

Doves Flashing Black and White
and Brown and Tan and Gray

February 4 2015

Dove Flying Left - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

White-winged Dove Flying Left 

I was drawn toward Sunset Bay again today, of course, but I decided to photograph birds in the 9/10ths of it that does not border on the lake. So I drove around looking for something that fit those anti-categories and was attracted to the bright, high-contrast, black & white undersides of doves — a flash of wing or tail — in the high trees that border the other side of the little creek that runs along the road into Sunset Bay.

Wings Back, Tail Flared - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Dove with Wings Back and Tail Flared

Normally, I simply avoid photographing doves, and I almost never post pix of them here. But today, after seeing a few in the trees along that creek, the idea seemed more attractive. Suddenly, they were transformed from boring old brown birds to flashing glimmers of beauty, and I wanted to capture those visions.

Flying Dove Turning - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

That Same Flying Dove Turning

What they're doing here is eating berries, and in that action, their outer colors, and their devotion to doing it, they remind me of Cedar Waxwings.

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

Wings Back and Tail Wide

This variety of dove did not show in the Lone Pine Birds of Texas but in the Crossley ID Guide to Eastern Birds, some that look just like these are called White Winged Doves.

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

Two Doves — One Side View; One Wings Out Suspended

Any time their distinctive black and white feathers showed, I clicked, shooting 199 shots in 28 minutes and 20 seconds.

The Berry Hunter - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

The Berry Hunter

 

Head Back, Down Flap - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Head Back, Down Flap

This is almost exactly what I wanted, although I would probably have made it bigger.

Up at Dove, Tail Flared - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Up At Dove Putting Away Its Wings

Almost any time a City vehicle drove by, it scared them into furious flapping away. Why are City vehicles the loudest in the Park? And I'm not just talking about the habitat-destruction machines. Does that seem right to you?

Backview with Eyes - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Tail View with Eye

 

Sideview with Wings up - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Side View with Wings Up

Sometimes, I have to blink a couple times, till I can see past the dark brown and white to the dove.

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

Hovering Dove

 

Dove Facing, Wings Full Flap - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Dove Facing — Wings Full Flap

 

I assume this is a dove - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Back View of Yet Another White-winged Dove

Achieving focus high in the busy twist of branches across the creek from where I parked The Slider right by the road into Sunset Bay, was a challenge, but with spectacular, little successes. When this shot came up on the screen, I wasn't at all certain it was a dove.

Backview, Wings Ruffled - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Back View — Wings Folded, Tail Ruffled

 

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

Bottom View — Dove Reaching for Berry

 

Side, No head, Wings Up, Tail Flared - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Side View, Wings Out, Tail Flared — Headless

 

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

Back View — Wings Out, Tail Flared, Barely a Head

 

Wings Up; Tail Down - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Back Quarter View; Tail Down; Wings Up & Out

Now I've got more views of White-winged Doves than even Crossley.

Two Doves; One Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Two Doves; One Flying for Berries

The above one here looks placid, but it is flying.

Two Doves; One Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Two Doves; Upper Bird Perched with Wings Up

Now, it's perched.

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

Two Doves Flying

I'm amazed. Two not-terribly-out-of-focus White-winged Doves flying in focus through a dove-brown world.

One Dove Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

One Dove Flying

22 photographs.

 

Red-winged Blackbirds, Starlings, Grackles & Rowers

February 3 2015

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

Red-winged Blackbirds — Mostly Males and at Least One Female, too

Sometimes my photo essays need words.

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

Female Great-tailed Grackle

Sometimes not.

M GTG = Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Male In Focus Great-tailed Grackle  and   Female out of focus

 

Dam, Pumphouse, Skyline and Rowers - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Dam, Pumphouse, Skyline and Rowers

 

Red-winged Blackbird and Skyline - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Male Red-winged Blackbird with Tree and Dallas Skyline

 

Grackles, Starlings and Probably Some RWBBs - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Grackles, Starlings and Probably Some Red-winged Blackbirds

 

Male GTG on a Pole - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Male Great-tailed Grackle on a Pole

I don't know the difference between electric and telephone wires.

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

Rowers and Landscape

 

 

Cormorant & Pelican Hoarde Sweeps Across the Lake

February 1 2015

 The Hoarde Gathers on a Stormy Day - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

The Hoard Gathers on a Stormy Day

Little tired, kinda bored, heading home, really too tired to, but I felt the Universe tugging me to drive down East Lawther toward Dreyfuss and overlook Sunset Bay. Not altogether enthusiastic about it, but when the U beckons, I often follow, and so glad I did. Repeat readers are probably familiar with my fascination for pelicans and cormorant — and gulls and whoever else — giant fishing parties that crisscross the lake looking for food.

In Toward Stone Bridge - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

In Toward Stone Bridge

Quite a mob scene, and s many birds moving at once in different directions, I sometimes wondered whether I should be shooting video instead of stills, but I was enraptured with the sense of mass moving.

Filling in Under Garland Bridge - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Filling In Under Garland Bridge

More and differing birds than I've seen together for week or months. There's two bridges off Garland Road  onto Lawther. A smallish rust-red walking bridge and an elderly stone bridge for cars on East Lawther. The fish must have run right into that little cove, because the whole mob of them piled on in.

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

Gathering

Most of them were cormorants, but there were dozens of pelicans in the fray, too. Even — gradually — a few gulls, too.

They're Coming This Way - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

They're Mobbing This Way

A lot of birds in one place at one time. Cormorants were flying left low in the background while others began to turn north (right) much closer, like a big mix master of fleeting dark and light blobs with wings.

Corms North Low Across the Lake - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Cormorants Flying Low North

The lake was gray, gray, gray and those big black birds seemed mysterious skimming along the top of it.

Panning the Fleeing Pelican - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Panning The Pelican

My camera tends to focus better on white objects flying than dark — or maybe it's that I can see the white birds better.

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

Flowing North

So I aimed at pelicans and panned the Blunderbuss in short arcs across the open driver's window, betting me and it plenty wet, but I didn't really care. It was beautiful, amazing, exciting, and I thought I was getting interesting pictures. I'd roll the window up and try to remember to stop the wipers first, so I wouldn't slosh even more water on the cam/ens.

Sideline Pelican Fish Scramble - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Sideline Pelican Fish Scramble

But they got plenty wet, but it wasn't a big deal, because the whole caboodle is weather-resistant. Mainly I just try to keep water off the front glass inside that deep lens shade. Here pelicans are breaking off from the northward band mob to catch some fish on their own.

Pelican Wingtip Dipping Ground Effec t Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Wingtip-dragging Pelican Ground Effect Flying

Then everybody headed north again. I'd park and photograph them, then drive up to another clearing between the trees when I could. When I couldn't, I'd just shoot through the trees along shore.

Always Focus on the Pelk - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Always Focus on the Pelk

I usually dawdle down Lawther there at 11 or slower MPH, but today I got nearly up to the speed limit of 20. (Speed limit's 20 on the east side and 25 n the west side of the lake.) trying to keep up with the hoard heading north as long as I could, except they were flying mostly straight, and I had to follow the road curving round the lake.

White V Pelicans - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

White V Pelicans

Sometimes I'd stop in the middle of the narrow road, sometimes I'd park off to the right so three, total, I think, cars could pass me when I stopped.

Black and Whtite Birds STreaming North - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Black and White Birds Streaming and Hopping

Sometimes I seemed almost catching up but mostly I was way behind.

A Dark Gray Race - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

A Dark Gray Race

They still seemed frenzied, and sometimes one or another bird would stop and do a little fishing, but mostly there was a mad frenzy to fly always northward, I didn't not know where or why.

Heading Toward Dreyfuss - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Flying Toward Dreyfuss

But I was just joyed to be catching all that wild black and white excitement streaming this way and that. Looked like they were heading for Dreyfuss, then they veered off to the left…

Onward Through the Fog - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

Onward Through The Fog

… away from Dreyfuss toward the other side, then out and off toward CC Young, which here looks like distant cliffs beyond the trees and the weather.

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

Rain Squall

Then a sudden rain squall obliterated my far vision even worse than usual. Dreyfuss (far right) was clear but birds even a few dozen feet off the point there would disappear and appear in and out of the fog and rain.

And on and on - Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com   All Rights Reserved.

And On and On

After awhile, I had to stop and photograph farther and farther away, and the birds continued their northward flee..

 

 

 

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 the writer or photographer.

I am an amateur. I've only been birding since 2006, and most of it is documented in this Journal. I've been photographing professionally and semi-professionally yet always amateurishly since 1964.

hits counter stays with monthly content.