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The Amateur Birder's Journal - Stories & Photographs by J R Compton
The Current Journal is always Here  All Contents Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.  
DO NOT USE photos without permission  blue dot  Cameras & Lenses Used  blue dot  
Ethics  green square  Feedback  green square  Coyotes
red diamond  Bird Rescue Advice  red diamond  Name That Bird  green square   Herons  green square  Egrets  green square  Herons & Egrets  green square  Books and Links
green square 
Pelican Beak Weirdness  green square  Rouses  green square  Courtship Display  blue dot  D800e Journal  blue dot  G5 Journal  green square  Duck Love
Birding Galveston   2nd Birds of the Lower Rio Grande Valley   & the 1st   Bald Eagle at White Rock

This Month's Highlights:   John Bunker Sands Wetlands   Mute Swan Flying
Adult Female Belted Kingfisher Flying & Hovering
  Parakeets in The Big Hum 

White Rock Lake

August 30 2013

 Great Blue Yoga - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Blue Yoga in Lotus Position and Reflection

It's not uncommon to see Great Blue Herons in this cooling position on especially hot days. I saw another reference to a yoga-like position a Great Blue Heron was seen in, but then I couldn't find the refence either in the Fort Worth Audubon Society site or Dallas' Bird Chat, both of which site recent sightings of unusual and not bird sightings, usually around this area. After thinking all that and finding the links, I remembered "Lotus Position."

This heron standing on the top of the dam is a prime example of that focus I've been seeking.

Magestic Walk - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Majestic Walk

When I went here I was expecting a Great Egret, and one was there, but not doing anything interesting. Great Blue Herons are always interesting.

Rapt GBH - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Rapt GBH

And especially when they are paying rapt attention to food and the possibility of catching some.

Opossum on the Dam - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Opossum on the Dam

I forget how I came to see this guy writhing and preening onthe far side of the dam from the spillway. I suspect it lives in the woods behind and under the dam.

Long, Low Swan - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Long, Low Swan

At 300mm I was able to see birds in the bay somewhat differently. There's a persistent rumor that someone is going to ascertain what gender our Swanee is, so they can get a mate for it. I thought when I first heard that rumor at least a month ago, that it was a silly notion, that just parking an opposite sex bird in the pond would mean they'd live happily ever after, but anything is possible.

Bent-neck Swan - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bent-neck Swan

If I knew swans, I might say this is an iconic view of a swan, but what do I know?

Dam Panorama - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dam Panorama

I was wearing my usual 600mm lens, so this is a Photoshop-automated collage of three wide shots. I like the photo for its simplicity, and the fact that there's the radio tower (which is almost invisible just to the right of the white spike, which is the new tower ride, also at Fair Park.

 

August 29

 Focus Test - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Focus Test

As often as I go on about it here, you'd think by now I'd learn something, and lately I have. Soon, maybe, I'll know enough that I can match the earlier days of using my new camera. Sometime after that, I'll be able to do even better. I hope. Hope springs eternal, but I've been reading two authors' books about it and countless sites online, down into the long-winded fine print portions where either learning happens or the student panics.

Proving the Point of Foxus - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Proving The Point of Focus

This Neotropic Cormorant is down among the ducks under the pier across the lagoon from The Old Wood Boathouse, where I kept finding that elegant Great Egret recently, and had kinda hoped I'd find it again today. Instead there was this, and since it'd been way since yesterday that I'd shot a cormorant, I had to park him in under here, except this is exactly the same shot as the previous one with the color slightly activated and the size significantly increased to show how good my focus has got.

Afternoon Dove - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Afternoon Dove

Is sharp as a tack, meaning I may actually be learning some important things lately.

Duck Flap - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Duck Flapping

Rapidly, so I not only stopped its action, I got in in pretty sharp focus.

The Red-eared Slider - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Red-eared Slider

After whom my current automobile was named. My car's name is The Red-eared Slider, and someday I may actually get around to painting is mirrors red, so I can find it in a parking lot full of white Priuses.

 

August 28

the Hypno-Donut Chicken - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Hypno-Donut Chicken Up The Hill from Sunset Bay Looks a Little Like a Cormorant

I had today's journal almost complete, when the electricity blitzed out for less than three seconds, taking everything I wrote and all the pictures off this page. Someday, I need to move to a part of town where the electric company cares enough to keep the electricity flowing. I live in what has become a Latino neighborhood, and I think it's racism and stupidity that keeps them from updating the equipment here. But those are huge factors, lil' ol' me probably will never have any sway against. Now, I'm saving after every few keystrokes. Wish I'd done that before.

First-year Juvenile Neotropic Cormorant - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

First-year Juvenile Neotropic Cormorant

I'd wondered why some cormorants stay over the summer while most of them didn't, but I wonder that about American Coots, too. The few coots who stay the summer are the same species as our winter coots, although they don't seem to have Ring-billed Gulls to contend with every time people "feed the ducks," and aren't those little black ducks cute, too."

Turns out, our summer cormorants are a whole different species from out winter cormorants. The winter ones are Double-crested Cormorants. These are Neotropic Cormorants. The Double-crested corms are broader-beamed and heavier, have longer wings and beaks and have much more dashing looks when their in breeding mode.

I like these guys, because they're quieter and don't stink up the trees and grounds around Cormorant Bay (See map.), and there's a whole lot fewer of them.

The Gooses are Back in Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Gooses are Back in Sunset Bay

I'd always assumed it was the non-avian biodiversity and the natural protection from north and other winds of Sunset Bay that so attracted so many divergent species to that area. But when the gooses left for a week or two recently, to go off 'round the bend to The Bath House Cultural Center's back yard, they seemed to have taken all the other bird species with them. All those ducks and shorebirds and herons and everybody else disappeared simultaneously.

The Barnyard Is Back in Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Barnyard Is Back in Sunset Bay

So it was Farmer Charles feeding his flocks — and everybody else who comes along in the late evenings every night — that's responsible for much of that avian diversity. And I have to wonder what will happen if he ever stops pouring corn grain in long lines down by the shore and feeding gooses wheat bread and crackers.

Poffytop - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Poofytop and Its Friends

I don't know how long ago it was that someone left off six white, formerly Easter, ducks at Sunset Bay, but it wasn't that long ago that their number turned up to seven with the addition of a much-larger domestic duck, but now they are nine white ducks who hang out and do perhaps not everything, but sure a lot of living together in Sunset Bay.

I brought my super tele, so I couldn't back off enough to get all nine in one shot, but they were dabbling and dunking not far off the pier in a tight little group today, as probably often. Sometimes Poofytop leads them, but when they left the area, it was not even in the first three.

NPR radio show on "97-year-old Birder Has No Intention of Slowing Down "At the Hagerman
National Wildlife Refuge in Texas Karl Haller has been counting birds for decades"

 

August 26 2013

 Great Blue Heron & Friend - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Air Swimmers: Great Blue Heron and Friend

Well, those plans fell apart. Mercifully and disastrously. Fact is, I'm again looking for birds to photograph but have not been able to walk very far or well for the last week. My doctor doesn't know why, either, but he prescribed something to deal with the pain, although there's a lot less of that now, and I can almost walk steadily.

I photographed this scene, because it involved a Great Blue Heron who was close, and I didn't have to get out of The Slider to capture it, although there were strands of plant life that interfered with my focus. It took at least a dozen tries, but eventually I got one shot I liked — of both the bird and its friend, who seems to be swimming in air.

I've been looking online, and I'm thinking the turtle may be a Texas River Cooter. Anybody out there know for sure?

I really like the pairing.
 

August 21

Trunk Caught on the Dam - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Trunk Caught on the Dam

I've just got to stop taking bird pix for a couple weeks. I have a project — I always have a project, but I have to, have to, have to, stop photographing birds and art for a couple week till past the middle of September. Need to stare off in space and focus on infinity or farther out to relax my visions.

Come back past the middle of September, 'bout a month from now, and surely by then I'll have something to show you.
 

August 19

 Monk Parakeet Flying Home - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Monk Parakeet Flying Home

I've been going to the lake nearly every day this week, so when today came along, I'd forgot that it was Saturday, and sometimes on Satty ayems the lake is packed with runners and biklers and people. I notice the walkers walking on both sides of the road on my way to the lake, and biklers doing the same, etc. etc.

Keet Neighborhood - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Keet Neighborhood

I thought, oh, what the heck, why not go home, when I arrived across from the Old Boathouse Lagoon, which was crammed with cars. I'm used to sliding through the parking lot with my cam out the window, photographing birds. Easy. Smooth. Lovely.

But not today with all those people, so I headed back out to the main street around there, then suddenly I veered off toward the backside of The Big Hum, where the parakeets live, up the almost always muddy muddy hill. Up there was people-free. I didn't see a one of those strange being forms, and it was perfect, ideal, wonderful.

Keet Neighborhood - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

In The Hood

I did see a lot of parakeets, and seeing all those 'keets flying decided me to set my camera for wide-field focus, so maybe I could focus better on birds flying. Big mistake. I should have set focus to tiny little spots in the middle of the photo frame, so just tiny little spots of individual birds would be in focus, instead of everything it could see. Should have.

LIvely Keet Life - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Lively Keet Life

But sometimes my focus was good enough for publishing online where the rules are a little laxer. Probably I couldn't make huge great prints of these scenes, but here, in my chosen medium (where it seems absurd to have bought an amazing, high-resolution camera), they worked out pretty good.

Monk Parakeet Flying - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Monk Parakeet Flying

Oh, yeah, despite what you may have heard on KERA-FM's "Everything You'd Ever Want to Know," these decidedly are parakeets, not parrots. They might seem too large to be parakeets, but that's not a parakeet determination. They're just the perfect size to be Monk Parakeets. And while some of them may have escaped from cages or people's houses, most of them here are wild and free.

Except for the Electric Company that's supposedly happily coexisting with them, and even has signs up telling us that, although the parakeets know better (and don't read the signs.), because the electric company knocks down their complex living quarters when those more or less humans think all those carefully gathered and selected sticks will mess with their electricity.

Two Keets Flying Among High Voltage - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Keets Flying Among High Voltage

I call that fenced-in area "The Big Hum," because it hums day and night. I assume the keeps appreciate that aspect of their chosen neighborhood and just put up with the rest.

Lots of Feather Details - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Lots of Feather Details

This one is sharp. I don't know why or how really, but I haven't devoured the chapter on focus yet, though I long to.

Three Keets on Musual Preen - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Group Preen

Like monkeys and humans, some parakeets like to preen each other. But then they like living in tight quarters, so they are very community-oriented, and group preens make sense.

Another Group Preen - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Another Group Preen

Looks like they might be cuddling, but I suspect that's just a side-benefit of preening another member of the community in The Big Hum.

Keet in Electric Sculpture - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Parakeet in Electric Sculpture

They're not always in groups, of course.

Sharp Parakeet Flying - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Glimpses into How Parakeets Fly

This time our chosen parakeet is sculpture.

Another Headless Parakeet - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Another Headless Parakeet

And not sculpture just standing there. Ah this is the sort of forms I was after when I came up the hill to The Big Hum today.

Life in Straw Town - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Life in Straw Town …

Is happy and noisy.

 

August 18 2013

Adult Male Nonbreeding House Sparrow - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Adult Male Nonbreeding House Sparrow

All the way to Sunset Bay past the parkoRetum, I only saw faraway birds. No ducks or geese or much of anything but one Great Egret out near the logs and a couple more way far away, so I started photographing little birds and ones that weren't all that close. I like this House Sparrow's little side-view Hitler moustache. It was dark this morning, so I slept in, then I couldn't play D-Lighting games, because there was so little light, and I still learned a thing or two.

Either a female House Sparoow or a Blacked-chinned - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Either a Female House Sparrow or a Black-chinned Sparrow

Most likely the former, but a birder can dream of something ever so slightly exotic. I didn't always today accomplish it, but I may actually be learning how to avoid splotchy, noisy pictures. But it would help if it were brighter during the days.

Wood Duckletts in Masks - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wood Duckletts in Masks

Probably teener ducks. Very pretty blues they got going. These two images are actually both sides of one image, just they two pairs were too far apart.

 

Rest of the Wood Cut Family - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Rest of the Wood Family

Someday I'm going to piece together an age-oriented step-by-step image series of Wood Ducks from downy babies to fuzzy adults. But it took me the longest time to just add heron babies to the heron pages, so no telling how long it might take.

Whatever It Is I Saw Several of them today - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Whatever It Is I Sure Saw a Lot of Them Today

Must be juvenile Mockingbirds, right?

Flash Almost Always Sprkles Stuff Up - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Flash Almost Always Sparkles Stuff Up

I'm not sure whether I want this to be a Mockingbird or not, but it doesn't look like the pictures in the books.

Weill, Usually Anyway - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Well, Usually, Anyway

It helps if it's not so dark dark ya can't pull it back out of the darkness.

Two Birds on a Fence - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Birds on a Fence

The one with its beak open kept its beak open a long time, so it must be a downy young waiting for the other one to stuff its beak fulla food.

Purple Martins Martining - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Purple Martins Martining

 

August 17

 Great Blue Heron About to Jump - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Blue Heron About to Jump into Flight

I keep remembering one of my first days in photo class at East Texas State University in Commerce that they now call something else entirely, but I didn't go to no TAMU. I was in one photography class or another, not that I needed a class. I was just fresh from being a Staff Photographer for the Dallas Times Herald and Underground Newspapers Publisher in Dallas — long story, not here, but both of them were gangbusters fun.

 Billowing Feathers - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Big Bustle Like Gooses

And my point was that I knew how to do quality things with film, but they were talking about the Zone System, with which I had no experience, but before I turned in my first assignment, I was gonna show off and do one of them fancy Zone System images. Except it was a disaster, since I didn't know what I was doing. Everything was murky muddy gray instead of my usual solid newsprint-worthy contrast middle tones, bright highlights and dark shadows.

Rusty Great Blue - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Rusty Great Blue Heron

I've been feeling a lot like that lately as I try new and old things on my new camera as I read Thom Hogan's deliriously detailed book about it. So I'm trying all kinds of things I've never messed with before and getting strange but only sometimes wonderful images (like these first four) that keep surprising and amazing me — and others that don't.

GBH nose agaisnt the wall - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

This one's beak was very close to the wall

Today, I got an egregiously high number of out of focus shots — because in addition to the tonality games I've been playing, I've been messing with focus. "Oh, look, J R," I says to myself, "this looks impossible, let's try it. Maybe we'll get good at it if we play with it." THen we play with it and about half the shots are awful not sharp and low contrast and yuck.

Little Blue Heron Flying - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Little Blue Heron — sorta, vaguely, kinda close to focus, almost

But I keep at it, usually trying at least two new things every day I apply myself to this ordeal. Making oodles of mistakes, "wasting" silicone, sidewise, right and left. But learning. I keep learning.

 Little Blue Heron in Flight - Mid Crop - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Little Blue Heron in Flight — mid crop and slightly darker

These failures sure have helped. Maybe there are people who learn by doing it perfect the first time. I've never been one of those. I think I like it a little darker better.

 Little Blue Heron - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Little Blue Heron Against the Upper Spillway Wall

Put it on the far side of the upper spillway (I seriously cropped the top one but slightly less cropped the second one, and this is still not full-frame.) and it almost looks sharp. Two quick shots, click-click. This one looks too far away, and the other one looked too close. This seems sharp. The other seems not.  What to do, focus on something closer.

Misfocused Great Egret - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Looks Pretty Good

Do note how many more tonalities I've got going in the shots so far in today's journal. I've got Active quite set to High, which I read I probably shouldn't do, and that made me wonder, "why." So, of course, I tried it, being mostly careful to not seriously under or overexpose images, so I can use that extended tonal range.

Two Egrets Cavorting in the Air - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Egrets Cavorting in the Air

The right one is a significantly different distance, so not rendered sharp focus like the one on the left. I missed them together at least four times before this, more successful shot, but today — maybe because it was so deliciously cool, still in the upper 80s instead of the lower hundreds Fahrenheit — maybe just because some days I'm slow about panning that 600mm worth of clunk. But still, the water behind them is sharper than either of them. Yuck.

Great Egret Landing - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Flying Low

It's probably better to just change one thing at a time and try to remember what that change was at every click of the shutter. But not me, oh, no, let's jam a bunch of new things through, and see if we can remember any of them.

Puffed-out GBH Walking - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Puffed-out GBH Walking in the Surf

I'm guessing this Great Blue Heron felt a little cool, so it puffed out its insulation to warm up. It looks like I shot this bird on its own level, but I was considerably higher looking down. That High setting for Active D-Lighting really should only be used under bright, high-contrast lighting, like this.

 GE on the Dam - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret on the Dam

I dearly wish my Nikon had something like the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) exposure, light balance, shutter-speed preview I see through my cheap (you can now get a Panasonic Lumix G5 for only $239, but my Nikon cost lots more than that, and the Nikon is a much better camera, just I can't see exposure before I shoot like I can with the Panasonic cheapie that I love for other kinds of photography work.

 Snowy On The Edge of the World - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Snowy on the Edge of the World

I tried it in relative dark before the sun got up a couple days ago, and I was really disgusted. If Hogan says don't try this, I just have to.  But this one's beautiful. Helps that there all that dark water sluicing down the spillway and it's a natural light box anyway, so not many shadows showing.

OOF GBH - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Out Of Focus (oof) BiF (Bird in Flight) — Yuck!

Focusing fast-moving birds with a long telephoto lens is still a major challenge I haven't quite mastered, although when I keep at it, I do pretty good sometimes. But you've probably noticed some other tasks I haven't mastered, too. This worked out so well that tomorrow I'm going to try the next step higher in D-lighting, "Extra High." Then I'll try "Auto" to see how that goes. I don't think I've even read Hogan's words on that, yet. Then I'll go back to normal and try something else that'll freak me and my pix out for awhile. Ain't learning fun?

 

August 16

Great Egret Landing in Sunset Bay Near Sunrise - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Landing in Sunset Bay Closer to Sunrise than Sunset

Aren't Great Egrets elegant-looking?

 Early Morning Great Egret Looking Great - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Early Morning Great Egret Looking Great

In addition to this Great Egret's landing and physical attitude adjustment, we got three sets of Great Egret Flybys today:

Great Egret Across the Inner Bay - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Great Egret Across the Inner Bay

Sometimes I like the reflection in the water beneath them almost as much as the actual birds flying by over their reflections.

GEAtIB - 2 Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Across the Inner Bay 2

Sometimes a lot more.

GEAtIB - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Across the Inner Bay 3

I've often seen and sometimes photographed various birds dip their wingtips in the water as they fly. Either isn't no big deal, or they are slowing their forward progress, or they're just dipping their wingtips in the water. This morning, it probably felt good.

Great Egret Across the Inner Bay - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Across the Inner Bay 4

Sometimes when I'm panning around with a bird flying not too far distant, I get some shots in better focus than others.

Great Egret Across the Inner Bay - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Across the Inner Bay 5

 

Might as well dip the other wingtip, too.

Great Egret Across the Inner Bay 6 - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Across the Inner Bay 6

I followed this egret quite a ways, mostly keeping it in focus. I need the practice. Someday I hope to photographs eagles doing pretty much the same thing, and I probably won't have continued access to those eagles, like I have to these egrets. Last time I photographed an eagle, I only got 14 seconds with it.

Great Egret Across the Inner Bay - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Across the Inner Bay 7

I like that reddish stripe just beyond its left wingtip and left foot. I wanted to think it was the rising sun, but that was behind me.

Great Egret with Wiggling Wingtip Reflection - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret with Wiggling Wingtip Reflection

Here starts another but shorter series of an egret flying me by. Notice how formally organized its wing feathers seem to be in this shot and how informally unorganized they seem in the next one down.

Great Egret Flying Fast and Low - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Flying Fast and Low

It might be the same reason my car, The Slider, is so low to the ground. It's called "The Ground Effect," and when birds fly low to the ground or the surface of, say, a lake or ocean, they are using the Ground Effect, to reduce drag and allow them to fly faster without a lot of exertion.

Long-necked Egret - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Long-necked Egret

And I think this one is from a different Great Egret. I don't identify with Great Egrets — or Snowies — like I do with Great Blue Herons, but I'm always happy to see them, especially if they're flying or anything else they do.

 

August 15 2013

Early Morning Mountain Clouds - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Early Morning Mountain Clouds

By Wednesday of this week, which is when I'm writing this, I don't itch nearly as much as I did Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, so early this morning I went to the lake intending to take bird pictures, and as I got out of The Slider, I slathered myself in DEET. It was a gorgeous, cool morning with just the barest edges of sweat. The sky was amber for awhile then became an amazing powder blue with puffy white and gold clouds lit by the still-rising sun. I wanted there to be birds, and gradually and eventually there were. But first there was sky.

First Bird I Saw was Our State Bird - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

First Bird I Saw Long Enough to Photograph was a Mockingbird

I photographed this bird in what I want to call Mockingbird Circle in front of the Winfrey Building. That name isn't on any map I know of, but as much as I'd like to call one of the newly-named street names in the vicinity, all of which used to be Lawther Drive, "Mockingbird Lane" because of all the Mockingbirds around there, I can't because there's already a rather long and famous Dallas street by that name. And that one goes right over the northern-most portions of White Rock Lake

 Great-tailed Grackle Flyover - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great-tailed Grackle Flyover

Many of the streets circumnavigating White Rock Lake that used to be called Lawther Drive had to have their names changed after the Dreyfus Building (on Dreyfus Point, which is on my Map of White Rock Lake, but apparently none of the former or current Lawthers are) burned down some years ago, because the Dallas Fire Department couldn't find it, because all the streets over by the lake were called Lawther Drive, so they drove to the Winfrey Building several times but did not find the Dreyfus Building just across the bay until it had burned down.

So the City of Dallas started renaming streets around the lake and putting up mile-marker signs with WRLT (White Rock Lake Trail) with unique numbers on them, so fire, police and other emergency types might be able to find you before you burn down.

Mallard Flying with Clouds and Blue Sky - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Mallard Flying Among White Clouds and Patches of Blue Sky

I really hadn't planned a flyover day. I was hoping to sight Green Herons finding food on the ground in my vicinity, but like several other species, they only flew over.

Male Mallard Flying By in Amazing Focus - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

That Same Autumn Molt Mallard Flying Over in Amazing Focus

Ducks kept flying over and over, and I actually captured some of their images in sharp focus, which so rarely happens I usually blame it on my camera, my lens or whatever else I can blame it on, but now that I have finally captured some birds flying over in amazing focus, I'm going to take all the credit for it.

Three Female Mallards Flying Over - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Three Female Mallards Flying Over in Early Amber Sunshine

But it's still something of a miracle.

Four Mallards Swimming - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Four Mallards Swimming

Many ducks swimming to and fro.

White Rock Lake's Very Own Mute Swan - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

White Rock Lake's Very Own Mute Swan bathed in the early morning sun

I think tomorrow is going to be all egrets flying all the time. See Swanee fly below.

 

August 12 2013

 Spotted Black Duck - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tall, Dark, Spotted Black Duck

I've been avoiding going outside for extended periods. I can walk out on my porch, down the stairs and into my car without worrying much, but any other time "out there" means I'll probably get bit by some bug, a bump of some sort will form, and it will itch for several weeks, so I'm not at all sure it's worth it.

Luckily, I have accumulated lots of images I haven't used yet in the last week. So these are not archival history or anything, just images I liked slightly less than the ones I used below.

This duck, photographed along Yacht Club Row in the Big Thicket, shows heritages from Mallards, maybe via Muscovies and no-telling what all else.

White Duck with Splotchy Beak - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

White Duck with Splotchy Beak

I have become very familiar with the ducks in Sunset Bay, and these ducks are substantially different looking than those ducks whose life stories I know too well. This duck is from the same area, but I have no idea of what might have begat it.

 

August 9

Pencil-necked Eeg - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pencil-necked Eeg

I was too close to this Great Egret fishing yards off the edge of lake just south of the first Yacht Club along the shoreline in The Big Thicket. I'd struggled for several minutes to get this egret in focus, eventually managing. I waited for the duck to pass by, but expected her to just provide background interest. The intersection was left up to fate.

Finally Got a Profile - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Just When I Finally Got a Profile

Finally, the egret turned to provide me with enough area to sharply focus on, but ...

Great Eeg Takeoff - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

It Gathered Feathers and Flew Off

That's because it had intended to fly away.

The Great Eeg Flyby - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Great Egret Flyby

I, of course, panned along with it, despite trees and tall weeds/reeds between me and it.

Egret Away - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret Away

This is as close as I got to all the Great Egret in one shot. Eventually, the comparative possibilities available via a good telephoto zoom lens do slowly sink in.

Smile - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Smile

Many photographer photograph about-to-be-married couples in the more-or-less-natural setting of White Rock Lake Park. I've seen them posing all over the place, and I love to interlope into their graphics going on.

Two Male Grackles and Some Boats - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Male Grackles on Posts and Some Boats

This is an add series predicated upon the abstract shapes of boats (certainly not ships) moored off the edge of the lake along Yacht Club Row in The Big Thicket along the north east shore of White Rock Lake below Mockingbird Lane.

Female and Male Great-tailed Grackles - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female and Male Great Tailed Grackles with Out of Focus Boats

A great Great-tailed Grackle pair.

Grackle with Instances of Red, White and Blue - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Grackle with Instances of Red, White and Blue

Amid various showings of the Red, White and Blue.

Fishin' - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Fishin'

 

Purple Martins Staging from late July.

August 8

 Swan Flying In - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mute Swan Flying In   all auto ISO @ 1100   f5.6   1/750th   600mm

I see this swan almost every time I go to Sunset Bay, but always before he/she/it was swimming. A couple days ago, I saw it swimming around Dreyfus Point at the end of the long line of gooses. I had wondered whether it could fly, but till this early morning I had no faith that it even could. Now I know better. Much better. It can not only fly, it can fly well. It's a strong flyer.

Swan Round the Bend - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mute Swan Round the Bend

But then, it would pretty much have to be strong. That's no air-filled balloon out there. So-called Mute Swans (They are not mute.) like this weigh up to 22 pounds and have wingspans as long as 75 inches (6.25 feet). By comparison, American White Pelicans, which we should be seeing here by mid-September to mid-October weigh up to about 16 pounds and have wingspans of up to 108 inches (9 feet). I have many photographs of pelicans barrelling in that — except for the girth and foot size (pelicans' are smaller) — look a lot like this big bird.

Swan Turning In - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mute Swan Turning In

When I first saw this bird flapping white, I announced it as a Great Egret to the other photographer on the pier this morning. It was large and white and at that time was still mostly out of focus. The closer it got, the better my focus. This set of photographs alone made it worth standing out on Sunset Pier this early morning, but then I probably would have thought it worth the while just to stand on the pier in that lovely, early morning breeze.

Mute Swan with Skids Down - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mute Swan with Skids Down

This is about as close as I got to filling the frame with the swan, and it looks like almost everything about the bird is in focus, both tasty accomplishments.

Mute Swan Touchdown - Too Close - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mute Swan Touchdown — Too Close

When following a flying or landing bird, I usually try to keep my centered focus ring on the body or, if possible, the eyes, of the bird flying. I significantly missed both here. Looking at this full frame now, I see I might have got the whole bird in, but I didn't. I'll get better after practicing with White Pelicans over the coming months. But this bird's landing style is similar tot he skidding landings employed by pelicans, although after a bit of skid, this swan seems to be running and skidding at the same time.

Splash of Splash Landing Lingering - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Splash Landing Lingering

I love seeing that extended splash still lingering in the air in front of and along side of the landed swan. My single shot between this one and the one after the last one above also exceeded the frame, but it was likewise OOF (our of focus), but this one is most acceptable, especially by comparison.

Mute Swan Having Landed - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mute Swan Having Flown and Landed

Quite an accomplishment. Bravo or brava or whatever is appropriate. We might never know, although The Bird Squad has named this bird Swanee, a unisex name.

 

August 7

 Egret on the Dam - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret on the Dam near Dawn

First time in awhile I've come at the Upper Spillway from the east. Usually I park in the newish parking lot on Winstead and walk up. This time I parked in a neighborhood and walked down. This way I'm not so huffy-puffy tired when I get there, and I think that relative serenity shows.

Same Egret from the Other Side - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Same Egret from the Other Side

This is the first time I've photographed the dam in these colors, although I've shot it a hundred times at least. New cam makes it look much nicer. Might have to keep it.

Rowers, Coach and the Bath House - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Rowers, Coach and the Bath House Cultural Center

And this from that same viewpoint Nice sense of depth.

Mute Swan Far - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mute Swan Far

We've seen this big, hulking bird before, but we gain a bit of perspective with it all in the shot.

Great Egret in the Land of Headless Cormorants - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret in the Land of Headless Cormorants

Some strange karma working itself out in my shots of cormorants lately. They've usually got their heads off somewhere else doing something else when I think I've got them just right. I even focused on the bird in the middle, but I didn't notice its head was missing.

Woman Gathering Herbs - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Woman Gathering Herbs

I've seen women — it's always women — picking some plant life in the reeds and weeds around the pier at Sunset Bay for a long time, this is just the first time they were far enough to fill my photo frame.  The herb must be some sort of Asian delight.

Egret Hunting in the Reeds - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret Hunting in the Reeds

It's that form that captures my attention. Of course, Great Egrets have a lot of forms.

The Under Pier Egret Hunting - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Under-Pier Egret Hunting

The same one I keep photographing mornings by the gleaming new metal Boat House.

Wood Duck Flashed - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wood Duck Flashed

Not sure how, but for this shot, I managed to accidentally pop the flash up into the upright position, so it went off when I shot this.

Great Egret on a Pedestal - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret on a Pedestal

Great Egret on a pedestal with dark dark green landscape behind and water so blue you could almost mistake it for the sky.

Not a Slider - Looks mor Like Turtle Sculpture - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Not a Slider — Looks more like Turtle Sculpture

I don't know my turtles — except Red Sliders — much worse than I don't know my birds. But this is new to me. I had to scrutinize the image carefully, because it really did look more like sculpture than a real turtle. Big turtle.

Morning Sun and Ducks on the Upper Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Morning Sun and Ducks on the Spillway

 

John Bunker Sands Wetlands

August 6

See my first outing at John Bunker Sands.

 Great Egret Over Lily Pads - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Over Lily Pads

Thought I'd used all my flying-bird pics from last Saturday morning in the last journal entry, but here's at least one more.

It's Got Yellow Legs - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

It's got Yellow Legs

A lot of the time driving around, the other, more experienced birders spent not arguing, of course, but discussing which variety they'd actually just seen. There were field guides — including a Sibley guide new to me that had a lovely cover — and visual memories. That's always fascinating to me, because to even begin to identify a species I am not sure of, I have to first get a picture of it that's in focus. Before that's a sure thing, I don't even worry about who it was. I remember somebody repeating, "but it's got yellow legs," and sure enough, it did.

Mystery Bird with Brown Butt - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mystery Bird with Brown But

Somebody in the front of the car asked the driver to stop, so we could figure out who was this "hummingbird sized bird" just to the right of the road and five or six car lengths away. Somebody else said it was bigger than that. I think it looks suspiciously like a swallow. I'll have to look up the last two and probably more. Sibley says a Cave Swallow has a "tawny rump," but the back of their heads aren't dark, so maybe it's an adult Northern Cliff Swallow ...

Cattle Egrets on the Far Shore - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cattle Egrets on the Far Shore

Muchos Egrettos.

Cattle Egrets and Black-necked Stilts - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cattle Egrets and Black-necked Stilts

The other stilt is behind the last egret on the right.

Black-necked Stilt - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black-necked Stilt

I loves them pink legs.

Unsub Shorebird - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Unsub Shorebird

This species identity was much-discussed. Unfortunately, I was probably intently watching something else or just staring out into the lush green space when they were, because I do not remember their group conclusion. I spent about ten minutes tracking through my shorebird book, but I came to no conclusion.

Solitary Sandpiper or Yellowlegs - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Solitary Sandpiper or Yellow Legs — pretty sure it's the former

Or maybe it was this one they discussed extensively. I remember them talking about particularly bright spectacles — meaning that white area around its eyes.

Killdeer Showing Relative Size - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Killdeer Showing Relative Size with Solitary Sandpiper

One or the other of the several possible identities for the big-eyed bird on the right was discussed in one of the field guides compared to a killdeer, so when it hunted up nearly alongside the Killdeer, I clicked, hoping to get them both in focus.

Shorebird Unsub Jumps into Flight - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Shorebird Unsub Jumps into Flight

I was busy carefully focusing on it when it jumped into flight — I always wonder whether they can tell we're watching even more intently than usual — and I was pleased with the result, which might provide a little extra identification area for the final diagnosis. I believe the crew's final decision on this one was that it was a Solitary Sandpiper, and according to all the evidence and my The Shorebird Guide, I think they're right.

First-summer White Ibis - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

First-summer White Ibis

This one's head might have been a little sharper if I hadn't photographed it through some tall weeds.

Barn Owls with Barn Owl Scat - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Barn Owls with Barn Owl Scat

Looks like they've either been standing there for awhile, or they stand there often.

And for tomorrow, I've already shot some early morning (today) birds at White Rock Lake, and I might even throw in a verdant landscape or two. I've been enjoying doing the occasional landscape there, too.

 

August 5

Adult Female Belted Kingfisher - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Adult Female Belted Kingfisher

Birds In Flight (BIF) has become its own specific variety in photography, so that's what today's shots are mostly about.

This species (Ceryle alcyon) has long been a goal of mine to photograph flying — over, by or around. On the Bird Walk at John Bunker Sands Wetlands Saturday morning, I got three shots at it, and this one worked particularly well. I could still get the details a little sharper next time, but this shows great progress. It helped greatly that whenever a bird flew toward us from any direction, one of the walkers would shout that it was and from which direction and heading. Being able to see these often-tiny birds coming was a tremendous leg up to photographing it.

Kinfisher Hovering - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Adult Female Belted Kingfisher Floating - 1

Not exactly sterling focus here, but have you ever seen a Kingfisher hover? When there was one in the vicinity, and I could see it, I just shot and shot and shot, pausing each time to attempt focus, so I was paying a certain, technical sort of attention, but I don't remember this happening, although there it is, and I mostly captured the moment.

Adult Female Belted Kingfisher Hovering - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Adult Female Belted Kingfisher Floating - 2

And I captured it for at least two running seconds, so it was hovering and in this vertical position. But what is it up to? Is it falling or floating? So many questions.

Belted Kingfisher in Flight - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Belted Kingfisher in Flight (and almost in focus)

My previous experience with Belted Kingfishers has been spotted with disappointment. Seems usually when we spot one, and move in to get a better view, it flies away just as we're about to click our shutters. Not this time. Some eagle-eyed birder saw one in the scene above and pointed to it. I saw right where it was, which amazed me. Can you find the Belted Kingfisher in this photograph that's actually en enlargement of what we could see from where we stopped?

Can You Find the Kingfisher? - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Can You Find the Kingfisher? It's in Sharp Focus Here.

Can you find it is sort of a trick question. It's in there, but so small, there's no room for any detail. It's the bright, apparently white spot near the end of a branch, in the middle left portion of the pic.

 White Ibis Flyover - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

White Ibis Flies Over John Bunker Sands Wetlands

All manner of exotic avian life over flew us that morning. Probably they were almost as curious as we about the wetland's latest visitors.

Streamlined White Ibis - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Streamlined White Ibis

Love the long, sleek form.

Ultra Light Flyover - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Ultra Light Flyover

Noisier than most of our Saturday morning flyovers.

Roseate Spoonbill Flyover - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Roseate Spoonbill Flyover

We saw them fly over. We did not see them land anywhere, but I bet they did — soon as we were out of their sight.

Roseate Spoonbill Flight - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Three Roseate Spoonbills Flying Over

One of the more exotic species we saw that day.

Black-necked Stilt Flyover - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black-necked Stilts Flying Over

Black-necked stilts are tiny birds, except sometimes in photographs. They are usually 14-15 inches long, which position they are politely posing for us in this shot.

Green Heron in Flight - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Green Heron in Flight

Green Herons are much smaller than they sometimes seem — usually 15 to 22 inches long.

Great Egret Aloft - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Aloft

I am still, after seven years of active GE photography, fascinated with the notion of following one across the sky. Nice of them to be so bright and white.

Cormorant Flying Over - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cormorant Flying Over

 

August 5

My Best Guess is a Transitional Little Blue Heron - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

My Best Guess is a Transitional Juvenile Little Blue Heron

Looks like a lot of other birds that are more or less common around here, but there are many excepts. Except for the beak, it could be a Tricolored Heron. Except for the white spots, it could be a Tricolored Heron. If it were darker, or gray or. Etc. I'm no expert at identifying birds, and too many people already know it, but that's my guess.

Many Egrets Hat John Bunker Sands - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Many Egrets Hath John Bunker Sands

I thought I was going on a walk, which is what the event was promoted as, out along the boardwalks and roads behind the John Bunker Hunt Wetlands (JBHW) building, from more or less which direction this shot was taken. Actually, this shot was taken from one of the big tin barns behind the JBHW building and across the road.

Barn Owl Pair in the Barn - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Barn Owl Pair in the Barn

And this is why I was out standing near the barn. I had to field strip the hulk to remove the 2X Extender and just use the 300mm, so it could see in the dark and thus adjust to the darkness in the barn better and quicker than my eyes were busy doing. I had the doubler bag stuffed in my pocket through the whole three-hour car ride through the extensive JBHW acreage, because I hadn't worn a belt. So that transition was easy, just I had to be careful with the two straps, one each on the hulk and the cam. A drag not to have a strap when I use the cam without the hulk, so there's two, and that's sometimes a real challenge.

Cattle Egret in Flight - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cattle Egret in Flight

We saw a wide variety of birds in that time-frame. Our Talk/Walk started out cool at just after 7, then got progressively warmer all the way to hot by the end, but it was so much fun being around birders of more experience and species-identifying ability than me, that it was fascinating.

Snowy in the Swamps - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Snowy Egret in the Swamps

There were many varieties of landscape, too. Though most were, in one or several ways, wet, they attracted a variety of birds. And not just the large varieties I prefer, because they're easier to photograph and show some detail.

The Cattle Egret Tree - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Cattle Egret Tree

With one, probably Neotropic Cormorant.

One GBH and 28 Egrets - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

One Great Blue Heron and 28 Egrets

Already a little bit agitated because humans were coming down the road in vehicles. Certainly these birds have seen vehicles before, just they never know what to expect from humans in them. Apparently JBHW has had several policies in regard to individual vehicles transversing their extensive lands. I'm hoping someday to get me and The Slider thoroughly lost out there, taking my own sweet time, with a tripod and all that patience I'm reputed to have.

And Egrets Away - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

And Egrets Away!

But binocular and telescope birders move more quickly than photo birders. Often, I didn't even have time to set up a shot, let alone execute it. I didn't complain, because I was having too much fun, and as you will see, I got plenty good shots. I'm doling them out at 10 shots a day, because I have a couple other things that need doing these days.

Adult Female and Adult Male Black-necked Stilt - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Adult Female and Adult Male Black-necked Stilt

Females have that black bit on their wings/back. Males may even be bigger. It's hard to tell here, where leg ends and the reflection begins. I'm not sure, but I don't think today added to my Life List — as if I had such a thing. I've thought about doing a Life List page, just so I can figure out how many there are. But I haven't photographed all the ones I've seen, nor remembered them, nor got them into focus, so I can't count them anyway. Most of those are on this journal's pages, however. Somewhere.

Green Heron in a Tree - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Green Heron in a Tree

 

White Rock Lake

August 3

 Fluffy Snowy Watching - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Fluffy Snowy Watching

Coupla egrets standing and flying a fishing this cool (comparatively) early morning in Sunset Bay.

Snowy Splash Beak - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Snowy Splash Beak

'Specially this very active Snowy Egret fishing in among the larger and much more substantial gooses.

Snowy on Pointe - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Snowy En Pointe

Back and forth in the inner and middle ranges, close and far, in and out, catching itty bitty fishies, sidewise, right and left.

Egritt on Green with Feathers - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret on Green with Feathers

If those even are feathers. I don't remember any such thing, though here they are, more or less obviously somethings.

Egret on a log - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret on a Near-in Log

Waiting and preening and waiting some more.

Before the Music - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Before The Music

Egret heading out toward the logs, and here's J R watchin' and focusing. Kinda lilting colors with that wingtip in the rising sun over the trees behind us and to the east.

Musical Chairs - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Musical Chairs

One leaves, the other is coming in.

Another Great Egret Landing - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Another Great Egret Landing

Elegant as always.

Fem Mallard Flying - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Mallard Flying

Heading West.

Female Wood Duck Flying - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Wood Duck in the Same Direction

Out of here.

 

August 1

Boat Approaching Egret - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Boat Approaching Egret

I'd been all over the east side of the lake and only found fairly common birds. I got nothing against common birds. Egrets are pretty common here, too. But it's nice to get some spick in my bird-photographing life from time to time, too. But I saw no spice there.

Egret Ready to Bolt - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret Readying to Fly Away

So I was heading home when I remembered seeing, this or that other egret (We saw two on our walk Sunday morning, so this could be one of those.) under the pier between the Old Boathouse and The New One, and I wondered if it might be there now. It was, but in the time I took to get the camera out and leveled on The Slider's window sill, up came this rower's boat, which elicited a flight reaction from our big white friend, who quickly decided not to leave, since there was decent fishing there.

Egret Strutting the Boardwalk - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Doing the Boardwalk Strut

The Latin across the side of the boat translates as "Go All Fired." Meanwhile, the egret strutted out of my view, so I moved up a few yards and continued shooting, as the boat guy quickly tied up and went inside.

Great Egret Seeking Food - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret Seeking Food Egret D

The Great Egret watched carefully for fish.

Egret with the barest Slip of Food - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret with the Barest Slip of Wiggling Food Egret

And eventually caught something I could barely even see.

Having Caught Something - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Having Caught Something

Having caught something large, this Mockingbird was hurrying to get it under control, because a bikler was speeding towards it along the sidewalk, as ever, mindless of any other bodies who might need that sidewalk just then. I saw impending conflict and struggled to get the Nikonery up, focused and ready to shoot.

Mocker with a Hopper - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mocker with a Hopper

Who could blame it? It's a big ol' juicy grasshopper. Not the sort of thing one wants to leave on a sidewalk with an impending bikler coming up the track. A whole one is so much more flavorful than a bike tire-squished one. I'm happy to note that the Mocker escaped with a couple of seconds to spare, but I was not quick enough to follow it into the shrubs.

Bunny - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Big-eared Bunny

I've never seen so many rabbits at White Rock as I have this year. We did have a mild winter and an extended and very pleasant spring, and the summer hasn't been utterly awful yet. Maybe that's what it takes for bunnies to abound.

Unsub eating a tiny wormy-looking thing - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Unsub Eating a Tiny, Wormy-looking Thinglet

Trouble is, I don't know who this is. what species? Name or number. Might have thought it were a grackle at first, but all that detail on its back and under side. I just don't know.

unsub profile

Unsub Profile

But here it is in profile and much more detail, except now I don't think it's the same bird. Uh-oh. Looks like I'll have to spend time with my I.D books. The best thing about photographing common, everyday birds, is that I don't have to have my nose buried deep in bird I.D books for hours. Too bad, J R.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to limit myself to ten images for each journal entry, so it doesn't take all day to put these things together. So this is the end of the beginning of what, as I write this, is still next month. But I do want to leave Anna's and my early Sunday morning walk on the top of last month.

 

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All text and photographs Copyright 2013 by J R Compton.
All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium without
specific written permission from and payment to
the writer or photographer.

My favorite answer is, "I don't know." I am, after all, an amateur.
I've only birded for seven years as of last month, although
I've been photographing professionally and semi-professionally and
always amateurishly since 1964.

Thanks always to Anna.

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