INDEX

 Last Year

Redraw Page. It changes often.

JRCompton.com    images    ideas    resume    links     Contact Me    DallasArtsRevue    SITE SEARCH
  
The Amateur Birder's Journal - Stories & Photographs by J R Compton
Posted at least three times a week, but usually not on weekends

The Second Half of December 2013

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 Photo Equipment 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 Pelicans Playing Catch green square Rouses green square Courtship Displays blue dot 800e Journal blue dot G5 Journal green square Duck Love green square Birding Galveston green square 2nd Birds of the Lower Rio Grande Valley & the 1st green square 14 seconds of Bald Eagle  ringt arrow This MonthSome History

Earlier December Birds

San Antonio - Texas Birds

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

Male Breeding Vermillion Flycatcher on the grounds of Our Lady of the Lake College in San Antonio, Texas

We think we've seen this exact same bird on a previous visit, though we had not previously knowingly seen his lovely mate. He was quite a surprise with that crop that doesn't show up in any of my bird I.D books. When my Internet is working better (maybe later) I'll track down a link to our previous visit and sighting.

Male Breeding Scarlet Tanager Flying Away - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Breeding Vermillion Flycatcher Flying Away

This, then as now, was our usual view of this bird. He'd stop long enough to tantalize us, then he'd fly away.

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

Male Breeding Vermillion Flycatcher

It was a gray, cold and rainy day that was actively being wet and we had rain spots wherever we were exposed to it. But all that dull really shined compared to our quick-flitting red and black friend here.

Here's the female Scarlet Tanager - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Probably NOT a Female Vermillion Flycatcher with a church steeple behind it

I couldn't and still cannot see its actual color. Too far away, but it seemed to be hanging out with our red friend, so I asummed they are related or will soon be, but Anna who initially called our red friend a Scarlet Tanager this time, too, insists it's not a Vermillion Falycatcher, at all, though she does not say what it is is.

Female Scarlet Tanager with Steeple - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Small Yellowish-greenish bird

This is an enlargement of the photo above.

Male Breeding Scarlet Tanager on the Fence - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Breeding Vermillion Flycatcher on the Fence

This photo is kinda hard to read, but he's perched on the fence, aimed toward the telephone pole, while looking back at me over his right shoulder. Always nice to get them from various angles.

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

Male Breeding Vermillion Flycatcher on another twig

Sibley says they are six inches long with a wingspan of 10 inches and weigh 14.5 grams or 0.51 ounce.

And nobody visited the page while I was still under the impression this was a Scarlet Tanager, just like we thought that last one was, too. But they weren't.

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

Steeples on the Horizon

We also drove out to Mitchell Lake, just south of San Antonio proper, but it wasn't open. We almost always visit Our Lady of the Lake's rookery, and I almost always feel guilty for parking in their church parking lot. Guess that's my ex-Catholic guilt showing. Even though it was wet and rainy, it was lovely walking along the long, river-like lake

 

When Even I Didn't Want to Reload these PageS,

I Could Tell It Was Time for a Change

Bikler with Birds on the Edge of a Lake - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bicycler with Birds on the Edge of a Lake
 

I chopped off the earlier part of this month's journal, and I'm returning to slightly smaller, faster-downloading pix. And even if my bloated, photography-laden text downloads fast, I am cutting back on that, too. I got carried away.

My apologies to readers.

If I get a really good shot, I might run it bigger, but I know most of you don't care what lens I use or whether it's been working well lately, you're here for the same reason I am. For the birds.

Smaller and faster-loading pictures and less off-topic chatter will help, but I've been posting way too many shots of the same old things. So I will edit more, talk less and just show you the best of each day's catch.

And I'm working on reducing all those links at the top of every Bird Journal page, so the first thing we see is photographs, not a mass of links.

Meanwhile, I'm taking a break from birds and photographing, so I can enjoy the holiday fun. See you after Christmas.

Thanks for visiting,

J R Compton

 

Winfrey Point and Sunset Bay in White Rock Lake

December 20

Breeding Pair of Starlings Pause as the World Goes By - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Breeding Pair of Starling Pause as the World Flies By

There's almost always some action on the high wires down the parking lot at Winfrey toward Sunset Bay. I couldn't tell who was standing on the wire, because I was trying to hold the cam/lens steady, but I recognized some of the birds flying past behind. They don't call that big, black bird a Great-tailed Grackle for nothing. The European Starling in the middle looks like what I'd expect, but the one on the right doesn't look like any I've found in either Sibley or Crossley, although I've seen them looking like that before, although usually closer and on the ground. But there it is.

I missed the first three or four flybys, then got this one semi-perfect. Surprised myself.

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

Same Two Birds

And somebody else flying. Looks like the middle starling is afraid it might get hit.

Starlings and Grackles Feeding on the Lawn - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Starlings and Grackles Feeding on the Lawn

There were at least three times this many birds before a car swooped by, scaring most of them away. I guess the rest were hungrier.

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

Boots Have Lobed Feet

With whose feet I have always been fascinated. Big honking feet that helps them run splashing on the water's surface.

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

With Amazing, Elongated Toes

maybe it's more like big toes and little feet, though it's hard to tell where the feet stop and those toes begin.

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

The Encounter : The Beginning

That very short log is a coveted perch for our winter visiting American White Pelicans, and I figured I'd get to see some swording beaks. So I began photographing.

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

Pelican Attack

Instead, I saw this. The interloper is jumping up, creating an amazing little whorl of water between its rising feet.

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

Clunking Around Up There

Much later, the notion passed quickly through my head that this mounting might have had something to do with pelican sex, which they usually do up north — somewhere between western Minnesota and along a line curving up the map in a west-north-westerly direction past southeastern Idaho toward — and probably past — Vancouver, B.C., Canada. The beak poking up by the interloper's head belongs to the bottom bird, while the thin sliver of beak visible below the raised wing more likely belongs to the upper bird.

 

Mounting — Not Mounting - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission. x

Mounting, Non-Mounting

But I was by this moment clicking pretty quickly at this abruptly startling circumstance — and I've carefully perused all the shots that would extend this series way too long, and there did not seem to be any point in the action where anything got inserted. I still think it was a territorial row: the bird on top wanted the bird on bottom's perching space, and was willing to stomp it if necessary. I thought surely it would win.

Balancing Up There - crpy

Balancing Up There

Notice the bottom pelican's left wing down on the log for balance.

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

Sudden Partial Dismount with Splashing

Bottom bird's bringing up that left wing, thus splashing.

Out from Under and Down - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Out from Under and Down for an Ungainly Partial Dunk

When this started, I was just standing on the pier, enjoying the day and the weather and the birds. I've stared at our winter visitors for hours and hours, but I have never seen anything like this fracas except from a great deal farther away. One day, when they were first arriving last October, I photographed them "dog-piling" (Sorry these are such huge pages, the really big ones load slow.) on the logs along the outer edge of the bay. That pelk-piling only looked a little like this, except I was too far to see it in much detail, but it looked a lot more disorganized than this.

Seeing It Off with a Poke - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Seeing the Interloper Off with a Gentle Poke

It really looked pretty gentle as far as pelican poking sometimes goes.

 

Sunset Bay

Late December 19

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

Coots, Ducks, Pelicans, Cormorants and Probably Some Scaups   8:58 PM

I've long wondered where the pelicans and coots and all the other birds who hang out in inner Sunset Bay during the day go at night — well, I know the gooses hang out behind the Bath House, but tonight I decided to try some photographic espionage, even though it was dark. Much darker than it seems in most of these photographs, although the next one down gives us a bit of an idea just how dark it was. All pictures, as usual, were hand-held, although I notched the cam/lens into one of the piers on Sunset Pier, where, pointed in some directions, it fit very well.  A tripod might have helped with some shots, but I was already very pleased with the depth of field I got.

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

Coots Up In the Hidden Creeks Lagoon   9:04 PM

Where there are few overhead lights and no car traffic, just a spot of — well, I'm not really sure. I didn't notice a moon, but there was some light in the sky, and not much up in the lagoon. When I looked at the monitor after shooting it, I didn't see anything but a splash in the dark.

Pelicans, Ducks, Coots and a Swan - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelicans, Ducks, Coots and a Swan   9:11 PM

I set the ISO on automatic up to where there are no numbers, and no numbers showed, so it probably maxed out around 25,600. Or so.

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

Everybody, including Cormorants

I was kinda surprised there were so few cormorants. They've been dominated the bay during the day lately.

 

December 19

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

Open-beak Pelican

Kinda a wonderful detail. I pulled it out of a frame very like the next one down — same characters, same angle, just a little different action. I was fascinated by the notion of making an abstract of a lot of pelicans very near to each other, which they do often. That didn't work out, but this did. I'm only sorry some other pelican's ankle or elbow showed up between this one's upper and lower mandibles. Otherwise, a happy accident of juxtaposition.

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

Pelicans Getting Ready

But ready for what? I don't know, because while I was there, they did not do it. But sometimes they hold back till the pesky humans are gone.

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

Gull Hopping into Flight

I'm fascinated by the various methods birds use to gain flight. I'm not saying Ring-billed Gulls like this only get into the air by hopping. But it's obviously one of the ways.

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

Great Egret Flying Low

I've often rejected images in which eyes or faces are not plainly visible. But no other bird around here has long black legs with black feet, white pretty much everything else and a long orange beak. Besides this guy at just this angle, was so elegant. Beautiful.

FOS Female Red-winged Blackbird - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

FOS — Female Red-winged Blackbird on a Reed

This is certainly not the first female Red-winged Blackbird I've seen this season when RWBBs take over with thousands of them all around the lake. And it would have been nice to get her feet sharp, too. But hey, she is, like most RWBBs, gorgeous.

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

Male Red-winged Blackbird in the Reeds

I think I thought this was yet another Great-tailed Grackle back there, because I couldn't see the epaulet through the camera, so I was surprised, when I saw this large on my monitor, to see the red and yellow wing colors. Nice, and its right foot is plenty sharp.

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

Pretty Hybrid Duck in Winter Molt

Molt, from Middle English moute and Old English verb based on the Latin mutare to change. Ducks loose old feathers, so they can grow new ones. Different birds, even in the same species, do that at different times.

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

Green-headed Duck

I'm not sure, but I bet one of the more active members of the Bird Squad would know if this was one of the "black ducks" that were left off at the lake. They keep changing, and I've long-since lost track of which were which, because more ducks keep being left off. I hadn't thought of it till now, but this is a classic sort of chiaroscuro (literally, "light dark") portrait like Leonardo da Vinci, Vermeer, Velázquez, Caravaggio and those guys. Not that this is that good, just it reminds me of them. This shot makes the duck look mean, and there was a real live goose fight and some ducks biting each other, but I'm still working on those pix. We'll see….  Last week, I wore myself out writing about art. This week is just fun.

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

Goose Bath on a Balmy Autumn Day

Not really hot, but today was a warm day. Lots of birds were bathing, dipping and splashing. This one was close enough to fill the frame and show lots of dripping and splashing. My other shots of this goose bathing are not as splashy.

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

Wiggle-billed American White Pelican

This is a pure accident. The shadows are in the wrong places, and I saw the wiggle reflections, but I didn't notice them much., I was too busy fitting the bird into the frame.

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

Pelican Bump on a Log

I love that one little feather the pelican has probably pulled out during preening. Almost like that's the most important part of the portrait. But even without the silly feather, that's a lot of pelican crammed into a little space with room left over on that short log.

 

December 18

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

Two Neotropic Cormorants in Sunset Bay

Today's challenge was to test my telephoto lens without the doubler. Nice of the sun to come out for that. A lot of contrast really makes a lens shine, but I got plenty sunshine when I tested my lens doubler the other day, and it was obviously not focusing well. I've already sent it to Nikon, who says they can't see anything wrong with it, but I do, and I guess I won't use it for awhile, although it might have been condensation on the glass. I'm happy that this lens is its usual bright and hi-resolution self without the doubler.

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

Many Cormorants

Pelicans were noticeably absent this morning. There were fewer than a half dozen around.

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

Male Mallard Flying Over

There'd be lots of possible excuses if this shot didn't turn out, but that it not only turned out, it's amazing sharp, contrasty, action-stopping, exposed and composed (although it is somewhat enlarged from a much smaller portion of the full image area) is just short of miraculous. It's also indicative that I'm worrying too much about this lens. But probably not nearly enough about the 2X extender.

But this one is different - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

But This One's a Little Different

Just as sharp down the duck's center line, just the wings are flapping, and we really can't see its eyes, so there's nothing to sparkle. But its head, tail and fuselage is plenty sharp. Its a bit smaller in the frame than that last one, but the shutter speed is a quick 1/2,500th second, my usual f8 at iso 400, which on this camera is really no problem, although I've had Nikon cameras that higher iso than 320 would give me noticeable grain even at this small size, which is 14% bigger than the jpegs on last month's journal.

But the contrast and composition on the one above it clearly makes a better picture, and that makes it appear sharper, even if it really isn't. Sorry about all this blather, I'm just trying to figure out what's wrong with the doubler, because I love photographing at 600mm rather than 300. But I probably won't do anything important that way till it miraculously gets better.

Cormorant Giving Two Pelicans What For - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Juvenile Cormorant Giving Two Pelicans What For

I have no idea what the cormorant was going on about, but it kept it up long enough for the pelicans to shuffle slowly away from the noisy tyke. These things, even between two member of the same species, usually have to do with who thinks who owns that space or fish, and since there's no fish in sight, it must be where they're standing doesn't measure up to the cormorants expectations.

Fifteen Cormrants Where Pelicans Usually ARe - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Fifteen Cormorants Where Pelicans Usually ARe

This is up in what I call "the lagoon" up off Sunset Bay. And there's usually a couple dozen big, white pelicans there, so it was a surprise to see dark old cormorants instead. I assume the pelicans were off fishing. Lawther along the Arboretum was closed at the Garland Road entrance — although they never say why — so I couldn't see any big fishing parties this morning. Day before yesterday, when I was testing the double, there were as many as three, separate parties, cruising in often opposite directions, although all three occupied the water along The Arboretum

I'm calling them by their proper name lately, even though I'm still angry with them for trying to grab White Rock Lake Park land for their parking lot, which is now being dug deep on the south side of Garland Road opposite the Arboretum, at considerable expense, which serves them right.

 

White Rock Lake

December 17

View Down Bath House Hill - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

The View Down Bath House Hill in the Mist

Gray, gray day — and cold, but with an adventurous — or just downright contrary — mood, I brought my Micro-Four-Thirds camera instead of my trusty Nikon. Just needed to shake things up, see if that'd change what I do over and over. Would a different camera and lens a slow 200-600mm equivalent zoom — show in my work?

At the bottom of the hill, just out into the lake, we see birds on poles behind the dark sign we can't read and lighter birds on the diving platform.

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

Bird-poles with Fog

I think it did, and this journal needs changes, so I'm glad I did it, but next time I will use the Nikons. This is Tom Orr's White Rock Lake Water Theatre, a site-specific installation whose vertical posts glow faintly when it's dark. The phosphorescent paint used to be comparatively bright when it was new November 17, 2001, but less so now. Originally, there were small, short disks just off the surface, but those were for turtles, and the turtles couldn't climb that high, so they're gone.

Birds species there changes by the season, right now it's Double-crested Cormorants. Sometimes hundreds of them, mostly crowding the platform that used to serve as a diving and resting platform when the area encircled by the poles was a swimming area — thus the need for a bath house. But that was before Integration and/or the Polio Scare, Pick one History of Dallas epoch.

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

American Coots Mostly Obeying the Sign

I've seen hot humans cooling off in the water, and I've seen rowers and sailors and skaters — all previously on the water, fall in, get wet, and swim to get out, but mostly the swimming ban holds. I doubt if the water is particularly dangerous, because I see hundreds and sometimes thousands of birds and a few animals out there swimming, and they don't seem harmed by it, but if you are of a delicate constitution, I wouldn't try it. It's been awhile, but I've swum in the ocean, and who knows how many birds and animals and humans do their business in that.

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

Gulls with Cormorant Flyby

I didn't mean to imply that only cormorants pole there in late autumn.

Sunset Bay from Dryfusss Point - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sunset Bay from the Hill on Dreyfuss Point

Pelicans and cormorants and a few gulls from a different perspective.

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

Winfrey Point in Foggy Mist

From Sunset Bay, at least, Winfrey Point actually looks like a point. Out there walking around the walking "path" that used to be a one-lane road, till almost immediately after they dredged the lake again. Dreyfus, whose community building burned down when the Fire Department couldn't find their way there, doesn't really have a point. It's round. When the social building was still there, there was more and more diverse bird species there. A murder of crow dominated the area, and they regularly ran off especially juvenile hawks. Echoes of their cawing drifted toward Stone Tables and Sunset Bay.

Bright Pelican Out of the Fog - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bright Pelican Out of the Fog

I wasn't at all sure my big telephoto on that little camera would shine with flying birds. But I was game for whatever showed up and caught my attention. This flying pelican doesn't have a lot of detail to it, but it's got contrast, and often that's the half the battle.

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

Pelican Flying Over the Inner Bay

Same pelican. Same hilltop viewpoint. Same bay full of cormorants. The pelicans are mostly off to the left, up the lagoon. This might give some credence to my theory that the reason the pelicans choose to stay there during their annual winter vacation here, is because it blocks off weather coming from the north.

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

Pelicans, Cormorants and Gulls in a Fishing Party

Like heavy fog.

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

Gulls Above, Cormorants and Pelicans Below.

Big fishing parties like this one and many larger, are a daily event at White Rock Lake.

 

The pool and Lower Steps Down and Under
The Dam at White Rock Lake

December 16

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

Great Egret Flying Past Autumn

Flying past autumn into winter, I suppose, except it almost looks green where it's going. So nice to have the opportunity for birds to be flying high yet not high above me. And having them comparatively close really helps, too. A little brighter light might have helped, also, but I let the camera handle the iso, which ranted from about 500 to 3,200, maybe a little higher.

 More for the Landscape than the birds - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

More for the Landscape than the Bird

Although I would not have gone down there if not for the birds, but sometimes a little change in scenery makes all the difference. It was, of course, cold that day, but where I stood looking down into the area under the car bridge on Garland Road (that those steel piers hold up) it wasn't protected from the wind, like it might be down where the egrets are here.

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

Egret in Autumn

Sometimes I lose track of just how lovely the lake and its environs can be.

Corms in the Pool Near the Steps - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cormorants in the Pool Above the Steps

That sudden stop of this level of wet horizon is the top of the Lower Steps, whence the water rushes plunging down and below the car bridge, thence off toward I-30.

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

Egret Flying Over the Dry Land Juvenile Cormorants

That's not a special species of Cormorants, it's just that they're up on dry land, when I most usually see them in the water or very close to it. For such a lousy, cold day, the colors sure were cooperating well. Low contrast lighting does that, and makes it worthwhile to go out in the rain or snow.

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

Another Egret Swooping Lower Past Them

I didn't see any while I was there, but after I drove up Garland Road, then back down it, I noticed Black-crowned Night-Herons in the trees above where these cormorants had settled briefly.

Double-crested Cormorant Splashing in for Landing - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Juvenile Cormorant Sliding in for Landing with its Wings Up

Wings go up like that, it appears, to slow it down. The long splash attests to the speed, I think. I'm so rarely close enough to landing cormorants, I just don't know. Another reason to change landscapes.

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

Splashing to Nearly Stopped

Yup, it is a Double-crested Cormorant. And I love the look of all that splashing, which has helped it almost stop, before crashing into shore.

 

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

Great Egret Flying Though

This looks more like winter's loss of colors, but the bird, especially, it's dripping feet are nice and sharp.

Corms Swimming Into Wher the Egrets Were - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Juvenile Cormorants Swimming into Where the Egrets had been Planting Themselves

That large bird just above the middle of this image is, yes, an American White Pelican, and he was a big draw for me to stay — even before I realized the egrets would be flying back and forth to my heart's content. Nice to see the pelicans all around the lake these days.

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

Great Egret Flying By Rather Close

Of course, calling it close is always a relative term when photographing birds through a 300mm lens. This bird seems to have a bit of feather stuck to the leading edge end of its beak.

Flying Toward the Garland Bridge - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Flying Toward the Garland Bridges

I can't seem to get over how different the scenery is here, and how pleasant that is now, looking at it. When I was there, I was just photographing birds and trying to keep them in focus when they flew by or landed or whatever. Now, looking back, it's neat photographing them flying through trees nearly on my level. Those closely parallel lines on the horizon above are the metal fences along Garland Road that lead to both bridges, the car bridge and the walking bridge that's a little closer to the pond this egret is flying over.

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

Great Egret Flying Toward the Bridges

From this side it's first, the Walking Bridge that bounces liquidly whenever a runner of bicycler flies by. There are, however, two places on that bridge, where that physical distraction is somewhat minimized, and that's where the spans join, which is most obvious along the top of the rails, where there's an obvious break. It's a lot less tummy turvy there, especially for holding a long lens stillish.

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

Snow in the Park Between Garland Road and Garland Road

Just had to do some landscape without birds, too.

 

Sunset Bay in White Rock Lake Wholly
Enclosed by Dallas, Texas, USA

December 15 2013

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

American White Pelican Skid Landing

Okay, obviously this pelican is landing. Sometimes they just stop short, but most of the time the skid.

Hop To ... Pelican Take-off

This one and the next two are the same pelican taking off. I so often am looking or photographing in a whole other direction when they finally decide to leave the area to go off fishing or whatever. This time, I actually caught them waiting for me to leave, and when I started walking back the long, central walkway on my favorite pier in the world, they started up, but I just turned around and started photographing.

After the Second Hop, Up - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

After the Second Hop, Maybe Up!

At least one more hop, and ...

Last Splah and Now, Finally, Take - Off - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Leaving that Last Splash Behind and Now, Take-off

It was in the air with a aerial trail of water falling back behind.

Getting All My Pelicans In A Row - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Getting All My Pelicans in a Row

I remember backing up to shoot between those blurred-out bushes along the long entry to the pier at Sunset Bay and noticing these American White Pelican all lined up with a bit of sun backlighting their heads with a bit of halo lighting.

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

Pelican Just Cruising By

Close by is better.

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

Early Piet Mondrian-like Winfrey Point in Sunset

Before he got into straight-line Boogie Woogie. West into the setting sun from the Pier at Sunset Bay. I often visit those paintings in the Dallas Museum of ARt, and it's remarkable how like those, this scene of Winfrey Point at Sunset is.

Earlier December 2013  

Last Month    Index of Pages    A year ago   MAP    Next Month

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 June 2013, although I've been photographing professionally and semi-professionally and almost always amateurishly since at least 1964. Thanks always to Anna.

hits  counter stays with monthly content