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The Amateur Birder's Journal - Stories & Photographs by J R Compton
THIS MONTH:    Thousands of Snow Gooses   Our January 2014 Visit to Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation 
The Great Trinity Forest   TRAC   Walking The Drying Beds   Buffleheads and In Flight

The Current Journal is always Here  All Contents Copyright 2014 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    J R Compton Links JRCompton.com  resume  links  Contact Me  My Other Passion: DallasArtsRevue

Lemon Lakes Trail in the Great Trinity Forest

JAnuary 31

 Not Exactly A Wildlife ARea - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Not Exactly a Wildlife Area

A long, verbose sign at the entrance parking lot called this area was "one of the very few wilderness areas left in Dallas County. The environment here is delicate. It requires special care during your visit due to the flora and fauna that live within. Therefore special restrictions need to be followed. But the 'trail' was concrete — one-lane white top. Despite rules against them, we saw three motorized vehicles inside the preserve. And at no time during our maybe-couple-mile walk did it look or sound like wilderness.

It wasn't that we didn't see any wildlife, just that we saw more people and cars on the trail than animals or birds. Interesting area, we someday hope to explore is something that floats.

TV - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

As Usual, the Most Obvious Avian Species was the Turkey Vulture

I love TVs, and I love watching them fly, and for that matter, I'd love to photograph them doing their real business, too. If I could just get them to let me photograph them with their heads in some carcass. I have a fading slide somewhere of some in deep south west Texas a million years ago before digital photography, I still might someday find. But this is one of my better shots of one flying.

Watching it hold to thermals, then let the air out of its wings, so it could briefly spill down, then cup wings over another warm wind was fascinating. I kept hoping it would get closer, then it id.

Not a Red-eared Slider - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Not, I think, a Red-eared Slider

But what it is, is not entirely clear.

Tire in the Slough - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tire in the Slough

Lots of little reminders that this really was not a wilderness area. But we'll be coming back toward spring.

Snorkers on Lemon Lake - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Snorkers on Lemon Lake

I think we saw more Northern Shovelers than any other species, although many ducks were too far away to identify.

Green-winged Teal Takeoff - copyright 2014 Anna Palmer. All Rights Reserved.

Green-winged Teal

Anna photographed a Green-winged Teal takeoff.

Ring-necked Ducks - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Ring-necked Ducks

I got a batch of what I believe might be Ring-necked Ducks. Even those species were far and few between. Not exactly a cornucopia of budding bird species.

Bright Water - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bright Water

x

 Red-tailed Hawk in the Trees - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-tailed Haw in the Trees

Map and info at dallastrinitytrails.blogspot.com/2011/03/trinity-river-spine-trail.html.

 

Trinity River Audubon Center
 

Red-shouldered Hawk - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission. x

Red-shouldered Hawk

As we were driving into the Trinity River Audubon Center (TRAC), just down the street from The Lemons — still hoping to photograph some birds, a hawk flew right past and over The Slider. I think this was the same one, but ya never really know. I was surprised to see it land in a tree just into the forest down the hill from the center.

Red-shouldered Hawk Flying Down - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-shouldered Hawk Flying Down

I assume it was after food. It flew fast. After the next shot, I never saw it again. I assume it caught it.

Same Red-shouldered Hawk Still Flying Down - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Same Red-shouldered Hawk Still Flying Down

A tree with wings.

Oh, Maybe a Tern - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Oh, Maybe a Tern, although it was flying with a Ring-billed Gull

 

Between Warsaw and Scurry, Texas

January 26

 Wall-to-Wall Snow Gooses - cpey

Wall-to-Wall Snow Gooses

Reader Leslie Cheek sent me an email saying they were "in Warsaw and Scurry area of Texas today. Must have been a gathering of Snowies??? They were located at a huge pond/lake. Gorgeous!!!" and they bade me to "Please go and show." This is a detail from the lower left middle portion of the next image down — look for the small patch of blue sky showing through under the Blue Morph Snow Goose's left wing just a couple inches off the ground up from the fourth fence post over.

Some Snow Gooses - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Snow Gooses — Light and Dark

So we went, and here we show. And for awhile, early on, it was like this for a long, long way across the prairie.

Snow Goose Flock Flying Over - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Snow Goose Flock Taking Off

Thousands of them. Most exciting when they all rise at once. Amazing vision. I almost wished I had a wide-angle lens.

Snow Gooses Flung Headlong - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Snow Gooses Flung Headlong

All in action at once it is a miracle of avian motion.

Blue Sky Full of Snowies - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Blue Sky Full of Snowies

Always amusing to see where exactly the camera will focus.

where the camera will focus - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Where The Camera Will Focus

I point the camera in the precise direction, then wonder what the lens will render sharp.

Layers and Layers - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Layers and Layers

Sometimes, it seemed Snow Gooses were strung across the skies for miles, and of course, the were.

Dark and Light Morph Snow Gooses - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dark & Light Morph Snow Gooses

When Leslie Cheek wrote "Snowies," I wasn't sure which snowies were being referred to. Probably not a Snowy Owl. Those are far and few between around these parts. But Snowy Egrets are often present far and wide, and I'd love to see this many of those, though that would be highly unlikely.

More and More Coming In - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

More and More Coming In

We photographed The Fluries above, where we first saw them suddenly rise into the sky, behind a detached residential neighborhood, and the rest of these where the Snowies settled next, in a farmer's field. While we were photographing away at the thousands of birds there, a guy in a pickup driving by, called to us telling us we should have seen them three years ago, when the whole field was filled with them.

Especially, I like the Ones Standing in the field - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Especially, I Like the Ones Out Standing in Someone's Field in this Photograph 

Much slower when they've moved and are landing in careful layers on and on.

Single Snow Goose Over - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Single Snow Goose Flyover

Three Light; One Dark Snow Goose - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Three Light; One Dark Snow Goose Descending

Four White Snow Gooses Descending - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Four White Snow Gooses Descending

Over and again,

Lightly Down - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Lightly Down

… I was fascinated with them cupping air and falling toward earth.

Details of Snow Gooses - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Details of the Snowies

Handsome critters and amazing in numbers.

See The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds: Snow Goose for more info.

 

Walking the Fort Worth Drying Beds

January 22

 

Swamp (off to the left here) Drive Entrance to the Fort Worth Drying Beds

This cold winter morning, we finally made it to the Fort Worth Drying Beds, which most people call Legacy Park, although the sign on the front calls it what I do. This is a long telephoto shot of the maybe quarter-mile road that leads from public roads into the beds, here past what I call the swamp on the right, which was our photo destination. We'd seen active Great Blue Heron nests at Rogers Wildlife earlier this month (now on its own page), to keep this page fast-loading), and I wondered if they'd be active here, too, but they were not.

Seven Inactive GBH Nests - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Seven Inactive GBH Nests on the Far Side of the Swamp

The nests were there, just no Great Blue Herons were using them yet. When they are using them, they add to them, fix them up, etc. from last year. But the only GBH we saw was on the far side of the swamp, and it didn't seem in any hurry to find food for someone else. When the nests are active, there's plenty of activity. Great Blue Herons flying to and fro, feeding their young. It's far away, but they are very active. None of that today.

TV in a Tree - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

TV in a Tree

In fact, the only activity, besides very small birds in those trees, was one large Turkey Vultures, whose name we usually shorten to TV, and TVs rock. When they fly, the rock back and forth, unlike most other birds, they soar like eagles, and they rock.

TV in a Tree - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Detail of Large Turkey Vulture in a Tall Tree in the Swamp

TV Soaring Close - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

TV Soaring Close

And they don't seem to mind being public about it. This one, whom I believe was the same one in the trees where the GBHs nest, and some friends, soared over the Swamp Road while I walked down it looking for birds, and more inside, past the walking gate only.

Sparrow in the Trees - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sparrow in the Trees

At least I think it's a sparrow, high in one of the trees right on/over the Swamp Road, where there were many small birds, although I only got a couple before they flew off.

Juvenile Male RWBB above the swamp road - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Juvenile Male Red-winged Blackbird Looking Down from the Swamp Road

 

Parking Bunker Area - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Parking Bunker Area

From well up the hill using the only lens I brought, a 600mm, which was still too short for most of the birds in the pans. There's enough space through the gate off to the left from this shot to let human through, even humans with tripods, but no cars or motorcycles.

I think this was north - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Drying Beds Landscape

I think this was north, although it's difficult to tell. I'd been wanting to take a series of landscapes at the beds for a long time, but I usually only take this lens, and today I realized I could shoot landscapes with any lens.  The trees of Legacy Park proper are beyond the levee.

birds in flight - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Northern Shovelers in Flight over the Main Pans

Shovelers were abundant, but discovering later that I'd captured the flight of Northern Pintails (below) was a surprise.

Northern Pintails - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Males and Two Female Northern Pintails in Flight over the Pans

Northern Pintail Ducks flying high over one of the front pains, looking east toward Legacy Park.

Another Photographer with a Tripod - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Another Photographer with a Tripod on the Landscape

I kept wondering what he could see that I couldn't. The lazy me wishes we could still drive out there, where cars don't scare birds like walking humans often do, but the pro-nature me loves the idea of the place prohibiting cars altogether, and I don't have a bike, but that might be best of all.

Snorkers on the Far Horizon - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Northern Shovelers Flying in Their Own Shadows on the Far Horizon

From what I saw there — and I didn't go out to the Pans, because it was 39 degrees F, and Anna had already gone back to the car to warm up, although next time I go, I'll plan to attend on a warm day, and I'll go as far as my legs will carry me, rest, then come back. I didn't think I could before I saw that other photog, but now I know I can.

Four Pans Into the Distance - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission. y

Four Pans into the Distance

Looking low across the landscape, here we can see four separate pans of water, each separated by a strip of raised landscape covered with greenery. Then comes the levee that separates the Drying Beds from the more public, Legacy Park next door.

We also saw one Great Blue Heron, at least a half dozen Wigeons (much closer pic in Cottonwood Park below), coots and maybe other ducks, but they were far away.

 

A Visit to Cottonwood Park in Richardson

January 20

Gull through the park - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Ring-billed Gull Through the Park

Neither of us had ever been to Cottonwood Park in Richardson before, but Annette told Anna there were lots of birds there, so we went, and walked a good long walk around the lake / pond / creek through the park, and photographed a variety of birds, some of whom we had not seen elsewhere lately.

Northern Shoveler Profile - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Northern Shoveler Profile

There were lots of Northern Shovelers, perhaps more of them than any other species. At first, they look like still more mallards, but there are differences. That beak is prominent among them. Many of the same colors are involved. Iridescent green heads are the same. The red brown of the Mallard's breast splashes the Shoveler's flanks. Grayish feathers on top in Mallards is black and white on Shovelers. Mallards have dark eyes. Shovelers have bright yellow.

N. Shoveler Snorking - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

A Snorker Snorking

They both dabble — move their bills in the water while feeding, but the Northern Shoveler as a major advantage in that activity, with a big honker of a beak. I often informally call Shovelers "snorkers," because they's what they do. They snork.

Muscovy Preening - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Muscovy Drake Preening

All the birds I know about preen. This Muscovy duck is busy spreading lanolin on his feathers, so water will roll off it like water off a ... I shot about a half dozen shots as he did that, the others look like he's writhing madly, and although I realize you can't tell why it's doubled-back here, it make a startling composition.

Muscovy Gander Ganer - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Muscovy Gander Gander

We have no doubts what this male Muscovy is doing. He's staring back at us from his colorful face. He looks so fierce, it's always amazing how gentle and friendly they are.

Adult Male Breeding American Widgeon - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Adult Male Breeding American Widgeon

I think Anna and I would agree it was the American Widgeons scattered among the Northern Shovelers and Mallards who stole the show. She called them "cute," and I'd have to agree. The adults are nearly the same length as the Shovelers, but they look much smaller. They seemed gentle and almost meek.

Breeding Pair of American Wigeons - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Breeding Pair of American Wigeons

Can't see the vivid green swash back from the male's eye in this shot, but the distinctive white outlined wings and tail and bluish beak with black highlights and reddish flanks mark these handsome ducks as something special indeed. More birds from Cottonwood Park in tomorrow's entry. Stay tuned.

To keep this page loading fast, I've created a new page
for our recent Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Visit.

 

A Wild Duck Chase at Tee Pee Hill

January 18

Adult Double-crested Cormorants flying past a Gloryodsky Morning Sky - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Adult Double-crested Cormorants Flying Past a Gloriodsky Morning Sky

I thought I was hunting Long-tail Ducks, which I've seen before — and photographed — but not their tails, but I'm getting better at this photo thing, so maybe I could get more interesting pix this time. What I was really up to and out for was a cold, early morning walk, which was lovely and energizing. Not a terrible trade, but for awhile at least, something of a delusion.

More Gloryodski Corms - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Gloriodsky Corms Closer

I was under the thrall of either a hoax or a big mistake. When I make those, it's usually my fault. This time, it was definitely my fault.

Feather-winged BCNH - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Feather-winged Black-Crowned Night Heron up the Old Boat House Lagoon

At the Audubon meeting the night before, the emcee asked for news of any interesting birds, and someone said Long-tail ducks. I was interested but thought I had other plans.

Warty Muscovy Drake - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The First Warty Muscovy Drake I've Seen in Months

But it was close — much closer than the dry beds, which I thought I might like to drive out to this morning, if only to photograph Great Blue Herons nesting over The Swamp and see what the place looks and acts like lately, since they've put up barriers against driving around the pans, and it's now limited to walking around. I doubted I'd walk that far. Besides, birds are much less afraid of cars than people, but they are very skittish of people.

Juvenile Cormorant in a Tree - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Juvenile Double-crested Cormorant

Before I left, I re-read the reports on Bird Chat about multiple sightings of Long-tailed Ducks (LTDs), which were only the seventh listing down, so I assumed they were recent. That was a mistake. But it didn't stop me, because I didn't know about it yet. I read the posts carefully, gradually realizing those people weren't talking about the same directional landscape I knew fairly well, although I am also often geographically challenged.

Three Scaups - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Three Male Scaups — One Breeding and Two Non

One birder noted they were "right off teepee hill where they rent the boats." Only they don't rent boats anywhere near Tee Pee Hill (official spelling of name, as on the sign there), and they haven't for years, maybe decades. The nearest boat-rental is sometimes on the east side of what my map calls "The Singing Bridge." The Old Boat House at the bottom of the hill along the lagoon is slip-rental only. Used to be — although it was dangerous — anyone could wander in there. Now every door is locked.

Sleeping Pelican in Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sleeping Pelican in Sunset Bay —  Most of the Others Were Out Fishing

Another birder noted LTDs were seen on the "west side of the pump house." Unfortunately the west side of the dam, which fronts the Pump House, the Filter Building and the new Boat House, is the dry side — back off below the dam is The Fitchery (what Anna calls The Old Fish Hatchery Area), then much of residential Dallas. Yet another bird Chatter cited LTDs seen on the "west end of the dam," which actually runs North Northwest to South Southeast, so it doesn't end anywhere near the west. Still another said they'd seen them while "looking west from the pump house toward Winfrey Point." But Winfrey Point is almost dead-on North East across the lake from the Pump House.

 Male Grackle on the Bridge - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Grackle on the New Wooden Bridge

I tried to keep all the directional mumbo-jumbo in mind as I wandered around Tee Pee Hill looking for anything I could find, including these birds. I did not find Long-tail Ducks, because all that happened in April, 2013. I checked when I got back. I could have slept in, if I'd read the dates before I ventured out, but then I would have missed a nice, long and lovely, morning walk. I should do more of that.

 

January 17

Buffle Looking Left - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bufflehead Duck Looking Slightly to the Left — FOS (first of season)

Male Bufflehead either noticing the photographer of something else that moved him to take flight.

Bufflehead in Flight - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Bufflehead in Flight

Male Bufflehead Flying Low. He flew past me,

M BUfflehead Skidding to Stop - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Bufflehead Skidding to Landing

landed, then took off again, then landed, then took off again. When my father was in the Air Force, they used to call such behavior with airplanes, "Shooting Touch and Goes."

Two Male Buffleheads Rounding a Corner - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Male Buffleheads Rounding a Corner

I thought I'd had all the Bufflehead excitement I was likely to have for awhile, when I saw two birds whose flight attitudes I did not recognize. All I knew for sure was that they were something different.

two buffles streaking past - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Male Buffleheads  Speeding Past

I was very surprised when I at last recognized two male Buffleheads circling, then streak past me.

Male Bufflehead Flying Low - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Bufflehead Flying Low

Then fly out into the bay, where I found bright sun setting light blinding my way.

Pelican Incoming - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Incoming at Sunset Bay

I'd seen most of the local pelican population out in the bottom end of the lake fishing from widely separate positions, nearly everybody freelancing. So I knew if I waited long enough on the pier, they're be plenty of pelicans to watch and photograph coming in. Then I got tired of waiting and roamed around to Dreyfuss Point where I saw the Buffleheads out in the other side of Sunset Bay.

Gull with Red Ribbon - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gull Playing with Red Strip

Lots of gulls playing today. I watched one drop, then dive to catch, then drop, then dive to catch, etc. a ball, which I thought was probably going too fast to capture on silicon, but this one wasn't moving very fast, so I shot it playing.

 

Sunset Bay at White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas, USA

January 9

Ring-billed Gull Stooping - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Ring-billed Gull Stooping

Essentially, stooping is the pitch forward moment when a bird's airspeed all but stops, and they start falling. In this case that stall is very controlled. The bird wants to get down to the water where it likely sees something it wants, probably to eat — although I have seen them stoop to get a floating ball they want to take up, drop down, take up, drop down, etc. until they've had too much fun. These two journal entries are now combined and the pictures are chronologically organized, so it makes sense.

 Killdeer in Great Sunset Area - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Killdeer in Greater Sunset Area

The whole area from the lake, out  from the water in Sunset Bay itself out to Garland Road on the south and Buckner on the east is "Sunset Bay," and I found this guy at the corner of Poppy Drive and East Lawther (although they might have changed that street name; I'll look tomorrow.) in the "park" area east southeast of Sunset Bay proper. Killdeer nest all over White Rock Lake.

Thought it was a Mallard - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Thought It Was a Mallard

When I was shooting this, worried more about focusing and photo stuff like that, I assumed it was a female mallard. But female Mallards don't have black beaks, so I'm not sure. Have to look it up in one of my five favorite Bird I.D books. I looked and looked and didn't find, so I'll admit I don't know who this is. I'm not even sure it's a duck. The face looks a lot like a goose, but perhaps a wild variety. Unsub.

These ARE Mallards - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

These Are Mallards

Today was a test of my 300mm tele with the 2X extender I gave up on a month ago. Seems to work just fine, when I set the focus grid right, and sometimes when I don't. Guess I should try it out more often.

Female Grackle - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Grackle

Grackles still throw my miniscule bird identifying skills. I so wanted this to be something different, but she's just not.

American White Pelican flying with Ring-billed Gull - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

American White Pelican Flying with Ring-billed Gull and over American Coots

Even when sharing the same or very similar air under similar circumstance.

Pintail Preedning -  Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pintail Duck Preening

This duck — if it's the same one — comes to visit Sunset Bay sometimes. He was often seen off Sunset Beach  last autumn, then he disappeared as easily and quickly as he had appeared. I wondered if we'd see it again. Sure enough.

Check out my Annotated Map of White Rock Lake for a full list of birds often found in Sunset Bay — and other sites around the lake.
 

White Rock Lake, inside Dallas, Texas, USA

January 4

Gull Racing with Coot - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gull Racing with Coots

Today was just fun. I knew there'd be birds in Sunset Bay, and if I was lucky, friends, too. And there was and they were, so perfect.

Coots Long Gone - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Coots vs. Gulls

A guy and his son were feeding bread to coots, and of course the gulls stayed close. They seemed oblivious of all the havoc they were causing. At least three photographers, maybe four or five were enjoying this and other avian shows.

Coots Long Gone - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Coot Long Gone

I love the abstraction of gull wings white and coot black on the rustled blue water.

Gull Want Coot Bread - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gull Want Coot Bread

And all the splashing.

Two Gulls Flying - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Wet Gulls Flying

Just flying along.

Splattering White - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Splattering White

Among the blue and black.

Grackle Wingspread Red - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Grackle Wingspread Red

I can't imagine me being quoted saying I photograph grackles and pigeons, because they're easier to focus. Maybe when they're holding still, but few birds do that.

 

January 1

Too Many People on the Pier for Serious Birding - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Too Many People on the Pier at Sunset Bay for Serious Birding

We drove by, took one look at the mob on the pier, and decided not to venture there. You can't see them this small, but there was at least one dog, too. I guess if you have a dog it seems natural to go birding with one, but most birds are afraid of dogs.

Grackle Tree Toppers - Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Grackle Tree Toppers

So we watched the grackle trees fill and empty near sunset at Sunset Bay instead. The next day and the day after that, the grackles were nearly gone. Perhaps what grackles gather for is people, since there were almost as many of those as grackles that day.

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All text and photographs Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.
All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium without specific written permission from and payment to the writer or photographer.    My favorite answer is, "I don't know." I am, after all, an amateur. I've only been birding for seven years — nearly all of which is documented on my Bird Journal.
I've been photographing professionally and semi-professionally and almost always amateurishly since at least 1964. Thanks always to Anna.

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