I'd photographed the white (or one like it) sitting
in the snow several years ago. The online I.Ders call it a China
The pair's bodies
but differently colored. Their face masks are structured the same (think
Klingon swans) but one is orange, the other black. They may be the
same species. I guess.
Neither is in any of my bird books, Texas or America.
Brown Baby Ducks
Also intrigued to note yet another batch of ducklings
floating about Tilly's Point. Very late in the season, I thought, but lovely
in early morning light. Cool but clammy, but that light was gorgeous.
Today's first birds
were a frightened flock of pigeons. I saw them take off in a unified direction,
then circle around over the shore on Sunset Bay five,
six times before I tired of their idiocy. By the fourth go-round I got
decent shots, should have backed off the zoom and gone for pattern duplication
instead of individuals, but hindsight is ever clear. Pretty noble
for flying rats.
Young Great Blue Heron
with Long Reflection
Three, I believe, Great Blue Herons were catching fish
in the immediate vicinity. And two egrets — a subdued Snowy and that
Great we keep seeing with the black spot on its neck.
Oh, and ducks, of course. Always there are ducks doing
duck things. Strange but cute. They often make us laugh.
Bobtailed Grackle Dance
A bob-tailed Grackle doing a skip-hop prance across
the grass. Two steps forward and an errant one stiff-legged back step every
once in a while. Too cool. Weather pleasant, gray clouds overhead blocking
the sun. No rain, but temporary relief. Only up to the mid 90s these days.
The Pattern of Little Feet
I wrenched my ankle yesterday, so I didn't walk at the
lake. Could barely walk around the house. I was ginger with it today, so
we didn't go far. Tomorrow maybe.
Great Blue Heron Flying
Halfway to the Yacht Club
We count herons
when we walk. This morning, we counted a new record of 9 herons
in 1 place at 1 time. Nine. Including Black-crowned
adults and juveniles, Great Blues and Little
Blues, too — all while
carefully excluding Egrets, which we also saw. We couldn't see all the
herons at once. Several flew into the trees.
But we counted nine.
Only 216 shots. With a higher %
of keepers (90) but those include long series of various birds
flapping at slow shutter speeds, because I kept leaving the shutter
had it steadied on a bridge rail, then picking it up
at the last second and clicking away at another fleeting bird.
Never would have happened with my tiny (comparatively)
Sony F707 or one of those Prosumer point-and-shoots with a 12:1 zoom that
I still lust after, because I'd see each shot as it happened on the EVF.
Little Blue Heron
Flying Near Bent Bridge
Lens Reflexes, however,
don't give visual hints. I could bang away without a clue it's
too slow, too dark, too bright, whatever. Had a lot of those today. Guess
I got used to plenty sunlight in the Valley.
It's been cool these mornings back in El
Norte. Still nice on my front porch near noon. I run the
AC the rest of the day, but early ayem's have been lovely lately.
Egret Wet Take-off
Welcoming myself back
to White Rock Lake I shot 364 photographs. Most of which were out of focus.
Pretty much like I was, I suppose, still
snag-lagged from the drive north. Still, I managed a
few sharp shots worth keeping — 17, to be exact.
Love (bird) Fest
Along the way, I saw a remarkable spectrum of birds —
Little Blue, Black-crowned and juvenile Black-crowned
herons, strange egrets,
one Killdeer, a jillion European
a mess of Green Monk Parakeets in
the tower where they live.
Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
It was nice being back, and though I thought I might
be a little bored with the same old birds, I keep discovering
more birds, new birds and new understandings of the same old birds.
Like, just for an instance, this very left leaning bird
of the Great Egret persuasion. What is it down to? Why the lean? More
mysteries to discover, but slowly.
See The Birds (and
the Rio Grande Valley July 13 - 21.
keet nests deep
in dangerous hum
again, this time we visited their
lair in the electric substation. I'd heard and read about special platforms
the electric company (back when we only had one) put in place, so the 'keets
wouldn't nest on the dangerous devices themselves, but they're right there
now. The whole area hums loudly. Comforting, I suppose, for some species.
The keets trek across the pump house area,
over to the boat house, TP Hill and beyond is a morning ritual, between
6 and 7
Angle Iron Keets
Noticed the work of sign-pullers
this ayem. Too many people think it's okay to plant commercial
signs in this City Park. Exploding them may be extreme, but pulling
is acceptable behavior in this noncommercial expanse.
Also saw — briefly — the invisibuh
and photographed one bright red cardinal in a tree near the silly Solar
the people in the big house across the road must have built it, as a fellow
binocs there for a couple months are long gone, so not that much
goes on. The City plans
more of these architecturally wacky intrusions, including one, apparently,
in the middle of Sunset Bay where there's no human access. I assume those
will be likewise dealt with, till all that's left is an ugly
of concrete and more million$ of waste.
Eeg Fish Splash
One wily Great
Egret fishing among the ducks at Sunset Bay was my big photo op
today. At first it seemed every couple
steps netted it another fish.
Eeg Fish Pull
After watching closely, I knew
any change of direction led directly to a head uncoiling, beak into the
And out came another glistening fish. Most consistently successful egret
fishing I've seen.
Egret with neck scar
A half dozen more, and I learned it wasn't till
the food was in their beak that egrets puff out throat and neck
to swallow it. The
difference from slender to stovepipe
Today's flyover was
Green Monk Parakeets. I'd seen glimpses of their green before. Especially
around what used to be called Parrot Bay, now
more or less officially titled Lilly Pad Bay. But this was our best view
We first heard their noisy clatter
along the north side of TP Hill. Squawking and screaming in shrill tree
to tree call and response. When we looked into it, they landed
masse on the
ground, where I got the only good photos, although I kept shooting
as they gathered in tree after tree, hop-scotching over to the boat
house and the Pump House Square beyond.
In the trees over the Boat House, they paired close.
Not for nothing are they called Love Birds.
Barn Swallows? - We couldn't get close enough
to i.d them but flocks of them filled the sky.
Can you tell I found an extremely
detailed map of the lake (tree by tree,
yet). It's future plans, not a current map, but it's beautiful — and
big (1.1 megabyte download) from The City.
40 or more egrets
gathered on and under the dam in the White Rock Lake Spillway early this
morning during the run of yet another
race that blocked off access to Lawther to the Boat House, where I really
wanted to go this early Sunday Morning.
18 Egrets and 1 Heron
the Dam — Lots
I quickly settled for the Spillway when I saw all those
white birds in a row and again felt sad that the City is taking its own
sweet time repairing the portion of the spillway overlook that went downstream
with spring's biggest flood.
Egret Flying Out to Look for Fish
Now, that whole area,
including the parking lot and along-the-edge
sidewalk is fenced off with big Keep Out signs and major gaps in the wall
and fence along the edge of the best bird photographing perch on the lake.
Black-crowned Night Heron
Alighting on the
Not much action under the walking bridge at the bottom
of the spillway, so I
stood along the fence at the top of the hill near the water fountain
and shot nearly three hundred frames of egrets, catching fish, flying around
and fighting among themselves for fishing territory; one Black-crowned
Night Heron and a female flycatcher in the tree just north of there.
I didn't really want to walk, I just wanted to see what
was happening at the lake, and the answer was egrets.
nearly invisible Yellow-crowned
Night Heron among the reeds
Raining, so instead
of driving north in it to continue the White Rock Creek Trail, I settled
for a walk from the Boat House around Parrot Bay to Tilly's
Point (directly across the lake from the Bath House; I think it's Tilly.
They name things without telling anybody, no real procedure, no standards.)
and back. I saw several egrets, a couple in trees (new phenomena to me;
maybe they do that in hot summer too cool off) and one leap-frogged me
around the bend.
broken Red-winged Blackbird
Managed to pull one Yellow-crowned
Night Heron from invisibility among the reeds at Parrot;
watched a Red-wing
Blackbird with a broken wing; a lone Cattle
Egret fly across the lake,
a Great Egret swallow a fish
it'd flown to shore; pass a guy with a caged dog barking while his pickup
blasted noxious rock; seemed
Cattle Egret flying
Nice to be back at the lake. A real breeze,
only splatters of rain. A plastic grocery bag kept the Nikon dry. Cool.
The sun dramatically parting the clouds. And more people than most Monday
ayems but nothing
like a Satty or Sunny.
See Walking the White
Rock Creek Trail.
birds & bird stories on the June, August, September, October and whatever
this month is
Birder's Journals — and our walking journey north along The
White Rock Trail. >>