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The Amateur Birder's Journal - Stories & Photographs by J R Compton
All Contents © 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. DO NOT USE images without permission & payment.
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Special thanks to Jason M. Hogle for expert bird identification assistance and back-stories, usually in purple type added later.

White Rock Lake : June 30

 Female Grackle Stare - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Grackle Stare

Always nice to leave something either beautiful or interesting on the top of the page on the last day of the month. I still find grackles fascinating, so this female drying off after a wild and splashy bath, counts. Those eyes. That stare.

Female Grackle Drying - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Grackle Drying

First the water splashy, then the careful preening to get all the dirt out, then a bit of waggling this part and that part to dry everything out.

Keets at the Hum - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Keets at the Hum

A quick side-stop at The Big Hum netted this homey little scene. I didn't even see the wide-winged bird on top. I was concentrating on the two lower right, whom themselves I could barely seen. The one hugging the strut in middle-right onl appeared when I got this on the monitor. Not terrible, awful composition, but I think I remember a lot more color — in all these shots. But the camera missed that part.

Kildeer Kid at Curb - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Kildeer Kid at Curb

Then I hear this frantic peep-peeping, a piercing electronic noise coming from the other side of the car along the curb. I make a U-turn in the middle of the two-lane road, drive back, jump out of the car, keeping me behind it, so I can do my own peeping out behind, over and to the side of it.

Killdeer Backside - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Kildeer Kid Backside

Clicking away at the long-legged little parcel of little feathers and big stripes, totally unaware of the danger it is in. Parent peeps, Killdeer squirt peeps back and clears the area just as some dufus drives briskly past, totally unaware of the tiny life form darned near under its wheels.

I also photographed them — I think there were three of them, maybe one more — in the grass, but there you can't see those long, spindly legs.

Eeg Fishing in the Lagoon - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Fishing in the Lagoon

Then two egrets in the lagoon. A great, skating across the mud bottom.

Snowy in a Stream of Bubble s - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Snowy in a Stream of Bubbles

And a Snowy Egret transported along its series of bubbles at each careful step.

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Medical Center Rookery

June 28

Playing in Trees - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black-crowned Night-Herons Playing in Trees

First, the joyful images. BCNHs, not long out of the nest, playing in the trees, and obviously having the time of their young lives doing what they'll always do, though usually with much more care and taking a lot more time. Tag in the trees.

BCNH in Tree - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

BCNH Playing in Trees

And Hide 'n Seek.

Black-cronwed Night-Heron - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

BCNH in the Leaves

I know better, but I want to say this bird is smiling at us.

Deep Feeding - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Deep Feeding

Egret parents feeding big babies with their long, long necks, high in the trees where egrets — because of their considerable size — live and eat and grow.

Down the Throat - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Down the Hatch

More for the right babies.

I thought I didn't get any down-the-gullet shots during all this action. I couldn't tell on my fairly large LCD. As usual, to know what I got I gotta throw it up on the screen. Same with the Black-crowns at play. See, try to figure out what exactly's going on, shoot and hope focus will follow. These times, it did. But that's never a given.

Getting Parental Attention - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Getting Parental Attention

While others have to beg for attention. This parental unit on the right has just turned her long neck and back to this comparatively small bird. The reason there's several babies is so that maybe one will survive. They don't all get fed, and they never get fed as much as they want. This is the same insistent 'child' that's trying to snag the parent's attention on the left of the two photos above. Not sure whose those wings are.

Guess Who Wins a Ride to Rogers? - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Guess Who Wins a Ride to Rogers?

Great Egret baby tossed or fell from its nest. Dying on the grass, where we scooped it up and put it in a box headed for Rogers Wildlife

Rescue Me - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Rescue Me, Too

And another bestraggled puppy of a Great Egret. Too hot for comfort.

A Scattering of Feathers - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

A Scattering of Down

I don't mind photographing occasional dead birds, because it's all part of life's circle. But shooting this many dead birds in the rookery was sad and disturbing.

Uh - Oh - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Uh-Oh

Took awhile for us to figure out what this was, hanging high in the trees.

Feathers Hung in Trees - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Feathers in Trees

Unfortunately, it was not the only bird hanging.

Egret Dead - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret Hung in Tree

There were many big and little birds overcome by the unusual heat during hatching season.

Another Dead Egret - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Another Dead Egret

Way too many dead birds. We noticed that "the pond" was nearly empty, except for bodies of dead birds, mostly white.

Jason Hogle agrees: "You found the same heartbreaking scene at the UTSWMC rookery that I discovered Saturday morning. Too much death — even accepting the numbers game of procreation. This early heat has been catastrophic."

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June 27

Spike, The Tricolored Heron - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tricolored Heron Near Its Nest - from May 23

Jason Hogle who often helps us identify birds on this journal, has sent Anna and me some distrubing news about some — and positive news about others — of the birds we've been following at the Medical Center Rookery. As usual — Jason and I have discussed its necesity — I have excised specific information about the location of active nests.

Jason's report:

The Tricolored Heron nest with chicks appears to have failed. I watched it for two hours this morning. There was no sign of life — no chicks, no adults, nothing. The tricolored nest nearest the parking garage also appears abandoned, although I didn't watch it as long.

The nest near _ _ _ is still occupied. The adult was up preening this morning, then back down brooding shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, it's getting too late in the season, and I suspect that nest has also failed. I hope I'm wrong. (Maybe they're just late bloomers.)

The high number of nest failures right now is due to the heat. The very young are dying in large numbers because it got too hot too early, hence all the panting by babies and adults alike. (Interesting tidbit: Two tricolored herons visited Sunset Bay last night and spent the evening hunting all along the confluence and back into the creeks.)

Ibis in Nest - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

White Ibis in Nest

The good news is that there are ibis chicks all along the _ _ _ side of the rookery. They're more easily heard than seen, but there are a few nests low enough to offer glimpses as the little ones bob up and down and chatter away. Just listen for the high-pitched warbling whistles, then let your eyes follow your ears.

Also, cattle egret chicks are popping up everywhere. They're still awfully small, but little heads poking up over the edges of nests and parents feeding them are two increasing sights.

What's sad about the new arrivals is that both species are hatching during our unusual heat. If our temperatures don't go down a bit (closer to normal), I think many of the young will no doubt perish).

Jason has made significant identification corrections for this and last month. Just find the purple text down these two months for more bird info, some that answers this amateur's long-standing confusions.

After the Killdeer parents removed every piece of their nest near _ _ _ , he told me that, despite that nest's location so near the human population, those parents will probably consider that placement successful, and will likely return. I wonder what the Tricolored Herons will decide about nesting this far from The Coast?

Earlier This Week

at white rock lake

Kingbird with Big Buzzer - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Western Kingbird with Big Buzzer

I promised I show you these earlier this week when I photographed the elegant Great Egret. Then I forgot. These are the best of those. Possibly my favorite shots of that prolific day were of this kingbird trying to eat this enormously loud buzzing bug that I could not identify, but reader Susan P could.

It is, she says, "a cicada, but I can't tell which kind. Around my house, not too far from the lake, they are green with white bellies. To me, it's a sound that's as Texas as mockingbirds, but not loved by everybody!"

Buzzer Balance - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Kingbird Blancing Buzzing Cicada

It's captor balanced it, flung it back and forth, tried several times — all very unsuccessfully to put it down its throat. But all the bug did was buzz and buzz and buzz. Annoyingly loud. Finally, I watched as the bird flung it down in disgust. Then it just stood there for a long time, staring down where the bug went.

Says Jason, "Wow! I love the western kingbird trying to eat the larger-than-life cicada. As Susan P pointed out, those insects are common around here, although I can't give you the definite species since they have to be keyed (by eye color, head, thorax and abdomen color, overall size, wing venation, etc.). We have several common species around here, not to mention the few species that only show up every 7-15 years (those are called the "brood" species)."

Flap & Screetch - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Flap & Screech

Actually, I way too far to hear this particular bird utter any sound. It just looks like it's screeching. I got no proof it actually did. It'd probably help if I knew who it was. But All the markings I'd know it by are on its other sides. I'll do some book research then ask Jason. The lower bird in the next photo looks similar, but not to the illustration on Sibley's online, so I don't know. I'm still guessing all three are Western Kingbirds or one gender, age or whatever. But what do I know?

Jason Hogle says: "That's a hard one to pin down. I won't venture a guess since there are many possibilities. As you noted, the diagnostic data is on the sides and back of the bird. Also, relative size is hard to make out from the photo. There are two wood-warbler and several tyrant flycatcher species that come to mind (among a few other groups). Still, I could only offer random possibilities."

Yellow-bird Frolicking - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Western Kingbirds Frolicking

These weren't shot chronologically close, but they look similar. I followed them from tree to tree, kept missing them or fuzzing the focus, till this shot of the upper one hovering over the tree and the other flashing yellow in the sun.

Expert birder Jason Hogle says: "Watching--and listening to--this kind of interaction is terribly fun. It often looks like they're trying to pummel each other. Sometimes you can see three or four of them involved in this exchange."

RWBB - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-winged Blackbird in Its Kingdom

I see more Red-winged Blackbirds than anything else every day I visit the meadows. They stand up on something tall looking down like Ozymandias

RWBB Proclaiming - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Another RWBB Proclaiming

Then they let loose with a feathery-body all-out release and it calls its call, proclaims in claims.

Parakeet in the Grass - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Green On Green - Monk Parakeet on the Grass

I'd just had a cross-the-path conversation with a guy walking who asked about the parrots. Parakeets I corrected, remembering KERA FM's Everything You Ever Wanted to Know's definitive pronuncement that these green guys at White Rock Lake are parrots when they're not.

They are Monk Parakeets, and they live in The Big Hum (shortened to "The Hum" on the lower left of our Annotated Map of White Rock Lake.) up the hill behind the Pumphouse. Nice conversation, then I encountered these greenies and had the devil of a time getting my lens to focus on them, green on green and in the dark shade that they were.

Killdeer Drinking - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

May Be a Killdeer Drinking

It might be drinking, or else it was digging in the mud under water along the shore. It later brought something up. Small, dark, round and generally way out of focus, or I'd show it here.

Says pro birder Jason Hogle: "May Be a Killdeer Drinking" is a really cool photo (it has great angular momentum!). I'm curious if the killdeer was drinking then found something of interest (whatever it pulled up out of the water), or if it was hunting to begin with." Me, too.

Killdeer Chick - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Killdeer Chick Elsewhere

Earlier along Lawther around the lake from Garland Road past Garland Bridge, I saw baby Killdeer exploring the new world.

Baby Killdeer - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Baby Killdeer

And posing for photographs. Seems like each new bunch of Killdeer babies I find are a tiny bit older than the ones before, although all appear to be in the range of days, rather than weeks old. I suspect by the time they are weeks old, I won't be able to teel them apart from adults. One thing it probably means is that Killdeer continue to make nests and raise young in the most precarious of places — very near humans running, jumping and picnicking.

Killdeer Parental Unit - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Killdeer Parental Unit

While being carefully watched over by its adults.

Meadow in the Sun - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Winfrey Meadow in Early Morning Sunlight

June 25

Sibley's Guide to Birds, the bird identification book that's nearly always on the top of my stack, is now online at http://sibley.enature.com/ with smallish but enlargeable pictures, full descriptions and bird call audio. Nice implementation and unlike the book, free.

 Angle-headed GBH - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Angle-necked Great Blue Heron

One of the troubles of early is it's dark. I was there minutes after six this ayem, wondering if cops let anybody be there before the 6 ayem they tell lovers parking the park is closed midnight to six. And there were dozens out already, trying to catch the cool before it rivered into sweat. Selective enforcement. Dark light means slow exposures and inevitable blurs.

Stabbing a Fish - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Stabbing a Fish

First bird I saw to sneak up on was a big Great white Egret, and I snuck in on it good, discovering in the shadows the Bay Gray catching little fish and switched my attentions full time to it for long, dark minutes.

Bringing it Up - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bringing It Up

Sun's not out there this early, so photos are blurry. Trouble is, if I've not sneaked out there by then, I'll miss the show. Closing in on the Gray today, I crawled belly-up along the length of the pier, whenever it wasn't looking my way, through the since-dried silt still left from the monster rains.

Back Fishing Again - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Intent on More Fish

Gradually, more light shone out there, and I saw a familiar shape much nearer, on the pier's left wing. I carefully turned to aim that way, placed the Rocket Launcher on one of the pier's piers, so it was solid, and I popped up the flash, to capture ...

Sudden Green Heron - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sudden Subtle Green Heron

My summer First-of-Season Green Heron. I'd been thinking about them the last week or so. Wondering where they'd gone, since I'd seen several in widely distributed places, Arlington and here much earlier this spring.

GH on Branch - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Green Heron on Branch

Fill-flash — what I still like to call "Synchro-Sunlight," though there wasn't much of that silvery stuff out there in the broad shade of all the trees in Sunset Bay. Yet.

Silver-eyed Green Heron - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

"Silver-eyed Heron"

The major drawback using flash in early darkness, is catching them at the wrong angle when their eyes are open and the flash fills them with reflective silver, making them look unnatural.

Associating with Known Ducks - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Associating with Known Ducks

Last I saw that heron on the ground, it was associating with known ducks along the muddy flats out to the water's edge.

One of Two - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

One of Two

Green Herons flying over the bay out toward Dreyfuss. I wondered if the one I'd photographed earlier had found a friend, or if they were even related.

Fishin' Again - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Fishing Again

My Great Blue Heron, meanwhile, now in brighter light, was back fishing again. A constant struggle for its daily sustenance.

Snowy Scenario - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Snowy Scenario

I'd noticed a flurry of soft white on the logs out in the middle of Sunset Bay, turned my camera that way to see.

Trading Places - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Trading Places

One disappear, and the other set off on a journey.

The Return of Mr. Fluffy - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Return of Mr. Fluffy

Mr. Disappeared — a.k.a. Mr. Fluffy — came right around back and settled on the log the first Snowy'd just left.

And Gone - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

And Gone

And Snowy #1 disappeared into the distance across the lake toward Green Heron Park. See map.

Constant Grooming - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Constant Grooming

And closer in, on this side, the Bay Gray was concentrating on the other great constant of its life, grooming.

June 23

 Egret Stepping - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret Stepping

Shot more than 400 images this early, cool morning at my lake. Most of my time at and around Winfrey — calling it a point is only true looking down from a satellite. When I'm there, it's a long, gradual curve around that big hill. Then an image of a small bird at the boat ramp across the lagoon from the Old Boat House, entered my mind, so I drove there while the Check Engine light flashed on my dashboard, and I found this exquisite creature.

Egret Fluff - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret Shake, Twist and Fluff

This was my first one-to-one encounter with an egret, especially this close, in months, maybe all this year, though those memories tend to blur and stretch.

Instead of taking the time to work up all the good shots from today, I'm going to divvy them out over the next several days, so I can apply myself to tasks that are piling up. Might help regulate my wake/sleep cycle some, too. Oh, and there's a term for what I've been calling ruffling that I saw on a DVD, but I forget what it was.

Then there's my car that's dying after 19 years. I'm hoping to get a much better but more expensive one later, but I need something that will provide reliable transportation till then. Anyone out there have a used Corolla that drives good, gets adequate MPG and the AC works? Email me at the address linked at the top of the page. Thanks.

Egret Beak Open - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

They don't say much. Maybe it's hot.

Sometimes they croak hoarsely. I hear it when I inadvertently frighten them. They fly away slowly, croaking gruffly like an old guy with issues. I've got sneaky in the last few years of serious birding. But not sneaky enough. I still scare them away sometimes. I kept sneaking closer to this one, but it didn't seem to mind. It was too busy slowly, carefully, painstakingly stepping across the boards.

Just Landed - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Just Landed

This is a second egret. Usually, they leave the area a photographer is busy in. This one saw the first one, step, step, stepping around on that floating pier, and flew in, anyway. I doubt it saw me, though. Both's presence quickly developed into a competitive situation. That may be why this one dropped in.

Egret Convergence - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret Convergence

The interloper did not stay long. It was flown at head-long, and it departed in a speedy and elongated manner. With haste.

The Chase - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

First Egret Landing

So the first egret aimed directly at where the second egret landed, while the second egret was busy egressing.

Egret Escape - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret Escape

They're so beautiful, whatever they're doing, and I'd finally got the exposure spot on.

Egret Landing

Then the first egret landed right there in all its elegant beauty.

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June 22

Spotty Front - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Juvenile Northern Mockingbird

After spending most of my day hiding under an air-conditioner well away from any windows, I was amazed how many birds were active this hot, hot, hot afternoon. It may have been the year's hottest day yet. Might even have got to 100 degrees F. I dunno because I don't listen to human weatherpersons. If I could get birds to talk to me about it, I'd get much better forecasts. These guys know weather.

Wish I knew who this was. but I'll figure it out eventually. Pretty sure it's not a mockingbird or a grackle, my usual mis-IDs, and it's probably not a martin, although there were thousands of those everywhere I looked today.

Wrong again, or how would I ever learn. This is, Jason Hogle tells me, "a juvenile Northern Mockingbird. The breast spots fade quickly as they grow older. This one is probably recently fledged and may have had a truncated tail." Of course, always being right, like perfection, is unlikely and largely unhelpful. Nice to have someone who knows backing me up.. Jason will bring more corrections and identifications after he gets a break. Thanks, Jason.

 Female Martins on the Line - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Martins on the Line

I'd been wondering how I managed to miss them this year, and then I realized they are here now.

Fem Martins Flyover - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Juvenile Martin Flying Over Fast

Photographing them en masse on a telephone wire was easy. Catching one sharp and in any semblance of focus flying over was quite a trick. I like how the sun's cast a shadow of this one's feet on its flap-down wing.

Martin Dad Delivery Food - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Martin Dad Delivery Service

I think I saw this guy catch that bug. Of course I didn't get a shot of it, and I can't tell what kind of bug it is, but once it suddenly zagged when I thought it was about to zig, it flew straight —,

Home Delivery B - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dinner Delivery B

to a nearby tree where a hungry juvenile martin stood eagerly waiting.

Feeding - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dinner Delivery C

But I seriously muffed focus on the actual beak-to-beak delivery.

Swimmer - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Biker Bath

This guy had parked his bike against a nearby picnic table, divested several items of clothing there, and was swimming and floating in our fair lake, where it's been illegal to swim since, depending on whose story you believe, Polio hit America or Integration did. It looked delicious cool and comfy. I'd never thought about floating in White Rock before, and I'm not sure where I could hide the Rocket Launcher while I did it, but it sure seems a worthy intermediate goal.

Tree Fulla Martins - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tree Fulla Martins

There were Purple Martins on the phone wires,

More Martins - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Martins Closer Up

Purple Martins massing in the sky

Martin Flurry CU - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Martin Flurry Close-up

And Purple Martins filling up whole trees down from the tops.

Mockingbird Flying Low - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mockingbird Flying Low

Yet plenty other bird species were all around.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

"The Mighty Longtail Hunter"

Including this amazing hunter, who was happy to pose on a rusting hulk of metal for me, but soon as he got aloft, he'd fool me with up and down, and any direction. Wherever I pointed the Rocket Launcher, the bug hunter was somewhere else.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Flying - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Flying A

He fast. I only caught up with one or another of them a spare few times today down in the Winfrey Meadow hotbetd of bird life.

Scissortail Flying - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Flying B

And when I did, I was happy. For a moment or two till I'd try again.

Scissortail Gaining Altitude - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Gaining Altitude

And when I didn't, I made the image small, so it would look sharp even if it wasn't.

Bug Struggle A - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bug Struggle A

So, of course, I missed it when this guy jumped off the wire, caught a big bug, then brought it back.

Bug Struggle B - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bug Struggle B

But I was right there shooting up while he struggled to get that big ole bug into his little beak and down its smallish throat.

Bug Struggle C - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bug Struggle C

Squash it out, peel it back, and ...

 Bug Swallow - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Amazing Bug Swallower

Widen its throat in a miniature of a egret or heron's throat-thickening and hunk it down.
 

New pix by Anna at Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation below.

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June 21

Anhinga Chicks - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Anhinga and Chicks

It was a good day for babies. Jason showed us where were some Anhinga chicks — our first, who had already attained some size, so they could be seen over the edge of their nest, even looking up. Many other species of chicks could not.

Blue Runt - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Little Blue Runt

We assumed this little, bluish (It's skin was literally that color.) egret (not a Little Blue Heron) had been pushed from the nest, just a few feet from the path. By parent or sibling, it hardly mattered; it was nt going to be picked up or returned. It looked pittiful and unlikely to live, but Anna found a box at a nearby store, put (Well, we're calling it Bud, because that's what kind of box Anna found.) in it with a matching blue towel, and drove it to Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation in Hutchins, south of Dallas.

Egret Sibs - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret Siblings

Much healthier egret siblings in nest.

Little Egret Beaks - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Little Egret Mouths to Feed

Same birds with gaping mouth.

BCNH Reaching for Something - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black-crowned Night Heron Reaching Way Down

Adult Black-crowned Night-Heron reaching waaaaay down for something. Turned out to be a chunk of branch, which it flew off to its nest with.

Cattle Egret Missile - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cattle Egret Missile

Guided variety.

White Ibis Flying - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

White Ibis

Lots of birds in the rookery this morning.

Peacock - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Squawking Peacock

And lots more at Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation, too.

Little Blue About to Jump Down  

Little Blue About to Jump Down

And where lots of old friends were: the healed ...

Ready for Delivery - copyright 2009 J R Compton and Anna Palmer. All Rights Reserved.

Scraggly Blue Egret on a Blue Towel

And we hoped our new friend would be, too.

Scruffy Blue Jays

Scruffy Blue Jays

... and the healing. Little and ...

Rescued Pelicans

Rescued Pelicans

big birds, too.

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June 19

Female Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Female Wood Duck on the Sunset Bay Pier

More Wood Ducks on the pier this morning. Several — the more interesting to me just now — females. I was eager over the last couple of days watching ducks molt, to see how the always lovely female Wood Ducks were doing. The males still parade themselves back and forth in single-gender groups, but females have been much less conspicuous lately. I missed them.

Wings-up Female Woodie - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wings-up Female Wood Duck

It's not always the case, but often, when I use this smaller size image (555 pixels wide, instead of the usual 777 pixels), it's because the original was not as sharp as I'd like it to have been. Sometimes I use it when the subject matter is less interesting or boring, but necessary. This young lady was far — I was tiptoeing up the pier from the shore side — and small. If I'd got her sharp, she'd be starring in a larger image.

Arty Jump - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Wood Duck Jump

When she jumped into the air, what semblance of focus I had achieved was lost forever in action, and it only got worse. I hope this image is informative, since it never quite made it as arty.

Wood Winging - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wood Winging

Then, this image, led to the next one.

Female Mallard Flying - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Mallard Flying

Now, leading into summer, it's the female of Mallards who is the more colorful. When flying and that one wing patch shows.

Mallard Pair - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Molting Mallard Pair

Purple counts more for color than brown. Here, the usually green head of the male mallard is deep brown to black with no sign of iridescence. Neither of my two top — they're on the top of my bird book stack — bird books acknowledges this colorlessness of head and brown spottiness of body as an actual seasonal variety, but there it is. I knew I'd seen them, apparently until today, I hadn't photographed them

Mallard Profile - copyright 2006 . All Rights Reserved.

Mallard 2006

And here's a Mallard profile from April 2006 for comparison.

Wood Duck Eclipse Pair - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pair of Wood Duck in Eclipse Plumage

I think I've got that right, "in eclipse plumage." I'm struggling with terminology and understanding seasonal plumage changes. I used to call it "featheration," but that's just silly and kinda stupid. Watching Wood Ducks is part of what makes bird watching such an aesthetic experience, and when they change plumage, even more so. Handsome couple!

Wood Pair in Sunlight - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wood Duck Pair in Eclipse Plumage in Daylight

Their blue bits show up great in shade, but even in nearly all brown in bright sunlight (in Sunset Bay) they look great.


I've been adding photos to various dates below, and we've finally identified the two cute baby egrons (somewhere between an egret and a heron) Anna shot on June 14th.

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June 18

Little Blue Fledge - copyringht 2009 Anna Palmer

Little Blue Heron Fledge

The high point for me, as I write this about Anna's photographs at the Medical Center Rookery when I was at home dealing with contractors, are her photographs of very young Little Blue Herons. Like this one.

Little Blue Heron Kid - copyright 2009 Anna Palmer

Little Blue Heron Kid

We've had photographs of youngish Little Blue Herons — especially from the Our Lady of the Lake rookery in San Antonio, where Little Blue Herons (not yet blue) and little Cattle Egrets were almost indistinguishable — before. But these are this site's first home-grown LBH chicks.

Tricolored Heron Cry - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tricolored Heron

Not sure what this Tricolor parent is up to. It's hot there, it could be panting in the steaming air. It might be uttering a cry. Its cousins the Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets make a croaking sound when they're upset. I'm not even sure if this one was upset. I wasn't there.

Cattle Egret on Nest - copyringt 2009 Anna Palmer

Cattle Egret on Nest

This was another one of those notorious, long-way-away, tiny portion of a large image at high ISO shots that show us a Cattle Egret parent on the nest. Anna shot these, and I worked them up for presentation here.

BCNH Chicks - copyright 2009 Anna Palmer

Black-crowned Night-Heron Chicks

And here are two young Black-crowneds still in the nest, but adding stripes by the day and growing toward the time they will fly away.

Juvenile Blue Jay - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Looking Prehistoric and Strange at the Rookery

It could have been a cuckoo or something stranger. Sure looks that way, but what it is is a juvenile Blue Jay. So in addition to Great, Snowy and Cattle Egrets, Little Blue, Black-crowned Night- and Tricolored Herons, White Ibis and Anhingas, the Medical Center Rookery provides nesting for Blue Jays.

June 17

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Preening Wings - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Preening Its Wings

Not a morning person, today I just stayed up. I knew if I tried a nap, I'd still be sleeping. My sleep's disturbing enough already. So I was at the lake about 7 this ayem.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on Wire - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Dangling Long Tail

And loved its 76 degrees F weather, everything's prettier in the morning, like it sometimes is in the amber of evening. Same angles of sunlight involved. There was a slight breeze.

Scissor-tail Resting - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Resting

If some days are diamonds and some are dust, today was glittering with crushed carbon.

Scissor-tail Shows Its Tail - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Scissor-tail Shows its Tail

I felt lucky to have found the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on the wire leading down the hill toward Sunset Bay from upper Winfrey Point. Then this one landed on a post along the side of the little road I call Mockingbird Road and let me and Blue coast to within a few feet of it.

Scissor-tail 3 2 1 Jump - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Scissor-tailed Flycatchers About to Jump

One of my favorite sports it to catch birds as they are about to jump into flight. It tells so much more about the bird than them just standing there looking pretty. Like the little bird a couple days ago, jumping up, not even bothering, yet, to stretch, let alone flap, its wings, certain of its trajectory, fully confident of flight.

This one is putting effort into it, already flapping blurs of wings, leaning into it, its feet firm on the top of the post.

Female Red-winged Blackbird with Dragonfly - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Red-winged Blackbird with Dragonfly

I saw this RWBB catch this dragonfly, though I didn't know what it'd caught till I got it in proper size on my monitor. Of course, there was never any hope of capturing that swift, sudden turn of direction and clamp-down capture on silicone. I raced back to where I saw it land in the tall weeds along the shore, hoping I could get a glimpse before it swallowed, and I got one shot before it set out for someplace more secure, with something to grab onto and chew.

Egret Flying Away - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret Flying Away

Was this tall, beautiful Great Egret fishing near the shore in Sunset Bay, but all my shots of it standing there were just so ordinary. When it flew away, they got slightly better.

Mr. Wood in His Summer Eclipse - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Wood Duck in Summer Eclipse Plumage

I'd hoped to get closer to the summer eclipse Wood Ducks I shot from afar last time, but didn't expect them to be waiting for me on the pier as I was sneaking up on my favorite Great Blue Heron, "The Sunset Gray." I feel impelled to again tell you GBHs sometimes live to be 23 years old, and they keep going back to the same place to fish.

Summer Eclipse Male Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Between Modes Male Wood Duck

My Dashboard Dictionary defines "eclipse" as "a phase during which the distinctive markings of a bird (especially a male duck) are obscured by molting of their breeding plumage." That's what's going on here. Still colorful and pretty, but the arrangement differs.

Wood Duck Jump - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wood Duck Jump

After indulging me and my camera awhile, both Wood Ducks flew away, this one showing its under-wing glory.

Eclipse and Regular Wood Ducks - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Summer Eclipse and Non eclipse Wood Ducks with one, larger Mallard

A mix of plumages. Right to left: A Mallard with green head — many appear dark, black or gray, enduring their own molt; a male Wood Duck in near-full breeding plumage, then two more males in summer eclipse.

Mallard Molt - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Doing the Mallard Molt

Lot of ducks are changing colors one way or another.

The Bay Gray - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

"The Bay Gray"

Int it handsome?

I've missed seeing my favorite Great Blue Heron. Bird Squadders report seeing it in the later evenings, but I haven't seen it in the hot old afternoons in a long time. Today, I watched it preen and stab splashing into the water a couple times, but if it caught anything, it was small. I didn't see it.

Sunset Gray Flying with Flaps Down - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Flaps Down Flying

After a long time of not catching anything in its spot a few dozen yards off the dock that's no longer under water, "The Sunset Gray" flew out to the logs in the middle of the bay ...

Flat-out - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Flat-out Great Blue Heron

... to one of its other spots, and continued preening and looking for food.

GBH Flying Wings Up - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Blue Heron Flying Away

Farther away, where turtles watch.

The Morning Sun - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Morning Sun Captured in a Faraway Building

This was actually today's first shot, but since there's no birds in it, it was relegated down here. Pretty, though. Guy at the car fixit joked that "a lens like that," pointing to the Rocket Launcher (He a guy who had operated a real rocket launcher, which apparently is only a little longer than mine.) "could do close-up details across the lake," but this is about as close as it got.

June 16

Summer Eclipse Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Summer Eclipse Wood Duck

Looked odd but was pretty far out in the lake. I'd only been gone a day, but maybe because of the upper 90-degree F weather, it felt like longer, and I was happy to be back, although 5 pm is a lousy time to find birds.

Mallard Juvenile - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mallard Juvenile

It's too hot for man or bird that late in the aft.

LBB - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female House Sparrow

Although some birds were active. Since it was closely associating with the following birds, it seems likely this is a female whatever those are. Resident bird-identifying expert Jason Hogle confirms the identity of what I first called a "little brown bird," all the more likely because the next two images in the same place are male House Sparrows.

House Sparrow - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

House Sparrow - Profile

And what I think these are are House Sparrows.

House Sparrow - back view - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

House Sparrow Back View

Showing remarkable color on a burning hot day like today.

Brown Goose with Large Dewlap - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Goose with Large, Flapping Dewlap

This guy honked at me a bit as I stood on the pier at Sunset Bay and it swam by.

Eastern Kingbird - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Eastern Kingbird

And usually, I see these as strictly black and white, but here, as it is, in its own deep shade, it has variations in those tones.

Cliff Swallow Escape - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Swallow Escape

Before hanging out with the Cliff Swallows below, I would have immediately jumped to the conclusion these were all Barn Swallows, but I think these are Barn Swallows, because of the usually not seen white band across their tails (like the one on the left above)

Cliff Swallows have little, white areas in front of their foreheads and behind their beaks, instead of solid, dark blue-black there, though you can't see it in this shot.

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June 15

Cliff Swallow Flyby - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cliff Swallow Fly-by

After dropping my car off at the fixit again this morning, Anna drove us to the Cliff Swallow House again. I only later figured out that I'd need my medium telephoto lens or the Rocket Launcher with a big flash.

But I didn't have anything but a dinky 50mm lens, so I shot these images. Fun to use a lens that focuses that fast, though, and it's a sharp little lens that I used to capture this Cliff Swallow streaming by.

Two Other Baby Swallows - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Baby Swallows in a Nest

All of both of our shots today are big enlargements. To do this right, I'd have to set up a tripod at an angle with a telephoto lens, so I could just start shooting when a parent hooves into view, licitly away, and hope to catch that one millisecond when its jamming food into Baby's face.

I'd be fascinating to watch them big enough to figure out more about them. Right now they are puffy soft little bodies with big beaks, and their only job is to get big enough to fly the coop and catch their own dinners.

Hungry Baby - copyrignt 2009 Anna Palmer

Hungry Baby Waiting to Get Filled Up

Parents, meanwhile, are crisscrossing the sky filling their beaks with bugs for the babies, whom they swoop in to feed often. Standing in the barely walled building is exciting, having swallows swoop past us up into the ceiling. A righteous bird moment or two.

Feeding Baby - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Feeding Baby

Here a parent is stuffing baby's beak with bugs. There might be an angle to photo both faces, but it'd be difficult, since the parents head is poked well into the hole of the mud nest.

Another Satisfied Customer - copyright 2009 Anna Palmer.

Another (Briefly) Satisfied Customer

Hers show those all-important little beaks wide open, with their bright big targets parental units are not likely to miss.See the big yellow grin. Look how puffy it is. Parent has just turned to see the way out, moments from swooping out to catch some more morsels for junior.

There's a lot of really bad shots of Cliffies on the internet (But this is the best shot I found on the net.), so these seem plausible now. Anna was shooting with her Sony H1's 38-380mm (35mm equivalent) zoom, so she got in as much as 7.5 times closer and more detailed.

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June 14

Mystery Chicks - copyright 2009 by Anna Palmer. All Rights Reserved.

Mystery Chicks are Little Blue Herons

Too busy writing art crit and processing photos from yester's art tour, I stayed home while Anna visited the Medical Center Rookery early this ayem, capturing several egron (egrets and/or herons) babies, including this one, which baffled our identifications several times.

Neither Peterson's nor Sibley's shows babies. Neither does National Geographic or anybody else I have books from. Guess nobody ever has to i.d babies without their parents around. Jason says these two baby birds are little Little Blue Herons, and Anna and I agree.

I think that makes these the first Little Blue Herons this little to make it into these pages. Let's celebrate.

BCNH Chicks - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black-crowned Night Heron Chicks

My camera worked well yester but was busy drying the days before. The AC treatment worked. I'd not seen advice to AC it, and thinking it through, wonder at the logic, but it worked, and my D300 worked flawlessly through the hot out to cold AC in and back to 90-plus-degree mugginess all day, so I'll be back for birds Tuesday, as usual my bird week's first day.

June 11

 Ducks in the Boat House Parking Lot - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Ducks in the Boat House Parking Lot

Lake was wetter than usual. Inundated. We decided to meet at the Old Boathouse, because I hadn't been there in awhile, but just getting to it was a chore. And somewhere along the way, my best camera, safely bucked into my passenger seat was soaked. Though and through.

So I stuck paper towels into its accessible orifices, then took it home and opened all its little doors and sat it in the opposite of its position in Blue's seat. And waited. It didn't work at all Thursday, into the wee hours by candlelight. I wanted to turn on the AC, but without electricity for 30 hours, that was difficult.

[A day later, today as I write this and post these, the meter worked three times today and just now (1 p.m.) there's clicking of the shutter, mirror pop, all that amazing simultaneous mechanical stuff. The lenses focus themselves, so that's no watermark (pun intended). It shot a couple shots, then wouldn't anymore, so I'll park it in front of the new AC set on cold and hope...] But it was blank at the lake, so I borrowed back my D200 and set about documenting birds in the flood.

To the Other Side - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

To The Other Side

These are of the large lower parking lot for the Boathouse. Idiot drivers kept hauling down the ramp expecting to go somewhere, braking suddenly, then just staring, seeing for the first time what lay ahead, water where used to be concrete and grass. Minutes later, another blind driver would join in.

Ramp Down to It - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Ramp Down to It

It was thoroughly disconcerting, but nothing about it was hidden. Anna saw it from the get go, and we parked in an uphill slot instead.

Bridge End with Birds - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bridge End

The Boathouse Bridge was nearly underwater all the way across. There was no "under the bridge" left, and the path on the far end, like many paths at the lake today, was under water.

Befuddled Barnswallow - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Befuddled Barn Swallow

This little guy — a Barn Swallow with some bit of food resting comfortably in its beak — looked befuddled. Swallows and Martins usually zip over and under the bridge chasing insects. I've seen them stop after hunting awhile with a beak full of bugs. Not sure what this one's got, but the bird looked flummoxed by the water level. Tamer than usual, too. It did not seem to mind posing for pictures of it and its plight.

I know the feeling. No electricity in my neighborhood all day Thursday, until 5 this morning. So much to do. Couldn't even turn on a computer or an AC.

As Jason Hogle notes, "Barn swallows build their nests under a lot of the bridges around the lake — including the one over Dixon Branch near Buckner and the one by the old paddle boat house. Considering how flooded it was, I suspect the nests and chicks drowned — and the swallow being tamer than usual meant it was likely panicked about its nest and offspring. Very unfortunate."

Sparrow Jump - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

"Sparrow" Jump

Not sure what bird this is, but it's jumping into flight, nonplused its wings aren't into it yet. Jason calls this "a really entertaining photo" and idntifies her as a female House Sparrow.

Redwing Murky - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Redwing Over Murky Waters (Look, no islands.)

Lot of habitat under water, but birds fly over it.

Teen Brood - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Teen Brood

Or swim though it, nearly unconcerned.

Slippery When Wet - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Slippery When Wet

We liked the sign in the former park on the south side of Parrot Bay, or should I say, in it.

Take Lock Hide - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Lock   Take   Hide

More on the northern side of the Parrot. We took lots more flood shots — several of lonely islands of bridges and piers and park benches staring out into a universe of water everywhere, but after a while, they all look the same. More water than a lake can hold.

Remember - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Remember the Tight Wave Shot of This Scene the Day Before?

We wondered whether the bozos concretizing the spillway were keeping the level high to keep themselves and their progress dry. Do you suppose the City's planners planned on rain this big?

June 10

 Life Guard Station - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Martin House Moments Before the Storm

It rained today, and instead of staying safe, secure and dry in my cubby-hole, I went off to the lake to see how the birds were handling it. I was under this martin house when the storm actually hit where I was. Swoosh. These guys knew it was coming, and were flapping around, heading here or there. Like a lot of people, coming a little unglued with the storm coming in.

Jason Hogle calls this shot "simply beguiling and beautiful! ... The colors are ominous, and the birds flitting around the house seem to add to the feeling of impending doom."

Literalist Dallas art bureaucrat Gail Sachson wrote about this photograph in her KERA blog about the 15 (th anniversary) show at The MAC. She called it black & white, showed it out of focus, purple and cropped so strangely that it includes part of the frame, and you might not recognize it from the original above. She also compared it with Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, which is apt.

Crying Bridge - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Crying Bridge

Standing under the Mockingbird Bridge photographing the Singing Bridge through the wash off the road above. Nice to walk around and get the right (?) angle with it swishing and pounding and splooshing every whichaway.

Beaks into the Rain - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Beaks into the Rain

Ducks are pretty stalwart about rain. Aim head and body into it, and endure.

Pretty View of the Bridge - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pretty View of the Bridge

I'd never thought to photograph this view of this end of the Singing Bridge before. Mother of invention and all that. Here, pointed that way, I didn't get drenched every time I opened my window in Blue.

Ducks and Gooses - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Adult Mallards and Young Gooses

You can see the partially bald spots on the Mallards' breasts where they've been bashing them into each other during mating season. Rain makes allies of us all.

Rain through Trees - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Rain Through Trees

Tornados touched down north of here. It was wet and windy. Fiercely so for awhile. Then it calmed somewhat, but the rain continued.

Duck Shake - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Duck Shake

Twisting to flip off the soak of rain, this goose or duck or whatever it is — hard to tell, and I was hurrying the cam and lens (my 19-year-old slow auto-focus 180mm f/2.8, sharp as blazes, wide for darkness, long for challenges) in and out of the recalcitrant window on Blue, not busy identifying water fowl.

Life Guard Platform - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Lifeguard Platform

In the 1950s, before Integration and Polio, that platform was for lifeguards. There's concrete on the bottom out to it still. Very slippery. The yellowish poles are an art piece, the storm was driving surface water in tight fast waves. The wind was vicious and wet.

 

 

 

Storm Watchers - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Storm Watchers Minutes Before It Hit

Before the sky let go of all that rain and wind, it forewarned. This shot from that place where cars tend to bottom out. Dip, indeed! Up toward the look-out over the Bath House and the lake at its widest.

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June 9

 Kildeer Baby Running - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Killdeer Baby Running

Killdeer was about the last species I expected to find more of today. Nor had I any idea I'd find the next step up in age and ability. But I'm delighted it happened. Fascinated by an old friend's description of them at this age as cotton balls on toothpicks, I wanted to see just how apt her portrayal was.

Kildeer Baby Standing in the Middle - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Baby Killdeer Standing in the Middle of the Walking Path

Pretty close. This little bird standing there in the big way of bicyclists who barely look where they're going scared the poo outta me, but I'm learning that where Killdeer choose to have their young makes zero sense in a human world. I'm guessing these are not many hours older than the less-than-a-day-old hatchlings Jason photographed last week. [Just below.]

Out Standing In Its Field - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Out Standing in its Field

Of course, these are from a different family, too — although the parents were just as loud and protective. These were taken in Sunset Bay proper, just down the road from Winfrey, where Jason's babies were.

Pausing for the Photographer - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pausing for the Photographer

I assume these are slightly older, because they are running and not tripping over their own legs and feet. And they were running fast. Almost too fast for me and the Rocket Launcher to keep up, until they paused to pose for the photographer. Dig the tiny little stump of a wing and scraggly little tail. Ain't it cute?

Most of my pix of them running like crazy in every direction were too blurry to show. All of them were way far away and seriously over-exposed thanks to low blood sugar I only figured out much later, then fixed.

Doves Off Wire - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Doves OFf Wire

I thought I was about to photograph two doves standing close on the high wire down the hill from Winfrey, but what I got was scads better than what I thought I was planning. Nice of photography to do that sometimes. Bird identifying expert Jason Hogle says these are Mourning Doves.

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June 5 Again

First One Out of the Nest - copyright 2009 by Jason M. Hogle. All Rights Reserved

One of the Two Already Out of the Nest

Wow! Remember our hatchling and baby Killdeer still in their nest? [below] Well, Jason Hogle, who directed us to the nest, got great photographs of them running around the meadow a couple hours after we got shots of them still in the nest and Anna got video of the parents protecting them.

So I finally get to see the babies. So very pleased about that. Hope you are, too. That's what I was hoping for all along. Nice that I get to see them, even though I wasn't there when they separated from the nest.

This one is one of the first two out of the nest.

The second one out of the nest - copyright 2009 Jason M. Hogle. All Rights Reserved.

Second Killdeer Out of the Nest

Jason says this is "The second one already out of the nest, although this one stayed closer until I got out of the car, at which point it vanished into the wildflowers." Note the amazing detail Jason got in the legs and feathers all around this tiny little fluffy body.

Two Who Were Still in the Nest - Photograph Copyright 2009 by Jason M. Hogle. . All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Last Two Out of the Nest

These are, "The two who were still in the nest. Both were trying out their shaky legs and wound up in a tuft of grass," Jason says.

The Wet One - copyright 2009 Jason M. Hogle. All Rights Reserved.

Last One Out of the Nest

Says Jason, "This was the last chick to hatch. You can see its feathers are still wet."

Jason adds: "Mostly what I saw was the backside of the chicks as they ran around the field. They disappeared into the wildflowers when I got out of the car and didn't come out until I was back in the car (and the parents gave the all-clear signal).

"The two out of the nest were indeed wild children. Until I caused them to run and hide, they rushed all over the place. At one point, one of them jumped off the curb and wound up in the circle drive. It had to run all the way to the end of the curb just to get back on the grass.

Very cool to have seen all this. Very cool indeed."

J R agrees completely. Thanks again, Jason.

June 7

Dallas Medical Center Rookery

 Ibis on Nest - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

White Ibis on Nest

We probably would have gone anyway, since we usually drop by on our way home from the drying beds, but we'd heard about nesting Ibis at the rookery again, so we checked them out, even though we've seen Ibis there off and on all spring, even before they were reported elsewhere.

Cross-light on Ibis - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cross-light on White Ibis

We may have been the first to photograph some aspects of Ibis being a couple years ago, also at the rookery, but we're always up for more views and photographs of the curved-beak wonders. I've heard several birding "experts" proclaim that "Dallas doesn't have any Ibis," but we know better.

Ibis Face & Chest - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

White Ibis "Close-up"

We counted about a dozen and speculated there's probably twice that. Earlier visitors may have reported a positive experience to their Ibis friends. That and the global warming trend that's pushing the hot South further north and inland, so we're becoming tropical enough.

Ibis Wings Up - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Ibis Wings Up to ...

One more set of Ibis shots I didn't use at first, because they're not as good as ones I've shot of the same process before. But they are informative, and they were shot within the same second. Note that despite their name, they are not all white.

Ibis Jump - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

... Jump Into Flight

And a really good way to show off their big, pink feet.

Over the Shoulder Ibis - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Over the Shoulder Ibis

Strange faces and a looooong, curved bill that turns black on the far end. More Ibis photographs on the April journal (Link, then give it time to load in another tab or window).

Very Young BCNH - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Very Young Black-crowned Night Heron

Which brings us back to heron babies. Be sure to note the other gold-rimmed black eye on the left of this image. Just guessing, and without much actual knowledge, I'm thinking the heron above is slightly younger than the next one down.

Spike - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Spike

Not its real name, of course, but Spike is a Night-Heron, we're pretty sure, although distinguishing a Black- from a Yellow- crowned Night-Heron at this age is not a sure thing. Sibley cites the Black-crowned's sharply pointed, extensively yellowish bill and the Yell0w's dark, thick beak. And the Black's broad, blurry stripes and the Yellow's relatively narrow distinct streaks.

So now I'm much less certain which this is, with its bill that's neither sharply pointed nor dark, distinct breast stripes. If I could watch it grow, its wings would tell, but finding the same one again might be difficult. I am pretty sure it's a heron, and we saw lots of Black-crowns and not a single Yellow-crown.

Love the stripes and spiky hair ... er ... feathers atop its head.

Jason Hogle writes: "Spike" is a Black-crowned Night-Heron. Yellow-crowned night-herons aren't gregarious and won't nest in the rookery because of all the other birds. The same is true of great blue herons and green herons. All three species might visit the rookery, but none of them would ever nest there."

Which answers several of my lingering questions. Thanks, Jason, for the info and the bird back-stories.

This is my day's best shot of a baby bird. Usually, they're well hidden behind nest sticks and branchletts. Parents keep it that way, so curious photographers don't get easy shots. As they grow in size and intelligence, however, birds — by this stage, we're calling them teenagers, because they look like and act like teeners. And like human teens, they get a little more visibility and freedom.

BCNH Parental Unit - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black-crowned Night-Heron Parental Unit

As I am a fan of so many other herons, I like the black-crowns for their sleek beauty and gangly legs and feet. That dashing occipital plume laid back over its upper body here also helps.

Black-crowned Night-Heron Close-up - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black-crowned Night-Heron Close Up

Nice to get this close to a BCNH. I've had to do without shooting them along the lower schuss of the Spillway and its Lower Steps, because of all those construction workers and big machines so busy filling the cavern with concrete after they failed utterly to protect the concrete they'd already installed from getting regularly soaked.

So I'll have to wait another year or more till I can lean out over the guard rail over the walking bridge overlooking the steps to photograph The Annual Great Egret Dance there and all those Little Blue, Great Blue, Black- and Yellow-crowned Night- Herons there. Even then, though, I wasn't able to get this close.

Stripey Baby - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Stripey Baby

Smaller and less developed than our teen bird above, this one has more blurry stripes on front, and all of today's babies have the yellow eyes of a Black-crowned Night-Heron, and here I go trying to guess identities again. Jason says Stripey Baby is a Black-crowned Night-Heron.

BCNH Lookin Up - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black-cronwed Night-Heron Looking Up

Big red eyes looking down.
 

Tricolored Heron - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tricolored Heron

By now, we know just where to find our resident Tricolored Heron. We can almost even see its nest. But we have yet to glimpse any of its babies, though we'll keep trying. It's grown a lot more tolerant of photographers these last few months.

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June 7

Village Creek Drying Beds in Arlington

Black-crowned Night Heron - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Yellow-crowned Night Heron in the Swamp by the Gate

We drove slow down the swamp-lined street just inside the gate at the Village Creek Drying Beds in Arlington, Texas way early enough this morning, hunting, as always for some bird interesting to photograph. So this Yellow-crowned Night Heron in the swamp left of the road going in was our first of many, many, many species today. I shot more than 700 photos. These are my favorites.

Red-eared

Red-eared Slider

Three, I think, sliders raced us down one of the roads. They fast for turtles.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

We'd heard there was a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher nest out there, but unless "Somebody's Nest" was theirs, we didn't see it.

Cattle Egret in the Weeds - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cattle Egret in the Weeds

There were a smattering of Cattle Egrets looking their usual elegant.

Cattle Egrets Walk Like Egyptians - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cattle Egrets Walk Like an Egyptian

It helps, I suppose, their image that they walk like Egyptians.

Cattle Egret Flyaway - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cattle Egret Flyaway

They were not, however, all that interested in posing for photographs.

Somebody's Nest - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Somebody's Nest

We couldn't see eggs and did not see anybody near enough the nest to peg it on them.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck in Landscape - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck in Landscape

BBWDs are some of my favorites. Love those big orange beaks and bright pink legs.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Pair with Blue-winged Teals - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Blue-winged Teal Pair with Black-bellied Whistling Duck Pair

The rest of them are right nice looking, too. Beautiful three-tone brown bodies. Here joined by the much smaller Blue-winged Teal.

Little Blue Herons Doning Something - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Little Blue Herons Doing Something

I don't know what these guys are doing, but my guess is that they were definitely not fighting. I think they were in the same area — I'd never seen so many Little Blue Herons in one place before — landing, flying and taking off.

Two Whislters - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two "Whistlers"

At first I thought the lower, smaller-seeming bird was a baby or juvenile, but babies are cuter than cute with fluffy black and white stripes. I've never seen one, but my mother photographed a young family in the canal behind the house they used to live in in Mission, Texas.

Unsub Flock - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Unsub Flock

Had to be, I suppose, some unsubs. These are they. I followed them all around the place. Got fairly close in the next shot.

Unsub Flock Flying (detail) - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Unsub Flock Flying

Somebody probably knows who they are. I hope they're not doves, just to protect my ignorance and stupidity.

Red-tailed Hawk with Red-winged Blackbird - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-tailed Hawk with Red-winged Blackbird

Didn't realize this was either a RTH or a RWBB when I shot it. I just shot it.

RTH and RWBB - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

RTH and RWBB

They were way far away.

Swallow Flying - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cliff Swallow?

This one, and many like it, buzzed us all over the beds. I should know its name, but I haven't figured it out yet. Just glad they were busy catching bugs. Jason Hogle confirms it's not only a Cliff Swallow, but a Juvenile Cliff Swallow.

One of Many Little Blue Herons There - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

One of Many Little Blue Herons There

I know this one. The ever-elegant Little Blue Heron. One of many.

Little Blue Heron Changing - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Little Blue Heron Changing into Blue

Including white Juveniles turning slowly into blue, one patch of feathers at a time.

LBH Changing - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Little Blue Heron Changing into Blue

A closer look to see its new, blue/black splotches better..

LBH over pond scum - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Little Blue Heron over Pond Scum

I was fascinated, as I often am, with the brilliant yellow pond scum. And LBHs, too.

Little Blue Heron with Egrets - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Little Blue Heron with Egrets

I think these are, left to right, a Great Egret, the Little Blue Heron, a Snowy Egret and another Great Egret. Maybe.

Snowy Far Away - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Faraway Snowy

Lest we forget just how beautiful the surroundings are there, I've not blown the Snowy up all out of proportion, but let it perch in its environment in this photograph, that's still an enlargement, so far away it was.

Black Vulture Flyover - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black Vulture Flyover

The friendly, local Black Vulture.

Quick Whistling Duck Flyover - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Quick Black-bellied Whistling Duck Flyover

And our pair of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks performing a close-order fly-by.

Whistlers Whistling By - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

"Whistlers" Whistling By

Close enough to almost merge.

Black Vulture on Telephone Pole - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black Vulture Feeding on Telephone Pole

Not sure what it's eating, but I was fascinated by that pose, wings up to balance.

Still Flying - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black-necked Stilt Flying

When we discovered their nest island and eggs, the stilts got angry with us, but we assured them we were not about to endanger them.

Slender Stilt Speaking - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Slender Stilt Speaking

Still, they cursed us, sometimes flying by fairly close.

Stilt Lands Near Ruddies - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Stilt Lands Near Ruddy Duck Pair

That little peninsula served as the stilt pair's off-nest headquarters. Anna said one was presenting a broken-wing display reminiscent of the killdeers we covered last week. I didn't see it, staying busy trying to get the stupid Rocket Launcher to focus on the flying stilts when there was anything but distant sky or landscape behind it, where it flat refused to focus, despite the stilt being amazing close many times. Sometimes a real Nikon lens, with its wicked fast focusing would be awful handy.

Stilt Flying Low - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Stilt Looking for Food

Similar to agitated egrets or herons, stilts' complaints were punctuated by a gruff, rough voice, though will less volume the the "egrons."

Stilt Island Nest - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Stilt Island Nest

Eagle-eyed Palmer saw them first, of course, my lens is longer, but I see less well. Very well camouflaged though in plain sight.

Stilt Nest with Eggs - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black-necked Stilt Eggs in Nest

A little closer view of the lower middle of the photo above.

Stilt Flying Flat Out - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black-necked Stilt Flying Flat-out

Such pretty birds. We first encountered stilts in the Rio Grande Valley, but those were at great distance well before I got the Rocket Launcher. We saw them again at Mithell Lake just south of San Antonio, on our trip to the Texas Gulf Coast. We didn't see them on the beach, but we photographed them there, largely accidentally.

Stilt Caught Something - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Stilt Catches Something Small and Round

This time, we saw them closer and were more personally involved with them — albeit negatively, since they seemed to think we were after their nest of eggs. I've greatly enlarged the portion of the photo that shows the roundish object in its beak, but I did not recognize what it'd caught. Moments later, it ate it.

Great Blue Heron Portrait - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Blue Heron Portrait

We almost drove right by today's first Great Blue Heron, but I somehow picked it out of its surrounding colors. This was more obvious, and I was really getting into making its portrait.

Great Blue Heron Jump - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Blue Heron Jump

Then, when it suddenly decided to split, I didn't react fast enough and got only this.

After our bountiful bird visit to the Village Creek Drying Beds, we stopped off at the Medical Center Rookery on our ways home, and got a bunch of other pictures — including some cute baby birds. But those will have to wait till Tuesday. I got up early to do the drying beds, and I'm exhausted. Good-night.

June 6

Wild Goose Family - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wild Goose Family in the Urbs

I was on this side of the the fence photographing a friend's art, when she started talking about geese, then pointed, and we walked down the hill and up to the fence, and I leaned over with my camera — the wide zoom on; Rocket Launchers aren't much good for shooting art — and photographed this buccolic scene..

Kathy said this Canada Goose pair had come to visit, nested, then hatched this downy youth, and they might stay longer. She said the smaller one on the left was the female, the dad's in the middle, and with its furry head in the grass — the majority of gooses' diet is grass — is their progeny.

June 5

White Rock Lake

 Killdeer Nest with Babies - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Killdeer Nest with Killdeer Young and Hatchling

There's lots more photos from this morning, which I'll post today or over the weekend, but this is the best of the bunch. Top middle is one chick, two others are blurry and fuzzy on the right, with the last one only partially out of the egg here. We worried that the chicks weren't breathing, but Anna could see that the one coming out of the egg was, and this photo shows the back one sneaking a peek.

I hope they're all right. The parental units were aggressively protective this cool, bright morning (Anna has a 36-second video of one doing that, online).

According to Jason, the shallow breathing is a survival technique. Anytime a parent sounds an alarm, the hatchlings go into catatonic mode, barely breathing, not moving. "The fluff of their down helps hide the shallow breathing. Believe me, all four are alive and running wild." Less than an hour after he sent that email, the nest, all remnants of eggs, the chicks and the parents, were gone, as expected. They were way too popular there.

Jason, who's been keeping me up on their day-to-day progress, also said, "I visited before noon and found two of the babes running wildly around the field — giving their dad a fit as he tried to stay up with them. The other two were still in the nest under their mom's care — and both were working hard at learning to use their legs (a cute display of get up, fall down, get up and move, fall down again ... then start all over).

Unsub Alone - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Unsub Alone

When I first saw this unknown entity, it was alone. I was tracking it across the sky, already well away from me and getting more so with every flap. I hardly even noticed its little companion till much later.

Bird identifier Jason Hogle says, "The raptor is a juvenile Cooper's hawk. Shape of the tail and pattern on the underside pin that down. And the pursuer looks like a western kingbird, although I really can't say that with any certainty."

Unlikely Pair - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Unlikely Pair

I believe the lower bird is a hawk, and I don't know who that is squawking at it. I've looked through several books and I'm still not at all sure, though it's probably a juvenile. The scene reminds me of a Red-winged Blackbird harassing a vulture over Hidden Creek sometime last year. Jason says it's a juvenile Cooper's Hawk.

Unlikely Pair II - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Unlikely Pair II: Juvenile Cooper's Hawk and perhaps a Western Kingbird

They were already well past close when I saw them. My Hawks from Every Angle book, which I hope will finally help me identify this critter, calls this view "Going away." Okay, it's not a Red-tailed, although that's usually the best guess here in the U.S.A.

This one's got fairly broad stripes on its tail, although I never did get a good look at it. The colors as rendered above might well be way off. It could be a juvie Cooper's, though as small as it seems, it might be a Merlin or Peregrine. I'm at a loss. Again.

Great Egret Flyover - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Flyover

I'd hardly rested the Rocket Launcher after that busy little flyover, when this comparative giant hove into view, and I managed to get all of it in two rapid-succession frames. This is the better of those.

Scissor-tail in Heaven - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Heaven

Lots of flies and flyers to be caught this morning, and lots of birds to catch them.

 Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Off the Top of a Tree - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Off the Top of a Tree

I'm so amazed we can see the bugs dotted as white lights into the sunlight. I'm sure the sciz-tail could see them clearly.

Sciz-tail Into The Sun - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Scissor-tail Into the Sun

These shots are tiny specs in much larger frames. When they were close, they were nearly impossible for me to track with this huge, 750mm (35mm equivalent) lens. Much easier when they were farther, but they're rendered smaller when they're far...

Scissor-tail A Lot Closer - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Scissor-tail A Lot Closer

Almost up close and birdinal.

Female Red-winged Blackbird Among Flowers - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Red-winged Blackbird Among Meadow Flowers

Ah... the beauty of my favorite meadow that wraps around Winfrey so-called "Point."

Male Red-wing in Flowers - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Red-winged Blackbird Among the Flowers

And of course, the male of the species.

Cliff Swallow with Nest - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cliff Swallow with Nest

After thoroughly documenting the Killdeer nest and its inhabitants and its protectors and wide-surrounding species, Anna showed me where Cliff Swallows have taken up residence in a picnic building they fly through and seem to have claimed.

Toward Nest - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Fast Toward Nest

Not sure what they do when picnickers are picnicking there. I guess just without.

Swooping toward Nest - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cliff Swallow and Cliff Swallow Nests

They were going fast. I was barely able to capture these in the semi-darkness of the cave.

Through the Hole - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Squeezing Through

Going that fast, it was amazing to see them fold themselves up like cockroaches and disappear up the rabbit hole.

Cliff Swallow with Nest - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

And Out Again

I also want to be able to catch the action of them swooping through the building at top speed. I'll probably need a lens a little wider than the Rocket Launcher for that, maybe even my wide zoom. It's really dark up into these caverns, and the contrast of the contrast between outside daylight and inside darkness was shocking. I had to back nearly out of the building to get far enough away to capture these..

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June 4

Mockingbird Flash Display - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mockingbird Flash Display - Front

Delicious cool this ayem, till I got out in the sun and traipsed up and down the trails awhile. Nice to know that June in global warming can still be cool in Dallas, Texas, USA.

Mockingbird Flash Display - Back - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mockingbird Flash Display - Back

I found this Northern Mockingbird hopping along the shaved grass very near the yet-unmown meadow I love so much to hunt lately. It would hop-hop-hop, then stand there a moment, then flash. Long enough I got it in focus and from several angles. A first in the many years I've been following Mock Flash Displays.

Mockingbird Flash Display - Quarter View - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mockingbird Flash Display - Quarter View

I've read a variety of theories about why they do this. But I think sometimes they do it because it feels good.

Mockinbird Flash Display - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mockingbird Flash Display

This one was alone and did not seem to be pecking the ground for food, so it wasn't trying to scare anything and probably wasn't hungry. If anything, it seemed to be practicing. It's an elusive behavior. In the three years I've been aware of it, I've only photographed it maybe five times, and usually my images aren't this sharp.

Mouthful off Bugs - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

House Sparrow with a Beakful of Bugs

Feeding time. We've seen this before — a small bird with what looks like more bugs in its beak than it could possibly eat. Then it flies awy to eat it somewhere photograpehrs aren't watching.

Fem RWBB Jump - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Red-winged Blackbird Jumping to Flight with a Bug in its Beak

I love to see bugs in their beaks, but I rarely get to see that till I've got it large on the monitor. I was just photographing this Fem RWBB, and it jumped into the air. What she had in her beak was invisible till then.

gbh

Great Blue Heron Fying Under the Singing Bridge

Wish I'd seen this one coming. I looked off toward the north to see a large, gray mass hurtling under the bridge, got the Rocket Launcher out, had to wait till it was in clear sight, and rapidly leaving. Still, a GBH is a GBH, and I love them all. Hadn't seen any in awhile, and I missed them. This one disappeared under and perhaps beyong the Mockingbird car bridge.

Three Juvenile Starlings - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Three Juvenile Starlings

Got a couple shots of this flock that also surprised me.

Baby Starlings - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Baby Starlings

Flying west.

Juvenile Grackles - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Juvenile Grackles

I guess it stands to reason that the most populous species would profilerate enough so mostly what J R sees and photographs in late spring is juveniles of those species.

Snake in Chain-link Fence - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Snake in a Chain-link Fence

I always wonder when I see a snake in a predicament like this, whether some human put it in this difficulty or it got its own self thusly entangled. I shot this from the bridge, and it never moved an inch. Nature writer Jason Hogle says, "The snake in the fence is a diamondback water snake (nonvenomous). Interesting to find it there... Given their violent disposition, I doubt anyone put it there — I'd guess it climbed up there on its own, although "Why?" is the question of the day."

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June 2

 Killdeer in Broken-wing Display - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Killdeer in Broken-wing Display

Wish I could claim I planned to be out at the lake early, before the clouds came in, but it was just stupid luck. I woke early (Any time before noon is early for me.) and figured I ought to go before it got unmercifully hot. I crashed when it looked like rain, but apparently it never did. Neither has it got hot till later that night.

Broken Wing - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Broken Wind Display (Continued)

Thanks to reader Jason M H, I was easily able to find this nest, and its four black & white speckled eggs, which is what the Killdeers were protecting with all their might.

Broken Wing Display from Front - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Broken Wing Display - Frontish View

Killdeer can get cross about this protection racket they've got going. If I don't heed them and chase them away from the nest, they get closer and louder. These birds are called 'peeps," and those peeps can be piercing, man.

Killdeer Nest - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Killdeer Nest

My earlier hunts had always been into he tall weedy wildflowers, but that's not where the nest is. It is dangerously close to normal human habitation, so the local Killdeer population must stay in high peep mode most of the day.

Killdeer Flying in Circles - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Early Morning Killdeer Flying in Close Circles

Mom, Dad and I think even some uncles and aunts kept urging me away from their nest, flying and ...

Killdeer Standing Unnaturally Close - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Killdeer Standing Unnaturally Close

... standing unnaturally close, almost as if to pose for the camera.

Garland Road West - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Garland Road West

Jenny is the Dallas Zoo's mistreated elephant.

Red-winged Blackbird Blurs - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-winged Blackblurs

You can tell who they are, even if they're rarely in focus.

Red-winged Blackbird Chase - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-winged Blackbird Chase Over the Meadow

What I said.

Another Red-winged Black-blurr - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Red-winged Blackbird with Red Showing

RWBB Proclaiming - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-winged Blackbird Proclaiming

What RwBbs do is proclaim themselves, their territory and life. You can hear their high-pitched screams all around the lake.

RWBB Display - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-winged Blackbird Display

I guess, since every other bird out there this morning was a Red-winged Blackbird, it's appropriate to have lots of them presented here in the every other bird shuffle. I hadn't seen this behavior before. They're always standing on some tallish weed or reed.

Red-winged Blackbird Display - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-wing Display

But I'd never seen or photographed one spreading everything out and popping the red parts up like this, this close to the ground. It's obviously showing off, and there were females close by to be impressed.

Female Grackle Swoop - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Grackle Swoop

One of my better pan-and-clicks.

The Red Flash of a Finch - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Red & White Flash of an Adult Male House Finch

Like birders everywhere and always, I just knew I had something rare and wonderful, even though I never once got it sharp or in any semblance of focus. But no, of course not, it's an ordinary House Finch.

Eastern Kingbird Staring - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Eastern Kingbird Staring

Usually I only use the photographs that show birds' profiles, so they look more like birds, but this one is all glinty-eyed sharp among branches so grotty, I had to use it.

The Sunset Gang - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Sunset Gang

Most duck families spread out till Mom brings them back in line (queue), but these guys — and I've been photographing them every couple of days lately — always stay close. Wonder what calamity befell them earlier in life.

Dove - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dove

I almost always simply ignore doves, but they're out there today and every day.

Dove Landing - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dove Landing

Squeaking at every wing-flap.

Chiarascuro Gooses - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Chiaroscuro Gooses

With the storm coming on and darking the sky, all the gooses lined up and headed for — well, I thought they were going toward the fairly well protected Hidden Creeks Area.

Circled-out Gooses - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Circled-out Gooses Back to Shore

But somewhere along that journey, they changed course, made the great circle route back to the area left of the pier, still all lined up, still fleeing whatever weather was coming their way.

Mrs & Mr Mallard - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mrs. & Mr. Mallard

Looking stately and serene, a pair of Mallards.

Quizzicle Jay - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Blue Jay with Just a Little Blue Showing

Except for that little bit of blue showing in the back, this does not look to me like a Blue Jay.

Blue Jay Profile - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Blue Jay Profile

But, of course, it is.

Adult Male Northern Red-bellied Woodpecker - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Adult Male Northern Red-bellied Woodpecker

On my way back to my car, something unphysical told me to raise my ISO, and I did so. Then this guy flittered in from parts unknown, pecked briefly, then flew off. All in a matter of seconds.

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June 1

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Adult Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Had a bunch of other things to do today, one of which was to buy some sulphur. At the Wildflower Tour we did Saturday, a bunch of Master Naturalists preparing to walk in the fields and woods, slapped their sox and shoes with sulphur in a sock. I did, too, and far fewer biters bit me that day than have been despite oceans of DEET. I was itch-shy, so I stayed in my car on the first day in June. And this bird is the only one I got close enough to to matter, although I have interesting instructions for a little adventure on the second day of June..

It's a beginning. I started May 09 with a male Scissor-tail, why not?

Actually, I overexposed the poo out of this one, but since I shoot RAW — Nikon calls its version NEF — I was able to save it and bring its density and colors back into the vicinity of reality. I've been shooting with my shorter zoom, so was a little uneasy with the Rocket Launcher at first, but we settled quickly back into the usual.

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All text and photographs copyright 2009 by J R Compton.
All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium without
specific written permission from the writer or photographer.

My favorite answer is, "I don't know." I am, after all, an amateur.
I'm not kidding. I've only been birding for less than three years,
although I've been photographing for 45 years.

Thanks always to Anna.

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