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The Amateur Birder's Journal - Stories & Photographs by J R Compton
The Current Journal is HERE  All Contents Copyright 2012 and before by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.   Cameras & Lenses Used.
DO NOT USE photos without permission.   Bird Rescue Advice from Rogers Rehab   White Rock Map
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Learning my latest camera.   Emory Eagle Fest  If you can help me identify birds here, I'd love to hear from you.

Great Blue Heron vs. American Eel below

White Rock Trail North of the Lake

March 27 2012

 Red-shouldered Hawk in Nest - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-shouldered Hawk Sitting in Red-shouldered Hawk Nest

First time we tried to find it, we couldn't even find the tree. This time, we found the tree, the nest, and even a Red-shouldered Hawk sitting the nest. Eventually, we'll trek out there with a tripod and maybe get some pix of some fledgling hawks. I don't know how long from eggs laid to downy young bouncing around in the nest, but then I don't know when the eggs were laid, either. We learn something every time we visit the area. Evening is probably not the best time to photograph it.

Not sure when the sun breaks over the solid layer of trees on the other side of the trail, but a little after that, while the sun's still coming in on whoever's turn it is to sit the nest would be the best time. But we don't want to draw too much attention, so we'll wait a little while longer again. But 600mm is about the right power. Could use 1,200, but it'd take me another several months to learn to hold that one steady, and I might need a forklift to carry it. So I'll probably settle for what I got.

Sudden Great Blue Heron - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sudden Great Blue Heron

While we were still wondering what to do next, a sudden flurry of wings and feathers broke from the forest to reveal — ever so briefly — a Great Blue Heron. This first shot of four I got off before it got off over the woods on the other side, was the only one I managed to capture all of it. And this one's a doozy with lots of nice detail; everything but the pimaries of its flapping right wing sharp; and, well, it's a Great Blue Heron, which should be enough, but the only thing blue on it is the sky in which it swims.

Nice to see an old pal.

the Medical School Rookery

March 25 2012

 Great Egret with Fine Plumes - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Showing Off Fine Feathers

Anna said there was another Great Egret close by who was sneaking looks at this Great Egret, but trying to make it look like it wasn't paying any attention. I think I know people like that, too.

Big Wing - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Big Wing

I don't think this was part of the display, but it's a fine-looking wing. But there was a lot of displaying going on in the trees there.

Another Great Egret - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Another Great Egret with Green Lores

The trick was to catch some in the sunlight. There were already hundreds of egret on nests and flying around and bringing food for the kids and branches for the nests. Very busy place.

Bright-eyed Great Egret - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bright-eyed Great Egret

Not quite everywhere we looked full of egrets, but it soon will be.

Great Egret on Nest - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret on Nest

I didn't see any babies, or any eggs. But eggs just sit there and usually don't stick up far enough over the twigs along the edges of nests to be able to see them. When the kids show up later, they move a lot.

More Great Egret Finery - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Another Great Egret with Fine Feathers

Mostly Great Egrets there now, this early in the annual Nest-A-Thon

FOS - Black-crowned Night Heron - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

FOS Black-crowned Night Heron at the Rookery

FOS is First of the Season. My first sighting of a Black Crown this season there. Looks so regal and handsome. Hard to believe this one and others that look a lot like it will go around and eat other birds (Egrets)' eggs and babies. That always gives me the willies, but I still like them.

 

A lot of that going on around the rookery these days.

More ... - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

And Still More Fine-Feathered Friends

I'm just amazed that this one came out so close to being in focus (very sharp) and with all its feathers showing, even those fine ones against the bright sky. I amaze myself sometimes.

GEIF - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

GE IF (Great Egret In Flight)

Capturing Birds in Flight (BIFs) is not an easy thing to do. Especially with a Shillelagh of a lens somewhat resembling the Hubble Telescope. Just finding the bird in the sky through the lens once I've spotted it with my bare eyes is a challenge. But if there's anyplace around that's almost perfect for practicing shooting BIFs, it's the rookery, because there are hundreds, and may soon be thousands of birds flying around there, looking all so regal and gorgeous, just begging to have their photographs taken.

One Feather Out of Place - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission. x

One Feather Out Of Place

Actually, probably not out of place. The likelihood is that this Great Egret is doing something with that one feather that may look to mere humans as being out of place. Could be like us sticking our fingers out the window on a fine spring day, feeling the breeze on every exposed surface. Or maybe it forgot.

EIG with Trees - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

GEIF with Trees

Maybe not quite in the sharpest focus, but I love that the feathers have their shadows, they are beautifully back-lit, we can see the green lores and orange beak, and those amazing fine feathers are trailing behind it.

Beak-open GE IF - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

GE IF with Beak Open

Hard to imagine what else I could have asked for. Sharp focus - check. Nearly frame-filling. Whiter whites. Beak open. Eyeball shining and sharp, as it is from the tip of its beak to the talons on its toes.

 

White Rock Lake

March 23

Two Barn Swallows - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Two Barn Swallows

Photographed in the Old Boat House Lagoon.

One Barn Swallow - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

One Barn Swallow

Or more precisely, over it.

Egret - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret

And in it.

 

March 21

 Pelican Mid-flap - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Mid-flap

Our local contingent of American White Pelicans won't be around much anymore soon. I only saw three in Sunset Bay today. I assumed they were off fishing. Last summer, eight stayed after mid-April, because they had been released by Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation, and seven of them couldn't fly. I saw a couple of them try without succeeding, but they may have been practicing since then. It's difficult to know which ones they are. I'm hoping more of them will be able to return to Southern Idaho with the big flock when they go. I'll miss them, but I suspect those seven need each other to protect themselves against the various predators — humans, big dogs, coyotes, wildcats, etc.

Flip-head Pek Spreading Lanolin - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Flip-head Pelican Spreading Lanolin

First several times I saw this image, I assumed it had simply hunched its head down. But it's upside-down, using its beak to spread lanolin over its feathers to protect them in the water and in flight. The log they perch on that was only a few dozen feet from the pier is now hundreds away to the west, thanks to yesterday's storms. It's still not far enough from shore for my sense of protection for them, but they still use it.

Blue Goose Flap - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Blue Goose Flap

This is a wild goose bathing on the other side of the pier at Sunset Bay I so much like to sit or stand on to photograph birds. This bird, unlike many of our gooses, could at one time fly, but apparently no longer can. It has chosen to stay for many months, and almost seems to have joined the goose clan there. It does hang out with them, but they still don't trust it.

Turns out, it — referred to as "he" on a short Utube video by Annette, cannot fly. According to the accompanying text, "Blue Goose (morph phase of snow goose). This goose was discovered at White Rock Lake with fishing line wound tightly around his body. Charles was able to catch him and remove the fishing line but damage to a wing keeps him from flying. He wears 2 bands that Charles researched and discovered he was banded in Manitoba, Canada in 2003. He gets along well with the big domestic geese."

Less Elegant Blue Goose Flap - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Less Elegant Blue Goose Flap

It was bathing, then it flapped wildly to dry off, walked to land, and flapped some more. It's called a "blue" goose, because its the dark version of the Snow Goose, very like the one that has more recently joined the Sunset Bay flocks.

Leg-lifted Gray Goose - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Leg-lifted Gray Goose

This one's closer — or I might have been able to show more of it — and much more domestic. Like a farm animal, only roaming around the lake more or less freely. I like the feather shapes, as it has spread its feathers, probably to work on them, keep them lanolin covered and in good working condition.

Big Fish Surprise - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

You can tell the kid is amazed

I shot a sequence of this boy child becoming more and more amazed at the size of the fish net-caught in the storm ponds rising from the creeks. I followed them, because I'm still intrigued by the size of them and the easy manner it is caught in those temporary ponds. More fishers and caught fish from yesterday below.

 

March 20 — The First Day of Spring

 First Year Male Red-winged Blackbird - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

First-year Male Red-winged Blackbird

At least according to my reading of Sibley, Crossley and Peterson, illustrated books by each. RWBBs — Red-winged Blackbirds — confuse me every time about this time every year. First day of spring or whenever they all show up in their muted splendor. Looks like a female to me, but what do I know? Regular readers know, not much about identifying even the easy species. A species with as many variations as Red-wings baffle, confuse and fascinate me.

Another Red-winged Blackbird - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Another Red-winged Blackbird

As Steve N.G. Howell, author of Molt in North American Birds, yet another book in my arsenal of bird I.D books, says, "The formative plumage of the male Red-winged Blackbird varies greatly in appearance. Some birds resemble females, and others…" Well, they all look different. I'm pretty sure that at one time or another during the nearly six year history of this bird journal I thought I knew what to call redwings of these particular pattern, but I cannot find it in any of the usual big books or any others.

Or This One - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Or This One

I'm pretty sure these last two are Red-winged Blackbirds, and my guess is that they are male. But I'm just guessing.

The Notorious Brown-headed Cowbird - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Notorious Brown-headed Cowbird

Back in large numbers I only just today noticed.

That Snow Goose Again - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

That Snow Goose Again

A solitary visitor who's been around for awhile now. Some stray gooses stay for only a few minutes. Others longer.

Adult Breeding Starling - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Adult Breeding so-called European Starling

Brought from Europe, maybe, but they came from Asia, and now they live here.

Two Barn Swallows - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Barn Swallows on a Wire

Overlooking Dreyfuss Point from the hill above.

Mourning Dove - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mourning Dove

Usually, I don't bother with dubs. They're everywhere always. Ubique. Latin. But they're here, and now that it's spring, they'll still be here.

Texican Northern Mockingbird - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Texican Northern Mockingbird

Officially a Northern Mockingbird. Except this is hardly the north. Hence a Texican Mocker. Our — and about half the other states in this more or less united, United States of America's — State Bird.

Mockingbird with Something That Looks Like Food - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Northern Mockingbird with Something That Looks Like Food

It's a leaf. It jumped off its pipe, swooped down those last few inches to the ground, rooted around in the pile of leaves down there, and came up with this one. Turned around and posed with it aiming in several directions. I got this version only. It was obviously proud of it, but I didn't see it attempt in any way to actually eat it.

Wading in The Water - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Saw Lots of Grown Men Wading in the Water from Yesterday's Rain

Black and White and Brown Men — Women on "the shore" watching — wading in the temporary ponds today. I'm not at all sure what that implement this guy has over his shoulder. I wasn't sure what they were up to, till I saw this:

Cat Fishing - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cat Fishing

Now that's one big fish. Obviously what all those guys were wading in the water for. This was the only fish I saw, but I didn't spend a lot of time watching these intrepid fisher persons. Everybody seems to celebrate spring in their own fashion. I usually dance around a tree.

Nice Clouds - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Nice Clouds

 

The Fort Worth Solid Wastes Drying Beds

March 19 2012

Suddenly, They Went Almost Straight Up - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Suddenly, They Went Almost Straight Up

Most dedicated birders call this place the VCDB for Village Creek Drying Beds, despite the fact that there's a big sign on the front gate that states pretty clearly that it is the Fort Worth Solid Wastes Drying Beds. It's probably those words "solid wastes" that offends people enough to change the name, in their minds, at least. When we were there Sunday morning, there were several pans (ponds, square bodies of water and vegetation and birds) that stunk to high heaven, so there was little doubt exactly which sorts of solid wastes were being dried there.

Straight Up - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Straight Up

But once we got free of that area, it did not stink and we could again remember who we were and what we were up to. I doubt the Village Creek area of Arlington wants to be associated with that stench. The birds didn't seem to mind. I'm not sure why these Northern Shovelers shot straight up amidst great splashing and generalized panic, but I suspect it might have been a snake, an eel or something else predetorish nearby and getting closer. Maybe even the long, thin black shape in the bottom right of the photo one up from here. Or it could be a stick, and the guys are just squeamish. I was already focusing on them, and when they splashed straight up, it was easy enough to just click and keep clicking.

xAnd Away - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

And Away

Yesterday's eel and today's snake or whatever remind me that there's always lots of predators when fresh meat is so abundantly available in nature. Anna also saw a middle-sized cat on the road far ahead of us at one point. I saw something about big-dog size, not lion or panther. And we raced up to where we'd seen it, but by then it'd found a good hiding place. We have also seen nutria and packs of wild pigs there, though not lately.

Pair of Blue-winged Teal - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pair of Blue-winged Teal: Female and Male

x

She Roosts - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black Vulture Sitting on a Transmission Pole

I've long been a fan of Black Vultures. Turkey Vultures may fly more gracefully, but I've grown to appreciate Black Vultures more in recent years. Kathy Rogers of Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation, had one at the opening of one of the spate of Audubon center openings last year, and even though it had bit her repeatedly as she carried it around that afternoon, she would not let it bite me.

Black Vulture Watching - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black Vulture Watching

I'm sure that was for my protection, and I'm not sure I would have liked the fact of it as much as I liked the idea of it. But I've been paying the Blacks a lot more attention since I've got to commune with them (in cages) at Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation. They seem, and I'm told they are, intelligent. Although ... The white we see on this bird is scat (excrement) deposited there and on their legs, supposedly to keep them cool. They don't seem to mind being scat upon. Kinda a flock, bonding thing, I'm guessing. But this is the first one we'd seen sitting.

Black Vulture Pair on Pole - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black Vulture Pair on Pole

Anna believes therefore, that this one is the female. I keep remembering seeing Great Egrets sitting, or almost lying down in the grass during one of those large Egret Dances that I apparently missed all instances of this year. They usually happen around New Years. But birds sit, and this one is sitting.

Male Breeding Ruddy Duck - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Breeding Ruddy Duck

It's very nearly spring, and for birds, it has been for some time already. More and more birds are showing their new spring colors.

Breeding Pied-billed Grebes - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Breeding Pied-billed Grebes

Most of the grebes — they are few and far between there — at White Rock lately have not shown their breeding facial configuration. But at the beds that day, there were dozens, if not hundreds of the, all in their breeding white with black stripes.

Red-winged Blackbird Male - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Red-winged Blackbird Proclaiming

In no way rare, RWBBs were everywhere at the beds this time. If we saw small, dark birds, they were these, though all did not have the style of this wide-standing wing-folded and pleated male proclaiming his territory and need for a female. He was so insistent upon his proclaiming, he let us get within a few dozen feet, and for a change, I could fill my frame with him.

The Bubbleheads and a Grebe - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Bubblehead, Female Bubblehead and Eared Grebe Swimming Along

We met Jan at the Drying Beds Sunday. We exchanged info on where what birds were and the usual birder chit-chat. She called what we have come to understand are Buffle-head Ducks "Bubbleheads," and that made enough sense to us that that's what we've been calling them ever since. That big white shape on the side and back of male bubbleheads looks far more like a bubble than a buffalo, the supposed namesake for these birds. Male on left, female on right. Don't know the gender of the Eared Grebe. It was strictly accidental. My far vision cause again for me finding something quite unexpected in my photograph.

Fem Bubblehead and Eared Grebe - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Same Female Bubblehead and an Accidental (I didn't really even notice it was different) Eared Grebe

I'd seen Eared and other Grebes at White Rock, so wasn't totally wowed by its presence, but since I hadn't noticed it out there among the "bubbleheads," I was a little surprised and wish it had been closer, so I could have captured it in better detail.

More Male Bubbleheads - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

More Male "Bubbleheads"

I hope someday soon I will be able to photograph a Bufflehead Duck much closer than I ever have before. They are shy, and they tend to stay some distance from humans. But my newer Shillelagh should be able to render it in much greater detail than I was after sneaking up on several of them last year.

Female Scaup - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Lesser Scaup

There have been four, five or six — at different times — male Lesser Scaups resident in Sunset Bay most of the last few months. But females only visit a few days a year, then they disappear. The small cadre of male scaups leave in spring. I've often explained who they are to people on the pier at Sunset Bay, but most people don't notice there's a difference between them and the coots. I'm not sure who is behind her here in this shot, and I apologize for her being so soft and a little out of focus, but she's unusual, a little ephemeral, and I don't even remember

 American Kestrel - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female American Kestrel

 

March 18

Great Blue Heron Struggles with a Snake - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Great Blue Heron Keeps Its Eye on the Snaking Eel

We'd seen this GBH hunting in the swamp along the west side of the entry road to the beds, and when we came back after a snack shop stop, we sighted it struggling with its catch. I angled The Slider across the road to block any traffic — I figured it had the right-of-way — and to afford myself a great photo angle on his struggle with the eel. The Black thing writhed like a snake and moved like one, but we were too engrossed in watching the heron slamming it onto the road surface, picking up, dropping and flailing about, then doing it all again.

Great Blue Heron Yawning - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Blue Heron Yawning

First time we'd seen this Great Blue Heron (GBH), it was hunting in the swamp, very close to the road, so close I couldn't get more than this much of it with my non-zoom lens. Not really a problem, I've photographed them way too often too far away. I'm happy to get close and sharp. I suspect it was tired of not finding enough to feed its family, probably nesting in one of the tall trees on the far side of the swamp. I got several other shots, but this was by far the most interesting.

 Full GBH Out Standing In Its Swamp - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Photomerged GBH Out Standing In Its Swamp

Then I remembered I'd shot three quick shots of this particular GBH out standing in their swamp, so I got Photoshop to put them together for me, so it did. I still like the yawn pic better, but it's nice to be able to throw together a full view sometimes. I sure didn't reckon on finding the same bird when we got back, although I drove up the entry road very slowly, just in case.

Note how thin its neck is.

GBH Pulling Snake - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Blue Heron Pulling Black Thing from the weeds where it'd flung it

Naturally, I shot a lot more images than just these, but these are the best, and they show a sort of progression here, arranged in chronological order — not that the steps themselves were in any order, although the heron clearly knew what it was doing and exactly how to do it.

It Writhed Like A Snake - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

It Writhed Like a Snake, but it sure doesn't look like one.

Here it looks more like a vacuum cleaner attachment than a snake — or an eel. Sometimes it looked like an eel, sometimes a fish. It seemed too short and too stout to be a normal old snake. So down this journal entry I might call it several things, my favorite name of which was "the black thing," even if I later learned it was an eel.

It Wrapped Aroung the Bird's Beak - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Eel Coiled Around the GBH's Beak

It sure looks like what a snake would do in this situation. I think it thinks all hope is not yet lost. It is wrong. It, by the way, according to reader Linda Cooke, is almost certainly an American Eel, not a snake.

GBH Drops Snake - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

GBH Drops Eel

It's obviously tattered and scraped and scathed, and it's got itself and its slime or whatever all over the heron's beak.

Still STruggling - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Still Struggling with Food

Still the struggle goes on, and on. And the heron's throat widens for its expected intake.

  Till It was Limp - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Till It Was Limp

This limp. The fight and everything else gone out of it.

 Quickly, It Turned - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Quickly It Turned

From standing, the heron ...

GBH Ready To Spring Into Flight - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Blue Heron Ready to Spring Into Flight with Eel

When it got into this position, I knew it was about to spring into flight. Just there was nothing I could do about that sudden change in placement. I can barely hold that big hunk of lens and camera still most of the time. No way I could follow its action with a 900mm lens (equivalent).

blur gone - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Blur — Gone

Like this. At 300mm the Shillelagh (pronounced shill lay lee) is wicked fast to focus. At 600, it's much slower than a speeding heron.

Washing It Off - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Washing It OFf

But it didn't fly far, and it stayed in plain sight, though it landed a safe distance from most humans. Maybe the eel dangling from this enterprising heron's beak is definitely an eel. I don't know those things, but it reportedly has lots of sharp little teeth, so the heron was being smart to wham it to certain death before ingesting it. Our Great Blue Heron washed it off by repeatedly dipping it in the water, now that it is food (prey no longer) — picking it up, draining it, and doing it all again.

Grasp to Swallow - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Shake It! Then Grasp to Swallow

Note the significant enlargement of the heron's throat, getting ready to drop it down its inner workings. Splash, splash, shake, shake Line it up.

Gettinr Ready to Swallow - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Getting Ready to Swallow

I don't know how GBHs temporarily store food for their young, but I suspect it was going to regurge it up for them. I like this image of the eel's tail drooping from the heron's beak.

Rinsing Off the Black Thing Slime - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Rinsing Off the Black Thing Slime

When we left to go find some more birds, it was busy doing what looks like rinsing its beak out with soap, although I doubt those suds are anything but swamp water. Swamp water cures all ills.

More drying beds pix next time.
 

White Rock Lake

March 16 2012

 Great Egret under the Dam - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Under the Dam

I still go to sit on the pier at Sunset Bay almost every day, but to vary my coverage here, I trudged up the hill by the spillway today, to see what I could see.

Great Egret Waiting for Food - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Waiting for Food

I saw one egret and maybe a hundred Ring-billed Gulls.

Gadwalls Snorkeling Dam Water - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Gadwalls Snorkeling Dam Water

And a dozen or more Gadwalls. These guys were lined up and sometimes sliding back with the force of the water from over the dam, sluicing down toward the lower steps. I don't know what they were eating, but to do it, they usually had their heads underwater, splashing it in plumes over their bodies.

The Over-the Dam Gang - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Over-The-Dam-Gang

Two Gadwalls and many more than these four Ring-billed Gulls lined along the top of the dam.

Gadwall Escapee I - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gadwall Escapee - 1

Then one gadwall jumped into flight.

Gadwall Escapee - 2 - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gadwall Escapee - 2

and flew right past me.

March 15

Forster's Tern Flying Right - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Forster's Tern Flying Along in Mostly Sharp Focus

Several shots today of the Forster's Terns that hang out in Sunset Bay. Probably the same birds that would not focus in my way-too-overrated Nikon D300 a few weeks ago, snapped into focus today — because I used my Nikon D7000 and kept changing my focus settings until they worked just right, despite what photo "experts" Ken Rockwell and Thom Hogan have instructed me to do.

Forster's Tern Entering Controlled Stall - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Forster's Tern Entering Controlled Stall

I just kept fiddling with it, till it worked. The button for that is on the left side of the camera under the lens, so if you — like I do — have a big fat lens mounted, the easiest way to access its dumb focus mode button that needs to be pressed sideways to the left, is to hang the cam with lens down, balance it on my knee, and push that button while adjusting one of the top right dials to the right position. Truly an annoying procedure, and one that keeps me from seeing any bird activity going on around me for about a half minute.

 Controlled Stall - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Controlled Stall Fall

According to Wikipedia, "A stall is a condition in aerodynamics and aviation wherein the angle of attack increases beyond a certain point such that the lift begins to decrease. The angle at which this occurs is called the critical angle of attack. This critical angle is dependent upon the profile of the wing, its form, its aspect ratio, and other factors, but is typically in the range of 8 to 20 degrees relative to the incoming wind for most subsonic airfoils. The critical angle of attack is the angle of attack on the lift coefficient versus angle-of-attack curve at which the maximum lift coefficient occurs."

Essentially, it's when forward motion all but stops, the bird or plane tilts back, and then it leans far enough forward to begin a dive. The actual control portion of a controlled stall is what happens next. If it can be recovered from, it was controlled. If it can't be recovered from, splat!

Forster's Tern Flying Right - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Forster's Tern Flying Along in Mostly Sharp Focus

With eye almost visible.

Flrster's Tern - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Flying Left and Looking Down

Perhaps contemplating a controlled stall but not yet willing to.

30˚ Angle - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Forster's Tern at 30-degree Angle

Soaring birds with nothing in the background are considerably easier for modern cameras to deal with.

Forster's Tern with Trees - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Forster's Tern with Trees

Whereas birds with trees behind them are sometimes only focusable if the camera and lens were already focused, and the follow focus was engaged enough to hold near sharp focus. If this bird had been flying closer to the photographer, the focus would seem much sharper, because I would not have had to enlarge the image as much.

Forster's Tern with Small Fish - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Forster's Tern with Small Fish

I didn't see the fish, I was wrangling the Shillelagh to try to get the bird in focus, and lo and behold, I got 'em both.

 

March 14 2012

 Pelican Lip Stretch - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Lip Stretch - Step One

I haven't shot one of these series fall the way through or a long time. I keep wondering why. I guess it's because I haven't been paying enough attention. I keep hoping for pelicans flying into the bay, instead of watching the ones who are already there, because sooner or later, probably several times a day, every American White Pelican participates in this behavior. We stretch our arms, legs, necks, etc. American White Pelicans stretch theirs, too. They also stretch their fairly elastic lower mandible.

Pelican Lip Stretch - Step O - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Lip Stretch - Step 2

First, above, was the lower mandible inversion over the upper chest. There's really no prescribed order. I guess it depends on how that particular pelican feels at the moment. This one appears to feel like wobbling its lower mandible.

Pelican Lip Stretch - Step 3 - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Lip Stretch - Step 3

Then it begins to raise its head and give that old lower lip a really good stretch.

Pelican Lip Stretch - Step 4 - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Lip Stretch - Step 4

Then tilt back a little faster than I expected. There were a few intervening shots that were out of focus.  Clickity-split.

Pelican Lip Stretch - Step 5 - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Lip Stretch - Step 5

Then tilt back so far the lower jaw is flat, and the upper mandible tilted back impossibly, the face like a pair of pliers. Full stretch boogie.

Pelican Lip Stretch - Other - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Lip Stretch - Other

Then a few seconds later, a little more lip wiggling, to keep it all limber. More pliers action, too. They have to have ratchet beak parts to do what they do when the need to swallow something bigger than their beaks normally look.

Now Mercury Retrograde won't let me add more pix tonight, so I'll settle for this series. Remember last week when I couldn't get some Forster's Terns in focus sharp. Soon, probably tomorrow or the next day, I'll load you up with my extender series of those same terns doing all kinds of Jonathan Livingston Tern flying. Yee-haw!
 

March 14

 A Bit of Confrontation - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

A Bit of a Confrontation

I only once a long time ago ever saw a Great Blue Heron (That's it on the right.) confront a Great Egret who was standing where the Blue wanted to. Like cormorants do, the GBH simply supplanted the Great, who flew off complaining. This confrontation seemed to have been brewing awhile. The GBH looks like it's just standing there. But pay attention to the top of its head.

A Bit of Confrontation Part Two - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

A Bit of a Confrontation - Part Two

I've enlarged this one to exclude that other cormorant, who doesn't really matter much in all this, but mostly to show the Great Blue's sudden uplifting of the feathers on the top of its head. I'd never seen one do that before. That I rendered it with any clarity is entirely due to my new 300mm lens that's so incredibly sharp, because this took place more than halfway across Sunset Bay, yet we managed to capture some real detail. I'd guess the Blue is angry, and as we can all see, the cormorant is already exiting the scene ...

A Bit of Confrtonation - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

A Bit of Confrontation - Part Three

... albeit, not gracefully.

Wiggy GBH - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wiggy Great Blue Heron — Anger Display

Here's the detail, closer-up shot of the Great Blue Heron's crown.

Forster's Tern Coming Right At Me - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Remember That Tern I Couldn't Quite Get In Focus Last Month

Well today, using the same lens but on the Nikon D7000 instead of my trusty old, recently repaired D300, I got a bunch of shots today. And more tomorrow.

March 9

 Two Ring-beaked Gulls - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Ring-beaked Gulls

And what appears to be a blue sky. Obviously something we haven't seen much around here lately. I'm ill, so I'm bringing out recent old shots. Sorry. Will go back to the lake when I feel better.

Two Gulls - Wings Up - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Gulls — Wings Up

Or almost up.

Pelican with Maleable Lower Mandible - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican with Malleable Lower Mandible Stretching It

Last time I was in Sunset Bay, I didn't see any pelicans. I waited for some to swoop in, but they didn't come. A reader emailed to ask when they usually left, and I told them mid-April. I'm too ill to go there to see if I see any big white bumps on the water, but I hope they're still there.

Mandible Stretch - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Mandible Stretch

I've seen Brown Pelicans, but I never saw one stretch their lower mandible, like this. Anybody out there know if they do, too?

Male Wood Duck - crpy

Male Wood Duck

I was going to add this shot to the Wood Ducks somewhere down this page, but I never got around to it, till now.

Pelican Splashing Up to Log - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Splashing Up to Log

Kinda missed the bird, but I got the splash.

Pelk Landing - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sploosh

Splash landing.

 

March 6

 This Is How It Started - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

This Is How It Started

It's a male Great-tailed Grackle bathing. That big tail is why they're called that. I watched it splash and soak.

Wet Gracle" Sjale It All About - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wet Grackle: Shake It All About

Then I watched it dry off, which — just like the Hoochie Coochie — involved a lot os shaking all about.

A Great-tailed's Great Tail - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

A Great-tailed's Great Tail

Since birds can move every single feather they've got — like most of us can move our fingers — that out-stretching was a major portion of the process.

Luscious Grackle Levels - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Luscious Grackle Levels

Although it looks like I was playing Photoshop games with this one and the image just below, they're real. I just checked the images in the camera to be sure. Some odd combination of low-contrast sun obscured by clouds, and high ISO, which softens the contrast, made it so. Note that his eyes and head are perfectly exposed.

Folded Grackle Tones - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Folded Grackle Tones

This ideal shot of a Great-tailed Grackles Great Tail tones is just the sort I was hoping for. When it happened, I shot quickly.

That Grackle Stare - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

That Grackle Stare

Normally, a Great-tailed Grackle (our usual sort around here) doesn't pose for long. They're pretty smart and don't like humans much more than most humans like them. But this guy was very busy getting the water out of all over it gets to when one does an extreme-splash splash bath. He was normally too busy to bother with the photographer, who today chose to use the lens without the telextender, so these were all shot at 300, not 600 mm.

Tail Shake - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tail Shake

I was hoping to stop all motion, but I had the cam set to too small an aperture, which gave me enough depth-of-field but not a fast-enough shutter.

Wet Grackle Whip It - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wet Grackle Whip It

The amazing malleable grackle wings and tail swishing in the wind.

Wet Grackle Right Wing Stretch - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wet Grackle Right Wing Stretch

Say that fast.

 Stretched-out Grackle - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Stretched-out Grackle

Grackles are beautiful.

 

March 5

Male Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Male Wood Duck

I went to the Old Boat House Lagoon today hoping to see Wood Ducks, and I did. Not right off. Took awhile to sift the coots out of my vision to reveal the half dozen or fewer Wood Ducks, and a while longer to get decent shots of them, but how nice to get what I wanted.

Female Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Wood Duck

Sure, the males are cocka-doodle-doo bright and colorful and even pretty, but it's the females who are are gorgeous. And as I learned today from these images, they don't necessarily look alike. The guys mostly do. The ladies are significantly individualistic.

Female Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Wood Duck

Of course, it could be said that even the males look different, but surely not this different.

Male Wood Duck with Beak Open - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Wood Duck with Beak Open

I've often wondered at what point in the seasons are wood ducks at their most vivid, and now I think the answer is Right Now!

Female Wood Duck with Coot - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Another Different-looking Female Wood Duck with an American Coot

Not-talking Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Momentarily Still Male Wood Duck

There wasn't really much action with wood ducks today. A brief skirmish between coots escaping from some imaginary boogeyman ruffled feathers with a couple wood ducks, but by the time I caught up with it, it was over.

Male Wood Duck with Splash - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Wood Duck with Splash

This was as exciting as I managed to capture. Not much, at all.

 

For readers wondering how long we get to keep our pelican population, all but seven of the eight pelicans Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation left in White Rock late last spring (one can fly, might just have needed a memory jog about where to go in spring; the others couldn't fly then, no telling about now) will probably leave by April 15. They usually do. Then we can expect them back by mid October, though once they came in mid-September. Luckily, we have other pretty white birds with long beaks:

 

Southwestern Medical School Rookery in Dallas

March 4 2012

Egret Angel Overflight - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret Angel Overflight

We visited The Rookery the first time this year today. First time since way last summer. Didn't see or photograph anybody but the Great Egrets, but even just that was like old home week. First time I've done the Rook with my new lens.

Two Egrets with Green Lores - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Egrets with Green Lores

Before I get going with the rest of today's shots, I should probably mention that these two egrets' green lores were not unusual in a rookery. The green shows that they are ready to breed, and if they are in the rookery, that's probably what they expect to do.

 Great Egret Flyby - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Flyby

It's one thing to get a bird — any bird — to fly me by, instead of over — but quite another to get a Great Egret — it's the name of the species, not me exalting my photograph of it flying by — to look this sharp, in smart focus. On one hand, The Shillelagh helps with the detail and and on the other hand, it fights me every inch of the way with even catching up with a bird flying, let along a bird in flight close enough to fill my frame. Yum!

Two Faces of Egret - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Faces of Egret

The trick for today was finding an egret or more doing something interesting. I love these two faces of egret. I suspect they are mates, but there's some differences between them in there, too.

 Wide White Wingspan - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wide White Wingspan

They look regal and magnificent, but their wingspans are up to seven but usually five or six feet. An American White Pelican wings span nine feet, and an albatross has a wingspan of eleven feet. Still, all in white, with black legs and feet and orange beaks, egrets look elegant and photographing them flying is always a treat.

Fine Feathered Friend - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Fine Feathered Friend

Not really thrilled with this shot, except that it shows lots of that fine feathery plumes that set these guys off in this early part of mating season, before spring is even sure it's here.

Egret with Something to Say - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret with Something to Say

Most of those thick, dark, blurs of branches are between me and the bird. Another of today's tricks was to line sometimes hundreds of feet of them to frame the bird in question instead of allowing the camera to focus on them instead of the bird. It's especially nice, when, once I've done all that, backed up, moved laterally a couple times, then honed in on the bird, it does something interesting. Even something as simple as stretching its neck in this odd contortion and/or opening its beak as if to say something.

Then Something to Think About - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

And Something to Think About

Then, thankfully, I either moved my aim down a little or the bird brought its neck down enough to duck back into the frame.

Fly-away Loose Feather - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Fly-away Loose Feather

Whispy Feathered Egret - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Whispy-tailed Egret

Egret Flying with Building - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret Flying with Building

Actually, the building is not so much flying as just floating there. I remember earlier urging one or two far-flying egrets to fly by a building, so I could get a shot like this that I used to shoot from time to time with far shorter lenses. But I was just thinking photography stuff when I shot this one. I didn't even see the building.

Egret Flyover without Building - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egret Flyover without Building

With more practice and maybe a few other species to attempt to follow, I might get a lot better with the Shillelagh. Which is pretty much why I got it.
 

White Rock Lake

March 2

Coot with Drips - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Coot with Drips

Dint really have anything in mind. I swam, then I sat on the pier at Sunset Bay till children and dogs and bird-feeding individuals took over. I thought I had plans, but apparently that went away. Except for the Friday afternooners, I could sit on the pier for days. Weekdays, now weekend days. I'm glad all those other people like it, and especially like that most of them stay away during the week, when it feels like all mine. We even drive around it on weekends when there's more people than birds.

 Gull with Flyaway Feathers - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gull with Flyaway Feathers

I was hoping for pelicans coming in from wherever, but all the while I sat out there today, none did. But there's always plenty of birds, and with my new lens that gives me the opportunity to re-see all my old pals and even the birds I usually don't give the time of day to, I didn't mind. Balmy. Very nice in the sun there today. I shot what I could plainly see. Close. This, like many today, filled my frame, and I went click.

White and Dark Pigeons - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

White and Dark Pigeons on the Pier

Eventually, after I'd shot for awhile, I figured I was shooting heads and shoulders of whomever wandered by and held still long enough.

Pigeon Head - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gray Pigeon Bust

Really doesn't need to be much more complicated than that.

Female Mallard - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Mallard

My usual instinct is to fill the frame with a bird, but that close, it's hard to do with that long a lens, so I took what I could get, and was happy just fine with it.

Pelican with Pink Beak - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican with Pink Beak

Usually, pelican beaks show orange, but some other times, they're pink.

Grackle - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great-tailed Grackle

There were a bunch of grackles on the pier for awhile, and they looked like they wanted to fight, it being spring, and them having their noses in the air, meaning they needed a little fighting, but I wasn't paying enough attention to catch up with all that, I was just happy being where I was.

Coot with Head Down - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Coot with Head Down

Lots of detail in this black bird that sometimes in bright sunshine looks gray.

 

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All text and photographs copyright 2011 by J R Compton.
All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium without
specific written permission from and payment to
the writer or photographer.

My favorite answer is, "I don't know." I am, after all, an amateur.
I'm not kidding. I've only been birding for three years,
although I've been photographing professionally since 1964.

Thanks always to Anna.

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