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The Amateur Birder's Journal - Stories & Photographs by J R Compton
All Contents Copyright 2011 and before by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.   Cameras & Lenses Used.
DON'T USE photos without permission.   Bird Rescue Advice from Rogers Rehab   White Rock Map
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Learning my latest camera.     If you can help me identify unsubs here, I'd love to hear from you.

* Shots from my 100-300mm Panasonic Lens are here, here , here  and here  below, and here last april.

White Rock Lake

November 28

Coots and a Duck - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Coots and a Duck

We'd hoped to find pelicans doing amazing things, but until much later, there wasn't even much light. But by wandering around the lake, we found the occasional bird. This is where we ended up, because it's where we started out. Coots mobbing along with ducks and some gooses. They do that, because they're always hungry, and a car that stops might just be a car with people in it who might have brought them something to eat. And it's always worth trying.

Juvenile Cormorant - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Juvenile Cormorant on a pole behind the Bath House

I think those poles were supposed to be art. They even used to glow at night. There were shorter ones for turtles, but turtles couldn't get up on them, so they removed those from the display. Cormorants take over some parts of White Rock Lake every December — I used to call it Stinky Bird Season.

Corms on a Pier - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cormorants on a Pier

Not sure why they like to bunch up on the diving pier behind what used to be an actual bath house until Polio hit the country. It was going to reopen after the disease was cured, but something called Integration was worrying a lot of White People then, and opening up the open-lake pool with its own concrete floor just kept getting put off.

Cormorant Fly-by - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cormorant Fly-by

Their formation almost reminded me of a V, but with only one bird on anything approaching making the whole team a V.

A Splatter of Gulls - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

A Splatter of Gulls

Some people still insist on calling them "Sea" gulls, but we lakesters know better.

Female Grackle Stare - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Grackle Stare

The female of our most-hated bird population. The Great-tailed Grackle. Even other birders hate these guys. Not me, I think they're wonderful, even when they scat on my car.

Male Great-tailed Grackle - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Great-tailed Grackle

Noble, handsome little critters who can sing like metal crashing on concrete, and whose feathers sometime iridesce blue and purple.

Muscovy Hybrid - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

One of Two Muscovy Mallard Hybrids

Of course, Muscovies are already hybrids of Mallards, who are probably responsible for more hybrids than any other ducks. Always willing to make it with any new ducks.

Bond Muscovy - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Blonde Muscovy

From the other side of the lake.

Mallard Hybrid - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Another Mallard Hybrid?

Or just another duck J R cannot identify?

Male Scaup - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Scaup

Apparently, they've only been here a couple days. Usually their numbers grow to less than a dozen. All males for awhile, then one, maybe two, females show up for a week to ten days, then they fly off, leaving the males here, till they disappear also.

Two Male Scaups - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Male Scaups

Hanging around Sunset Bay. Never seen them anywhere else.

Duck Flap - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Duck Flap

I think this is a female Mallard, and I'm pretty sure she's got more wing than that.
 

November 27

Red-tailed Hawk and Great-tailed Grackle - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-tailed Hawk and Great-tailed Grackle Crossing Paths

Red-tailed (or any other, we also have resident Red-shouldered Hawks) flyover in Sunset Bay are about as likely as Turkey Vulture flyovers, and about even with the chance of a Black Vulture flyover. Grackles fly over much more often, of course, and these two occupying the same photographic space, even if the grackle is somewhat closer — or having them both in focus — is not altogether unremarkable, but rare.

Grackle and Hawk - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Grackle and Hawk

Basically, they are flying in the same sector of sky, although I have seen these and other birds flying with hawks and even playing a little tag with each other, though not often. When I do, I attempt to get photographs of the event.

Red-tailed Hawk Flyover - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-tailed Hawk Flyover

Because of the shallow depth of field available with very long telephoto zooms — this one is a 150-500mm zoom, which supposedly works out as the equivalent of a 225-750mm. And of course, I usually use it zoomed all the way in (full telephoto effect) most of the time — so getting more than one bird at any differing distance away from the photographer in focus is almost pure luck.

I'm still working on the Pelicans At Play pictures, and I think I'm going to quit promising
what the next journal entry will be about, because I never really know.

November 26

Hopping Into Flight - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Hopping Into Flight

Coots run on the water to gain air speed. Cormorants and Pelican hop two-footed as they fill those big wings (12-foot wingspans) to get up into the air. When they take off from the ground, it seems more subtle. Turn into the wind, and leap.

One Hopping, One Flying - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

One on about The Last Hop, the other Flying

Photographing American White Pelicans flying is one of my most favorite things to do in the world. I knew something was up a minute or two before they began their mass take-off. From playing with the bottle and dawdling around, they sort of came to some attention. A lot of their beaks pointed either in the same direction or inward among the group. They stood up.

Up & Away - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Up and Away

And so did I. I'd been trying to get comfortable and get some sense of holding the camera with its big, long, heavy lens still while I clicked away. It was nice having my left elbow on one of the pier's piers. Almost comfortable. More or less relaxed. Till the pelicans gathered. For something. I stood up, trying to figure where to focus.

Close Race - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Close Race

Seemed to be a bit of initial indecision. Then they flocked into the shallow water beside the peninsula, and so they were churning up the air with those big, long wings.

Last Hop Till Flight - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Last Hop Till Flight

Within a few moments many of them took to the air. Several flew past me before I caught their polyrhythms, after a half dozen of them flying past me, I caught on, panned along with each one I thought I might have a chance to focus, and began clicking away at one after another …

Birds All Around The Edges - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelicans Around the Edges

Or after a whole bunch of them at once. In clumps …

A Little Too Close for Tele - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

A Little Too Close

And singles up close and pelicano.

Crooked Landscaope - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Crooked Landscape

By the time the last ones flew by me, I'd got fairly good at it. May not have been holding the camera level, but I'd nailed the focus and composition. Of course, by then, they were winging across the lake toward, then past Dreyfuss Point …

67 Pelicans Over Dreyfuss Point - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

57 Pelicans Beyond Dreyfuss Point

… and beyond. I loved photographing the great mass of them spiraling up into the barely blue sky, gathering together and flying farther and farther northwest.

Like Spokes - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Like Spokes

Last I saw them before they became one with the clouds was a spoking spiral of slender whites and black into the distance.

For tomorrow or the next day, I'll compile that day's pelicans playing ball with the bottle. I'm looking forward to that. If the sun shines tomorrow, though, I may have more pelicans flying, if my timing's as good as this great day.
 

November 25

Mass Exit - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mass Exit at 3:32:58 Friday Afternoon — though not all the pelicans left

Friends said they'd seen 70 pelicans in Sunset Bay, so that's where I went today. They were dawdling on the little peninsula, with ducks, gooses and coots. I stayed for a couple hours, along with many families, kids and even a few dogs on Sunset Pier. Many had never seen white pelicans before. This is the first time this many pelicans were in Sunset Bay at one time since about thirteen months ago. I was excited for the photo opportunity, and I shot 576 photographs in the next couple hours.

Many Pelicans - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Many Pelicans

Fierce-looking Pelican - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Fierce-looking Pelicans

Pelican on a Log - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican on a Log

About Half of the Pelicans - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

About Half of the Pelicans Gathered

A Lot of Beaking for Position and Status - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

A Lot of Beaking — For Position and Status

I have seen peculiar holes in pelican beaks, but I saw not a drop of blood in the mock-fighting today.

Pelicans Beaking - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelicans Beaking

If you had a big, sword-like beak like that, and no hands, you'd probably use it to fight with others when the opportunity arose.

More Beaking - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

More Beaking

Like swording, with thrusts and parries.

Pelicans Playing with Bottle - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelicans Playing with Soft Plastic Bottle

I've seen this playing behavior before. I'll find some links to at least two previous sightings of pelicans playing with bottles. These guys eagerly engaged in the fun. Here, water flows from the bottle as other pelicans look on and try to get possession of the ball … er … bottle.

Muchos Pelicanos - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Muchos Pelicanos

About 70 is the usual number of pelicans White Rock Lake supports each year. I don't know that these will stay. I've been wondering if the eight more or less rehabilitated pelicans (only one of which can fly more than twenty or thirty feet) Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation released, kept more pelicans from coming to stay in Sunset Bay, their traditional winter grounds for our friends from Southern Idaho.

Whose is Larger? - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Whose Is Larger?

New Do - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Looking Do

Yakety-yak - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Yakety-yak

More pix tomorrow.

 

November 24

Robin Thrashing - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Robin Thrashing a Leaf

We didn't plan it that way, but it seemed to have turned out to be an experiment. I certainly was experimenting. In the dark, in the thick of the autumn woods that is the Fitchery (what Anna called, now several of us are calling, The Old Fish Hatchery Area under the dam), because. Well because we hadn't been there in a long time.

An experiment, because most of our shots didn't work out all that well, and the few of mine that did, turned out to be somewhat experimental in nature. This shot of the robin thrashing a leaf, we always assume what strange things birds do is in hopes of deriving food from it. So we guess that's what this one is up to.

Robin in Techicolor World - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Robin in Technicolor World

The colors are real, this bird is rendered very realistically. We thought we'd find dozens if not hundreds of species varieties in that lush wood and swamp area, but what we found the most of was robins. For the first half hour, if not more, every bird we saw turned out to be — they didn't all look like robins at first — but most of the ones we actually were able to focus and photograph — were robins. Jillions of very active robins.

Robin on the Forest Floor - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Robin on the Forest Floor

There were other birds, bigger ones and littler ones, but only the robins would stop long enough for us to locate, focus in on, and actually photograph them. The vast majority of the robins I photographed today were way too dark, or utterly silhouetted againts a darkish yet still too bright sky, out of focus — from slightly to wayyyy too out of focus.

This is not a robin - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

This is not a robin.

I repeat, not a robin. I was so relieved when I realized this was not a robin, that I didn't give all that much thought to what it really is. I thanked it for not being a robin, for being so involved in eating those little popcorn-like buds or berries that he didn't notice I was photographing it doing that, and especially for doing all that up where what little light the sky provided could get to it. I know it's not a robin, but what it is is, could be a female Red-winged Blackbird.

Twisting in the Wet Air - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Twisting in the Wet Air

Same bird, I'm pretty sure. Less than two seconds later, per the image metadata. Apparently twisting in the air, falling or something like that. I don't remember attempting to capture it doing this, more like desperately attempting to photograph it doing anything, and by the time the camera and I both focused it, this is what it was doing. Aerobatics.

Butter Butt - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Butter Butt

I've been corrected before for calling this bird this phrase instead of its proper species title, Yellow-rumped Warbler. Usually I misidentify it first, then settle into that notion when I see that patch of yellow on its upper back part of its back, among folded wings and such.

Cossaks with Pink Purse - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cossacks with Pink Purse on Top of the Dam

As we walked along the slight trail along the bottom of the wide hill leading up to the dam, I stopped to stare at the crowd of folk walking along the top. Click.

Spillway

Spillway Great Blue Heron Coming in for a Landing

A Sight for sore eyes. Light and a greater expanse, and no tree branches or limbs or leaves to get in the way. Helps that GBHs are among my very favoritest of birds. Don't know who that big duck is, but I do know the lithe bird pointing its yellow toes into the water it's about to "land" in.

Two-point Landing - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two-point Landing

By this point in the heron's trajectory, I was hanging onto the too-tall fence on the dam side of the spillway, teetering with the Rocket Launcher and hoping (and largely failing) to keep it all in balance and pointed toward the birds.

Water over the Dam - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Water Over the Dam with Ring-billed Gull

I love photographing the local rapids of the dam. Nice, too, to get a bird in there somewhere, so I can post it here. Splashy-splashy.

Gulls on the Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gulls on the Spillway

I usually give gulls short shrift.

Creek Great Blue Heron - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Blue Heron Hidden in Plain Sight Under the Walking Bridge

We almost missed this beautiful bird, eager as we were to go eat Thanksgiving dinner, and tired, too, of experimenting with birds. We almost missed this one entirely. I did a double take when a shadow down in the creek moved. And this Great Blue Heron materialized, so I stopped and documented it.

Anna's photographs from this same mini-tour of the Fitchery is on Facebook.

 

November 23

Red-tailed Hawk Askance - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-tailed Hawk Looking Askance

Got up early while the sun still shone, walked along Arboretum Drive, around the top of Winfrey Point, then down into Sunset Bay, and managed to get shots of lots of birds. Of which this Red-tailed Hawk was the most exciting, even if it didn't do all that much but pose and eventually, jump around up there some. Nonetheless, I felt blessed.

Red-tailed Hawk Jump - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-tailed Hawk Jump

It didn't go far, but it looks powerful in leaving. If I'd known what it was up to, I probably would have missed it entirely. Take notice of all that muscle in its thighs.

Short Flight of a Red-tailed Hawk - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Short Flight of a Red-tailed Hawk

I mighta missed tha action above, but I got some here. Still a little blur among the feet, wings and tailfeathers, but look at those fierce eyes?

Red-tailed Hawk Disguised as a Bunch of Berries - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-tailed Hawk Disguised as a Bunch of Berries

Not looking at me, more like over-looking me, looking out onto the lake, ignoring me as much as possible. Some hawks don't see us, I think, so intent they are on their next meal, which we ain't one of. If only because we're too big.

Red-tailed Hawk Looking Down - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-tailed Hawk Looking Down

Some get nervous with a photog down on the ground aiming a fat, dark stick at them. And others don't seem to care.

Red-tailed Hawk - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-tailed Hawk Leaning into Changing Position

Hang onto that comparatively tiny branch with its powerful fist, lean a little into it, then switch grasps with its left claw.

Red-winged Blackbird - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-winged Blackbird

Lotta birds out, like I was, enjoying the sunshine. It felt good, and every few yards there was another new bird.

Two Monk Parakeets Flying By - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Monk Parakeets Flying By

They're usually too far away or going too fast, but this time, for a change, I got these two in fair focus.

Middle Sunset Bay from Winfrey Top - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Middle Sunset Bay from the top of Winfrey Point

Except for some annoying people who each parked their car in the middle of the circle in front of the Winfrey Building, thus blocking the lovely circle drive for everybody else (including me), I found nothing of interest worth shooting from up here, so I headed down there. Lots of gulls and cormorants, but no pelicans, egrets or herons out in the middle.

Muscovy Hybrid Siblings Cuddling Together - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Muscovy Hybrid Siblings Cuddling Together by the Sunset Pier

Lots more diversity in Sunset Bay, of course. These still-cute but aging ducklings keeping each other safe if not exactly warm on the big log right in front of the pier at Sunset Bay.

Muscovy Hybrid Sibling - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Muscovy Hybrid Sibling about to enter the water

I overexposed it the first time I photographed it, first thing I did once I got out on the pier there, but this is what its cute little face really looks like, pinkish bill and all.

Female White-crowned Sparrow- Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female White-crowned Sparrow (or something like it)

Several littler birds flitting about, not staying long, looking for food, no doubt, despite several photographers mostly paying attention to much bigger and more exotic birds.

American Coot - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

American Coot with its Amazing Lobed Feet

Amazing lobed feet that let it run on water (skitter), seem to maybe perhaps kinda a little propel it under water, and no doubt, also good for other things, or why not have webbed feet like all those other birds around Sunset Pier.

 

November 21

Thrashing Coot - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Thrashing Coots Chasing Food Thrown by Humans

When we were in California we noted a lot of signs prohibiting people from feeding the birds. I know many families have traditions of going to the lake and riling up the birds — especially the coots — to thrash the waters, fight among themselves for every morsel of white bread, which is about as good for them, as it is for us. Uneaten food, and I've seen large loaves of sugared bread rotting on the shore, rots and sickens birds and fouls the water.

We tried to get the City to put up signs warning people not to feed the birds. Instead, the misguided Parks Department put up one sign, where Charles, who brought most of the gooses to the lake, commonly fed them the high quality goose food he buys for them at the feed store. Corn grain and other stuff they can easily eat and digest. Not white bread. They City worded that sign cutely, saying that birds had already eaten, so that anybody who actually finished reading the stupid thing would have no idea what the sign wanted them to do.

Coot Chase - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Coot Chase

The sign is still where the City put it, in a straight line from where the worker with the sign was dispatched and the lake. Charles has since changed the feeding place to somewhere more convenient to the gooses. California and other places around the world that have banned feeding birds at lakes under penalty of law, may be more enlightened than the government is here. But here, it's still perfectly legal to poison birds with all kinds of nasty bread-like objects in the name of fun and family tradition. White bread, sugar bread, or what have they.

It also riles the birds up and gets them to thrash each other. I usually try to avoid photographing them like that, because it's not really natural for them. I used to try to stop people from feeding them really egregious food-like substances, but it clearly did not good, and got me riled up.


November 20

Northern Pintail Pair - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Northern Pintail Pair and Something Taking Off

On a gentler note, here's a pair of Northern Pintails I photographed somewhere. You can tell it's a Northern Pintail by taking a long gander (pun intended) at that long, pointed tail (that one, too). Not sure who that is taking off just over their heads. But ain't they a handsome couple?

Buncha Pelicans on a Log - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Buncha Pelicans on a Log

I haven't counted the corps lately. 18 here. More were on the peninsula.
 

November 19

Grebe with Fish - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Non-breeding Pied-billed Grebe with Fish

Grebes get wet. They dive and stay under awhile. While down there, they catch fish. Like this one. Usually grebes this photographer watches stay under as much as they stay on top. Then, they disappear altogether. They're shy. People walking by don't bother them that much, but one standing there staring at it, especially with a thick black something in their hands, are inherently scary. Then tend to go under and go somewhere where, when they come up, they can't be seen.

Wet Grebe Struggling with Fish - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Thoroughly Wet Grebe Struggling with Caught Fish

I found this very successfully fishing grebe on a bright, sunny day.

Fish into Grebe Gullet - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tilting Fish into Grebe Gullet

I didn't see it catch the fish, but once it had it, the grebe had to figure out how to get the fish it caught underwater, down its own gullet. As you can see, it took the steps carefully, one by one, till …

Thick Swallowing - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Grebe with Thick Neck, Swallowing Fish

The grebe swallowed the fish whole.

Wet as an Otter - Grebe - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Another, Wet-as-an-Otter , Non-breeding Adult Grebe

This is another grebe about a week later, yesterday as the date on this journal entry goes. Note how otter-like the grebe is.

Best Wet Grebe - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wet Grebe May be a Redundancy

And this is the best shot I got of the grebe yesterday. It was kind enough to pose sideways, so I could get all of it in focus more easily. Tomorrow, unless something better comes along, it's coots.

 

November 18

Female Northern Shoveler - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Northern Shoveler

Big beak. Called shovelers, because of those large, wide, massive beaks. I especially like this view. It's one of the first few shots on my new Nikon D7000 that I really, really like. I've been reading a book-on-a-PDF by Thom Hogan that tells me more info than I can absorb, so I'll have to read and re-read it, but it's already helping major.

Adult Male Shoveler coming up from shoveling - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Male Northern Shoveler pulling his head out of the water

Inspired by all that I'm finally shooting and processing RAW. I probably could explain it, but I don't want to. It's a file format that keeps more information in bigger files that take more space on my hard drives. Pretty much the same ratio of bad to good as usual. These, of course, are the best. 

Another Female Northern Shoveler - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Another Female Northern Shoveler

This three-quarter view still shows a pretty large beak, but nothing as large at her full-sized beak.

Adult Non-breeding Ring-billed Gull - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Adult Non-breeding Ring-billed Gull

Kinda pretty for a Ring-billed Gull. I've rarely cared much for Ring-nosers, except when I watched on playing with with a toy once. Gull just wanna have fun, yeah. But this one's kinda pretty, too.

Double-crested Cormorant Flyby - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Double-crested Cormorant in Cormorant Bay

I photographed a lot of these today. Eventually managed to get one in pretty close to focus. I may be learning. If so, it's a good feeling. Takes awhile some time.

Some Female Duck - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Some Female Duck with an Inverted Wing Feather

Distinctive. The word again, "pretty." And a duck, but I don't know which one. Strange feather. Other than that, I know I've seen her before. Anybody out there know which duck this is?
 

Many Red-winged Blackbirds in the Reeds - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Many Red-winged Blackbirds in the Reeds

I visited Green Heron Park today, because a reader reported seeing a Prairie Falcon taking birds there. I looked all over but didn't see one. Some birds return to where they were seen on previous days. Some birds just happened to find a good kill there recently. I looked, did not find, walked up the west side of the lake to the Bent Bridge and photographed — or attempted to, anyway — cormorants in Cormorant Bay. Then I came back and noticed how many jillions of them seemed to be disappearing into that one set of reeds.

Female Red-winged Blackbirds Hiding in the Reeds - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Red-winged Blackbirds Hanging Out in the Reeds

Took a while to walk up slowly enough that they didn't all fly away at once. Some escaped, every time I got close, but I watched flight after flock disappear into there. Wondering how many hundreds — thousands, maybe — could meld into it. Took awhile to find any birds in the maze. Eventually, my notorious patience (Had to think about that patience today. Still don't think I have much, but I am willing to wait some birds out).

Treefull of RWBBs - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

More Red-winged Blackbirds, only a little higher

Female Red-winged Blackbirds hang out together, even fly apart from the males sometimes. It's somewhere between a harem and Women's Lib.
 

Trinity river Audubon Center

November 17

Turkey Head Woman - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Turkey Head Woman

The Audubon Dallas meeting at TRAC last night featured a turkey and some owls. The turkey was staying; the owls would be released, but first a Power Point lecture by the student winner of an Audubon Dallas grant, who spoke about restoring habitat for wild birds in Costa Rica.

Turkey Hea Guy - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Turkey Head Guy

When we got there, several persons were wearing festive turkey hats.

Bee Man - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bee Man

But they weren't the only hats around. A man dressed in striped yellow and black told about the importance of bees in the world and how we could help them.

Flower-hat Woman - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Flower Hat Woman

And over by the fund-raising items like cookies and sugar-free bread was a woman in a bright red daisies or somebody.

Turkey available for petting - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wild Turkey from Rogers Rehabilitation available for touching

It was fun to touch the various odd textures of a turkey's head, neck and wattle. Many were gentle about the touching. Some, especially children, were firm touchers. The turkey did not bite, just endured.

TRAC Floutist - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Flautist to Sooth

We were surprised to see a flautist setting up on his mat at the side of the big room. And pleased to hear him play. He, too, taught what we was doing. It was an educational evening.

Barred Owl to be Released - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Barred Owl to be released

After the lectures, adults and children gathered around Kathy Rogers and Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation volunteers who held, then released into the cold night, several owls who had been in rehabilitation, Rogers said, "for about a year. Once released, they rapidly flew away, a heartening sight. They flew way too fast for me to focus in the dark, so I just watched them climb and disappear into the darkness.

White Rock Lake

November 15

Female Mallard Coming Down - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Mallard Applying Air Brakes Before Landing

Nothing quite like following ducks down into Sunset Bay for testing whether a certain lens (!) works with this camera, and if it focuses fast. These shots were made with my oldest digital Nikon, a D200 that I'd given up on several years ago when I bought a D300 (whose shutter subsequently disintegrated) to replace it. I'm trying to decide whether to keep my D7000, which is probably better than either of the other two and new beside.

Wet Mallard Pair Landing - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wet Mallard Pair Landing

Following ducks down into the inner bay is a fast-focusing challenge that this elderly camera did well on. Remarkably well. Spectacularly in these particular instances. Some of the others, before I got exposure, shutter speed and depth of field down correctly, were pure blurs, and others were way over-exposed. These several shots are near perfect enough that we can see the gorgeous autumn colors across the lagoon in the Hidden Creeks Woods shining through.

Mallard Pair Coming Down - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mallard Pair Coming Down

As you may be able to see from the dark gray sky, these shots were actually shot today, Tuesday November 15, in the late afternoon after an appointment that kept dragging on and on, till I worried it'd be too dark. It was too dark, but the weather just added to the challenge. My new D7000, with which I was comparing my old old D200, is limited in several directions, yet it still acquitted itself very very well.
 

Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation in hutchins, Texas

November 13

Thrashing Kite - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Thrashing Juvenile Mississippi Kite repeatedly flew crashing into this upper corner of its cage

When we arrived at Rogers, first thing we did was the first thing we always do, check in at the office, expecting to be invited back into where the cages are of recently delived, injured birds. There was a woman running numbers on a laptop on the left counter, and Kathy Rogers very busy on the phone in front of us. Another first for us, there was no one feeding otherwise or rehabilitating recently-arrived birds. Except for the computer woman and Rogers, there were no volunteers in the office. I didn't realize that till much later. No happy young women working in the office, out among the cages, or anywhere we could see.

Mississippi Kites Fussing - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Juvenile Mississippi Kites Fussing

Another first: we asked if we could go back into the office and photograph birds. Rogers was still on the phone, but the laptop lady told us no. She said there were no "interesting birds" back there. I looked and saw three immediately. A gorgeous and vividly colored and very tall parrot we'd seen before, a fluffy gray or white bird I wasn't at all sure who was, and a brown something or other.

Flapping Kite - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Flapping Juvenile Mississippi Kite

I just stared at the birds I could most easily see, unable to comprehend why the bean counter thought none of the birds there would be interesting. I like birds. Almost any bird will do. I love grackles, find them fascinating — I've even got fascinating photographs of pigeons and doves — and everybody else, too. They're all at least interesting. Later, when I thought about the scene, I realized that all the birds that usually had their run of the place were also out of sight, probably tucked away in their cages.

Kite in Escape Mode - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Juvenile Mississippi Kite looking like it could take flight at any moment

Anna later learned that Texas Wildlife had given Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation new rules for how to conduct their office, and it was they who had decided no visitors behind the front counter. Yet when we had first asked, nobody told us that. Just that there were no "interesting birds" back there.

Mississippi Kites in various stages of distress - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

More Juvenile Mississippi Kites

So we abandoned the office for the big cages out back. Right away we recognized there was a panic in the air. A lot of birds were much more agitated than at any of our many previous visits there. Kites and hawks were flying headlong into the wire mesh of their cages. A querulous irritability seemed rampant among all the cages. Anna asked someone, and they told her that no, it wasn't the guns going off in the not-so-distance. (Turned out the police had a shooting range and once a month, all the cops had to pass a firing range test.)

But the birds didn't seem any more agitated when the fireworks were going off than when they weren't.

Hawk Attacking - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Harris Hawk Expressing Anger, apparently at us

his image turned out much better than I first thought. I mentioned it in the journal entry below. This s is the scream that preceded its attack. Of the inside of its cage.
We knew we were safe enough, but it was loud and fierce, and more than a little scary, maintaining a powerful, wide stance very close to our side of the cage. We didn't think it could get out, but we recognized that it was really pissed about something. I guess if I were in the cage, I would have been, also.

Great Horned Owls hiding at the back of an upper shelf - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Horned Owls up against the back of the cage

We kept trying to figure out what the deal was, why it felt so tense among the birds in the big cages. What could be causing this unrest? But we never figured it out. Life seemed to be going on as usual, just everybody was on edge. We were tired and wanted to go home, but we kept circling back to see all the owls and hawks and vultures and everybody else.

The Goose Parade - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Goose Parade

Just like the gooses we'd been watching at Sunset Bay and other places around White Rock Lake for years, more or less domestic gooses seem to think they are the peacemakers of the bird world, when they aren't hissing at somebody or biting small children. I've seen them break up the very violent-appearing sex between consenting ducks on several occasions.

And this was another first for us at Rogers, when tensions seemed high, along would come The Goose Parade, the clown army of peace, noisily marching in a long, single line through the caged area, back and forth at least three times while we were there. Blessed are the peacekeepers. LOL. Or maybe they were the noise-makers — whole lot of honking going on.

Not everybody was having it, however. - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Fierce-looking, Red-tailed? Hawk

Not everybody was having it, however. I have no idea what was going through this hawk's mind, or if it only wanted to get out or was happy enough being there for the moment. We knew it would be awhile before we returned to Rogers, but we didn't want to let go of the opportunity to see, talk to and photograph all these fascinating birds, many of whose issues that got them here, were nearly invisible.

Cage-clining Owl - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Eastern Schreech Owl clinging to its cage

Barred Owl? - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Barred Owl?

Tongue-wagging Great Blue Heron - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tongue-wagging Great Blue Heron

From time to time, this gorgeous bird — one of many hanging around on top of the cages at Rogers — seemed like it was sticking its tongue out at me. But I was never quick enough to capture it with that long, slender, darting tongue aiming at me. So I had to settle for this shot with the tongue out on the other side, in the other direction. Very interesting birds.

November 11

Jumping Great Blue Heron - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Jumping Great Blue Heron

This may be a bad idea. I mean what's left, if I go through the several hundred photographs I made at Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation yesterday and pick out the very best shots. Then what-am-I gonna do with the rest? Well probably learn to appreciate what I now think are second best and realize there's lots more good ones to show you. That's what usually happens.

But right now it's difficult to see any of the other shots I did Friday as anywhere near as good as these, and I really do want to stretch them out over several daily entries on this journal.

Great Blue Heron Gliding Down - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Blue Heron Gliding Down

How I got this bird so very sharp with my Panasonic G2 camera, even though it's descending with great speed and high (!) action, is because I had just carefully focused and photographed it standing on top of that post to the right. As usual, I was about to shoot again, hoping one or the other would be in better focus, when it jumped off and hurtled toward either earth or the top of one of the cages at Rogers, where essentially wild Great Blue Herons call home.

As it hurtled toward me, I quickly and constantly held the focus target in the middle of the EVF (electronic viewfinder) ring on the bird, which is never easy with his camera, but I may actually be getting better at it.

Mississippi Kite - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mississippi Kite

I was going to mention that this kite had its wings outstretched in the caption, but it is rather obvious. What was much more subtle was the reason it did. At first we thought it was because one or the other of them was broken, and that may still be true. Fact is, we have no idea why.

Squitn and Stare Owls - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gray Morph Eastern Screech Owls:  Stare and Squint

Okay, from here down to the TV at the bottom of today's journal entry, I probably don't know which birds these are. I'm in a hurry to get these up, so I'll have something new up for the weekend, and they are the best shots I made today, and when I have time I'll search my books and maybe figure out hoooo's hooo here.

Two Little Owls - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

1.5 Owls: Western Screech Owl and Red Morph Eastern Screech Owl

The left half-owl is probably another one of the above variety. The brown one is probably something entirely different. And yes, I was photographing all but the Great Blue Herons and, if I decide to use them after all, the photographs of some peacocks, were in seriously gridded cages that were a chore to photograph through, but I know the magic trick of it (Get the lens as close to the grid and as far from the birds as possible, so the fence goes completely out of focus, and the birds have a better than average opportunity to be sharp).

Sharp Owl Close-up - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gray Morph Eastern Screech Owl? Close-up

I guess one of the better reasons we trek out to Rogers several times every year — besides the variety of birds available in one place — is that we can get comparatively close to those birds. Much closer than we usually manage with wild birds.

Roadrunner - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Greater Roadrunner

This bird was an absolute treat. It kept gathering little gifts from the dirt floor to attempt to give to Anna, which trick was made especially difficult because of the tight grid I usually try to disappear with my photo trick. It's used and has imprinted on women who work/volunteer at Rogers, so it did not gather nor proffer any gifts to me, but I found it endearing nonetheless.

Sharp Beaked Hawk - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-tailed Hawk

There were, as there often are, dozens of hawk in cages at Rogers today. Some were flinging themselves boldly into the wire at one or the other end of their cages, some were standing there in great dignity, and some in some condition in between. Photographing them is a little like catching fish in a barrel. They're not going anywhere beyond the wire grids, but they almost never pose, so it's always a challenge to capture them with full dignity apparent.

Dark Hawk - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Harris Hawk eying us intently

Some hawks were almost gentle, others watched us carefully. One spread its legs, hunched over toward us and screamed at us.

TV Face CU - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

TV Face CU

Like I say, the opportunity to get up close and personal is the main reason we go there. I photograph what we call TVs (Turkey Vultures) often, but rarely get their faces in any kind of focus, so the chance to get this close and detailed, is amazing.

More pix next week.

White Rock Lake

November 9

Lucile Rogers shot of hundreds of pelicans flying over the lake

Lucille Rogers' photograph of about half the flock of pelicans flying over the lake.

Lucy Rogers, whom I see photographing birds at the lake sometimes, sent me this amazing shot, which she says only shows about half the birds that flew over her on the old boathouse side of the lake October 13, when she happened to look up and see this huge flock of birds. They were so high up and far away, she couldn't tell what they were, but she she photographed them, and later when she zoomed in the photo on her monitor, she saw they were pelicans.

I missed photographing a similar flock October 21 when some guy was yelling at me about hundreds of birds behind me, while I was concentrating on photographing five pelicans who'd split off from our resident couple dozen [then — yesterday I counted maybe 32]. I really liked photographing those few, but I was sorry I missed the many more. Nice to see somebody else captured them.

Meanwhile, I keep going to the lake every day, but I've been finding the same old birds. Nice to have a fresh perspective, even if it happened a month ago. Thanks, Lucille.

November 7

American White Pelican Flying - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

American White Pelican Flying

I have been busy writing and rewriting and re-rewriting art criticism, which may now be my most important job, although some other times photographing birds is. Maybe that confusion led to some of my other confusions that got me where I was taking my nonbird camera/lens to the lake this afternoon, thinking I'd never once get the opportunity to photograph an American White Pelican or really any other bigger bird flying.

Pelican in Flight - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Flying Over Pelicans and Coots

But as you can see, I did. And even with my slow-focusing Panasonic G2, I gave it the good old college (U of Dallas, in my case) try. With not entirely bad results. I'm happy enough.

Pelican tilting its axis to land - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tilting back its horizontal axis to land

I also got a bunch of shots of them cooperatively fishing in the good old synchronized swimming mode pelicans use.

Gear Down and Dropping - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gear down and dropping

Landing gear all the way down while its wings spill most of the air that had kept it flying even and a little fast for a good landing.

Just About to Land - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Just about to land

Feet toward flat and bird cupping the air as it inches toward the tarmac.

Landing behind the log - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Landing behind the log

Then slides behind the log full of pelicans. I always feel especially lucky when I get to see a pelican flying, even as short as this one did today. Soon or eventually this winter I'll get to photograph whole squadrons of them. Maybe those times I'll remember to bring my much faster and faster focusing Nikon. Maybe, too, I'll post some of today's synchro-swimming fishing pix. Maybe I'll have more time now my big art review of the fortnight is finally up and adequate.
 

November 3

Pintail Ducks - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pintail Duck(s)

I recognize the one on the left. A Northern Pintail. The one on the right, being different from the Mallards and coots all around, probably is associated with the one on the left. I assume it's the female of the pair.

Pintail Duck(s) stretch - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Northern Pintail Duck Stretch

Whatever it is, from time to time, it needs to stretch its wings and foot.

What Duck - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Other Duck

When I first saw this bird next to the pintail, I thought it might be an Egyptian Goose, but it really doesn't look much like one of those, except the patch over its eye. It also doesn't look like any of the pictures of the Northern Pintail. The other three birds here are coots.

Bigtail Duck - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Big-tail Duck Walking

This is another of those big-tail ducks I've been watching. Notice the very large and extended behind and small tail. Which looks a lot, Annette tells me Charles believes, is a Muscovy Duck. And it does. The more these guys grow, the more they look like Muscovies. Charles thinks the little ducks are Muscovy hybrids. We have a remarkable diversity of Muscovy hybrids already at the lake — with variations of color and patterns settling in different parts of the lake, and these may be some of those or some more. We might get to find out.

Little Bigtail with Flurry Feathers - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Little Bigtail Duck with Flurry Feathers

This is the other one. Same mottled breast extending to its underside. Same lumpy tail extension (bustle). Very similar white head patch flaring back from the round-the-eye patch. Handsome little critter, despite the errant feathers.

Two Mottle-fronted Ducks - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two mottle-fronted Ducks

Here's a couple of the same or more bustle ducks. I'm beginning to like them immensely. But then I've been a big fan of the overlarge Muscovies for a long time. Can't wait to see what the new cousins look like grown up.

A Honk of Gooses - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

A Honk of Gooses

Photographing ducks I heard a clatter of loud gooses honking and making various other noises. It doesn't sound like Canada Goose's notorious cocktail-party noises, no these guys are really loud and noisy.

Brewer's Sparrows - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Brewers Sparrows ?

Saw these guys earlier this afternoon. Didn't know who they were till I looked them up in several places including What Bird? which has been helping a lot lately. I just kept shooting and shooting and shooting and eventually I not only got two age-different ones together but mostly in focus.

Two Egrets in Fall Colored Trees - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Egrets in Fall-colored  Trees

The Hidden Creek side of Sunset Bay is alive with fall colors, and today there were a half dozen Great Egrets over there. I used my little camera today. The one that doesn't focus birds that move, so I didn't get any of them flying in or away.
 

November 1

American Coot Stare - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The American Coot Stare

I'm sure there's more California birds to be shown, and I might actually get around to it, especially if finding anything new and different at White Rock continues to be such a challenge. But for now, here are more, either birds of interest or photographs of interest of birds at White Rock.

Big Tail Duck - Photograph Copyright 2011 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Big-tail Duck

I've failed several times already shooting these dark ducks with whopping big tails. Usually I manage to photograph them as blurs, which this very nearly is also. Not sure I've ever seen a duck with this substantial a tail before, so I don't yet know who they are, but they've been swimming around the pier at Sunset Bay for a couple weeks now.

At first I thought they were or were related to those black ducks somebody left at the lake earlier last summer, but I'm not so sure now. Basically, I don't know. Is it a juvenile who will grow into its tail like big-pawed puppies and kittens often do?

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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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