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The Amateur Birder's Journal - Stories & Photographs by J R Compton

The Current Journal is always Here  All Contents Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.  DO NOT USE photos without permission.  blue dot  Photo Equipment Used  blue dot  Ethics  green square  Feedback green square Coyotes red diamond Bird Rescue Advice  red diamond Name That Bird  green square  Herons  green square  Egrets  green square  Herons & Egrets  green square  Books and Links  green square  Pelican Beak Weirdness  green square  Rouses  green square  Courtship Displays  blue dot  800e Journal  blue dot  G5 Journal  green square  Duck Love  Birding Galveston   2nd Birds of the Lower Rio Grande Valley   & the 1st   Bald Eagle red diamond Other Dallas Photog Andy Nguyen 

This Month's Better Photos: Little Blue Heron   Wood ducks    Why Do The Gooses Cross the Road?  They're Back!   Crowd of Pelicans Mobbing for a Higher Perch.   How to Photograph Birds   Annual Pelican Arrival Statistics  Pelicans Synchro Fishing   Pelican Beak Stretching Galore   Pelicans Night-Flying   Pelicans Flying   Pelicans Fooling Around Having Fun and Getting Into Mischief

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

October 31

Wings Full Out - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Wings Full Out

Today's lesson is about pelican — especially American White Pelican — wing shapes. And for a big change, I'm just going to show you some pictures. That I obviously didn't shoot on All Hallowed E'en, but a couple days ago, when I really really got into photographing pelicans flying, mostly into Sunset Bay.

Brakes On Full - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Brakes On Full

What exactly needs to be paid attention to here is the many sizes, shapes and forms pelicans change their wings into and out of while they fly, head in to land, land, whatever. They got it all big, major-corporation' super-expensive jet flyers, because they can change their wings in tiny and huge ways, while they're flying, any time they think about it or feel the air in just that way.

Skids On - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Skids On

Just watch.

Short-winged Angle - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Short-winged Angle

 

Short and Curved Down - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Short and Curved Down

 

Long Long and Extending - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Long, Long and Extending

 

Medium-lenghted - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Medium Lengthed

 

Flat Foot Floogie - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Flat Foot Foogie

 

Digging Heels In - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Digging Heels In for a Straight Line

 

Wing Dip Pivot - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wing Dip Pivot

 

The Long Short Fat Skinny of It - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Long Short Fat Skinny of It

 

Point-up at the Ends - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

And Pointy-up at the Ends

 

October 28

 Fierce Little House Sparrow After Bath - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Fierce Little House Sparrow

Drove all the way around the lake hoping to fins some bird besides pelicans to photograph, and although I found a few, between seeing them and them settling somewhere I could decently photograph them, they got a lot smaller and farther away. This guy's fellow bathers were exposed all wrong and too slow, so they blurred, but this one was mostly still, so I got it.

Corms & Pelks from Dreyfuss - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Corms & Pelks from the Hill on Dreyfuss Point

Dreyfuss was my second-to-last stop, and I was still hoping it would have been the last, but thee, I saw pelicans and cormorants. More of the latter in this view.

Could See the Pelks Fine from Dreyfuss - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Could See Plenty Pelks from Dreyfuss

As you can see from this shot (also from Dreyfuss), there were gobs of pelicans over there, but that didn't even register till I got over there, which I did forthwith, because of this short series of pelicans flying. Pelicans flying is what I've been waiting and looking and hoping for for weeks now.

Landing in the Middle - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Landing in the Middle

I didn't count pelicans till I got around the bay to Sunset proper. There were more than 211 pelicans, about 130 more pelicans than last time I counted. I talked to a reader of this journal, who described "a cloud" of 300 pelicans floating over Sunset Bay, then one here and one there, and one over there would flutter down into the bay, and the rest flew off. I've seen those clouds before, and I keep hoping to see one again, but because I don't stay in Sunset Bay all day, every day, I have so far this season missed the cloud.

Close In with the Coots

I don't think I've ever seen such a goofy and curious bunch of pelicans. The ones who hung out so close to the pier that I only got parts of them, and these, thankfully a little ways off from the pier, were cute and curious. They seemed really curious about the goings-on at the pier. They saw lots of white bread being thrown and coots chasing it, so they came in close to try it out.

Pelican Tasting Bread - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Testing the Bread

I often tell people who gather on the pier to throw bread at in the water who say they want the really big ducks, meaning the pelicans, to come over, that they might if they would throw fish instead of bread. I thought a pelican wouldn't even touch bread, but here's a very curious pelican trying some out. It was way too close for the telephoto lens I was using, so I only got the really important parts.

Pelk Gooses a Coot - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Goosing a Coot

I watched several pelicans, one at a time, sneak up behind a coot who was either tail-up down into the water or topside looking for food or adventure, and goose it with that long beak. Once goosed, the coot would flee. But it was an odd game, and several pelicans, as I say, engaged in a series of serious coot-goosing. With no gulls around, I guess coots are used to being left alone, but today several of them were suddenly surprised.

Pelican Yapping - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Opening Its Beak

I didn't hear any sound coming out. Just something a little goofy to be doing. The whole crowd of maybe a couple dozen pelicans at one time or another, just seemed so curious. Like they'd never seen humans feeding ducks and coots and pelicans and the swan before. Like it was something they had time to investigate, so they tried it out. I assume most of them will fly away tomorrow as the day wears on, so why not a little curious sport?

I've been waiting for a Vision Like This - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

I've Been Waiting for a Vision Just Like This

While I was briefly gone, the woman I'd been talking to had seen three pelicans fly in, suddenly appearing along the far edge of the inner bay right about where the logs are, and flying on in. She was worried that I'd missed them, but I told her there'd be lots and lots of that happening in the coming hours, days, months. And sure enough, shortly later, these guys suddenly appeared flying in.

And In - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Coming In

I've been wondering, when they start flying again, what time will it be then? so I can come by and take pictures? This moment was 4:31:14 PM today, at the date at the top of today's journal entry.

About to Land - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Inches Away from Landing

And this is a bare few seconds later.

Just Almost A Skid Landing - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Millimeters from Being A Skid Landing

Always seems wrong to talk about landing, when I know they're going to get wet in water. Is a water landing a self-contradiction, oxymoron or just the way we think?

Oh yeah, It's Autumn - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Oh, Yeah, It's Autumn

I could have just been happy watching them flying in and in and in, but I figured why not photograph some, since I was there and had this camera thing with me.

Wish I Could Say I Saw This One Coming - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wish I Could Say I Saw This One Coming

But it's just happenstance. Hap and I are old buddies.

Short Skid - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Short Skid

So, so, so, so glad the flying pelicans are back!
 

October 24

 A Lakeside View - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Lakeside View

Eager to prove I don't just photograph pelicans, I found these pelicans eminently photographable.

That Grackle Glare - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

That Grackle Glare

But there were a lot more grackles in the area. I tried capturing them flying in — as I sometimes do — maybe my general on-the-uptake speed would improve if I practiced on capturing the fast-flying Great-tailed Grackles instead of the comparatively slow American white Pelicans, although white birds are easier to see.

Grackle Gotta Craker - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

x

Might have been nice to get the bird — especially its feet — as sharp as the chunk of bread it's got, but ya can't get everything, every time.

Three Mallards on the Flightpath In - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Three Mallards on the Flight Path In

I'm always surprised, when I aim at birds coming into Sunset Bay, to get them all in focus: one male and two females.

Three Mallards About to Land - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Three Mallards About to Land

Especially four times in a row.

Three Mallards Almost Down - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Three Mallards Almost Down

This is at 300mm, so about 4 times as likely.

Two Mallards Splash Down - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Mallards Splash Down

Maybe I should have shot a little quicker, especially on this down-side end, but not bad.

Female Grackle - Reverse View - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Grackle - Reverse View

I'd call it a butt shot, but I don't want to be crude, though it seems odd that I always wait for them to acquire a standard facing view, when they look away at least half the time.

Female Grackle Front - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Grackle - Front View

I still have trouble calling this a grackle. It looks more like something far more exotic. I guess I'm not used to looking up at one.

Yeah, Those Guys Are Still Here - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Yeah, Those Guys Are Still Here

I actually went by Sunset Bay the next evening, but having lost track of time, I was late, and I only saw one pelican on the logs just off Sunset Beach, so I just kept driving, and went home to write.
 

October 23

High-stepping Coot - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

High-stepping Coot   iso 3,200

I was there — Sunset Bay, again — to photograph pelicans flying. Walt told me they did that in evenings past sunset, and even though I'd extensively photographed pelicans early that morning, there I was doing it at night, too. But the pelican residents weren't doing much at these moments, so I — as usual — shot whom I could find.

Wood Duck Hen on Sunset Beach - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wood Duck Hen on Sunset Beach

Regular readers know just how much I like Wood Ducks. Yeah, the males are brightly colored, but the females are interestingly-marked and have their own bits of bright color.

Pelican Flapping - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

On Stage Pelican Flapping

Every once in a while I actually paid attention to the pelicans resting and preening on the logs opposite what I call Sunset Beach, the area of the lagoon that's opposite where Charles feeds gooses, ducks, swan, coots and other birds.

Great Egret Over Dryfuss - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Heading for Dreyfuss Point

And since what I wanted to photograph were big white birds flying — when this Great Egret took wing and flew off toward Dreyfuss Point, I visually followed with camera and lens. I'd removed the 2X extender, because that gave me a much 'brighter' 300mm, so I could shoot at night, well into the darkness.

Pelican Splash Splash Hopping into Flight - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Splash-hop Hopping into Flight   max ISO (128,000)

Then it just started, without fanfare, so I missed the beginning. Then there it was, and they were flying away in dribs and drabs, as they usually do unless one of The City's Habitat Destruction Machines are after them — or they think it is.

Single Pelican aloft - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Single Pelican in Flight After Hop   ISO 1,250

Some birds run on the water to gain speed to transition into the air; some just jump into flight without running; and some hop. Pelicans hop.

Heads Up! Pelicans at Attention - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Heads Up! Pelicans Beginning to Pay Attention

Last time we saw these birds, only two of them were were even standing up. Now one is swimming off toward hopping into flight, and the others are at least standing up, a couple at at near full attention.

One Is Ready to Fly - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

One Is Ready to Fly

This pelican is ready to go.

Another Pelican Hops Into Flight - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Another Pelican Hops into Flight

And rapidly go it does.

And if this one is different so does it - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

And If This Is A Different One, So Does It

Next time I go for the evening flight, I'll pay more attention to the pelicans, maybe even talk with the Bird Squad members less early on, so I can capture them heading off. These trips usually take going twice. Once to reconnoiter the scene, and once again to do my serious shooting. By what seems pure happenstance, I managed to do pretty well with the little prep I'd done, although I did suddenly catch-up with exposure difficulties. Luckily, you don't get to see my utter failures, and I get to throw them away.

And Flap Some More - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

And Flap Some More

It's not exactly flight here, and all night I did not see the sort of flight I've come to expect from Our Winter Visitors, but that time will come, and this was beautiful.

Another Hopper Goes Up - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Another Hopper Goes Up   iso 2200

Usually I think of pelican feet as being inordinately small. This one seems to have really big feet. I don't know quite how, but I love that arching splash of its last hop.

Up And Away - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Up and Away

It's flying; it's flying; it's flying. You have no idea how excited I was when they began actually flying, even if it was only a few inches off the surface of the lake.

Three Pelicans Swimming - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Swimming In The Blue   iso 1400

Here's another one of those situations when I suddenly clicked the exposure to adjust my camera settings to the ever-changing light.

Pelicans Fly and Swim - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelicans Fly and Swim Off   iso 640

I think that's either the dam in the background or something else. Not sure really.

Near Silhouette Pelican - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Very Nearly Silhouetted Pelican 

What? Maybe three or four feet up. Hooray!

Ground Effect Flying Pelican with Wings Fully Extended - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Using Ground Effect Extends Wings Fully 

Sometimes pelicans look like they have remarkably short wings. Sometimes they have longer wings. Sometimes, like some jet fighters, they change the length of their wings as they fly along. Pelicans actually change the length of their wings as they fly. There's a part of their wings out at their extremities, that actually fold out when they need more control over flight.

Pelicans Fishing Off Winfrey Point - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelicans Fishing Off Winfrey Point   iso 25600

I keep being amazed how well my camera can focus in near-dark. A fellow photographer said while there was still dusk light, that once that was gone, photography would be impossible, but as you can see, it was not. I point out somewhere here that night photographers really have more need of contrast than light. Of course, you can't see contrast without light…

Little Different Exposure - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

I must have changed something here.

The caption information under some of these images indicates the ISO (used to be called "film speed when we still had film"). If it doesn't change from the previous shots down the page, I don't note each. When it does, I try to. It's not like I was madly switching it all evening. Usually I set it to do that automatically, while maintaining a shutter speed of at least 1/1,000th second when I use the lens doubled to 600mm. But somewhere along the way tonight, I switched the minimum shutter speed down to 1/500.

Probably best practice is to set the minimum shutter speed to the reciprocal of the longest focal length available. If you have a 300mm lens, the best shutter speed is 1/300 second, which I usually push to 1/500 unless I really need the lower fraction. When I use a 600mm, I almost always set the shutter speed at least 1/640 but probably 1/1000, especially with fast-moving birds.

At least twice this night, I set the ISO differently, I forget why now — it usually has something to do with light levels, but I remember doing it. I check the LCD often, although even that's not a perfect way to be certain what got recorded. Quite literally, I was playing — i.e. experimenting. There was probably method in my madness, but because the camera usually keeps track of all those numbers, I don't write it down.

Unfortunately, I Couldn't see well enough to catch them fishing - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Unfortunately, I Couldn't See As Well As My Camera Could

I wanted to catch them doing the synchronized fishing dance they do so elegantly, but I couldn't really see in the dark like my camera could. These last two shots looked to me a little duller than the third shot up. So I just snapped away, hoping I'd catch them at it. My far vision suffers, which is one of the reasons I mostly use telephoto lenses. How I came to think in telephoto. When I used to be a news photographer, I primarily used and thought in wide angle. For one full year in the early 1970s, I used only my Nikon 35mm f1.4 lens. For everything.

What they were doing was synchronized fishing, but it's not obvious that's what's happening in any of these shots. We don't see dunking, raising full mandibles and draining them back. Maybe because they weren't catching anything. At some point, somebody — or everybody at once — decided this wasn't working, and they turned around and tried something else.

Within A Few Minutes Of the Pelicans Leaving, Egrets Moved In - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Within a Few Minutes After the Pelicans Left, the Egrets Moved Back

The early shots in today's journal entry were exposed at f5.6, because I forgot to change it. Then I changed the aperture to f4, like here, and even f2.8, when I was actually paying attention to all those camera setting numbers. I usually find those things out much later when I've done either a good job or a lousy one.

Repopulating the Neighborhood - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Repopulating The Neighborhood   exposure compensation higher

This Night Pelican Shoot was — end to end — so much fun, I didn't even care, and it turned out rather well, so I may have learned some things. I always hope so, but during is very experiential.

Good Old Used-to-be, at least briefly - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Good Old Used-to-be, At Least Temporarily   iso 3200   exposure compensation low

I had wondered where the egrets go when the pelicans are here, and I'm very curious when various species of birds occupy what parts of the lake.

Meanwhile, The Pelks are Still Fishing - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Meanwhile, The Pelicans Were Still Fishing Back and Forth   iso 25600

I can't wait till I catch as many as possible pelicans flying during the bright light of day. I have some things I hope to try, and I'm getting better at holding the focus patch on fast-flying subjects, so I might actually succeed. Maybe.

Done Fishin', Dey Coming Back - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Done Fishing, The Pelicans Come Back   iso 5600

This is about as action-ish as it got last night.

Taking It Back - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Taking It Back

Or, at least, that's what it looked like. Note the egrets in the lower central right of this pic. They're just standing there, they're not fleeing or anything.

Pelicans Flying By En Masse - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelicans Flying By En Masse   iso 6400

I thought they were going to land near their usual perches. Instead they kept flying off toward, no doubt, a better place to find massive amounts of fishing.

Off To Fish Some More - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Off To Do Some More Fishing Over There

This image reminds me of all those times I've been able to photograph pelicans coming in from off fishing somewhere. Here, their flying is in disarray. In daylight, my memory tells me they are much more organized.

Not Re-integrating - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Not Re-integrating   iso 5000

I really like these images for their massive confusion. So many layers of birds doing things. The egrets are just standing there, slightly less focused than the line of swimming pelicans, which are sharp. Then there's the pelicans who are already flying off toward some other place. I assumed they were going to do more night fishing. But maybe there's other reasons. Several varieties of birds who use the area out to the logs to perch during the day, go somewhere else at night. Usually for self-protection.

The gooses go around Dreyfuss to the Bath House Cultural Center in the late evening, and I've many times photographed them coming back around 9:15 the next morning. Some parts of the year, the gooses stay at the Bath House day and night. You'd have to ask them what their real reasons are.

Egrets Perched While the Pelicans File Past - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Egrets Balancing As the Pelicans File Past Behind   iso 6400

Two, busy-enough shoots in one day means I got a day or two off, so I can write about some art I've been meaning to for a couple days.

 

Early Ayem October 23

 All-day Pelk Preen - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

All-Day Pelican Preen

Arranged chronologically, as usual. Light in different parts of the bay are at differing levels. Close in to shore, it's still kinda dark. The sun is slowly throwing light over the tall trees up the hill to the baseball fields, out on the far edge of the bay, beyond the logs. This is close in, where I call the upper lagoon. On the other side from shore is the Hidden Creeks area. I know there's two creeks, maybe a third one, also. White pelicans tend to be bright almost anywhere. Cameras can do that.

Amber of Ayem - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Amber of Ayem Sun

Out farther, near the logs there's the amber of morning, but not much direct, hard, shadow-making sunlight, yet.

Pelicans, Dux and Mist - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelicans, Ducks and Mist

Up the lagoon, the mist was still crawling across the water in vertical poofs.

Gorillas in the Mist - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gorillas in Our Midst

Not much action there yet.

Misty Flap with Duck and Coots - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Misty Flap with Duck and Coots

EXcept maybe a little flapping.

Female Wood Duck on Pipe with Duck and Gooses - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Wood Duck with Male Mallard and Gooses

Mid-lagoon, we got the gooses lined up and coming round Dreyfuss Bend along Hidden Creek Forest. And a gorgeous Wood Duck hen on her high perch glowing in early morning ambler.

Big Flappin' Pelk with Goose Head - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Big Flappin' Pelican with Goose Head

Mid lagoon's a little busier in spurts. Each area requires a quite different exposure. Someday, Nikon will have a voice- or GPS- activated exposure memory, so I don't have to keep track of the differences or remember which is which. But not yet.

Pelican, Goose and Coots - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican, Goose and Coots

I don't even remember where every shot was taken.

All I Wanna Do is Preen, Preen, Preen - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

All I Wanna Do is Preen, Preen, Preen

But this one's out toward the logs, Bright sun with a little amber in it.

Big Flap I - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Big Flap I

We pause a little mid-lagoon to watch a middle-sized pelican ...

Big Flap II - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Big Flap II

... flap and flap and not rise an inch into the air.

Big Flap III - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Big Flap III

It must feel good. I've tried it, standing on the pier, sometimes, but it's just not the same. I didn't rise any into the air, either.

The Edge of Light - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Edge of Light

Here, out toward the logs, I think, but not all the way, we have — left to right — sunlight and shadows, so I set the exposure for the bright.

 

October 22 2013

 Open Pelican Beak - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

No Idea What the Pelican Was Thinking

Counted 82 American White Pelicans in Sunset Bay today after only 37 yesterday, and I spent some quality time with them. I got regular old pelican pictures aplenty, but I also go beak pix, and those are what I'm showing today.  As often here, they are in chronological order, even though that doesn't really matter much today, except for the sequences.

American White Pelican Engaged in a Mandible Stretch

Like this.

American White Pelican with Beak Open - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

American White Pelican Engaged in a Mandible Stretch

Not sure why now, but I changed the framing and center of focus just before this shot.

American White Pelican with Beak Open - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

American White Pelican Engaged in a Mandible Stretch

Mind you, these are almost all of today's shots, significant enlargement of the 35mm-sized 24 x 36mm full-frame sensor, which did amazingly well, seriously helped by using a tripod. And when the shots weren't helped that way, I didn't use them.

American White Pelican with Beak Open - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

American White Pelican Engaged in a Mandible Stretch

I love the way this pelicans pal here just stares off toward me while all this organic inversion is going on. I've never seen a pelican invert the back portion of its mandible before. That reminds me of yet another mandible stretch I shot today that actually shows the valve some people call its tongue, although I'm not sure they have tongues. I better check that.

American White Pelican with Beak Open - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

American White Pelican Engaged in a Mandible Stretch

Usually, they just do the front part, although most often more than shown here.

American White Pelican with Beak Open - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

American White Pelican with a Stretched Mandible

It really helps to have the setting sun shining through it.

Pelican Beaks - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Beaks in Their Usual Mode — Just in Case Some Beaking Needs to Happen

Seems like every time a pelican gains perch where either another pelican was just standing or between two pelicans who were already plenty close enough together, the new pelican has to fend off de-perched belligerence with its beak. Here, the one with wings flapping has drawn the attention of the others, but no beaking occurred.

American White Pelican with Beak Open - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Overtly Inverted American White Pelican Lower Mandible Inversion

This is usually the first move in a full mandible stretch, but they seem to do it either way: starting with the lean-back neck stretch with mandible in the air or inverting it over their chest or whatever this one's inverting it over.

American White Pelican with Beak Open - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

American White Pelican Engaged in a Mandible Stretch

Today's last shots are this pelican doing the upper portions of a mandible stretch. It did not do a lower mandible inversion first.

American White Pelican with Beak Open - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

American White Pelican Engaged in a Mandible Stretch

I've been photographing pelicans stretch various parts of their bodies for many years now, and these may be the best images I've got of them doing that. Or else I've just so excited I got these in focus.

American White Pelican with its Beak Open - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

American White Pelican Engaged in a Mandible Stretch

I'm already confused with my new policy of citing the day the photographs in the journal entry were instead of the day they show up online, and it won't do me any good with the pelican arrival stats below, since those entries in this long-ongoing journal were labeled by the day they were posted instead of the day they were shot, but I'm not very interested in tracking down all those corrected dates.

Tomorrow, I'm either going to show pictures of American White Pelicans' wings doing wingy things or whatever I get at the lake tomorrow. Sooner or later, I'm just going to have to go somewhere besides Sunset Bay, but right now I am still utterly fascinated by the growing horde of pelks there.

82 is about a dozen more than usually stay in Sunset Bay over the winter, but I don't mind. And except for a few spare shots so far this autumn cum winter, I haven't really taken many photographs of them flying, and frankly, I just can't wait. Love me some pelican flying pictures.

Not sure it matters to you, but most of today's shots were taken with a big chunk of a tripod under my camera and lens for a change. I knew I'd be there awhile, and I just didn't want to hand-hold for that long. I can tell the diff; can you?

 

October 20 around 4 pm

 

Great Blue Heron Heading Up the Lagoon

I didn't intend for this to happen. I thought I was getting great shots of the GBH flying up the Lagoon to where it usually hunts, behind the big bloom of tall reeds on the Upper west side of the lagoon. But some of my GBHs were shot too slow, and they blurred.

Great Egret Heading Up the Lagoon - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret a Little Further Up the Lagoon

By the time the Great Egret took the same flight for pretty much the same reasons only slightly differing hunting grounds a little closer to the mid Lagoon area, the Great Blue had disappeared into Hidden Creek Forest.

Great Blue Heron Past You Know Who - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Blue Heron Past You Know Who

But we're doing a little time-shifting here to bring you a nearly complete journey, but with two greats, not just one. Two - two - for the price of one.

Past You Know Who - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

And Past You Know Who

All 37 of them. Last time I visited Sunset Bay, I didn't stay long, and I didn't get nearly as high a percentage of decent shots, so I never used them. This time, I got just enough, with maybe a few over, than I can add to the next time's mix.

Apparently, 183 of the 220 pelicans I counted early [links to below on this page] October 16, or 363 of the 400 Charles guessed at the evening before, were just visiting, neither of which numbers are divisible by my theory of 70 pelicans per flock, thus apparently disproving all that.

And Gooses Tooses - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

And Gooses ,Tooses

I was clicking along as the Great Egret traversed the lagoon. Nice to have an audience.

And Duckses As Well - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

And Duckses As Well

Egret pivots with extended audience.

GE in Folding Wing Landing - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret in Folding Wing Landing in the Lagoon

I'm pretty sure I got contact dermatitis from a medicine I got at the VA, but it sure looks like Poison Ivy, although I don't think I've even been in sniffing distance of some, but then I almost never recognize that evil stuff before I get into it, only after. My extensive studies on the I-net indicate that both are eminently plausible scenarios. I quit the medicine, and I'm hoping to get quit of the diseases by the end of the week — or my civilian doctor wants me to get back with him. It doesn't itch nearly as much as it did, and when it was, I was in no mood to photograph birds.

Wings Spread Past Touchdown - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wings Spread Past Touch Down

Note recoiling neck.

Wings Pull In - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wings Pull In

And another familiar shape.

Mid-flap Pelican - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mid-flap Pelican

I watched the pelicans very closely for a long time, hoping against hope to catch one do the full Lower Mandible Stretch, the beginnings of which I got somewhat lower on this page, but I saw none do that, so when one flapped its wings, I was allover it.

Post Pelican Preen Lanolin Smear - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Post Pelican Preen Lanolin Smear

I think it's the final touch in the long process of preening to secret a little lanolin and spread it around on its feathers, thus guaranteeing a certain degree of water-proof-ness.

Hardly Even Noticing Each Other - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Hardly Even Noticing Each Other

This pelican is not fishing. I know I've seen a Great Blue Heron stealing all the fish off a storage line planted near the Old Boat House, full of fish caught by a fisherman, who had left the area. It took the GBH a long time to pull the line up and eat every single fish on it, but it seemed an overwhelmingly positive thing for it to do. So herons and fisher humans do go for the same prey.

Great and Great- Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Two Big American Herons

The Great Blue Heron and the Great Egret fishing in the same water. I suspect they're not after the same types or same sizes of fish, but I couldn't prove that. I did read recently somewhere that fishermen and pelicans both know that each other are after different fish, and it doesn't surprise me a bit that pelicans are at least as smart as fisher persons.

One Great Whatsit - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

One Great Egret

This one did not seem to quite match the action of my reverse time travel attempt earlier, but I still like it, so it's down there to end the day.  Well, it could have, but I wanted the GBH to be first, since I so many good GE Shots and only a precious few GBHs.

 

October 16 evening

These Four - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

These Four

After having up to 400 — Charles insists there were four hundred — pelicans in Sunset Bay last evening, and I counted 220 this morning, there are now 37 American White Pelicans in Sunset Bay. 

Wing STretch With Leg Lift - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Wing Stretch With Leg Lift

What it's doing here is of less consequence than what it's about to do.

Lower Mandible STretch - Part I - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Lower Mandible Stretch - Part I

Looking at the pelicans whose beaks you can see in this image, you might never guess what strange things they can do with their lower mandible. We call ours "jaw," but we can't do this sort of amazing thing with ours. At least most people cannot. Unfortunately, this sequence shows only the early portions of a full mandible stretch, but their will be other opportunities (and I have a full page of images of some of what Pelicans Can Do With Their Beaks. It's called Pelican Beak Weirdnesses.)

Lid Lift - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Lower Mandible Stretch - Part II

No, that is not a pelicans tongue. If they had a tongue, it would be that valve thing back near their throats. Nope, this is their lower mandible, stretched over this pelican's upper chest.

What It Really Looks Like - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

What It Really Looks Like

I generally strive to make my pelican pictures looks as good as I can make them. Sometimes that means showing them pretty well and the stuff around them however they turn out. The picture above was actually photographed in light almost exactly like this. The sun's gone down, there's not a lot of color around. It's getting dark.

Pelican Flying Past the Sunset - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Flying Past the Sunset

Sunset Bay has some really spectacular sunsets, but this isn't one of them.

Pelican Flying Low - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Fly Away with Slow Focus

I waited and waited, and I was eventually rewarded with a couple pix of pelicans flying. I must have missed the mass pelican fly-off this morning or earlier afternoon, because there were 220 pelicans in Sunset Bay when I left this morning, and 37 when I got back after doing some other things in my life. I would love to have seen a mass pelican fly-up.

My Second Pelican Flying Pix - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Take-off with Slow Shutter

Somewhere on last month's page is a shot of this season's first flying pelican photograph.  Today's shots were in strict chronological order, but that just can't continue much longer.

 

October 16 early ayem

7:25:43 AM  iso 6400   Pelicans Beyond Barely Discernable

Just 'cause it's so confusing, I'm changing my day-dating format from citing in big purple letters and number the day I post these journal entries to the day I shot them. You may not have been confused, but I sure have confused me. This is one of the first shots I made this early morning. Earlier than it seems. It was nearly dark when I started. Actually, I started by walking out onto the pier at Sunset Bay without a camera and just squinting out there to see whether I could see any pelicans.

I could see the guys on the logs in the lower left here, but the ones behind were mostly a whitish blur. I supposed I could have presented that picture like that, but I like to see actual birds instead of blurs, so here you have it.

7:30:01

7:30:01 AM    iso 3200

And for clarity's sake, my fairly precisely-counted number for pelicans as of around 8 o'clock this morning, is 220 pelicans, which may well be the same number as guessed last night at nearly twice that. I counted heads. They guessed at white-feather mass.

7:30:24 3200 - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

7:30:24 AM   iso 3200

That number seems to agree with another one of my ongoing theories, that pelicans tend to travel in units of 70, although they may join with other units for much large flocks. It's just a theory. I may have some evidence, but I have no proof. The flock I saw flying over the Mexican/American border several years ago was 70 pelicans strong. The usual, rounded-off, number of pelicans who stay in Sunset Bay from autumn to spring every year (Notice I'm not citing specific dates anymore.) is usually about 70.

7:32:11   iso 3200 - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

7:32:11 AM   iso 3200

Over the seven years I've been doing this journal, I've seen larger flocks fly to Sunset Bay, rest and recoup awhile, then leave 70 of their number here, then the rest fly off to parts unknown. I've seen and photographed them at various lakes around Dallas and North Texas. The pelicans Anna and I have seen at Hagerman NWR usually number about twice that, though they've been too far away to count individually.

The next pic up shows about the number of pelicans we've had for the last few days on one long log. And another bunch on the log to the left of it. Here we see the beginning of the large mass of pelicans swimming back and forth and back again, heading past the mounted pelicans.

7;33 - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

7:33 AM   iso 3200

Anyway, it's an interesting-enough theory for me to keep myself busy with it for some time. And another opportunity to count things.

And here we see the mounted pelicans nearly engulfed with back-and-forth swimming pelicans. To what purpose, I can only guess.

7:49:07   iso 1000 Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

7:49:07 AM   iso 1,000

By now there was enough light to put the doubler on the cannon, which cuts the light by two stops, down to one-fourth of what there was, but there was by 7:49 more than a hint of eventual sunlight seemed to be heading our way, although the rain mostly obliterated that. Whenever I saw a hint of light from the sky this morning, more rain would blot it out. I'm not really complaining. That's the way the universe works. Mostly, I'm just explaining.

7:49:14 iso 1000 - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

7:49:14 AM   iso 1,000

Some pelicans have stopped to preen, but the vast majority are simply swimming back and forth across the area known as "the logs" on the outer edges of the inner bay. I have no idea what they were doing, except maybe exercising their feet, which they haven't been using except as ailerons. Maybe they're keeping warm or just keeping busy. Back and forth, back and forth, the whole 220 of them.

7:49:21 iso

7:49:21 AM   iso 1,000   600mm crop

I think there's sixteen pelicans here, which is what we've had in Sunset Bay for several days. I wouldn't know if these are they, though I am curious.

7:50:04 iso 1000

7:50:04   iso 1,000   600mm crop

There's generally less light than we can see in this pictures. But here, finally, there's enough to stop fast action, though there's nearly no depth of field behind that one, low-flying juvenile Double-crested Cormorant (I think and believe, which means they've been coming back in droves to all but replace the Neotropic Cormorants who've been our guests all summer and into autumn.

7:53:33  800 - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

7:53:33 AM   iso 800    600mm  crop

I might should note the aperture used, also. As usual with largely non-changing action over a long period, I'm changing things on the camera, to see what differences they make, and if I don't note them here, I don't learn those things.

7:34:20 -

7:34:20 AM   iso 1600   600mm

Then it turned dark again, and I just didn't want to stand out there in the cold while they did the same exact things over and over and over. But, boy! it's nice to see them all back, even if I know most of them will fly off to some other venue, probably soon. I didn't see any pelicans fishing this morning, but surely some of the hungry ones did, and I wonder how our fish supply in Sunset Bay is holding out.

 

October 16

First Shot Hand Held - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

First Shot    11:38:48 PM October 15 2013

So here I am debunking my own theories of historical arrival patterns, when Charles F calls me at 20 after 11 pm and tells me if he'd had my new phone number at six, I could have rushed down to Sunset Bay and seen and photographed, he said, 400 pelicans. I would have liked that, but I rushed down to Sunset Bay in the rain anyway, and photographed who knows how many pelicans doing maneuvers in the dark.

They're Moving Around Out There - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

They're Moving Around Out There

All my shots here were hand-held at some ridiculous high iso. So high that my camera didn't even record it. I pegged the meter, set the focus on infinity, since I couldn't see for the darkness and the rain, and just started shooting. When I checked the first eight shots, they showed darned few pelicans. I was firing blind in an less-than-blinding rainstorm with a camera and lens that are "weather sealed" better than I was.

By this time, I'd driven all the way around the Sunset Building and parked off to the left facing the lake, again. The light you see shining on the tree and the birds are The Slider's Full-Bright LED Beams. It was the best light source I could think of, and easy to think of since I was already using them to drive around Sunset Circle, and I could just barely see pelicans out there in the bay.

Ducks in Front, Pelicans Behind - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Ducks in the Front; Pelicans Behind

Still not 400, but many more than the 16 we had this morning. With every couple of shots I changed settings or position or something.

Oh, Fifty-something Pelicans - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Oh, 50-something Pelicans

I was excited and would have been cold if I'd thought about it much, and wet and getting wetter, but then so were my targets out there. It took me a long time to figure out that they were out there moving around. Who knows why? Better positioning? To get back close to family and friends? I don't know. But all the time I was clicking away, leaning my camera on the hood, the rearview mirror on one side or the other of The Slider, they were changing positions.

Night Maneuvers

Probably the strangest moments were when I closed The Slider's door, so I could sit on something dry later, with the engine running, wiper blades wiping and the warning tone screaming. Then another warning tone warning about something else joined in, enough out of harmony to be really annoying, but eerie. Then I got fed up and drove home.

So, anyway, they all, however many of them there were, arrived on October 15. I just realized all my stats are off by a day or two, because the dates in purple are when I post pix — the date of the journal entry, not when I take them.

Guess who will be up bright and early in the morning, drizzling rain or bright sunshine?

 

October 15

 Fisherman Fishing & Pelicans Going Crazy - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Fisherman Fishing and Pelicans Going Crazy

Once again, this is the most spectacular shot of the day in the rain, not the first one that happened in what you may experience as a series down this page. To see what led to this particular pelicano melee, follow along today's Rainy Columbus Day Bird Journal Entry. More mobbing pix below.

Leaving Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Leaving Sunset Bay

When I arrived near Sunset Beach, it took awhile for me to apply DEET to every known surface that bugs like to bite me. When I first drove in, I saw pelicans perching on top of that log they seem to have chosen for their main habitat in the inner bay, but by the time I had debugged legs, arms and head, they were instead, heading out — in an organized and dignified manner. That looks like a particularly large pelican fronting this group out, but it may be an optical delusion brought on by a trick of the telephoto.

Lining Up and Outta Here - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Natural Selection

I know gooses often line up in an order worked out by themselves. I don't know whether pelicans do that, too, or they just get in line wherever they can. There may even be an order of exaltation going on here.

Natural Selection - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Lining Up and Outta Here

Speaking of Natural Selection, here's a bunch of pelicans — far as I can tell, it's the same fifteen or sixteen American White Pelicans that we've had in Sunset Bay for the last week or so — struggling to acquire the upper-most perching position on a short log at the far reaches of the outer bay — in the rain, which was sometimes falling so fast that it blurred my view of everything out there.

Pelk Pile - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelk Pile!

It's not the first time I've seen pelicans jockeying for position, but I don't think I've ever seen so many of them duking it out for so few places on such a short log.

Trying to Be Top Dog - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Trying to be Top Dog ... er ... Pelican

It didn't last very long, and as usual, I didn't see any injured pelicans, but they went at it with lots of flapping and climbing for quite a few seconds. Okay, I checked back. The first two pelicans to mount the log were there by 3:22:56 this rainy afternoon, and the winners had established themselves in position by 3:26:04. So right at three minutes and eight seconds of flurry.

Pelican Pile with Fisherperson Back - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Pile with Fisher person Back

This happened a few seconds after the action portrayed into this entry's first image. Obviously some pelicans care about such positioning, and some just do not want to get involved. I guess we can all identify with that.

And The Winners Are - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

And The Winners ARe

Well, the winners are off to the left in this shot. With just the pointy front end of the boat the fisher person was in out there behind them on the left edge of this shot, and now the also-rans are deciding who stands where on the much longer, but ever so slightly lower log closer in.

The First Fisherperson in the Rain - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The First Fisher Person in the Rain

For years, I've wanted to prohibit people in boats from scaring my precious pelicans and everybody else out of Sunset Cove. But neither this person, nor the other person in a very small boat (I'm gonna have to get me one of those, someday) fishing in Greater Sunset Bay did any scaring that I could see. They had their own fish to — uh — catch. But they were whom I thought of first when I saw the pelicans lining up to go out onto the outer Bay. And the whole pelican flurry never seemed to phase them, out there, each alone in the drizzling, gray, wet, rain.

Barnyard Ruckus - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Barnyard Ruckus — Part A

Someone or some thing spooked the gooses, ducks, coots and single Mute Swan, so they wanted to rush on out of wherever they were faced with whatever scary thing that was out there, out the little inlet west southwest of the pier at Sunset Bay where I was standing looking for something to photograph when whatever this was exploded into being. Especially nice to see the swan right up in the big middle of everybody in this rapid community scenario.

Barnyard Ruckus Part Two - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Barnyard Ruckus - Part Two

There were coots involved, I believe, but they were too short to be seen over the log in the upper image, and too fast to be lollygagging around the rear of the formation this late into the proceedings.

Pelicans Filing Back Into the Inner Bay - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelicans Filing Back into the Inner Bay

I'd given up on getting good shots of pelicans, because before I left the bay, they'd got father and farther away. So I looped down Garland Road, and came back up my always-calming drive from Garland Road past the unspeakable idiots who cut down big, real trees to replace them with even-bigger metal ones (but I never look on that side of the road, I stare out onto the lake when I'm not busy navigating down the road up toward Winfrey Point. That slow, high MPG tour always calms me down, so I drive it often.

In From the Outter Bay - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

They're Coming In From the Outer Bay, because It's Raining

I'm neither particularly pelican clairvoyant nor do I really know why pelicans do anything. But it was raining harder and harder, and they were coming back from out near Winfrey Point, which is pretty much on the outer edge of where I can photograph them with any decent detail, especially in the rain.

Pelicans Past The Pier in Sunset Bay, Seeking Refuge from the Rain - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelicans Seeking Refuge from the Rain — Past The Pier at Sunset Bay

Both of my photographs of the pelicans single-filing back in from the Outer Bay were shot from the road down the hill from the Winfrey Building toward Sunset Bay. This one finds me back in Sunset Bay Proper, with rain pouring down enough to keep me in The Slider, photographing my favorite birds out the driver's window. Usually, I'm standing on that wobbling pier, so I rarely photograph it itself, but this is what it looks like after The City's Habitat-Destruction machines knocked down all the trees, bushes and vines that would love to hold that piece of land from sliding into the lake.

That that vegetation also protects many species of birds, animals, bugs and others of The Universe's Glory does not seem to phase whoever directs all those big, noisy, habitat destruction machines. No wonder The City is so intent on stamping it out. The taller among those weeds and trees and such were encroaching a bit upon the entrance to the pier, but the cutting-back could have been done with more finesse and less damage to the habitat that area provides for so many critters. Instead it was done quickly and sloppily by someone who was obviously just told to get rid of it. And rid of it it got

 

October 14

How Many Pelicans And When - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

How Many Pelicans And When?

Pelican Arrival Statistics & Links
for White Rock Lake's Sunset Bay

Last week I heard another White Rock Bird Photographer tell some people that the American White Pelicans who stay in and around Sunset Bay each year arrive by September 15 and leave by April 15, and that info sounded very familiar, so I figured he'd got his info from this journal, since I usually simplify it to that one day for arrival, and tell people they are always gone by Tax Day.

But I wanted to check my figures, and when I did, I discovered that our white pelicans arrive pretty erratically.

Maybe next April I'll do this same research fort precise dates for our American White Pelican flock's departure. But the arrival end of my pelican tracking took me several hours, clicking back using the "Last Year" and "Year Ago" links in the gold box at the tops of these monthly pages. Usually, about 70 pelks stay from autumn till early spring every year, so once the arrival number gets to about that, I stop counting, unless I see another major flock fly over.

I usually only count pelicans in Sunset Bay, but once, as you'll see, I also guessed at the much larger number I saw at John Bunker Sands Wetland Center near Segoville.

These are the correct counts coordinated with the correct dates for 2007 through so far in 2013, although my pelican-counting has never been scientific. I count them when I have nothing better to do, or it seems like a good time. I count crowds of people and all kinds of other things, too. Note: Bird Journal Pages are big, so give them time to load.

2007 - 29 pelicans October 8;  53 pelicans October 10;  78 pelicans October 16

2008 - 5 pelicans September 11;  6 September 18;  11 September 19;  22 by end of September;  44 October 2;  141 pelicans October 7

2009 - 2 pelicans September 20;  9 by September 24; 78 pelicans fly-over October 14

2010 - 2 pelicans October 6;  hundreds at John Bunker Sands October 14;  22 pelicans at Sunset Bay by September 8; 9 by October 21;  50 pelicans in Sunset Bay, more than half a dozen pelicans playing catch with a plastic water bottle on October 26

2011 - 6 (probably year-round) pelicans August 14;  8 pelicans by September 8; 17 by October 17; 24 by October 21

2012 - 2 year-round pelicans still there in early September; 9 pelicans by September 15;  42 pelicans by October 8;  and a massive flyover Tuesday October 23 — apparently, all of our year-round pelicans who were remnants of the rehabilitated pelicans released by Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation in the summer of 2010 (I think), had flown away by then, and 65 pelicans by October 26.

2013 - 1 non-year-round pelican in Sunset Bay September 7, but it disappeared a few days later; 3 by September 23; 6 by October 1; and as I write this there have been 16 American White Pelicans in Sunset Bay for the last few days. And waiting.

October 13

Great Blue Heron against Hidden Creek Forest - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Great Blue Heron with Hidden Creek Forest in the Background

Near perfect exposure, right? But I couldn't see it through my optical viewfinder, and for some reason I still don't get, I assumed it was too dark, so I lightened it up a couple clicks, and ruined all the succeeding shots, which might have even better, but definitely were not. Of all my favorite birds, the GBH is my favorite favorite. It's who's on my Bird Journal business card. I didn't see it coming, and I really don't care that I blew all the rest of the photographs of it this time. I got this one right. And it's at the top of today's journal, even if there are now sixteen pelicans in the bay.

Pelican Wing-stretch and Leg Lift

I was waiting and waiting for one of those pelicans to do a full mandible stretch, and I even saw one, and wondered at seeing it, but I didn't capture it on silicone. So it's not there.

Snowy Egret on American White Pelicans - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Snowy Egret with American White Pelicans

White on white.

A Smattering of the Evening Goose Parade - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

A Smattering of the Evening Goose Parade

They were all over the inner bay, and I shot them several times, but mostly they just look like confusion and a mess. This looks a little confused, yeah, of course, but it also looks almost organized. Almost organized enough.

Scissortail Pair in the upper trees of Hidden Creek Forest - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Scissor-tailed Flycatchers at the Upper Reaches of the Near Side  of Hidden Creek Forest

They'd been making a real racket in the thicket of trees below, so I was paying the area some attention throughout the hour or so I was out there. My first several shots of these two were awful. Way over exposed. I adjusted. Probably more than these two scissortails, but these and one other are all I ever saw.

Red-eared Slider - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-eared Slider Beneath the Pier at Sunset Bay

 

October 12

 Pelican Gulps Down Fish - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Gulps Down Fish

Darned nice of these, eventually four, American White Pelican to go fishing almost right in front of the photographers gathered on Sunset Pier. I could describe every motion down today's journal entry, but why?  You can tell what's going on about as well as I can.

Three Fisher Pelicans - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Three Fisher Pelicans

Dipping Beaks - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Dipping Beaks

Kersplashing Under - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Kersplashing Under

Three Pelicans Fishing - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Three Pelicans Fishing

More Kersplashing A Little Deeper - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Going Long - More Kersplashing and Deeper

Long-going Pelks Splash More - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Long-Going Pelks Splash Higher

And Even More Splashing - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

And Even More Splashing

Tilt Back & Swallow - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tilt Back & Swallow

A Little Mandible ACtion - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

A Little Mandible Action

Two Pelican Beaks Not Quite Parallel - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Pelican Beaks Slightly Splayed

Paralleling Beaks - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Paralleling Beaks

Pelican Parade Pivot - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Parade Pivot

Mock Ona Sign - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mockingbird on a Sign

It's true natural habitat.

Justa Lil More Mock Detail - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Justa Lil More Mockingbird Detail

With all that beardly feathers under its chin, it must be a flycatcher.

 

October 11

 Pelicans Settling In Closer - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelicans Settling In Closer

Didn't seem to be more than last time I counted — fifteen or so, but they were coming in closer to Bird Squad Beach, so I was able to fill my digital frame with them. Now, I'll really go crazy joyous when they're rested up enough they go flying, in and out of Sunset Bay.

Preen Preen Preen - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Preen Preen Preen

Right now they're main job is to rest up, do a little fishing from time to time, and preen those feathers, so they can do they kind of flying that thrills this photographer and all those others.

Katy Looking Powerful - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Katy Looking Powerful

Katy was named after one of the police persons who frequents the Bird Squad, evenings at Sunset Bay. We don't know if the bird is male or female, but it's a big, strong bird, most of us wouldn't want to mess with. And so most of us don't. Katy is a Mute Swan, and I haven't heard it say anything, but in general, Mute Swans are not mute.

Mocker with a Hopper - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

I thought it was a Mocker with a Hopper, but Anna says
it's got a Caterpillar, so it must be a Mocker with a 'Pillar

If I'd had the camera a little closer for this drive-by shot, I might have got it standing in front of the weeds instead of behind, and we could have been able to tell the grasshopper's first name, there'd have been so much up-close detail. But it was far, and I was slow on the uptake, but I waited, and eventually it showed off its juicy catch. Click.

Red-tailed Hawk - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-tailed Hawk Over Parrot Bay

Took a bunch of shots to hone in on focus on this bird. When it was closer, my focus was farther. But I kept at it, and eventually got some sharp, both going.

RTH - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Red-tailed Hawk

And coming. I'd been asking the Universe for a better chance at a RTH for several weeks. Maybe I should light some hawk candles...

 

October 8

 Gaggle A of Pelicans - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gaggle A of Pelicans

I encountered a young couple actively engaged in counting pelicans recently, and they seemed to think I was intruding into their pelican-counting game, even if I do it every time I go to Sunset Bay, which is every single day lately, even if I don't take any pictures. I suspect there's a lot of us pelican counters lately, and probably more will join the party soon. I believe I count seven pelican heads in this shot, but that's just on one log. They're expanding their territory.

The Flapper - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Flapper

I kept counting and counting and counting the two groups with one outlying and several swimming back and forth from group to group, when I got sidetracked photographing this mighty flapper. At first it was just it. Then it started flapping the third pelican from the left here.

A Bit of a Spat - crpry

Till That Grew Into A Bit Of a  Spat

With some serious beaking going on, but just for a few seconds. Glad I'd quit counting, or I'd have missed just the sort of intra-pelican behavior that I love to capture.

En Garde, You Cad - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

En Garde! You Cad!

I didn't see any of them flying. That's what I'm really out standing on my pier every day since the first pelk appeared, then a few days later, disappeared. I suspect these guys are here to stay, but I can never tell, for sure.

Oh, Yeah! And Pass It Down! - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Oh, Yeah! and Pass It Down!

Everybody's getting into the action.

Well, I'm Outta Here - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Well, I'm Outta Here!

Now, if you'll just be so kind as to remove the pointy end of your beak from my feathers, while everybody else gets up in arms and wings.

Fifteen Pelicans From the Other Side of Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Fifteen Pelicans and One Cormorant and  loose Flock of Teal Flying Through

Whichever side of Sunset Bay I shot from today, there was always one, solo pelican standing on yet another log, so that brings us to a total of 16 pelicans in the bay today. And more coming.

Teal Flock Up Winfrey Point - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Teal Flock Up Winfrey Point

Meanwhile, I kept following another flock of female Cinnamon or Blue-winged Teal (ducks) round and round the inner bay till they widened their circle to include the whole lake.

Finally got Em in Focus Teal Flock - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Finally Got Them in Focus As they Gyre Wider and Flew Off North

First there was a widely-circling flock of female Cinnamon Teal, then a flock of female Blue-winged Teal, now I think, another flock of female Cinnamon Teal. But people who send me their strange-looking birds expecting me to identify them, are often disappointed.

Snowy Egret Fishing But Not Catching Anything - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Snowy Egret Fishing, But Not Catching Anything

It was comparatively closer, so I got lots of fine detail.

 

October 6

 Seven AWPs on an Island - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Seven of Ten American White Pelicans on Their Island   iso 400

Friday nights are really too busy on Sunset Pier to be taking pictures, let alone struggling with an ancient tripod and long lens, but there I was, and all around me were wedding photographers — I didn't really keep track, but I believe there were three of them out there shooting luvy-duvy couples against the setting sun. One of those, all women, tromped around like tank, though she was skinny as a rail. Go figure.

And Three More On A Log - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

And Three More on a Nearby Log   iso 400

For a total of ten as of Friday October 4. Can the hoards be far behind? — I like this shot for the Pelican stretching just about everything its got, including its beak. The black blobs are cormorants, possibly Neotropic variety, although I believe I saw an influx earlier in the evening, of several flocks of our usual winter guests, cormorants of the Double-crested variety.

Detail of the Three on the End - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Detail of the Three on the End  iso 125

It was a lot darker than this shot appears and noisier, to boot, but these are the two American White Pelicans who have just flown in, and their wings are tired. The left-most pelican stretches, The second one sleeps and the cormorant on the end of the log stares off to the right.

Stretching Everything - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Continually Stretching Everything  iso 320

Some pelican, perhaps having just flown in from, oh, somewhere between North or South Dakota off wet to Eastern Idaho or north and west from there up into Canada. We tracked bands on their legs to Dakota and southeastern Idaho, but they could be from anywhere up there.

Gradually, slowly, eventually three pelks break off from the flock - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gradually, Slowly, Eventually, Three Pelicans Split off from  the Crowd to Go Fishing  iso 800

Probably all the newly-arrived ones are tired, but they're possibly even more hungry, and one of the main reasons up to about 70 American White Pelicans settle in Sunset Bay at White Rock Lake, here in Dallas, Texas, USA, is because of all the fish in this shallow bay. Kids bouncing on the other end of the pier were announcing each new, huge fish — they thought they were carp — I've seen them down there often, but I'm more interested in photographing birds, so I don't know those big fish by their proper titles.

To Go Fishing - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

To Go Fishing Off Winfrey Point  iso 2500

Winfrey is south-southwest of Sunset Bay and amazing far from me standing on the far side of the pier at Sunset Bay. Within minutes of them setting out from their R&R (rest and relaxation, not rock 'n roll) island, they were gulping down large backfills of fish. As the authors of my precious Lone Pine Edition of The Birds of Texas assert, "The bill can hold over 3 gallons of water and fish, which is about two to three times the stomach capacity."

In this photograph, the pelican in the middle appears to be dredging one or more fish into its eminently-stretchable lower mandible.

Pelican Gulping Fish - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pelican Tilting Fish Down into Its Gullet  iso 1600

After filling that mandible, they tilt it back and swallow.

Sucking Up Fish - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

They Were Still Fishing When I Finally Left  iso 800

Pelican A (left) is still looking, While Pelican B has its Face in the Water, seining for fish.

Meanwhile Back on the Island - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Meanwhile, Back on the Island

Remarkable variety of birds out in the bay Friday night.

 

The Lower Spillway Steps

October 4

 BCNH At the Moment of Jump - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black-crowned Night-Heron at the Moment of Jump

Jump off the upper-most step of the Lower Steps beneath the dam, shot from the fence by the parking lot. I also shot a lovely shot of it standing over the engulfing precipice, like I have almost every time I've ever photographed a BCNH, which is why I've decided not to this time.

 Great Blue on the Upper Stair of the Lower Steps - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Blue on the Upper Stair of the Lower Steps

I was so quiet and careful today sneaking up on my patron saint here that it never even twitched and I kept getting more details in that luscious, shadowy place of rushing water and fishing shorebirds.

GBH Preening - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Blue Heron Preening

For some stupid reason, I usually wait for a bird to turn profile, sw we can see it's long beak or whatever, while everybody knows they spend the greatest part of their lifetimes preening — getting all those feathers in place for flying and stuff. I love that even with its head very nearly upside-down, it's eyelid protects it from above.

Scratchin Itches - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Scratchin' Itches

Everybody itches but not all of us have such wonderful nails for scratchin'.

 

Sunset Bay

October 3 2013

Six, Maybe Seven American White Pelicans - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Six, Maybe Seven American While Pelicans So Far

And we're expecting a bunch more white pelicans soon, very soon. They're a main interest. Why I come back whenever I can these days. But they are not Sunset Bay's only attraction.

Little Blue Heron Island - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Little Blue Heron Island

It must have been right there, in place from before I arrived on the pier in Sunset Bay. I remember a father telling his child about a gray bird with long legs 'out there.' But though I kept looking, it took a long time to pick this guy out of its vivid background.

LBH CLoser - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Little Blue Heron Closer

I only saw it out there walking and/or staring off into space. I never saw it try or actually catch anything.

LBH Escape - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Little Blue Heron Escape

I was still trying to get a definitive shot of the LBH, when it bolted up and off. Took a few precious seconds to acquire focus, then this.

Last Shot of Today's LBH - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Last Shot of Today's LBH

And this. I was not quick enough to capture the image of a Cockatiel. I saw it. I photographed at it, but I never quite caught up with it after three attempts. But for a Little Blue Heron, I afford myself all the attention I needed.

Brown Drake - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Brown Drake

I never quite caught those large gray ducks that I still think are gorgeous, in their own way. But I've been watching this guy, and today, finally, I got him in just the right light and surroundings.

Adult Non-breeding Male Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Adult Non-breeding Male Wood Duck

I am thoroughly enjoying photographing this mid-term, lithe duck, who's so handsome, he's beautiful.

Anothe ANbMWD - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Another A Nb M W D

A slightly different one. I've always loved watching adult breeding Wood Ducks, but the non-breeding males have really captured my attention lately.

I Think I Gots to Walk Across the Road - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

I Think We Gots to Walk Across the Road

At least a couple times every afternoon into evening, the gooses decide they need to walk across the road.

Heavy Traffic - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Heavy Traffic

I've often seen the geese insist upon stopping traffic while they waddle across the road. Cars are intimidated by Nature. Bikers rarely are. They just plough right through, which is why they are extraordinarily successful at killing many ducks and geese at White Rock.

And I wouldn't be surprised if they're what happened to that pretty beige duck with the broken neck, who disappeared entirely in the last few days. Likely eaten by something bigger and faster than a broke-neck duck. Bicycles are vehicles, too. Just they don't have to obey any of the rules.

Male Mallard Landing - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mallard Drake Landing

I got to practice my BIF routines today. Birds in Flight.

Adult Female Mallard Taking Off - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Adult Female Mallard Taking Off

I wish I could fly.

Another Male Mallar Landing - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Another Male Mallard Landing

Still dripping.

 

October 1 2013 

At Least Seven AWPs - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

At Least Six American While Pelicans

And at least one other, off separately. And a whole lot more expected soon, probably before October 15, which is when they all — all 70 or so who usually stay from about now till mid April — arrived two years ago. Last year, they arrived on September 15. I assume, some stupid human was up in Dakota, Montana, Idaho or somewhere up there, messing with their hatching grounds, although there are many other possibilities.

Just Some of the Wood Ducks in Inner Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Just Some of the Wood Ducks in Inner Sunset Bay

Every time I'm out there, I notice the dozens of Wood Ducks who are just around the upper end of Sunset Lagoon. If these guys had known I was photographing them — with a long and far away telescopic lens — they would have already flown out of the area.

Thick With Wood Ducks - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Thick With Wood Ducks

I suppose I need to stand out there with a nice, sturdy tripod (I only have the one, elderly one, so that'll have to be it.) pointed at them, so I can watch to maybe figure out what's going on. My far vision is blurry, so I'd have to do it through the lens.

Neotropic Cormorants Out in the Bay - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Neotropic Cormorants Out on the Logs

Somewhere out in the big middle of Sunset Bay proper are "the logs." The water around them is rarely more than a few inches deep, but that's where many species of small and large avian species settle for hours at a time. Here we see Neotropic Cormorants. Usually at least one of them in busy drying its wings after diving for food.

Two Dark Ducks - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Dark Ducks

Dark ducks. Very possibly some that were left off at Sunset Bay, because we write about how well they fare here, when they are left to their own devices, when the humans they used to own, get tired of feeding and appreciating them. That's how we got our swan, too, we think.

Two Dark Ducks Swimming - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mallards Flying Out of Sunset Bay

If I'd been paying better attention, I might have caught some Wood Ducks, too. But they tend to leave in smaller groups.

Our Mallard Friends Flying Farther - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Our Mallard Friends Flying Father

Same Mallards out farther.

BCNH with Wood Ducks - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black-crowned Night-Herons with Wood Ducks and Maybe Mallards on a Log

It's a long, long way away.

Juvenile Neotropic Cormorant Flaps Its Wings - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Neotropic Cormorant Dries Its Wings

Much closer in.

Juvenile Wet Cormorant Flying - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Juvenile Wet Cormorant Flying

Neotropic Cormorant Juvenile flying away in the cool, wet, gray morning.

Fluffy Wet Poofed Duck - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Fluffy, Wet, Poofied White Duck

Poofy-top, white, more or less domestic duck, showing off its white feathers.

Female Mallard Swimming - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Mallard Swimming

Bright-eyed female Mallard out for a swim later when there was either more sun or less cloud.

Two American Coots - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two of Five American Coots

American Coots in the snaggle of logs off Sunset Beach.

Solo Coot - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Solo Coot
 

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All text and photographs Copyright 2013 by J R Compton.
All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium without specific written permission from and payment to the writer or photographer.    My favorite answer is, "I don't know." I am, after all, an amateur.   I've only birded for seven years as of June 2013, although I've been photographing professionally and semi-professionally and almost always amateurishly since at least 1964. Thanks always to Anna.

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