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

This month's Best images: inverted Brown Pelican mandible stretch  dolphins splashing  Snowy Egret looking down  Red-tailed Hawk gets into the air  Female Kingfisher Hovering  Rambunctious Pelicans red diamond If you assume I am a bird I.D expert, you will be disappointed. red diamond The Current Bird Journal is always here  Cameras Used  Ethics  Feedback red diamond Bird Rescue Advice from Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation red diamond Herons  Egrets  Herons or Egrets?  Books & Links  Pelican Beak Weirdness  Pelicans Playing Catch  Bird Rouses  Courtship Displays  Duck Love  Birding Galveston  The 2nd Lower Rio Grande Valley Birds  & the 1st  Bald Eagles at White Rock Lake  Bird Banding Info red diamond Coyotes  800e Journal G5 Journal red diamond JRCompton.com  Links  My resumé  Contact Me  DallasArtsRevue red diamond So you want to use my photos to make your project look better?  How to Photograph Birds  Bird-annotated map of the SW Med School Rookery  Even I use Site Search to find anything here, but that gets art-related finds on DallasArtsRevue, too.

My Galveston & San Antonio Bird photo taken mid-October 2015
have moved to their own page, so this page will load much faster.

144 photographs this month — not counting the 178 pix on the Galveston - San Antonio page.


Wetter than usual

photographed & posted October 31 2015

 Pelicans Fishing in Water This Side of the Spice Garden -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans Fishing in the Pond That Wasn't There Yesterday

I was being intrigued by all the land that suddenly was underwater this morning. These American White Pelicans are fishing in an area that is on the land, houses, road and people side of the Spice Garden around the pier at Sunset Bay, which I couldn't get to, because there was all this water there. Didn't phase the pelicans, however, they were catching fish.

Pelicans Fishing in Tricolor Pond - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans Fishing in Tricolor Pond

The pond isn't tri-colored, it's just where we've often seen Tricolored Herons fish. That's the lake on the other side of the weeds. Took The City about a decade from the time I heard a speaker, maybe at a Audubon or FtLotL meeting talking about what a good idea it was to let the plants that grow along the edge of a lake or pond just keep growing there, because their roots would help hold the dirt in place, so each time it floods (like just now) all the dirt doesn't dissolve into all the water.

The Flood Beyond - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Fisher in Inflatable, Two Cormorants and Two Sets of Rowers

With the dam, the Old Pump House and the Filter Building on the other side of the lake. Saw the inflatable, the dam and the buildings but not the two sets of rowers when I shot this.

Those Pelicans Much Closer -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Those Pelicans Again

Still fishing.

Pelicans Floating Heads Down -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans Floating with the Heads Underwater

Where they're probably reaching for fish.

Pelicans with Large Puches - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

American White Pelicans showing Unusually Large Pouches

Those pelican pouches we keep discussing the flexibility of, hanging loose just in case.

then they swam out - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Then They Swam Out Where They Probably Swam In

Back to the bay.

Mallards on the new Lake - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mallards on the New Lake

Behind are fisher persons fishing the creek that runs between Sunset Bay on north side and Stone Tables on the south.

More Mallards on More New Lakes - pcy r

More Mallards on More New Lakes

This was shot from the parking lot either directly by the old stone rest rooms that are permanently locked and inaccessible — where the ambulances park during weekdays or the next lot down toward the lake portion of Sunset Bay — out toward Buckner Boulevard.

Red Hawk - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Red-tailed or Red-shouldered Hawk

In a tallish tree overlooking one of the new ponds.

 

 

Every Night at Sunset Beach
Photographed 6:46 – 7:35 p.m. October 28 2015

Swirling Sunset from Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Swirling Sunset from Sunset Beach

Camera was still attached to lens without the telextender, because it was getting dark fast as I drove to Sunset Bay again this evening. I wasn't sure exactly why — turned out it was pleasant conversation, which is always high on my lists, but I didn't know that till I got there. The sunset would probably have been enough. And two pleasant conversations.

Last Pelican Standing - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Last Pelican Standing

Don't know how many pelicans might have been there earlier. None were that morning when I shot these [just below]. But many ducks and coots and gooses had gathered in the water off what I call Sunset Beach, just northeast of the Spice Garden of trees and jungle-like plants around the Pier at Sunset Bay. It seemed odd bird out, but content to be there preening.

Coots Eating Corn - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Coots Eating Corn

Hard to tell whether there were more American Coots or Mallards and other ducks there, together they far outnumbered the gooses.

Dinner Every Night - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Dinner Every Night

It's kinda unnatural to feed wild birds the same time and the same place several times every day, but I think it has a lot to do with why so many bird species gather there, and I like the people who gather and the guy who feeds them at least twice — sometimes twice that — a day. Not complaining, just explaining. It started by Charles feeding the gooses he and others had released there. Then why not feed anybody who gathered.

The Last Pelican Escaping - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Last Pelican Escaping into the Night

Not sure what all the above has to do with pelicans, who don't eat corn. They prefer fish, and need lots of fish every day. And you've seen how they fish [below], all synchronized and amazing. One of the ways they get up air speed is to hop two-footed across the water, although they sometimes just start flying from wherever they are standing. Hopping into flight may be the more usual, but it's nice they can instantly escape if need be.

The Last Pelican Hop-hopping Away - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Last Pelican Hop-hopping Away

I photographed another few hops, then watched it fly up and out past Dreyfuss Point. I don't know where they spend the night (Hey! I've only been watching then for nine-plus years). I know a lot about them, but not that. Through the evening, I'd seen many other pelicans fly out and up north past Dreyfuss.

Ducks in Sunset Water - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Ducks and Coots in Sunset-reflecting Water

I was busy admiring the sunset reflected when I realized I should try to photograph it. It really was about this dark.

Female Mallard with Only One Foot - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Female Mallard with Only One Foot —

And a stump on the other side. Leg about down to where the foot once was. Then nothing. I watched her hop out of the water, then writhe across into this position, then I lost sight of her for awhile.  She had the strength and determination to do that, as did at least one other Mallard, a male. I watched her eat plenty of corn. Then I'd be off photographing something else, then couldn't find her. Once I saw her fly into one of the sudden and fluttering escape clouds of ducks and coots that happen three or four or more times a feeding.

Swiling Post-Sun Sunset - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Still Swirling Post-sun Sunset

Same sunset, just a little less orange and fire.

Raccoon in the Night -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Raccoon in the Night After Everybody but Charles and I and Roy Had Left

Flashing eyes means I used on-camera flash, after manually focusing in dark so dark the camera would not auto-focus. ISO 2,000 hand-held with 1/6-second exposure at f2.8. We saw a lot of raccoons that night, several of whom were happy enough to come within about 20 feet [My distance guesses are notoriously off.] of us as Charles threw wheat bread to them, even if Roy was lying in the dirt just to our left. Roy seemed to want to go play with them, but he was much better behaved than when other dogs had walked by on the road behind us.

 

 

Close-up Pelicans
Photographed October 28 2015 a.m.

Preen Stretch Preen - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Preen - Stretch - Preen

When I finally got to the pier at Sunset Bay today, I just walked out without camera. I hadn't seen any pelicans in my drive-by search. I didn't think I'd find any walking out to the pier, either, but if that were the case, I didn't want to have to lug camera, lens or tripod. 

cheek scratch -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Cheek Stretch

So I walked out there and discovered two women taking photographs and a perfect cloud of American White Pelicans hardly twenty feet off the right edge of the pier. I also discovered I didn't have a battery in my camera. So I walked back to The Slider, drove home, got the battery, drove back … And they were still there. Though the other photographers were gone.

Inversion Start -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Lower Mandible Inversion Start

So I went back, got the tripod, because I was not successfully hand-holding the camera still. At all. High-stress Vitamin B sometimes helps me with that … But I took the tripod, and it really really helped. If nothing else, a tripod holds my place in the view. I don't have to expend energy holding it in the same place. Eventually, I just panned back and forth over the 25 or so pelicans there. I even gave up looking with bare (glasses) eyes and only looked through the lens.

Inflation -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

inversion inflation

So I was able to follow, step-by-step, each progression of moves from the pelicans who were right there.

inflation compression - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Inversion Compression

I also talked with Frank, who told me about a lot of birds semi-hidden inside the City of Dallas, and I'll investigate that soon, because it involves one of my favorite Dallas parks that I haven't been able to get to in awhile. But these guys were so close, I could get amazing detail with my 300mm lens — and I didn't need the teleXtender. More depth of field, and about 15% better sharpness.

Tilt-back Open-Yap - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Tilt Back Open Yap

I have, over the last nine years of this journal, photographed this particular sequence many, many times. Just nice, for a change to be this incredibly close when I did it. I should note that the series, down to here, is often not continued through the following, last step. But it seems to give them that little extra stretch they might need. And the order shown above does not always occur, it's just the most common order of steps.

Full-sail Mandible - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Full-sail Mandible

If I had a printer, I could probably print any of these shots 30 x 40 inches or larger, there's so much detail and sharpness in these shots. Exposure's close to perfect, too. That doesn't happen a lot of the time.

Close-quarters Wing-stretch - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Close-Quarters Wing-stretch

But showing them to as many people who attend this journal would be difficult, if not impossible. I'm still not sure which bird's wing that is.

Fluffy-feather Preening - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Fluffy-feather Preening

So, overall, the Internet is the best way of showing my work.

Dual Center-wing Preening - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Dual Wing-hinge Preening

If you enjoy looking half as much as I love shooting, making and showing, we're both ahead of the game.

  

  

White Birds A & White Birds B
photographed October 26 2015

Pelican Mob Closing In -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

American White Pelican Mob Closing In

Standing on my favorite pier after photographing 15 pelicans up close off Sunset Beach, I was lucky enough to see these birds out fishing.

Pelicans Gathering In - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Hungry Line Dance of Pelicans

There's a certain order birds do things in sometimes. Hungry pelicans gather in synchronized swimming groups, kinda like this.

Heads In -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Heads In

They find a school of fish, then chase it toward shallower water, dip their heads in.

Pelk Mob Half In -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Coming Up for Air

Root around down there, and if there's fish, fill their flexible lower mandibles with them and start pulling their heads up.

Pelicans Heads Up Dripping -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Heads Up, Breathe

With fish if they catch them. Without if not. The routine must go on till they're tired of it.

Tilt Back and Drain Gullet -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Tilt Back and Drain Gullet

Tilt back and swallow. Sure nice of them to do it close — although 'close' is a relative term with about a 500mm lens. I remember telling Erin that they were really close, neatly forgetting that. This happened a little later, when some had actually filled their mandibles with fish.

JUve Pelk Drying Wings After Bath - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Pelican Drying Wings After Bathing

Juvenile American White Pelicans have brown spots. Erin says she can tell males from females, but I can't yet. She also says she can identify individuals, but I can't do that, either. I used to think I watched them more than anybody else did, but I think Erin's there more than I am.

Two Pelicans In Flight - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Pelicans in Flight

Big change using a telephoto after using a wide angle [below] lens for pretty much the same scene. I love love love watching pelicans — Brown or American White — fly.

The Other White Birds -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Other White Birds

I saw all the egrets as I drove down the hill more or less parallel with the spillways, I look out over just before the dam comes up, then I look up the hill from walking up that hill (which I need, anyway), and though I saw the egrets easy enough, till they gathered in a nice five-note arrangement, I kept hoping for Little Blue Herons, some night-herons, maybe a Snowy or three, and a Great Blue Heron. But maybe those will come now there's finally water to suck fishes down the spillway.

Great Egret -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret

I just couldn't stop photographing birds after those pelicans.

 

  

Meanwhile back at Sunset Bay
& The Rain at White Rock Lake
Photographed October 25 2015

Eleven of Fifteen Pelicans - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Eleven of Fifteen Pelicans — 4:03:39 P.M.

I met Tom at Sunset Bay, and while we were talking I spotted bright white shapes through the trees above flying silent against the gray sky. Got my attention. I knew who they were and what they were down to, and we continued our conversation as we rushed out onto the pier and they slowly circled back.

All Fifteen Pelicans Flying Over - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

All Fifteen Pelicans Flying Over the Pier

I had with me my blue-taped-together Panasonic Lumix G5 that doesn't work without the tape. I use it for family and art photographs (and it would cost less than $400 now), but I just fired away. I thought it was a nice change to photograph pelicans with the wide angle zoom. And the Pany did just fine. I tried to wait till they were nearest, so there was some possibility of filling the frame to maximize resolution.

Eight Pelicans and one something else -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Nine Pelicans and One Something Else

And I clicked away at them about 35 times to glean these eight best shots.

At least a dozen pelicans coming into Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

At Least a Dozen Pelicans Coming into Sunset Bay

And eight out of thirty-five ain't half bad. (Side note: Although the main body of Sunset Island [middle right] seems to actually float, the logs at the right end (and probably those behind it, where we can't see) had sunk. Apparently okay for the cormorants but less than ideal for pelicans.

Pelicans Nearing Touch Down - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans Nearing Touchdown

Not bad considering I had the ISO set at only 400 and had not bothered to change it to better capture hurtling bodies or get more depth of field …

Maybe 35 Pelicans in Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Maybe 35 Pelicans

… which seems to have been covered by complete accident. I keep forgetting its depth of field is twice my full frame camera. ƒ4 = f8 and like that.

Looking West as Two Pelicans Fly Over - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Looking West as Two Pelicans Fly Over

Always nice when we can clude-in some bits of skyline — at far lower left; some other species in the composition — far lower right; and some vague notion of clouds.

 

 

And the Rain at White rock Lake
Saturday October 24

 Greater SSB Inundated - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Across Williamson from the Main Entrance to White Rock Lake

Right about where I photograph The Great Egret Dance and Fly-athon almost every New Years, give or take a month or so. There's a short pond on the right behind short bushes, then under the old railroad where now is walking path over West Lawther, and houses to the left across this street in this view. Usually a great green lawn where all that water is, with a five- or six-foot deep creek from the middle of this view to the far right middle. Street barely visible at extreme right top is Williamson Road up towards Mockingbird..

Warning: This short journal entry was not designed as a geographical map. It's mostly an attempt to show you some of the rain that's been falling at the lake lately. I tried to put it in geographical order, but …

My Fave Boatramp - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

My Favorite Boat Ramp

Water levels a couple feet up, at least. I already have too much company there to map it out for you, but that big red plastic basket was bobbing like a big catfish on a hook, line and sinker.

Picnic Table Hill - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Picnic Table Hill

Not its real name, but I, sitting in The Slide , at the bottom of the hill on Winfrey Point Drive, down from the Winfrey Building, before turning right up on Emerald Isle Drive.

Playground in Upper SSB - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Playground in Upper Sunset Bay

To the left is the lake; middle left is the loop around what many years ago was the Sunset Inn; up the hill and to the right is Barbec's and the Garland Road clutter.

Winfrey Point Drive where it Stops

And we either park down the hill by the lake or go back to Garland Road up the hill. This was not shot in the rain, although it looks kinda like I might have. I just like all those day-glowing colors ganging up on the stop sign, and I had to take a pic of the street name, so I'd remember it. And it just kinda, sorta looks like it belongs here.

 Storm in the Lowest Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Storm in the Lowest Spillway

When it's raining hard I no longer drive up (or down) Garland Road to where Grand and Gaston Avenues come together, because right under and for a ways after (heading west the foot bridge that used to be railroad tracks), there's a low place in the street, where some cars stall out in deep water or get pushed around by those notorious storm surges that it doesn't look like The City will ever schedule for major drainage or rebuilding, so The Slider (which is small, low and light) even if I'm not particularly, and I drive up Winstead instead, which gets me up toward upper (up the hill toward Lakewood Shopping Center), then over flatter land to my neighborhood.

 Head-in Parking at the Bottom of Emerald Isle

Head-in Parking at the Bottom of Emerald Isle Drive

But I often slow down on the auto bridge (lower above) past the walking bridge (middle above) and from the far right lane, peek at the bird population or as here, the flood water surging. I was stopped, so I aimed, then kept clicking as I paid more attention to traffic, and later learned all my shots looked pretty much like this one. The smears are from water on the passenger-side window. And yes, photographing through windows and windshields always reduces resolution, though sometimes the effect helps tell the story. I kept turning The Slider around to try to get shots clear of the melting window effects, but all it got me and the weather-resistant cam/lens was very wet.

Up the street toward barbec's - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Up Emerald Isle Drive

Where several people I've talked with lately park when they can't figure out they should drive east on Garland Road, south on Buckner to the first light, west on Poppy Drive past Doctor's Hospital at White Rock Lake, hard right at the apartment building at the end of Poppy, down the hill and left on East Lawther Drive. It's a one-way after the Do Not Enter diagonal parking strip behind what used to be the Sunset Inn. Around the curve toward the lake, park in the little head-in strip before the street goes left, up and around the line of porta-potties, then right again on East Lawther.

 

 

There's More Snowy Egrets,
So Anything else is Surprise
October 10 2015

 Mallards Incoming - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mallards Incoming

Mallard families flying into Sunset Bay.

Mallards Curled to Skid -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mallards Curled to Skid

Continuing.

Juvenile Male Wood Duck -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Male Wood Duck

I took these shots so long ago, I no longer know what I was going to tell you about them.

American Coot -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

American Coot

They pretty much look like the same birds I always photograph in Sunset Bay, part of why I needed a vacation to a more exotic clime.

Snowy with Ducks and a Coot - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy with Ducks and a Coot

The ducks are dark, so the Snowy looks like the detailed white bird it is. If I hadn't closed down the aperture, it'd look solid white.

Snowy Trip Dance - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Trip Dance

It did not fall. It rarely does.

Snowy Gargle - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Gargle

 

Snowy Looking Down - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Looking Down

This is one of my favorite-ever Snowy Egret photographs.

Snowy Egret Hunting among Ducks and Coots - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Hunts Among Ducks and a Coot

 

Snowy with Open Beak - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy with Open Beak

 

Juvenile Male Wood Duck Mudding - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Male Wood Duck Mudding

 

 

Jumping Birds &
Fractions of Sunsets
October 9 2015

 GBH Landing with Grackles Bouncing - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Landing with Great-tailed Grackles Bouncing

Gravity has been nullified Just about everybody is suddenly floating up and away.

Gooses Preening A -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Gooses Preening A

Graylag goose A preens, and so is B, but we don't have as good a view.

Gooses Preening - B - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Gooses Preening A

Graylag Goose B with head upside-down rubbing lanoline on all its feathers to keep it dry when there's water.

The Erotic Mambo - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Erotic — or is that Erratic — Mambo

Not sure where that title came from. The blue ether.

Gone Sailin' - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Gone Sailing Between a Yellow Sky on a Yellow Lake

Yet everything else is just the same.

Setting Sun - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Setting Sun

Yes, after 50 years of photography, I still photograph sunsets.

Swirling Evening Sky - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Part of a Swirling Evening Sky

Love the rich red and sparkling clouds, but this one is my favorite, because I wasn't expecting this beauty visible in that sky. Looks a little like an armadillo scuffling in the dust.

Snowy Egret Skating on Thin Water - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret Skating on Thin Lake Water

These journal entries lately are a lot about Snowy Egrets, and they will continue to be for at least another day. Then hiatus.

Snowy Egret in Full Frame - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret on "The Brambles"

I almost always crop to the bird or near it — because it's much more interesting and exciting that way, but this is my full-frame (uncropped) view.

Martian Sunset - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Martian Sunset

Main problem with shooting the sky with a telephoto lens is that it's not nearly far away enough. Just not sure what this is a cross-section of.

 

 

Sometimes I just
Need to Play
October 8 2015

SErious Overexposure Cannot Be Fixed - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Serious Overexposure Cannot Be Fixed

I came back to White Rock Lake around 5 for the second trip today. I just couldn't stay away. This time to play. Nice breeze on the pier. Not entirely cool, but on the way to. The sky was full of amazing clouds, and I was making lots of mistakes, which seems to help experimenting. I was just having fun..

Snowy Egret Skating - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Among All the Other Clutter Today, Snowy Dancing Continueth

Who poured sunset into the lake?

Duck Log - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Duck Log

Ducks, ducks and more ducks — mostly Mallards.

Grackles Turtles and a Duck -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Grackles, Turtles & a Duck

Great-tailed Grackles are the star of this show, plus one duck and a couple turtles.

Wood Duck Up the Lagoon - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Male Wood Duck Up the Lagoon

Colors are a little thick, but hey! It's a male Wood Duck, and he knows from color.

Long & Lean Green Heron - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Long & Lean — Green Heron

I'd just mentioned that Green Herons liked to pose on the sandbar island in front of the pier, and here was one doing just that for us.

Preenathon On Sunset Island - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Preen-a-thon on Sunset Island

Color and experience intensified.

Black Shapes — Grackles & Ducks -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Black Shapes — Grackles & Ducks

Black on white and gray till the horizon's green and …

Muscovy Duck, Domestic Duck and - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Muscovy Duck, Domestic Duck and Some Sticks

Bright light on black up closer.

White Duck Flap - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

White Duck Flap — Continued …

Got more for tomorrow. And maybe tomorrow's tomorrow. Then we'll stop dead in our tracks for maybe ten days. Then back with a vengeance.

 

 

A Red-tailed Hawk
on Winfrey Point

October 8 2015

 Red-tailed Hawk in a Tree -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Red-tailed Hawk in a Tree

Took me awhile to figure out what it was, even if it is the most common hawk in the United States of America. And it seemed way larger than I could imagine a bird being. But yeah, odds were it was, and it was, a Red-tailed Hawk. Out hunting from a tallish tree on a biggish hill called Winfrey Point.

I thought it was staring at me - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

I thought it was staring at me.

My first hawk in way too long a time, but autumn and especially winter, always seems like Hawk Season — all the way down to the southernmost tip of Texas, where my parents used to live. But here, too.

Red-tailed Hawk Looking Back Over Its Shoulder -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Red-tailed Hawk

Looking back over its shoulder — about a 180-degreet head turn.

MOckingbird Flies Past the Red-tailed Hawk - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mockingbird Flies Past the Red-tailed Hawk

Mocking bird flies past the Red-tailed Hawk, and the J R was a little slow on the uptake.

 A Littler Bird Buzzes a Bigger Bird -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Littler Bird Buzzes A Bigger Bird

A bigger bird with a bigger appetite, that usually includes smaller birds.

Two Birds on a Branch in another tree just left of the hawk -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two much smaller birds

In a branch in a tree just left of the tree the hawk was in. Both the [I thought it was a Mockingbird} and the Blue Jay had already taken turns at flying just past the hawk.

Red-tailed Hawk Is Up and In The Air -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Red-tailed Hawk Is Up and In The Air

I didn't include this shot the first time I posted this journal entry, but the more I looked at it, the more interesting it became, till eventually — a full two weeks later, I couldn't not use it. There are a couple others that just look too similar that I'd kinda like to edit out now (October 22), but I don't think I will.

Red-tailed Hawk Egress - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Red-tailed Hawk Egress

I was near the top of the hill by the parking lot behind The Winfrey Building shooting with a tripod, when a guy with a little dog came up, hardly even noticing me. I asked if he would refrain from walking down the path just then, because I was photographing a bird. He said he'd go in a hurry, explaining that he went "this same way" every day, indicating, I suppose, that he didn't know any other way, although there are several.

Flat Out Egress by the Red-tailed Hawk - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Flat-out Egress by the Red-tailed Hawk

I was in the process of telling him that no matter how fast or slow he went, he and his pup would scare the bird away. He didn't care, because he went on down the path, and the hawk got up and flew away, but by then I was expecting him to fly away.

Red-tailed Hawk on out of here - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Red-tailed Hawk on Out of Here

Rather elegantly, I thought.

Red-tailed Hawk And Gone -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Red-tailed Hawk and Gone

Couldn't take any more pix, because the hawk was behind some trees, and my camera was on a tripod, but these were very nice, and I don't suppose that if the guy had been a little nicer, I would have got any more or much better. Heck, I might still have been standing there photographing that big hawk ….

 

A Different View

Reason I was there, and not somewhere else, was that I was scoping out angles to photograph the pelicans on the far side of Sunset Island [as seen from the pier], which is what the following photograph is mostly about:

 Behind Sunset Island from Up Winfrey Point - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Behind Sunset Island from Up Winfrey Point

Made some shots of the pelicans behind Sunset Island from along Winfrey Point, then went back up Winfrey toward the parking lot, where I parked The Slider, and shot this, which separates the lines of pelicans a little better than shooting straight into them. The elevation helps.

I count 21 pelicans behind the island. I couldn't really see to count the others scattered around Sunset Bay, but I suspect that today there were more than the 23 Erin and I counted a couple days ago. And I suspect more and more will be coming in. I used the Last Year link at the top of this page, and more pelicans were still coming in at the end of October 2014.

Here's the view from the pier - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

For Comparison, Here's The View from the Pier at Sunset Bay

From which we really cannot see what's going on behind Sunset Island, thus the need for another viewpoint, even if it's somewhat more distant than the pier from the pelicans. Nice thing about nature, is that they get to decide where they settle, since The City removed and/or destroyed all the other possibilities after this spring's storms rearranged all the other log possibilities, and once again The City's Habitat-destruction Machines trumps Nature.

Coots & Ducks at Sunset Beach  - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Coots and Ducks and People at Sunset Beach

As photographed from Lawther Drive past the old Sunset Inn Building up the hill behind these guys.

 

 

Pelicans, Coot, GBH, Great Egret,
Some Turtles & the spirits
of a Kingfisher pair

October 7 2015

 Most Pelicans Seem to be Settling into Sunset Island - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Most Pelicans Seem to be Settling into Sunset Island

It's a great choice. It's got shade, grass, wood chunks to perch on, and it's far from people, including those pesky, nosy photographers. Maybe not ideal for us pesky photographers — kinda far away, our vision of a lot of them is blocked by that tree that seems to be growing flowers or fruits. And it's pretty far out there. So, counting the ones on the far side of that tree becomes especially difficult.

The Amazing American Coot and its Incredible Feet - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Amazing American Coot and its Incredible Lobed Feet

That make it possible for it to not sink in mud, yet walk and run (called skittering) across the surface of water.

GBH Actually Catching the Fish - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Actually Catching the Fish

Under water.

Great Blue Heron Catches a Fish - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Catches a Fish

A little fish, but a lotta little fish = a coupla big fish. It's a living.

And the Throat Thickens - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

And the Throat Thickens

To make room for the fish's drop down.

The Lone Pelican -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Lone Pelican

While usually a gregarious, albeit occasionally unsociable bird, some American White Pelicans can be standoffish. This one usually parks itself off from the rest. I know that tendency.

GE dropping from flying to perch - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Dropping from Elegant flight to that Perch

I know this one, too. I suspect this bird has misjudged the distance to fall before parking itself on that branch. But it did it elegantly and landed safely.

Turtle Pelican and Great Egret - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Turtle, Pelican and Great Egret

Not often easy to get such different species to pose together, so we just have to wait till it occurs naturally.

Kingfisher Pair Low over the Lagoon - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Kingfisher Pair Low Over the Lagoon

Oh, and today, I actually photographed the pair (both birds) of Kingfishers flying west along this side of Sunset Bay. Never once got them in focus or stop-action, but clicked at them thrice and blurred them badly — and no, they weren't making any noise when they did that. Later, when I was watching my latest Studio Ghibli animation about spirits, When Marne Was There, I thought I should show these blurs, so these are they.

The third one didn't have anything recognizable as birds or blurs in it, and — alas! — I deleted it.

Kingfisher Pair Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Kingfisher Pair Flying

My earache has mostly gone away, thanks to Presbyterian Hospital ER's gentle care, some Rx antibiotic and anti-bacterial and plenty of rest, I'm back at birds these days, though I've got a project coming next week that'll stop them again for a week or so. Sometimes I just gotta pay the piper what brung me …

 

 

Pelicans, Katy, Killdeer, Cormorants
not-a-titmouse & Some Bricks

October 6 2015

11 of 23 pelicans in SSB - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

11 of s Pelicans in Sunset Bay

Erin and I both, at different times, counted 23 pelicans in Sunset Bay upon my second visit there today. But they're not all together. There's groups and ones and twos, but no room — no big logs, except that one big one stuck up the creek up the lagoon, and they've not shown any appreciation of that one this time. In the past, they've even settled on the peninsula, just off the area where the pier is, but there they were open to predation, and they got predated, but they didn't leave. Probably too far to fly.

TEXT CHANGES: Like the many visiting shorebirds, the pelicans seem to like the shallow water here, for being in and on and near. Sunset Bay has provided many fish tor pelicans, and more importantly for this discussion, a home base, although it has not always been thus. I and many others — mostly humans — worry about that for them this year, after The City rid us of every pelican-able log that the spring floods took close-enough to shore for their Habitat Destruction machines to take away and destroy, but they are here and coming in in dribs and drabs every day.

Oh, and while visiting last October's Bird Journal via the Last Year link atop every Bird Journal page, I noted that the Bald Eagle visited us on October 4, so about now is a good time for it to show up again.

 Solo Killdeer Standing - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Solo Killdeer Standing

Probably one of the same five or six Killdeer who peep loudly in front of the Pier at Sunset Bay every day. Handsome little critter.

Prett Sure It's Not A Tufted Titmouse - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Eastern Phoebe

And I don't think it's as green as it may look here. I'm thinking some sort of Phoebe, but as regular readers know, I'm not much at identifying birds, though I can usually photograph them to a fair-the-well. Introduced to me as a Tufted Titmouse, which I've photographed before, and they're much smaller, this has lots of fly-catching feathers pointed out around its beak to make flies and flying insects much easier to catch. In the trees around the pier at Sunset Bay.

Actual Tufted Titmouses can be seen at the bottom of this page. What may be my best and most interesting Tufted Titmouse pix ever in February 2012 and a few others are scattered over the last ten years of birding in these pages.

Eastern Phoebe Flying East
 

Urban Wildlife - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Urban Wildlife

I'm trying to remember where I was when I shot this, but I remember getting out of the car to do it. Shooting through windshields is often a mess. I'm assuming those are doves in the street. I often travel the back streets of Big and Little Forest Hills this year-long project of repaving Garland Road, during which time they completely paved easternmost Mockingbird (the street) and probably could have done it a couple more times, and Garland is still not done. Some say it never will be.

First Nine Pelicans Again - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

First Nine Pelicans Again

Left to right across the bay.

Katy Flapping - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Katy Flapping

Katy does fly, and I have photographed her doing that, but not in a long time. I'd like to, but for now, her flapping is almost enough a thrill.

Cormorant Drying Its Wings - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Cormorant Drying Its Wings

Erin and I were watching it dive and stay under inordinately long in inner Sunset Bay off Sunset Beach, then I was thrilled to watch it (but not photograph that part very well) dripping water from its dark feathers, head and tail. But I finally got a decent shot of this well-known pose.

Cormorant Not Drying Its Wings Now - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Cormorant Not Drying Its Wings Now

More Like Preening. I counted sixteen cormorants in Sunset Bay today.

Corm Just Standing There - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Cormorant Just Standing There

This may actually be an adult breeding Neotropic Cormorant/

Of Human Design -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Of Human Design

I've dragged rocks and bricks on other islands and peninsulas and beaches, and though I didn't do this, I recognize it as human work. Probably Mallards or Wood Ducks didn't push those fairly dense, heavy objects around. Looks almost like art to me, and in my other web incarnation, I am an art critic with a few nods from people, especially artists and sometimes The Establishment, who count.

 

 

A Smattering of Birds & Turtles

October 4 2015

 Not Nearly As Rambunctious - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Not Nearly As Rambunctious Today

There's more of them, but only by ones and twos. I think we counted 16 American White Pelicans today. The other American pelican is the Brown Pelicans, who are coastal. American Whites are inland. The Whites are also white and the Browns are brown, but that's almost obvious.

Maybe A Great Egret - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Maybe A Great Egret

And maybe not. In this pic, its legs and feet look gray, but in another pic, they look black, which is the right color for a Great Egret. But so much else is wrong.

Maybe A Great Egret with Black Legs and Feet - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Maybe Not A Great Egret

TEXT CHANGES: Here, the colors are right, but its face and beak length just look wrong. So I was pretty sure it was not a Great Egret, although that's who I assumed it were when I shot these. Heck, I'm often not sure who what bird might be. Might be young. Might be a whole 'nother species. Like a pre-blue Little Blue Heron or some sort of Snowy Egret — except its feet aren't orange, and its beak is not black. Or something entirely else.

Ken on Bird Chat says it's just a Great Egret, "No problems with any of the details. He's just foreshortened and flattened a bit by the "telephoto effect." Fore-shortening means a visual effect of perspective or the angle of vision. Except both shots are straight-on profiles, no acute angles, which are usually required for fore-shortening. But I accept Ken's explanation.

I'm on heavy pain pills, so I can either not think straight or hurt like hell — sometimes both — because of an acute earache. Anna's taking me to a non-VA ER tomorrow (Hallelujah! They took me immediately, not 4 to 6 hours of uncomfortable chair-sitting later, although I did have to pay for it with a $65 co-pay, and the anti-infection drops were a very expensive, $250, which was a surprise. But they work.

This bird still doesn't look right to me (now temporarily painless), but there's nothing else it could be, and as for the telephoto effect, humans generally see with the angle-of-view afforded by an approximately 50mm angle of view lens for a full-frame 35mm frame, which my camera (but not all cameras) has as its "normal," except that my usual birding lens has ten-point-two times that (510mm), so the telephoto effect is especially noticeable, if one is paying close attention, and I usually am to my photographs I post here, although they may not always look like it.

Thank you, Ken.

Mallard Pair in Flight - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mallard Pair in Flight — Male on Top

Ducks fly in and out of Sunset Bay all the time, especially early morning and late evening. When they catch my attention — i.e., I'm not photographing something else — I photograph them, because I need the practice, as shown here. Kinda fuzzy, J R.

Turtles & Some Birds - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Turtles & Some Birds — Note full profile adult Great
Egret lower right, shot with that same telephoto

I need close-up pix to name the turtles, but the birds are, middle-to-right cormorants, Great Egret, another Double-crested Cormorant (probably) and I'm really not sure who. I also don't remember all the names of the humans who shared the pier with me today, but I sure enjoyed the conversation. I talked, of course, but I learned, too. Gives me a reason to go to the lake on Saturdays. A great reason. Of course I'm addicted to WRL (White Rock Lake) …

Three Least Sandpipers - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Three Least Sandpipers

I finally decided that most of the sandpipers who briefly occupied that tiny little island in front of the Pier at Sunset Bay the last day of September were Least Sandpipers. But not all of them were. I still don't know who the ones who were not Least Sandpipers were, but I may yet learn them.

Starlings on a Streeet Lamp - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

European Starlings on a Street Lamp on my Way to White Rock Lake

I thought they looked strange, stopped, checked traffic, backed up the hill, stopped about here, and shot this. Not all that interesting, really.

 

 

Kingfisher Hovering

October 3 2015

Female Kingfisher Hovering - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Kingfisher Hovering

Kingfishers are elusive. We've been photographing this one — and sometimes her mate — for a couple weeks. We just assume she'll be around whether we hear her "laughing" or not. Tommy, whom I met again this morning calls the high-pitched staccato sound they emit "laughing." David Allen Sibley calls it "a long, uneven rattle most similar to Hairy Woodpecker rattle but harsher, unsteady, clattering. Also a higher, shorter, more musical, rapid trill tirrrr."

Female Kingfisher Hovering - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Kingfisher Hovering

Nice thing about them hovering, is that they do it in very close to the same, exact place in the sky, so after the first shot, we just have to keep shooting. Which is what I did here. I saw her dive down, but I have no idea whether she got the fish. My camera was on a tripod, and though it swivels pretty well, I haven't mastered following anything down and to the right, and all my shots of her speeding back to the Hidden Creeks area were blurs.

Female Kingfisher Hovering - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Kingfisher Hovering

My precious, now out-of-print Lone Pine edition of Birds of Texas describes their voice as "fast, repetitive, cackling rattle, a little like a teacup shaking on a saucer." I always think of it as a very high-pitched staccato scream, and it does sound a lot like a woodpecker.

 Female Kingfisher Hovering - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Kingfisher Hovering

People keep asking me when the best time would be to see the Kingfishers. There's two, a male and a female. My best answer would be "when they are there." I go to Sunset Bay almost every day, except when I've already been to Sunset Bay every day that week. Sometimes one or the other or both of the Kingfishers are there. Sometimes I never see either of them. Sometimes they show early in the morning. Sometimes noon or in the late afternoon. There are no guarantees. This time it was about noon. And if Tommy hadn't seen it this time, I probably never would have. I saw him aiming his tele up and west, so I did, too. And found this.

Female Kingfisher Hovering - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Kingfisher Hovering

My all-time favorite of my photographs of an Adult Female Kingfisher hovering is on the top (quick upload) of my List of Exhibitions. It's a little better than this series, because her wings aren't in such dark shadow, and it includes poetic verbal context because this version of that photo was created for an exhibition at the Bath House Cultural Center in Dallas. I've always wanted to perform the words, and I've even got some gestural hand-motions to go with, but it still scares me to think performing in public, although it's fun to do otherwise.

Great Egret Landing - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Landing

Compared to yesterday [below], today the pelicans seemed comatose.

 

 

It's Pelicans Season &
They're Getting active

October 1 2015

Pelk Stepping on a Flock-mate -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pelican Stepping on a Flock Mate

Got to the lake a little late today. Tried to find a parking space at the VA Hospital earlier. Never found one. So I went birding. Found 15 pelicans parked relatively close to the Pier at Sunset Bay, split over two spaces — one log and one underwater island. These are the log pelicans. The one with its wings up has just joined the party, and was kinda rude about it. They often are.

Sharing Feelings -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Sharing Feelings

And the others made their feelings known. Didn't stop it, though. And it wouldn't stop it next time or the time after that. I've seen those sharp beaks pierce another pelican's lower mandible before. That's gotta hurt. Their lower mandible is the lower beak with flexible orange-pink skin. When they're fishing, they fill it up with fish and the water they were swimming in, drain the water, tilt back and swallow. I've seen them with pierced mandibles spouting water, but only rarely and just squirts.

And Jumps -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

And Jumps

Its work here, is done.

Except Some Peculiarities -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Ordinary Pelicans — Except Some Peculiarities

This is some or all — I was never quite sure, and they moved around — of the crew on the less-than island. I counted as far as 15 pelicans several times today. The last pelican on the right has its head — and beak — upside-down. It's just one of the many Strange Things Pelicans Do With Their Beaks.

Tilt-back Mandible Stretch - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Tilt-back Mandible Stretch

There's actually a step-by-step procedure for stretching and nearly inflating those lower mandibles, so they'll stretch easily when gathered around fish — often several fish. But the whole procedure is rarely completed in the same way every time.

Looks Almost Inflated -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mandible Looks Almost Inflated

What's important is to stretch it out, without breaking it.

Showing Some Tongue -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Lower Mandible Stretch and Push Up

This pelicans has just stretched its lower mandible down over its extended breast, then brought it up (I've only seen them do this a couple hundred times, but I don't know exactly how they do it). They've been practicing all their lives. The valve-looking thing on this side of the inverted mandible hump may help drain the water. Till I get a good look at one doing that — from the inside — I won't know for sure, but I'm curious. I've also read it called a tongue.

And a bit of Beak Woggle Thrown In -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

And A Bit of Beak Woggle Thrown In

Sometimes, but not always, they follow those steps with a big of beak woggling, wherein the parts go up and down quickly, which is usually accompanied by a woggling sound.

How Pelicans Sometimes Look Hungry - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

How Pelicans Sometimes Look Hungry

When you see three or more pelicans lining up like this and heading out somewhere in single file, it's a fair bet they're going fishing, which often involves some synchronized swimming.

Gone Fishing - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Gone Fishing

Till the chase the fish into a shallow area and just go at them, filling up their mandibles that they've been so careful to keep flexible.

Scarfing It Up -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Scarfing It Up

They already seemed to know where food was. Guess they'd been practicing wherever they came from — or here; it's really hard to tell who's who, and who's been here awhile or just a day. I didn't have an appointment today, but I went back when I thought I might find a space, found a close one, and the people I connected with helped me. So, on the whole, it was a positive development.
 

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Except as noted, all text and photographs Copyright 2015 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium without specific written permission from and payment to Writer and Photographer J R Compton. I am an amateur. I've only been birding since June 2006, and most of that is documented in this Journal, all the pages of which continue online. I've been photographing professionally and semi-professionally yet always amateurishly since 1964.

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