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Year Ago

October 2017

The Amateur Birder's Journal - Stories & Photographs by J R Compton
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154 photos in October, 2017  This month's best pix  Cameras Used  Ethics  Feedback  My Special Bird Pages — many include eggs, just-hatched, fledgling and/or juveniles: Herons  Egrets  Heron vs  Egrets  Links & Bird Books  Pelican Beak Weirdness  Pelicans Playing Catch  Bird Rouses  Courtship Behaviors  Banding  Birding Galveston 2015 & 2013  The 2nd Lower Rio Grande Valley Birds page  & the 1st  Bald Eagles at White Rock  Coyotes  JR's resumé Contact  Dallas Bird Resources:Dallas Audubon's Bird Chat  Bird Rescue Info  You want to use my photos?  How to Photograph Birds  Bird Places: Bird-annotated Map of White Rock Lake & The SWMC Rookery & Village Creek Drying Beds  Please do not share these fully copyrighted images on Pinterest, Tumblr or other image-sharing sites!

Littler & Mostly Darker Birds in Sunset Lagoon & Off Sunset Beach
Photographed late last week and posted Monday, October 30th

American Coot with Wing Splayed for Preening  Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

American Coot with Wing Splayed for Preening

Didn't see much worth photographing from the Pier at Sunset Bay, so I hiked me and my kit over to Sunset Beach, where I  kept seeing birds really way too far away to photograph, except I did and I kept didding.

 American Wigeons Across the Lagoon - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Then I Saw These Across the Lagoon

Took me some serious chimping to figure out who these guys were. A long time. I kept magnifying that Mohawk on top the one on the far left, before I had a proper inkling. Then when I got home, I carefully perused the duck section of my Sibley Guide to Birds 2nd Edition, where I finally decided it/they had to be American Wigeons.

American Wigeon Pair Close - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved

American Wigeons Close

I assume this were a pair, then maybe three …

Adult Breeding Male American Wigeon  -    - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved

Adult Breeding Male American Wigeon

We often see Wigeons in that park in Plano, but not so often around here.

SNORker Profile - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved

Northern Shoveler in Autumn Eclipse Plumage on the Far Side of the Lagoon

The first dozen or so times I photographed what I eventually decided were Northern Shovelers in Eclipse, I didn't know what they were, but that big honkin' beak gave them away. The first of those was close to shore, but it stayed at an oblique angle, so I could only see it from mostly behind. That first one was close but to angled, the next bunch I found were closer and much better posers.

Northern Shoveler in autumn eclipse plumage - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Male Northern Shoveler in autumn Eclipse

I could not see its face, as we clearly can here.

Eclipse Male Northern Shoveler - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Male N. Shoveler in Eclipse

In fact, some of these are not as Ecliplsey as that one was.

Eclipse N. Shoveer - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Male N. Shoveler in Eclipse

x

Then, finally, a Female Northern Shoveler

With that beak, it couldn't hardly be anybody else.

DC Corms Down in the Bay - coopyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Double-crested Cormorants Down in the Bay

As shot from the parking lot behind the Winfrey Building.

 

 

Bald Eagle Alarms the Coots & Nonpluses the Pelicans and a GBH
photographed Thursday October 26; posted October 27

 Coots, Pelks & a GBH - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rigts Reserved.

Pelicans Mostly Asleep; Great Blue Heron is there; and the Coots are moving around some

Got to the lake mid-day, because I like to try various times, and different birds have different schedules. The Bay seemed quiet, so I settled into photographing some sleeping pelicans and goofing coots. Didn't hurt there was a GBH off to the right.

Pelicans Alert; Coots Scrambling- Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rigts Reserved.

Coots Scrambling; Pelicans Becoming Alert

Then something got the coots to scrambling. Never know with them. But the pelicans were getting in alert stage, too. I just kept clicking away. Camera on the tripod, as usual.

Pelks Calming; Coots Scooting; GBH just standing- Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rigts Reserved.

Pelicans Calming; Coots Scooting; GBH Just Standing There

The Great Blue Heron (GBH) hadn't changed an iota. The pelicans were cool and unbothered. But the coots were exiting stage left.

Coots Scooting - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  all rights reserved.

Coots Scooting (closer)

So I followed them.

Coots Scooting (detail)- Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rigts Reserved.

Zooming In Slightly

Coots probably skitter fast away from even the possibility of a Bald Eagle, because supposedly eagles think coots are tastier than anything else. I've seen and photographed eagles carrying catfish, but I've never seen an eagle catch or carry a coot, let alone eat one, but they probably know better.

Coots Scooting- Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rigts Reserved.

Coots Scooting (detail)

This is just an enlargement of the next step in the abrupt escaping. I, as often, hadn't a clue what was setting them off. So I followed the action. Then for some reason, I looked up.

Bald Eagle over Sunset Bay- Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rigts Reserved.

Bald Eagle over Sunset Bay

And what to my wondering eyes should appear than a Bald Eagle. Wow! Look at those claws.

Eagle Flying Farther- Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rigts Reserved.

Eagle Flying Away

I'd already chimped the exposure a half dozen times well before this series, but never even thought about it during. An eagle. I was the first to ever photograph a Bald Eagle at White Rock Lake. And I have photographed it or them on several instances since, but I always welcome the opportunity to try again.

Bald Eagle Flying- Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rigts Reserved.

Bald Eagle Flying Farther

It posed spectacularly, and I clicked away till it left the area, disappearing back over the Hidden Creeks Area, from whence it came.

Not A Single Coot Left- Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rigts Reserved.

Not a Single Coot Left

And the pelicans went back to rest. And the GBH (Great Blue Heron) was still hot, so it still had its beak open.

Not Long Later, a Red-tailed Hawk- Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rigts Reserved.

Not Long Later, A Red-tailed Hawk Flies Over

Less than five minutes later, we get another, albeit much smaller raptor fly-over.

Red-tailed Hawk Over Sunset BayPelicans and Cormorants Fishing Along the Other Sid - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Red-tailed Hawk Flyover

And it flew around up there awhile.

Red-tailed Hawk- Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rigts Reserved.

Red-tailed Hawk Circles Back

Came back around, then disappeared, also.

Great Blue Heron Flies Away- Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rigts Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Flies Away

Up the lagoon.

GBH, Ducks, a Few Coots

GBH Up the Creek

Where were ducks, a smallish egret and a precious few coots.

Cormorants Fishing Along the Other Side

Staring off in the distance across the lake, I noticed a long, long line of cormorants near the far shore along which area I alone call Green Heron Park — because before The City dug out the creek, built a nice new bridge and made other 'improvements' there used to wander several Green Herons.… Now we get an abundance — as many as two pairs at a time — in Sunset Bay in summers. But it's been a long time since I've seen Green Herons in Green Heron Park.

Cormorants & Pelicans Fishing on The Other Side- Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rigts Reserved.

Pelicans and Cormorants Fishing Along the Other Side

With a few pelicans dotting white into the long black line of fishing birds.

 

 

Some of the Peculiar Things Pelicans Do With their Beaks & Other Parts
— Photographed October 19 & Posted October 21

3875AWP Necck Stretch - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.137

Neck-Stretching American White Pelican

Took awhile for me to figure out what to do at Sunset Bay today. When I arrived, three American White Pelicans swooped across from the Sunset Beach Area, then flew upward along this edge of Dreyfuss Point. It was too late to start aiming the camera; I just watched and enjoyed. For awhile, I hoped for more. Eventually I figured out that more were not forthcoming. So I took the tripod and cam and me up to the beach, where I tried one place, then another, then another.

3876 Beak Up; Beak Down - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Two Pelicans — Beak Up; Beak Down

Eventually I settled in the area behind the concrete culvert, perhaps the only really flat place (handy for leveling a tripod) on Sunset Beach where I could still see the tip of The Spit, where the pelicans had settled in a close-in cloud of white. I decided to stay right there and see what all contortions the members of that white cloud of American White Pelicans would show me.

3878Three Beaks and a Buncha Sleeping Pelicans - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Two Pelicans Woggling and a Bunch of Pelicans Sleeping

Some time has passed since they were all on alert, and they'd mostly gone back to sleep or woggling. Often, but not always, a good mandible stretch is followed by a noisy little woggle. National Geographic talks about "gular fluttering, a surprisingly effective evaporative cooling mechanism. The bird rapidly flutters the pouch by contracting and relaxing the muscles, kind of like a dog panting, sometimes at a remarkable flutter-rate of 200 times a minute."

3881Two Pelicans Beaking - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Two Pelicans Beaking

"Beaking" is when they use their beaks in battle or mock battle. Usually, no harm is meant or done, but I have seen examples of mean beaking, and I have seen holes in lower mandibles very likely caused by over assertive beaking.

3882Beaking Pelks with Staring Pelks - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Beaking Pelks with Staring Pelk

Notice that the pelican to our right keeps his gaze directly at us, and the one closest to the camera on the right doesn't move, either. Beaking rarely gets out of hand, but if it does, those pelicans close would quickly escape.

3883Beak Head Trap - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Lean Back Beak Head Trap

The two pelicans kept at it for awhile. I think I appreciate the one on the left's facial expression — although I don't really know many pelicans that well. It seems resigned to the lean-back's shenanigans.

3899Lean Back; Stretch Up - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Lean Back; Stretch Up

I've left the frame numbers at the bottom left corner of today's shots, so you can tell which are actual sequences and which are just the next shot I liked. I often post the frame numbers there, so I can get all the pix in the correct chronological order, so actions and reactions make sense. And I did that this time, too. I thought I had set the pictuures up the list in order of the Date Modified, but then discovered I hadn't. Almost always I then remove them, before you see the latest page.

3904beak opepn wide - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Beak Open Wide — Upper Mandible Nearly Flat

That Nat'l Geo page also discusses The Mandibular Nail, which it calls "a mean hook, which is "important in nabbing or killing prey. That's it at the left above, on the far end of pelicans' upper mandible. It is also used to preen and to intimidate predators, competitors, and overzealous ornithologists."

3936Gang Loooking Ever Which Way - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pelican On Alert

When they've all been asleep for awhile, then they suddenly stand up, or look up and all around, they are on alert.

3939Three On Alert; Most Waitin - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Three on Full Alert; Two Stretching their Lower Mandibles; The Rest Rising from Sleep

Mandible-stretching in a hurry might indicate there could be a fishing opportunity on offer. Or it might not. If you are a pelican, it pays to keep a loose lower mandible.

3893Lower Mandible Inversion with Tongue and Drain - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Lower Mandible Inversion with "Tongue" (right) and "Drain Pipe" (left)

My first internet inquiry was, "Do pelicans have tongues?" Quoting National Geographic again: "Even though the pelican's tongue is tiny, a complete set of specialized tongue muscles control the pouch. By contracting these muscles, the pelican tightens the pouch after catching a fish, expelling water and forcing the prey down its throat. …"

Glad I asked. I've always wondered what all those big pink organs were and were for.

3909Tail & Beakk Streatch from Back - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Beak Stretch from Rear
 

3940Pelicans On Alert  - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans On Alert

The one in the back middle is stretching, and the one on the far right is "gular fluttering." (I have long called it that, because it makes a "woggle-woggle" sound.) They're all awake and either busy doing something to help prep for whatever happens — or watching, watching, watching. This sudden activity is a sure sign something's nearby that could be of concern to them.

3955Pelican Abstaction in Orange and White - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pelican Abstraction in Orange & White

But when they go back to low — or at least most of them do — it's time to rest. Again.

3974Pelican Leg Stretch with Wing Lift - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pelican with Leg Stretch and Wing Lift

Eventually, I'll photograph this stance (action, posture, whatever…) without so many other pelicans in the way. It's usually lovelier than this.

3997Two Tilt-bak Yaps In Unison - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Two Tilt-Backs in Unison

I am imagining a chorus line of American White Pelicans going through the whole routine in unison. And I am smiling…

3998Beginning of Lower Mandible Inversions - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Step B and Step Aof Lower Mandible Inversion

I used to think this part had to start the routine, now I know they do it in different sequences — and possibly at different times. The pelk on the left has already begun to invert its lower mandible over its extended chest. The one on the right has not yet begun that step.

4001Lower Mandible Inversion - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Lower Mandible Inversion

This is a stellar example of as about as extreme a Lower Mandible Inversion as I have seen.

4015Tongue-chewing Pelcian - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Tongue Chewing Pelican

Well, at's probably not chewing it, even if it looks chewed. It's probably just there. Notice that its lower mandible has thinned considerably, but it's still got some woggle to it.

4027I'm sure there's a name for this - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

I'm Sure There's a Technical Term for This

But I don't know what it is. Instead of bending its head back, it didn't. Something else I learned on that Nat'l Geo page, is that, "At nearly a foot and half (half a meter) long the bill of a pelican is the longest of any bird."

4034A Sudden Great Egret from Around the Spit - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

A Sudden Great Egret from Around The Spit

Suddenly, I noticed that a Great Egret had slowed around the spit and was in the clear line of view. Click! Actually, I clicked at it thrice, one unfocused; one well-focused but I clipped off its right wing; and this.

4054Beak Sequence 1 -  - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Beak Sequence #1

The more often I see this sequence of mandible stretching, the more variations on starting — and ending — positions I see.

4056Beak Sequence #3  - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Beak Seq #2

My! That lower mandible has grown!

4057Beak Sequence #4 - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

  #3

Open wide.

4058Beak Seq #5 - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

#4

This is definitely a step …

4059Beak Seq #6 - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Beak Sequence #5

But I think this is more like a half-step.

4060Beak Seq #7

 #6

And I'm not sure I'd count this one at all.

4062Beak Seq #8  - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

 #7

 

   

Driving Down West Lawther Hoping for Birds, and These Found Me.
— Photographed October 19 & Posted October 21

 AWP and Two Corms - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved. 109

American White Pelican with Two Double-crested Cormorants

Just had lunch with Anna at Start, and when I got to the lake off Mockingbird, I drove down West Lawther instead of my usual route, hoping for birds. I was, I think, just about at Free Advice Point, when several big white pelicans stormed into the water on the other side of the parking lot, rested in the water a few seconds, then, with a bunch of cormorants, who were also in a big hurry, they stormed out.

By the time they'd sorta settled — if briefly — I was out of The Slider with my trusty cam, looking for a place to stand with a view, and had started clicking. Meanwhile, I'd parked The Slider in a slot and rushed to shore with the big cam, having left the back passenger window open …

Corm Among Pelicans - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Cormorant Among Cormorants and Part of a Pelican

Wasn't really much time to contemplate composition or figure out what to do next. For no apparent reason, I'd set the shutter frequency to high from its usual low at home the night before, and lots of this time I just laid into it, hoping — although it never seemed particularly fast between shots. I like to plan what's next and maybe after that. But there was no time for any of it.

Two Cormorants - one swimming - one oh something else - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Two Cormorants — One Tail-slowing Landing; One Swimming

I felt rushed, but it was gangbusters fun those few minutes after our late lunch. My first shot was at 2:50:51 PM — it was way blurred. And the last was at 2:55:31. It was good but duped what I'd already shot a coupla times. Then the blurred flurry of corms and pelks took out of there fast heading north, leaving me standing there wondering what to do.

I drove toward Garland Road, wandered around in the lot at Winstead, didn't see anything worth photographing, and drove home..

3 dblcrested corms and an AWP - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Three Double-crested Cormorants and an American White Pelican

I got 37 shots off in those four minutes and forty seconds of rapid shooting. The first shot was entirely blurred. Six or seven more were a little or a lot out of focus — hardly surprising. I usually work with a solid tripod and am very careful. This time I wasn't.

  My Favorite Mis-focus Shot - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

My Favorite Out-of-Focus Shot

One only showed lake. The rest were mostly adequate. I think that's a shot just at every eight seconds — every 7.567 seconds, to be precise.

Three Cormorants and a Pelk  - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Three Cormorants and a Pelican

There's a bunch of large, sight-obscuring plants along the shore past the parking lot, but I managed to get all of these without any of those. That was — briefly — my main concern.

Corm Takes Off, Pelk Dries Wings - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Cormorant Takes Off; Pelican Dries Wings and Watches Out

Odd bit of repose in the sudden string of action in this slightly wider than square shot.

Pelican Past the Yacht Clubs - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pelican Past the Yacht Club

Most of today's shots were clicked at about this same angle. I left it alone here, so we max out seeing the scenic yacht clubs on the other side — give it a little distinction.

AWPelican Sans Shore - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Close-up of the pelican; Ignoring the Shore

When there's not a cormorant around, I can get pretty careful with exactly how the pelican appears. Hopefully white with streaks of gray. Plus the orange and black bits.

Pelican and Diving Cormorant - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pelican with Diving Cormorant

I came upon this image long after I'd given up finding anything else I'd want to post here, so here it is. As usual, it is chronologically placed between the image above and the one below.

Corm Cutting Fronta Pelk - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Corm Cutting In Front of Pelk

The color of the water really does not keep changing. Just the exposures the camera chooses in the changing angles and lighting. I rarely get involved in that complex math. I try to keep the images in the frame and in focus. To get the pelican not to white out and the cormorant not to black out, I have to adjust the overall "exposure" later in my PhotoPhlop software. It's a long series of decisions. And I probably should have made this cormorant a little less red — and the next less black.

Another Corm Cutting Fronta Pelk - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Another Cormorant About to Cut In Front of What is Probably the Same Pelican.

That's what corms and pelicans do.

 

 

Wanting to Photograph the Anhinga Flying,
We got Many Species Flying & Other Stuff
Photographed October 18 & Posted Very Early October 19

  Red-tailed Hawk over SSB  - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.  99

Red-tailed Hawk Over Sunset Bay

As photographed from the Pier at Sunset Bay, where was Anna and I and Donovan, along with bread-feeders and other lake-appreciators from time to time. The hawk was well overhead, so it must have been banking up there, or it wouldn't look so much like a profile. I clicked at it at least a half dozen times. This was the best. I always post my best shots, but sometimes my best shots are not the best shots.

  

Our Prized Young Anhinga and Two American White Pelicans, and Some Bird's Butt

I assume the butt on the far right is that of an American Coot, but I'm just not certain. Within a few moments of when the Anhinga exchanged "words" with the pelicans, both pelicans dismounted and swam away. That really surprised me. I mean, look at their relative sizes.

Juvenile Double-crested Cormorants Preening   - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.    

Double-crested Cormorant Preening

It's often difficult to distinguish a juvenile Anhinga from a Juvenile Cormorant, but there are noticeable differences. Especially on the back.

 duh   - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.   

Unfortunately, I don't have a similarly-posed Anhinga

I thought I had an Anhinga shot facing this way, but it's looking up, and its front is facing away. I still hope you can see how similar the two species look. With or without Coots.

  AWP over Anhinga and CootUnfortunately, I don't have a similarly-posed AnhingaUnfortunately, I don't have a similarly-posed Anhinga - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds - All Rights Reserved.

American White Pelican Flying In Over Anhinga and Coot

I guess the AWPs (American White Pelicans) are rested up enough now that they can fly early and often. Eventually today, they even joined some cormorants at the west end of Sunset Bay right around Winfrey Point (See my bird-annotated map of White Rock Lake for wheres and other details) in a big fishing party, that I won't go into all the details of, but it's fun watching the pelicans join in.

 Little Brown Peeps -  - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds - All Rights Reserved.  

Little Brown Peeps over By Winfrey

That I hadn't yet identified, but it was sure fun following them all around the bay, swooping, and turning and turning bright white, and sometimes all but disappearing in the light.

Peep Flock - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds - All Rights Reserved.   

Peep Flock Above

Peep Flock Detail - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds - All Rights Reserved.   

Least Sandpiper Peep Flock Detail

Okay, they are probably Sandpipers of one type or another. I'm guessing Least. Looking at the distribution maps, that guess is probably right. Maybe. Unfortunately, looking at just the pictures, they could be any of a number of Sandpipers. And there were a bunch of them, but that's my best guess. Least, in this case, means small, and these are. Kala agrees with my identification, so that proves it.

  Great Blue Heron Over - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds - All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Over

Always and still my favorite birds, and when one or two fly by, I always attempt to capture them best I can. This one's showing a little more detail under its wings than most such pix. I often wish my camera would automatically open up its aperture when I point it up like this, so some of those usually dark shadows would fill in.

  Three Pelicans Flying In - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds - All Rights Reserved.

Three Pelicans Flying In

I love it when they come in layers like this.

  Coot Flight 1 - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds - All Rights Reserved.

Coot Fight A

I shot a bunch of pix of this fight, but these two are the only ones worth posting, because all the shots look pretty much the same. Aggressor's foot on the other one's chest, and a whole lot of splashin' going on.

  Coot Fight 2 - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds - All Rights Reserved.

Coot Fight B

Then sometimes they trade places. And yes, those are the Coot on the left's feet on the Coot on the right's front, in both images. One in the shade; this one among all that splashed water.

  Coot and Well, It's not a beaver - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds - All Rights Reserved.

Coot and … Well, it's not a beaver.

And I know the word, but I just can't remember the word that applies to the large rodent swimming stealthily across the bay. So I asked the Internet for "the big rodent with orange teeth, and I got Nutria. That is what it is, and here's a story about How The Nutria Got Orange Teeth.

  Pelican Flying Low Past Snag Trash - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds - All Rights Reserved.

Pelican Flying Low Past Snag Trash

These images are, as usual, in chronological order, because I have not found an easier or more intelligent way to do it, but … This is probably my favorite pelican picture of the day. The background helps, of course — pretty grotty back there. But the exposure is nigh on to perfect. I still always pronounce grotty with a hard o as in grow-tee, but somebody else must not, because it's got two Ts in the dictionary, which usually means a soft O sound. So there should be groty or grodty words, too. But alas!

  American White Pelican Flies Past Juvenile Anhinga  - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds - All Rights Reserved.

American White Pelican Flies Past Juvenile Anhinga

And I was careful to capture several shots of one pelican or another passing our Anhinga — many did, but this is the best of that bunch, too. Notice that American White Pelicans aren't really white. They have textures and browns and other colors among those nearly solid white feathers. So if someone else's pix show big WHITE birds, they're over-exposed.

  Profile Portrait of Our Juvenile Anhinga - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds - All Rights Reserved.

Profile Portrait of Our Juvenile Anhinga

Looking much larger and way less skinny than when it came up out of the soup after fetching breakfast — and fully dry, our young Anhinga looks amazingly healthy.

   

 

Just Happened to Catch 54 Pelicans & Innumerable Cormorants
Line Fishing in the Bay Today — photographed & posted October 16

Bunch of 'em Fishing - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved. 83

Bunch of 'em Fishing Back & Forth

American White Pelicans and Double-crested Cormorants fishing west of the pier at Sunset Bay but nearer to Winfrey Point.

Splashing, Flashing and Catching Fish - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Splashing, Flashing & Catching Fish

Packed in close, the line turns and heads toward me, as I'm still shooting from the Pier at Sunset Bay.

Cormorants Catching Up - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Cormorants Catching Up

As I came upon the land part of the pier, a woman going the other way told me that a big bunch of pelicans and Anhingas — she meant Cormorants — were chasing fish into Winfrey Point. I shot my first few shots without my tripod, then I went back for it and walked west of the pier and set up and hoped they'd get closer — and they did.

Rushing In - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans Rushing In

Notice just right of the bottom middle of this bird mass, where several pelicans and a couple of cormorants are taking special interest in fish apparently just under the surface.

Big Beak Pelk - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Big Beak Pelk

At some point in today's shoot I picked up my tripod and headed west along the shore toward Winfrey Point — well, either that, or I enlarged particularly well-focused images so we could see some noteworthy details in the mass of birds fishing in the bay today. If you can't see a pelican's head, it's probably underwater groping for a fish.

Pelks and Cormorants and Fishing - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans and Cormorants Fishing

Most of the time, the cormorants fished right in with the pelicans, but on the last few circles and straights, the cormorants who had had their fill, separated from the pack and headed back to Sunset Bay proper.

Hungry Birds - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Hungry Birds Hurrying

Most of the time, pelicans just swim along with the pack. When they see — or think they see — a fish that was made just for them, they take to flight to get there first.

Tail-dragging Cormorant Landing - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Tail-dragging Cormorant Landing

I just thought this shot was interesting because it shows a cormorant dragging its tail to reduce landing speed just before its feet touch the water to skid to a stop.

Corm Vs. Pelican Flasp-off - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Cormorant Vs. Pelican Flap-Off

I suspect it's nothing of the sort. Just two birds flapping their wings very similarly. I got three shots, of which this is the best exposure and composition, and in each shot, they seem to be mirroring each other.

Happy Pelk Splash Bath - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Happy Pelk Splash Bath

At the end of all that working to catch fish, many of the pelicans retired to the lagoon area east of the pier to flap water all over themselves.

Splash Bath - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Wide View of Splash Bath

Whole Lotta splashing going on.

 

 

The Morning Shoot Didn't Register, So I Went Back at Night
photographed & posted October 14, 2017

 Big Red Sun Going Down - cpry 72

Sun Going Down

I went to Sunset Bay early-ish this morning and thought I got some decent shots. I checked exposure on shot pix several times, but when I got home, there were not memory cards in the camera. So I did my business all afternoon and thought I was going to do more the evening, but that evaporated, so I drove to Sunset Bay again just as the big yellow sun was going down.

Evening Egret - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Evening Egret

There were a lot of Egrets scattered around the bay. I like the raggedy look of its feathers in this late evening shot. There are times when, for story-telling reasons, I really want photographs look like I shot them at night or when it's getting dark, but a camera almost always looks at a scene and decides to render it as an 18% gray scale, so even an Evening Egret gets rendered as a mostly bright object on a gray background, even if it was shot in the aforementioned near-darkness. Fooling with it after it's shot is something of a fool's game.

I could make it dark easily enough, but making it look right, also, is far more difficult. So you just have to imagine that this was shot in darker circumstances …

Egret Landing - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Egret Landing

This could actually be the same bird in the same few moments. And it still looks too bright, but the camera who shot it, still thinks it looks just about right …

Touchdown - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Touchdown

But this one looks later in the evening.

Egret Chase with Ducks Down - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Egret Chase with Duck Silhouettes

I photograph birds chasing each other whenever I get the chance. As usual, only one of them is in good focus.

Con Trail - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Contrail

I looked up that word: "a trail of condensed water from an aircraft or rocket at high altitude, seen as a white streak against the sky." Then it noted its origin. "1940s abbreviation of condensation trail."

Pelicans Becoming Alert - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans Waking Up and Becoming Alert

In general, pelicans are at rest. But these guys were slowly waking up for their evening flight.

Pelican In Flight with Building Back - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pelican In Flight with Central Expressway Building Back

Remarkably lucid shot of an American White Pelican in Flight. It's at least somewhat overexposed, but I didn't want it to be any darker, although I may yet change my mind.

Pelicans Away - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans Away

Earlier when I thought I was getting all those pictures that weren't there, the half dozen photogs on the pier kept wishing we could see — and photograph — pelicans in flight. It's much easier in late evening. I got there at 6:48 PM, and I left just after 7:10 PM. I shot 195 frames. These, as usual, were the best of the bunch.

Pelicans Heading Off - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans Heading Off

Exposure, as almost always, was guesswork. I started at iso 800, then pretty quickly raised it to 3200, which seemed just about right for the rest of the shoot.

Blue Pelican in Flight - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pelican in Flight

I'd seen three of them fly by the pier at Sunset Bay earlier this week, but I was just getting out of my car. So this was my first real chance at seeing and photographing them fly and fly and fly.

Can Gooses Landing - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Canada Gooses Landing

Ben told me the Canada Gooses were coming in. My elderly eyes don't see far that well, and far, in the evening (it was a little darker than it looks here.) is nigh onto improbable, but I kept looking where he was describing, and soon I saw very out of focus brown bumps in the distance, just motion when they were against the dark other side. Then they got closer, and the camera started focusing, and I got these.

Can Gooses Past the Pelks - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Can Gooses Past the Pelicans

They look so skinny in the air.

Can Gooses Splashing Down - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Canada Gooses Splashing Down

And they just look so elegant.

Canada Gooses Swimming with a Duck - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Canada Gooses Swimming

And here, they don't even look fat. But walking around on the ground, which I did not photograph them doing, they are ponderous.

Pelicans Leaving; Coots Staying - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans Leaving; Coots Staying

More and more pelicans kept leaving all the time I was there. I'd counted 54 early that day when I was shooting on empty, and there were still 54 of them when I counted as the sun disappeared behind the far horizon.

Jess Bout Tha Lass Pelk Leavin - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Just About the Last Pelk Leaving

Soon there was only one. Then it was gone, too..

 

 

Spending Some Time with The Pelicans
photographed & posted October 9, 2017

 Doing the American White Pelican Hop - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Doing The American White Pelican Hop — Hopping into Flight

I've been needing to for awhile, so this afternoon I parked myself on the pier at Sunset Bay and photographed me some pelicans. Didn't really count them today, but the day before, I counted 52. If it's like it usually is, soon soon it'll be several hundred pelicans all at once, then in a few hours or a few days, most of them will fly off somewhere else, and about 70 of them will stay till just before Tax Day.

Splash Down  or Maybe Up - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Splash Down

I kinda thought I was just killing time, but I managed to get pelicans in some rather usual pelican poses and forms.

American White Pelican Tongue Roll - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

American White Pelican Tongue Roll

And some others I've never seen before.

Not At All Sure, but That Might Be Its Foot - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Not At All Sure,

But That Might Be Its Foot on the upper right portion of its body…

Red-eared Slider - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Red-eared Slider

The larger area of red is considered to be approximately where its ear would be, if it had one.
 

Identification Updates on the next two pix:

The Middle One Sure Looks Like A Slider - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

The Middle One Sure Looks Like a Shoveler

Northern Shovelers have large spatula-like beaks. But who's that with a red head and smallish, dark bill? It does not resemble a Redhead or Ruddy Duck or a Canvasback or Green-winged Teal, all of whom have red heads. I suppose that one on the left could well be a Cinnamon Teal. That looks about right, but with them I am not familiar. Yet.

Kala King who often helps me identify unsub [Unsub is a word I purloined from The X-Files, meaning unidentified subject.] birds here, says, "and I agree, that last little one sure does look like a Cinnamon Teal just starting to change from its eclipse plumage to its red look. I saw that glint of red, too."

And I'm just not sure about the one on the right above, mostly behind the Shoveler.

Head Under Pelk Shovelers and - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Head-under Pelican, Male Shovelers in eclipse plumage and … Oh, Somebody

L to R: Adult autumn Northern Shoveler in eclipse plumage (as is the third one from the left) and the smaller one at the end of the line behind the pelican is a Blue-winged Teal, whom I am sure I have photographed before, but this may be the first time I've identified it correctly — thanks again to Kala King. Thank you, Kala, who adds, "The blue wing teal have the white at the base of the bill on the face."

But the American White Pelican is still an AWP with its head underwater.. And number two in the brown parade sure looks like a Teal without the white at the base of the bill.

Not Sure What It's Got In Its Beak, But it Looks Like Something to Eat - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Not Sure What It's Got In Its Beak, But It Sure Looks Like Something to Eat

Or something to play with.

Shallows Dipping for Food - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Pelican Shallow-Dippin' For Food

Remember, it's only inches deep way out there. So the end of its beak could well be scraping on the bottom.

Splash-bathing Pelican - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Splash-Bathing American White Pelican in full-splashing mode

Actually, this shot was taken 59 seconds after the next one down, but since it may not even be the same bird, I like the story these two shots slightly misrepresent.

Splash-bathing AWP - cpry

Splash-Bathing American White Pelican in non-splashing mode 

Preening its wet feathers with its pliable lower mandible. Kinda like smoothing our shoulder or some awry piece of clothing with our chin.

 

 

We Walked Just at Two Miles.
photographed October 7 & posted October 8 2017

 Phoebe on the Fence - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved. 44

Eastern Phoebe on the Fence Overlooking The Upper Spillway

I'd been walking a mile pretty often in my neighborhood in the mornings when it's cool, so when she asked me to walk with her starting at The Spillway I was more dubious of finding a parking space than me walking. She got one after only once around the lot when a truck left. Turned out her plan was for two miles, the first of which was easy, but I had to stop and rest for the second mile. Finding a parking slot just took waiting maybe five minutes driving around the lot. Once on our way up the backside path to the top of the dam, she saw this bird, and we got up pretty close before it flew away.

Two Monk Parakeets Among the Wires - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Two Monk Parakeets Among the Wires

It's been awhile since I photographed the Monk Parakeets, so I took the opportunity. I've always especially enjoyed catching them flying, because getting them moseying through the grass is usually easy, although less revealing.

Mallard Drake Slumped on the Dam - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Mallard Drake Slumped on the Dam

This male Mallard doesn't seem to be in molt.

Mallard Pair Just Off the Dam - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Mallard Pair Just Off the Dam

But this one is.

Mallard Drake Easing Down the Slant - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Mallard Drake Easing Down the Slant in Morning Light

So's this one.

Mirage Back Over the Fitchery from the Dam - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Mirage Back Over The Fitchery from the Top of the Dam

Walking along the top of the dam toward T&P Hill, I looked out approximately where I'd once seen and photographed a Red-shouldered Hawk nest, and saw, instead, what I perceived as some sort of an optical illusion shimmering on the far, over-tree horizon. I had to photograph it to convince myself it was really there. Here it doesn't shimmer much, so I guess it was. Although now, I think I see a bird with wings reaching for air under the tree on the left … but later, I decided that's just an optical delusion.

People Walking Behind The Filter Building - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

People Walking Behind The Filter Building

I've walked over there often before I latched onto Sunset Bay so much I sometimes feel guilty for going there so often, but I hadn't seen anyone else back here till this opportuned itself. I keep remembering a renta-cop insisting I couldn't be there with a camera, because I could be a terrorist out to bust the dam. Like terrorists hadn't yet discovered Google Maps …

Bird on a Wire - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Mockingbird On A Wire Near the Leaky Boat House

This ever-so-difficult-to-identify bird is one of our own — and nearly everybody else's in The South — 's State Bird.

Slow Pan with a Fast Black-crowned Night-Heron - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Slow Pan with a Fast Black-crowned Night Heron

I think I know where I was when I photographed this, but apparently I didn't take any other halfway decent shots there. I think it was photographed from the Old Boathouse's no-longer new bridge, but if I'd been paying more attention, I would have upped the shutter speed, but by then it would have disappeared into the trees on the other side of the lagoon.

White-tailed Dragonfly Resting on the Pier at Sunset Bay - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

White-tailed Dragonfly Resting on the Pier at Sunset Bay

Which is just where we went next: I still sometimes am able to photograph these guys flying, but this one was obviously tired of flying.

Last I Counted There were 42 Pelicans - copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Last I Counted there were 42 American White Pelicans in Sunset Bay
By the next day — Sunday — there were more than fifty.

 

 

The Kingfisher Pair Flying Together & One Juvenile Anhinga
photographed & posted October 5 2017

Kingfisher Pair Female First and Faster -  - Image Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved. 31

Kingfisher Pair — Female First

The most difficult challenge concerning photographing a pair (or flock) of birds is to capture them close together. The closer together they are, the larger their images will be on these pages, where I almost always limit myself to images up to and including those that are 888 pixels wide (on my elderly iMac. On your DOS machines, they're smaller to the tune of the ratio of 88:72 dpi. Or something like that. Most of you are on Windows machines, even if Apple is way bigger a company, and I flat don't understand how to compute that disparity.

Two Kingfishers Flying Over Sunset Bay - Copyright 2017 JRCompton/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Kingfishers Together Briefly Flying

The only order these photographs of the Sunset Bay Kingfisher pair is how close together they were when I clicked the shutter while wagging my telephoto lens following them flying all over outer Sunset Bay trying to keep my smallish focus spot on top of them. I had no idea they were going to suddenly burst into the air chasing each other — or cavorting — all up, down, round and round. Or I would have set the focus for everywhere in the frame. After I posted this one, I went back and sharpened the two birds. That sometimes helps.

Pair of Kingfishers Flying Over Sunset Bay - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Kingfisher Pair in the Air

The distance between them that really matters is horizontal. The up-down distance has less sway the farther they are apart. And, of course, I know I could cut them each out and paste them on a plain blue sky and pretend I have a magic camera that always keeps everything in focus, but those never look real. These do, because these are real. No fakery.

And certainly less that perfect…

Kingfisher Pair Flying  - Image Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Kingfisher Pair Flying

I originally planned to just show a few of these shots — primarily the ones well above, in which the birds appear larger.

Kingfisher Pair Flying Together Over Sunset Bay - Image Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

They're Flying Fast & They're Together, but Not Close

Another distance that gets in my and your ways is that from the front-most portion of the front bird to all the important parts of the back bird. I usually manage to focus on just one, leaving the other one to either get caught up in the "depth of field" — or not. Unlike the camera I've been lusting after, I can't really see actual image depth on my current dSLR, but even if I could, I probably couldn't see much at that speed anyway. So that disparity or lack thereof is simply up to yours, mine and the camera's depths of field.

Kingfisher on Point - Image Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Kingfisher On Point

Okay, enough of that. They were flying all over the place. I have one other photo of one in a tree over by the shore across the bay on Dreyfuss somewhere, but all I could see when I shot it was one bright dot of blue and white, and all you could see of the bird if I worked that image up, is that one blob of light. So I won't.

Wing-drying Juvenile Anhinga - Then I rearanged the pix of this Kingfisher pair flying together from larger bird images to smaller.

Wing-drying Juvenile Anhinga with Two Turtles

Anna and I were especially keen on photographing the juvenile Anhinga. I really wanted to catch it flying into Sunset Bay. But we didn't arrive early enough for that — if, indeed, that is what even happened. We both really do want to see the young Anhinga fly. I'm sure someone has seen it fly lately, but I don't know who. There's a lot of us wantin' to.

 

 

photographed the last days of last month & the first days of this.
Then posted the evening of October 2.

 Cormorant, Anhinga, Egret - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds - All Rights Reserved.

Cormorant, Anhinga Sidling Up its Favorite Snag, Great Egret

Yes, that is the same Anhinga, who was deemed not to need rescuing awhile back. We've been seeing a lot of it mid-mornings, although lately, the American White Pelicans have all but taken over that particular log — as we shall see again shortly.

Anhinga  x  x

That Anhinga in Sunset Bay on That Same Snag

Very familiar-looking bird, but I was surprised to see blue feathers.

Thread of a Head and Tail Far Out in SSB  x  x

Thread of a Head and the Barest of a Tail

I could barely see it out there in Sunset Bay, but Kelly could, and after some careful instructions, I saw it, too. To make finding it more difficult, it would disappear underwater for long periods, then when it came up, it looked more like a stick out there than a bird. Except, of course, that its pointed little tail followed it around until the bird got up on the water..

Anhinga with Just-caught FishAnhinga Unhinged - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Anhinga with Just-caught Fish

When I was very careful and get the focus spot right on the target, and more of its tail feathers got above water, we could see details — like that little fish it's holding that it must have caught below. But it spent a long time underwater finding and/or catching it. Mine is not a zoom lens, but sometimes I have to enlarge the image in post.

Anhinga and Fish  x  x

Anhinga with Lunch

Took me awhile to figure out that this slender necked bird is the same Anhinga as the one in the second pic down, only this one is very wet, so its neck appears skinny until it dries out, at which time its neck appears fluffed out. I've seen adult and juvenile Anhingas at The Southwestern Medical School Rookery, but never for long enough to get used to seeing them. So this was my first opportunity to get used to seeing the same one, and track its progress.

Anhinga and Turtle Anhinga Unhinged - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Anhinga and Sidling Snag and Turtle

This seems to be another of our young Anhinga's favorite snags. It is the one of the ones I photographed it on the day of its planned rescue, back when I thought it absurd that it could have got to the top of it by sidling up to the top. I mistakenly assumed it would have to fly to get up there. But now, more than ever, I assume it must be flying.

Anhinga Sidling Up the SnagAnhinga Unhinged - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Anhinga Sidling Up Its Other Snag — The Dry Look

This day, I saw it walk slowly up this turtle-balasted snag, usually one step sideways or the other, stopping to turn its center of balance all the way around several times. I believe that turtle is a Red-Eared Slider, after which I named my yellow-nosed Prius.

Egret's Back - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Preening on a Dark Snag

I wanted to wait till its head reappeared from behind that abstraction of wings and body feathers, but though I waited and waited, all I ever saw of its head were those few slender threads of silver seen here between its shoulders.

Four Pelicans on One Short SnagAnhinga Unhinged - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Four Pelicans on One Short Snag

Closer birds show in much greater detail. Or maybe I sometimes just get the vibrations in control.

Blacks with WhiteAnhinga Unhinged - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Blacks With White

I probably should have waited for the Egret to assume a stronger pose. Sometimes I seem to have almost infinite patience. Sometimes I don't have any at all.

Whites With BlackAnhinga Unhinged - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Whites With Black

Obviously I didn't plan these last two shots. Let alone arrange for them to be together.

Blacks on Brown and BlacksAnhinga Unhinged - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Blacks on Brown with Fast Blacks Back

Those are Juvenile Double-crested Cormorants on a Snag with Great-winged Grackles flying behind.

Mallards SwimmingAnhinga Unhinged - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Mallard Pairs Swimming

Most of the males are getting their green back.

Mallard Pair FlyoverAnhinga Unhinged - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Mallard Pair Flyover

Surely the most populous species in Sunset Bay.

Wings Folded and Up; Neck Down and Out  x  x

American White Pelican with Wing Folded Up and Neck Down and Out

On the way to this common AWP pose.

Pelk Wings Up and Beak Stretched Forward All The Way  x  x

American White Pelican with Wings Folded & Up, Neck Stretched Down & Beak Angled Up & Out

Note the wrapped look of its malleable lower mandible. See a bunch of other pix of what pelicans do with their beaks. Don't you just love its pointy little head? I do.

AWP with Lower Mandible Stretched Up  x  x

Inverted Lower Mandible

I got this one in focus, but the subsequent shots with it stretching its beak high up and flat out were all out of focus. Pelicans invert their very flexible lower mandible down over their chest often, and sooner or later, I'll catch one at it again — and again.  

Hovering Female Kingfisher - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Female Kingfisher Hovering

We'd been hearing it rattling around in the area on the other side of the lagoon, but I didn't see it till it flew out over the middle of the bay, where it hovered, then it hovered again maybe 40 feet west of there. Reading my Lone Pine edition of Birds of Texas just now, I learned that "Belted Kingfishers breed locally in northern Texas." Although I was rather aware that they nest and raise young in the Med School Rookery at Inwood between Harry Hines Boulevard & Stemmons Freeway, I was surprised authors Keith A. Arnold and Gregory Kennedy chose to mention only to mention North Texas.

Growing "Baby" Anhinga with AWP Back  x  x

Growing "Baby" Anhinga Drying Its Wings while an American White Pelican Swims Behind

Look at all those feathers, where once hung scraggly, barely-there spaces between.

Juv Anhinga with American White Pelican  x  x

Juvenile Anhinga with About-to-Rise American White Pelican

But when the pelican rose to assume its territory …

Anhinga Unhinged & Pelk Rising  x  x

Anhinga Unhinged & American White Pelican Rising

The comparatively tiny Anhinga gave the pelican as much 'what for' as it had …

Both Birds Flapping  x  x

Both Birds Flapping

Then it seemed to be thrust off its log and out over the water by the force of the pelican's flapping.

JUv Anhinga Leaning Left with the Trees  x  x

Juvenile Anhinga Leaning Left with the Trees

It quickly found another snag, although it still steamed. I've been photographing Anhingas for about a decade — and I was the official first to photograph an Anhinga at White Rock Lake, but I don't think I've ever seen one with its beak open before. Today, it happened at least twice, if you don't count it holding that fish in its beak [above]

Coot SwimmingAnhinga Unhinged - Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com/birds  All Rights Reserved.

Coot Swimming

I guess my main point in today's journal entry is that there's still a wide — and sometimes wild — variety of birds in Sunset Bay almost every day.



Last Month    unkept-up Index of Pages     year ago     Bird-annotated Map of White Rock Lake      Next Month

The best thing about the Year Ago link  is clicking it early in the month to see what birds last September's change of season brought us and where to look for them this year.

Except as noted, all text and photographs Copyright 2017 & before 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 the best of that is documented in this Journal, all the pages of which continue online see the links at top and bottom of every Bird Journal page. I've been photographing professionally and semi-professionally yet always amateurishly since 1964. 53 years.


389 by end March; 1242 end April; 2327 end May; 3431 early July; 4217 end July; 4965 end August; 5720 end Sept; 6464 end Oct-16; 7200 end Nov.; 8012 end Dec; 8566 end Jan 17; 9145 end Feb; 9755 end March 17; 10390 End of April 17; 11077 end May 17. Then I lost the hit counter or it didn't count hits anymore. So I gave up on knowing numbers of hits, and I'm happier for it.