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
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.
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.
I assume this were a pair, then maybe three …
We often see Wigeons in that park in Plano, but not so often around here.
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.
I could not see its face, as we clearly can here.
In fact, some of these are not as Ecliplsey as that one was.
With that beak, it couldn't hardly be anybody else.
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
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.
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.
The Great Blue Heron (GBH) hadn't changed an iota. The pelicans were cool and unbothered. But the coots were exiting stage left.
So I followed them.
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.
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.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear than a Bald Eagle. Wow! Look at those claws.
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.
It posed spectacularly, and I clicked away till it left the area, disappearing back over the Hidden Creeks Area, from whence it came.
And the pelicans went back to rest. And the GBH (Great Blue Heron) was still hot, so it still had its beak open.
Less than five minutes later, we get another, albeit much smaller raptor fly-over.
And it flew around up there awhile.
Came back around, then disappeared, also.
Up the lagoon.
Where were ducks, a smallish egret and a precious few coots.
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.
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
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.
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.
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."
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
When they've all been asleep for awhile, then they suddenly stand up, or look up and all around, they are on alert.
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.
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.
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.
But when they go back to low — or at least most of them do — it's time to rest. Again.
Eventually, I'll photograph this stance (action, posture, whatever…) without so many other pelicans in the way. It's usually lovelier than this.
I am imagining a chorus line of American White Pelicans going through the whole routine in unison. And I am smiling…
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.
This is a stellar example of as about as extreme a Lower Mandible Inversion as I have seen.
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.
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."
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.
The more often I see this sequence of mandible stretching, the more variations on starting — and ending — positions I see.
My! That lower mandible has grown!
This is definitely a step …
But I think this is more like a half-step.
And I'm not sure I'd count this one at all.
Driving Down West Lawther Hoping for Birds, and These Found Me.
— Photographed October 19 & Posted October 21
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 …
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.
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..
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.
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.
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.
Odd bit of repose in the sudden string of action in this slightly wider than square shot.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
It's often difficult to distinguish a juvenile Anhinga from a Juvenile Cormorant, but there are noticeable differences. Especially on the back.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I love it when they come in layers like this.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
American White Pelicans and Double-crested Cormorants fishing west of the pier at Sunset Bay but nearer to Winfrey Point.
Packed in close, the line turns and heads toward me, as I'm still shooting from the Pier at Sunset Bay.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Whole Lotta splashing going on.
The Morning Shoot Didn't Register, So I Went Back at Night
photographed & posted October 14, 2017
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.
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 …
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 …
But this one looks later in the evening.
I photograph birds chasing each other whenever I get the chance. As usual, only one of them is in good focus.
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."
In general, pelicans are at rest. But these guys were slowly waking up for their evening flight.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
They look so skinny in the air.
And they just look so elegant.
And here, they don't even look fat. But walking around on the ground, which I did not photograph them doing, they are ponderous.
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.
Soon there was only one. Then it was gone, too..
Spending Some Time with The Pelicans
photographed & posted October 9, 2017
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.
I kinda thought I was just killing time, but I managed to get pelicans in some rather usual pelican poses and forms.
And some others I've never seen before.
But That Might Be Its Foot on the upper right portion of its body…
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:
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.
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.
Or something to play with.
Remember, it's only inches deep way out there. So the end of its beak could well be scraping on the bottom.
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.
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
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.
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.
This male Mallard doesn't seem to be in molt.
But this one is.
So's this one.
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.
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 …
This ever-so-difficult-to-identify bird is one of our own — and nearly everybody else's in The South — 's State Bird.
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.
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.
The Kingfisher Pair Flying Together & One Juvenile Anhinga
photographed & posted October 5 2017
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.
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.
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…
I originally planned to just show a few of these shots — primarily the ones well above, in which the birds appear larger.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Very familiar-looking bird, but I was surprised to see blue feathers.
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..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Closer birds show in much greater detail. Or maybe I sometimes just get the vibrations in control.
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.
Obviously I didn't plan these last two shots. Let alone arrange for them to be together.
Those are Juvenile Double-crested Cormorants on a Snag with Great-winged Grackles flying behind.
Most of the males are getting their green back.
Surely the most populous species in Sunset Bay.
On the way to this common AWP pose.
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.
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.
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.
Look at all those feathers, where once hung scraggly, barely-there spaces between.
But when the pelican rose to assume its territory …
The comparatively tiny Anhinga gave the pelican as much 'what for' as it had …
Then it seemed to be thrust off its log and out over the water by the force of the pelican's flapping.
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].
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.
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.