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Annotated Map of White Rock Lake


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The Amateur Birder's Journal - Stories & Photographs by J R Compton
The Current Journal is always Here  All Contents Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.  
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Pelican Beak Weirdness  green square  Rouses  green square  Courtship Display  blue dot  D800e Journal  blue dot  G5 Journal  green square  Duck Love  green square  Coyotes
Birding Galveston   2nd Birds of the Lower Rio Grande Valley   & the 1st   Bald Eagle at White Rock for 14 seconds

Interesting Birds This Month:   FOS Pelican Landing   Eastern Phoebe   Hagerman Wildlife Refusge  
First Pelican of the Season
   Roadrunner - Beep Beep   Keets on The Beach   Flying Killdeers
Egrets Chase-off White-faced Ibis   First Pelican Landing of the Season   Broke-neck Duck  
Hagerman Wildlife Refuge   Flocks of female Cinnamon Teal and Blue-wing Teal Flybys

White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas, USA

September 28

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

Grackle Dance — Female and Male Great-tailed Grackles

This odd little downlet has become one of my favorite places to observe birds from the subtlety of my car, the oft-referred The Slider. As you can see, it's on the edge of water, where lots of different species of birds gather in ones, twos and dozens. It's easy to drive to, and it's a place I have photographed some of my favorite birds in some of my favorite photographs.

As usual, I stayed for whatever birds were there already. I had no idea who else might show up — or if anybody else even would.

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

Keets on the Beach

Although they run wild through that whole west side of the lake, Monk Parakeets rank low on the species I expected to display themselves in all their colored glory right there in front of me, my car and my lens today. What a nice surprise. While a Grackle splash bathes in the lake beyond.

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

Two Monk Parakeets Passing Food

Not sure what exact species of food it is, but it's probably some sort of seed. Looks like one. Seeds is what parrots eat.

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

The Budgie Brothers

Looks like the one on the left is stepping off a beat for them all to sing along with, but actually what they're about is food, which the leader on the left has some of and may just share. Kinda hard to tell relative size with the monster lens doing its relative-distance distortions, but it could be the one on the right in front might be a juvenile, and thus expectant of food from an adult. I'm just not sure.

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

Showing Underwing Budgie Blue

I may have captured that underwing blue before, but I don't remember it. Pretty, huh?

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

Parakeet Over Parakeets

Looks like it could be a continuation of the action begun in the previous frame, but there's three full minutes difference, so it's probably not.

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

Wet Parakeets Watch Starlings Splash Bathing

It may see as if the longer I parked there photographing out The Slider's driver window, the more species gathered, but after awhile, they all thinned out, got extremely leery of any motion in or near the beach. They'd all fly off, then come right back, then all fly away again. Over and over.

Parakeet At a Slant Flying Over - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Keet at a Slant Flying Over

While one bird continues its splash bath, and another watches in my direction.

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

Keet Over Keets

I don't know how many times I've attempted to get parakeet pictures like this. I've often visited their extensive stick nests in The Big Hum up the hill from the Old Filter Building, but there, I was always too far away. Here, where I just larked in, was right about perfect. Great light, good focus, lots of intra-bird activity.

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

More Keets

And all these parakeets jumping and flying was just amazing. If I'd been quicker to click, I might have got even more shots.

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

Wet Parakeets with One Flying Very Low and Flapping

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

One Keet Over Five Others

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

Flying Parakeet over Parakeet and Female (out of focus) Grackle

Keets, Grackle Bathing and Starling - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Adult Male Great-tailed Grackle and First-winter European Starling Bathing

Bathing was the main activity, and it continued to be. I finally drove off when no parakeets, starlings or grackles came back into my field of view for more than about five minutes. I figured my time there today was over, but my oh, my, was it ever busy and colorful there for awhile.

 

September 27

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

Male Mal Landing

Everything tucked in streamlined tight, angling down.

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

Female Mallard Splash Landing

Great, long, skidding splash.

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

Pied Billed Grebe Swimming

After a thorough soak diving several times as I followed it across the lagoon.

Starling Flight Across the Lagoon - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Starling FLight Across the Lagoon

A couple more detail shots to come.

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

Black & White and Black & WHite

Must be the new guys. I woulda remembered those poofy tops.

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

And White And Black And …

Hard to keep up with the 'released' domestic ducks in Sunset Bay, but Easter was such a long time ago…

 

September 26

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

Egret over the Mist

This was this morning's first shot, although as I came up the pier, I saw parts of a large, gray bird I assumed was a Great Blue Heron just off the end of the pier turning to fly away. I missed that one entirely, but soon as I got out to the end of the pier I started wishing I could get that luscious mist.

Same Egret Farther Out Over the Mist - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Same Egret, Farther Out Over the Mist

I knew I'd need something sharp to contrast against all that lovely nebulousness. I didn't, however, realize I'd already shot not only that shot, but this one, too. So my wish had already been granted. Thanks, Universe.

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

Mist in Sunset Park

I parked the slider off to the left of the road back to Buckner Boulevard, snuggled my view under a low-hanging tree, and never saw the red baseball bat on the cylindrical concrete riser till I was working the shot up. Fogs and mists are so surreal.

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

Starlings and Redwinged Blackbirds in a Tree Back from the Shore

It was a lovely, cool morning out on the pier, and I was amazed at how many birds there were. Autumn air seems to bring everybody out, and as we shall see, it brought a big bunch of bird not just out once, but over and over and over again. We might have had to wait a few minutes between them, but in just about every imaginable direction, there were birds galore.

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

Redwinged Blackbirds in two trees

First of 3 Egrets in a Tree - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

First of Three Great Egrets in a Tree in the Hidden Creeks Area

Fun following this bird into the tallest part of the taller trees overlooking Sunset Bay, then another came, and then another came. A little like Christmas with gorgeous ornaments on the leafy trees.

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

Our Three Recent Residents

All the while, our three most recent American White Pelican residents preened and preened and preened. They probably needed to. They've flown in from, oh, North Dakota, East Idaho or somewhere north east, north west or just north of here. I can't wait till there's 67 or 147 more.

One Flock, The First of Many Passes - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

One Flock of about Thirty Birds

These are reminiscent of the flock of what I called Cinnamon Teal that flew me by the other day. I'm still pretty sure those were Cinnamon Teal, but these ducks — all females again — are somewhat different — I'm pretty sure they are Blue-winged Teal, and they seemed a little more confused.

Their first second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth passes bordered on amazing, but after about twenty more, it started getting routine. Where were they going? Why'd they keep coming back over Sunset Bay? What's here that so tantalized them, and why didn't they drop in for a few family portraits?

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

Another Crow with Another Seed

Luckily, between the repetitive passes of the female Blue-winged Teal flock, we got inner Sunset-Bay Flying American Crows, each with one or two — I think I saw one crow with three big old seeds in its beak — crossing over to land with food.

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

Always More Blue-winged Teal

They'd disappear for awhile, but I always knew they'd be back soon, so I got lots of practice, and may even have got better for the next half hour or so of repeated flock passes. Great fun!

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

Tail-view Female Blue-winged Teal Flock

In and out, over and around one way and then the other, up into the sky and down closer to the surface. it was a wild ride and for awhile, I didn't think they'd ever stay gone, then they did.

Northern Mockingbird Over Fall Flowers - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Northern Mockingbird Over Autumn Flowers

I still follow our usual brand of Texas Mockingbirds whenever I can, always hoping for some sort of unusual shot. Like this. Yee-haw!

 Same Three Pelicans and same 30-odd-something teal - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Same Three Pelicans and Same Thirty or so Blue-winged Teal

Heading out, but soon enough, they were all back again, circling, circling …

And Out And Across and Off this way and that - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

And Out and Across

When they finally did leave the area, they flew the other way from this shot, and they went all the way away at long last. Fun having them to practice fast birds in flight, though.

September 24

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

Egretville

If you really want to know what's going on in this odd set of sunset pictures from where else but Sunset Bay, you won't read the captions or my text, just make up your own mind what's going on here from the images, which are presented in strict, chronological order.

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

A Little Joy in Egretville

But the writer of these words may have an agenda.

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

Egret in the Setting Sun

Looks like even more joy, but appearances can be deceiving.

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

The Interloper Enters

Enter somebody new.

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

And Is Noticed

You won't be able to see its beak well enough for a few more pix.

Who Do You Think You Are? - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

And Just Who Do You Think You Are?

Egrets from the unwelcoming committee rush into action.

Thinks About Landing And Decides Not - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Thinks About Landing And Decides Not

The Ibis looks around for someplace to alight.

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

Farther Away but Enlarged

You'll just have to take my word on that identification. It was way too dark from the first I saw it, but they told me about the White-faced Ibis almost as soon as I arrived at Sunset Bay past 7 pm September 23, and I had to be back in Casa Linda by 7:30. They'd been photographing it awhile, then it hove into view, and they pointed me to it, so I joined in.

I would, however, have been more than pleased to leave the day before this one's pictures at the top of the journal for a couple more days. Just that Sunset Bay got a lot livlier lately. We were gonna go west for birds, but this much local excitement precludes that possibility. For the moment.

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

Closer but Still Enlarged

But still too dark. It might be interesting to note that I've changed the dates on this page of  the journal down to … oh … somewhere below, so they now reflect actual dates … mostly … I think. As I write this, these shots are from yesterday, my birthday, and I just think it was mighty nice of the Universe to offer such a lovely present.

Apparently heading for Hidden Creeks - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Seems to be Heading toward the Hidden Creeks Area

Obvious who is heading toward The Hidden Creek area across from Sunset Bay.

SEcond to the Last Sighting - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Second-to-last Sight

Escaping into the falling sunset.

And Then It Disappeared into the Darkness - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

And then It Disappeared

Into the darkness on the other side of the lake that looked to my eyes much darker than this. Jet Black, in fact. Nice that I can lighten some stuff up later. There's probably more pix on that 'roll,' but this is enough for now. It's late, and I need sleep.

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

And the Egrets May Seem to be Celebrating

Or maybe it's just landing.

Why Can't We All Get Along - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Why Can't We All Get Along?

Egrets and Cormorants get back to what passes for normal in some interspecies life.

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

Settling In

Alighting.

 

September 23

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

FOS American White Pelican Landing

I photographed the first-of-the-season American White Pelican already in Sunset earlier this month, but this is the first one I've actually seen fly in and land. Of course, there were already two other American White Pelicans in Sunset Bay by the time I arrived late on this very special day, but I've been wanting to photograph pelicans flying since the last time I was down on the coast, so here it is. Flaps down and a couple feet off the surface.  Beautiful big white bird coming down.

Pelican Skid Landing Among Neotropic Cormorants - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

White Pelican Skid Landing Among the Cormorants

Neotropic Cormorants with skidding pelican.

Two American Pelicans Attempting to Occupy the Same Space Under the Same Circumstance - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two American White Pelicans Attempting to Occupy the Same Space Under the Same Circumstances

The one other pelican in the bay at that time was busy preening on another log somewhat to the left (north) of these two, so of course, when the third pelican into the bay landed and swam around the log and attempted to mount the log, it did it where another pelican was already standing and had been standing for awhile.

Greeting If Not Exactly Salutations - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Greetings, If Not Exactly Salutations

Sometimes a tilted back head is a bird challenge, but I'm thinking this is more of a greeting. Nobody seemed upset.

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

And Celebrations

Note that the turtle and two closest cormorants all seem to have something to say, too.

 

Other Places In White Rock Lake

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

Old Pumphouse, Flag and Downtown Skyline

I've been meaning to shoot this scene for awhile. Actually have been for years, but it's nice to do it with each new improvement in camera resolution. I could make this one into a really big print.

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

Juvenile Neotropic Cormorant with a Fish About as Big as Its Head

I'd been watching this bird, and was only able to photograph it when it came up from apparently deep dives. So I was watching it so I could click it each time it came up. And when it came up the next time, it came up with this.

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

Cormorant with Fish

Notice the  gradual thickening of the corm's throat as it figures out how to get fish down gullet. Most of that happened with it aiming toward the other side, so I skipped that part here.

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

Head's Still Tilted Back, but the Throat Is Already Thinning

It's down the throat and entering the stomach.

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

The Last Coot of the SEason

Several Days ago I pointed out to someone who'd see what they thought was the F.O.S. American Coot. First of the Season. But since I'd been seeing them often all summer long, I pointed that out to them on Bird Chat, then I didn't see any American Coots till now, so I was glad to see this one. Not really the last or the first. Just another.

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

Neotropic Cormorant Greeting

This was actually the first bird I saw worth photographing on this afternoon's late — about 4:30 pm — drive down past the place where the new kiddy land rides are on big steel trees where real trees used to grow.

 

September 22

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

Great Egret in the Meadow

Not terribly far beyond this egret was the bat box with the American Kestrel on it from yesterday's journal entry.

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

Great Egret in the Grass above the Pier in Sunset Bay

The rains filled Sunset Bay up well into the jungle that usually grows there, so egrets and other supposedly shore birds were well up on the land looking for food.

Two Northern Shoveler Females Flying Over the Pier in Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Female Cinnamon Teal Flying Over the Pier in Sunset Bay

I suspect they are Cinnamon Teals and perhaps not NOrthern Shovelers, who have similar under-wing patterns and colors, because their beaks are more Shoveler like than actual Shoveler size (big) and shape. It was one of those situation where I looked up, saw something slightly different than every-day avian fare there, and I clicked away at the part of the flock I could get in my sometimes too-long tele lens, so I could worry about figuring out who they are later. Eagle-Eye Fleegle, I am not, but my lens is.

Connamon Teal Out Over the Lake - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cinnamon Teal Out Over the Lake

Later, when the flock was farthr out over the lake, I got this shot of them illuminated by the evening slant of sun.

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

Speeding Phalanx of Cinnamon Teal

Then, as they wound around the lake, they came right over Sunset Bay one more time.

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

Log Ducks in a Row

Not sure which dark duck that is sandwiched between the white ducks on the big log that the flood has brought back into the wild green of the shore.

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

Great Egret in the Recently-flooded Sunset Bay off Bird Squad Beach

The peninsula of mud that sometimes stretches all the way across from the beach where Charles feeds the geese and ducks to the wilder life, plants and trees on the Hidden Creek side visible at the top of this pic, was fully underwater when I shot this. By now, though, who knows?

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

Great Egret Getaway

I remembered the sky as stormy that morning, but it looks more like blue sky. I'm not really sure who those other two blobs of white are.

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

Katy the Swan

While I stood on the pier this early, cool, morning, Charles joined me on the pier and called to our resident Mute Swan, calling it Katy. Or KT. I asked about plans to get it a mate, since I knew he'd be the one who knew the correct details.

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

Katy The Swan

He said he'd met someone who lives out of Dallas who raises swans and could tell its sex just by looking at it — and not physically messing with such a big, strong bird.

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

Katy in Close-up

All in the quest to get him or her a mate, which might make the swan happier, but would certainly make happier a lot of the people who see him/her every day.

Is This a Death Watch? - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Is This A Death Watch?

I've been noticing and photographing these very pretty [I think they're] ducks, and today saw one (the one closest to us, in the lower middle here, seemed to be way under the weather. Lying with its head close to the ground.

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

Pretty, But Ailing Duck

Having so many gooses around for so long has given me the opportunity to begin to understand how close-knit ducks and gooses sometimes are. How they actually take care of each other and/or guard each other when they're hurt or ill or too small to protect themselves. This duck seemed listless and weak, and it didn't move much, except closer to the grass while I photographed it and asked it about how it was feeling. And wished it well.

Several days later, we saw this same duck walking with its neck out and down in front of the rest of it, looking too much like its neck had been broken. It was alive, but not well, and probably not able to get away from predators quickly or well.

 

September 21

 Kestrel on a bat box - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Might Be A Bird on a Bat Box

Driving slowly around the bend from Sunset Bay toward Dreyfus Point, I noticed not for the first time, the bat box high and far back in the meadow to my left. And on top of it, is that a bird? To find out, I got the Blunderbuss out, aimed carefully and shot. This is very likely not the first shot, or the second. More like the 29th attempt. But it shows the full frame I was working with. And at this scale, it looks sharp enough.

Kestrel on a Bat Box - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

American Kestrel on a Bat Box

American Kestrels will get more and more numerous and visible — if you know where to look and are patient at looking — around here in the autumn and winter. Still, at this scale, the focus is fine, no problem, no big deal. As you can see, this is a significant enlargement from the shot above.

Kestrel on a Bat Box - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

American Kestrel on a Bat Box

American Kestrels are 7.5 to 8 inches long, with a wingspan of 20-24 inches. According to my treasured Lone Pine Birds of Texas, kestrels like to swoop down from a perch (like this one) or hover above. Sibley calls it "our smallest and most delicate falcon," and it's a favorite of mine, because there will be lots of them scattered around the lake, although I mostly find them on the east side, on bat boxes, yes, but also telephone lines and perched in taller trees.

Kestrel on a bat box - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

American Kestrel on a Bat Box

If I'd had a tripod with me and the desire to stand out in the grass where hundreds, nay, thousands of insects — many of them the types who bite overweight photographers, even if they've got their long pants tucked into their sox, and have recently showered in gallons of DEET — I might have set it up and attempted manual focus. But that bird was a long, long way away, and not only could I not even see it clearly (my far vision sucks) in reality, I couldn't really even see it this well in my viewfinder.

 

September 20

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

Belted Kingfisher

I heard it before I saw it, its staccato rattling up the creek. I wasn't quick enough to capture its image when it alighted on a nearby wire, where it stayed only a tantalizing few seconds. By the time I got the lens aimed it its general direction, it was off in this recovering dive. But I know where it's hanging out, and soon as my couple dozen insect bites of several intensely itching varieties quit annoying me day and night, I'll go find them and maybe get better pix next time. I clicked at it three times, but only got it this once.

Last time I photographed a Belted Kingfisher, I got her pretty decent once and fair a couple other times. I got this one's wing and tail feathers pretty good, but the rest of the bird is too dark and underexposed.

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

Adult Male Wood Duck

There's been a lot of wood ducks out and about at Sunset Bay and The Old Boathouse Lagoon lately. The next one down may be the same exact bird.

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

Male Wood Duck

I should apologize to regular readers, because about a month ago, I thought I was going to do a major project, then I thought I broke my foot, hobbled around for several weeks, till I figured out what I had — and it wasn't what my civilian doctor didn't say I had, so it took awhile to figure out. Then I pretty much fixed it, and now it only hurts when I get out of the swimming pool. Kinda wish I could flap my arms and rise like wood ducks can. So I didn't get to do my long-planned project, and stayed here and continued photographing birds, so there's plenty of those Last Month and this. I made my plans, and the Universe had a giggle. Sorry. Maybe next year.

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

Adult Nonbreeding Male Wood Duck

I don't know if his non-breeding status is due to age or proclivity.

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

Adult Breeding Male Wood Duck

I was hoping for a nice, clear, placid reflection shot here, but that's not what fate dealt.

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

GBH in a Tree

I often think it's odd to see a large bird in a tree, but it's a bird, and birds hang out in trees.

 

September 18

 Spotted Sandpiper at Boat House Lagoon Boat Ramp - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

FOS:  Spotted Sandpiper on Boat Ramp Berm

When I first saw this bird, I thought it might be a dove, but it looked different somehow, something to do with its attitude, I thought. The reason I wait to identify many birds till I get them up on my computer is that my far vision is fairly lousy. I'm not quite a blind photographer — and yes, I still think that's kinda funny — but I photographed it anyway.

White and Black Ducks or Gooses - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

White & Black Ducks or Gooses at the New Boat House Pier

I was there to check up on the NBHP Great Egret and just see if I could find the Great Blue Heron I've seen and photographed there lately.

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

NBHP (New Boathouse Pier) Great Egret

No GBH, but there was this Great Egret, the White & Black ducks ...

Wood Duck, Mallards and Neotropic Cormorant - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Female Wood Duck and Mallards and a Neotropic Cormorant

I saw and kept seeing Wood Ducks all morning and all around the lake. I'll show you the larger versions tomorrow, if I remember.

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

Sibling Mallard Rivalry

I think they were just mock fighting. No blood. No cries of pain. Just little birds scuffling. Maybe practice for when they get bigger and have to do it for real.

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

Female Mallard Preening

That's what they do most of the time when photographers lurk.

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

Juvenile Great-tailed Grackle

On the wood bridge by The Old Boathouse.

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

Dragonfly with Rust-red Spots on its wings and a Brown Body

 

September 17

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

Killdeer Flying with Beak Open

First thing I heard when I arrived at Bird Squad Beach in Sunset Bay today was the screaming, high-pitched almost electronic sound of Killdeer communicating. It was very nearly annoying, and the whole bay echoed with those never-quite-harmonizing sounds. Usually, an unusual bird sound is a secret door into finding individuals, but with those sounds' bouncing around in the bay, it was very difficult to track down where they were.

Three Gooses & Five Killdeer - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Three Gooses & Five Killdeer with Reflections

It didn't help my visual search that Killdeer are so much smaller than most of the birds in Sunset Bay, where Farmer Charles keeps his gooses. It was early-ish, the light was just barely brightening on the inner bay. The more I looked, the more killdeer I saw.

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

Three Killdeer

Once again from my treasured Lone Pine edition of Birds of Texas, "Best Sites: any open field, parking lot or gravelly area statewide." Status: Common to abundant resident throughout Texas."

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

One Killdeer and One Killdeer Reflection

Killdeer are 9 to 11 inches long with a wingspan of about 24 inches.

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

Two Killdeer On Top A Log

They were left and right and flying by the middle of the pier all the time I was there this early morning. Busy busy.

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

Swift Killdeer Flyby

I didn't always get a chance to check my work after one flyby to the next, but I kept shooting every chance I got, and I netted a remarkably high percentage of them sharp. All that studying about my no-longer-new camera has really helped me.

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

Killdeer Flying

What I really need to accomplish these shots of little-bird fly-bys was practice. If I keep at it, I'll get better. If I lax off into outer-space and not photograph birds for a few days, I lose my edge.

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

Two More Killdeer

I caught these birds between tasks. But they rarely hold still for long.

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

Single Killdeer with Reflection

I assume they're all looking for food. That's job one with birds.

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

Killdeer Flying

I didn't actually start seeing Killdeer flying till I'd taken most of the above photographs of them. But I kept watching for who was making all those piercing calls, and eventually I saw several fly bys, usually in singles of birds, perfect for me.

 

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

It's A Duck

The first birds I noticed were two or three of these large birds.

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

Or Maybe A Goose

Pretty things. But really large, pretty things. Birds of truly high caliber.

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

Another, Browner Goose

Similar colors I first mistook as another on of the sunset-looking gooses, but more likely now t be an ordinary, brown goose. Sleeping up on one leg.

Egret Landing Near a Cormorant - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Landing Near a Cormorant

No telling whom I'll find next time.

 

Flower Mound, Texas

September 13 2013

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

Great Blue Heron (GBH) in Sunshine Watching the Fountain

In Flower Mound to photograph some art, I had brought the blunderbuss, because I knew I'd be near a big lake with little or no, that I could see on the map, direct lake access, and lots and lots of trees, according to the satellite version of that MapQuest map (Goo has been experimenting with a new version, and I already hate it, so it was back to MapQuest). Anyway, driving down a long and rolling road toward my artist friend's place, I paused to watch a fountain, then startled to see a Great Blue Heron, so I unbury the clunk, aim at the bird, click a couple times, chimp the LCD to see how I did, and thus miss it majestically flying low across the pond past the fountain.

This GBH is in sunlight, so it is, of course, gray.

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

Same GBH on my trip back

Except this same exact GBH is in the shade this time, so it really looks blue. Again, I clicked twice, then chimped the LCD, and the GBH flew low, slow and close (great for photographs, if I had been paying attention) across the pond.

White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas, USA

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

Juvenile

It was way too late in the day when I got back to Big D, just missing traffic jams, to find much aviary worth photographing, even in Sunset Bay, so I went anyway, feeling impervious to bugs biting (wrong, again) and stood out on the pier in Sunset Bay until the sweat poured. They haven't got all their markings yet, but they're small — or else they're involved in the summer molt, so their feather colors have changed. Or something.

Front focused, back a little oof - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Joove Wood Duck

Sharp in the front and blurry in back, another cute juve or something Wood Duck.

 

September 12

Bumblebee Bird on the Edge of the Pier - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Eastern Phoebe — that I called a "bumblebee bird" — on the Edge of the Pier

So there I was barely standing on the pier photographing the gooses and the one Snowy Egret darting around for fish and the occasional whatever else, when I see what I initially assumed was a big bumblebee. No buzzing, but that erratic, directionless flying, more like an insect than a bird. But it was a bird, and a tiny one, and my first several shots at it were way off focus, then it disappeared into nothingness and landed on one edge, then when I got a bead on it there, it quickly transubstantiated to the other side of the pier, where I got it several times good.

Gus on Dallas Audubon's Bird Chat says it's an Eastern Phoebe, and I believe he's right.

Bumblebee Bird on the Edge of the Pier - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Eastern Phoebe on the Edge of the Pier

I didn't know what it was — which bird it was/is — and I've looked through the flycatcher pages of a couple bird I.D birds to little avail so far, and I kept thinking I don't know this bird. It must be new to me. Certainly that erratic flight pattern was. I never remember what they say, and I keep hearing about people who are so good at bird-identifying that they know a hundred different species by their sounds, and I don't even hear their sounds or remember them for more than a few seconds.

So what it is, I do not know. But it was fun seeing it, recognizing it as a bird and not a bumblebee — a little big for one of those — and still kinda fun not knowing, but having captured it in focus a couple times, especially the detail of all those whiskers around its beak, which must mean it catches bugs in flight.

 

September 11

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

Great Egret Angling Down

I'm never sure where they'll end up going, so I just follow them down. Yesterday, I started with the next pic down. Tonight I realized that it's part of a whole long series of pretty good shots, so I'm contextualizing them back again, to make a much longer series.
 

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

Great Egret Looking to Land in Sunset Bay

I've been photographing Sunset Bay again and again, as usual, as always. Sometimes I think I should do it somewhere else, and then I do that, but I always come back to Sunset Bay. All these shots were taken in Sunset Bay, I think.

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

down ... down ... down

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

Rapidly Losing Altitude

I seem to have been learning some important things about how to get optimum focus out of my new camera. The tick apparently, is to keep at it, do a little more every day, find some bird haplessly flying along, try to follow it, keeping the focus circle right on top of it as it flies horizontally or down vertically.

Letting Go of All That Air - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Letting Go of All That Air

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

Awry

Kept thinking of the word awry when I saw this image. Looked it up, and sure enough, it's on the button. "Out of the normal or correct position; askew; away from the appropriate, planned, or expected course; amiss: but it works perfectly, if not elegantly.

GE Barely Landing on a Log - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret within bare inches of Landing on a Log

Today, I think we're going to stick with Great Egrets, which I seem to have been having great luck with lately.

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

Into the Wild Blue

I don't know. The leprechauns who finish my work late at night didn't leave me any notes, so I'm not sure, but I don't think this Great Egret and the great egret that fell, fell, fell onto those logs brief seconds ago, and this bird, are the same one. But now I'm pretty sure it is the same one as in the next shot down.

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

Great Egret Flying Up the Lagoon

And luckily the day I did all this shooting there were lots of Great Egrets all around the bay.

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

Great Egret Landing on the Littlest Island

Sometimes they seemed to be playing with each other, sometimes doing a little challenging. Often, when one landed on a perch, soon would come along another, bee-lining right to where that one was perching happily, so it has to take to the air and find another perch, back and forth all across the bay and up the lagoon.

Great Egret Bend-over Preening with Full Reflection - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Bend-over Preening with Full Reflection

Sometimes stopping for the all-important preen.

Great Egret Suddenly Leaving a Perch - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Suddenly Leaving a Perch

Then off again.

Beautiful, steady video of Five-month Old Barred Owl Juvenile Up Close on the east side of the lake.

 

September 7

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

The First American White Pelican of the Season

With Neotropic cormorants and one Great Egret out on the logs. If history is any guide, and it is for pelicans, it will be out there preening and resting for a couple days, although the egret and cormorants will come and go. It's tired, because it's come a long way. From as far away as North Dakota, eastern Idaho or points north and mostly west.

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

FOS Pelican Preening

Gradually, over the next few days, weeks, even months, many more white pelicans will fly into Sunset Bay and many other sites around Texas and other states. It's migration time, and that timing may have been accelerated by what's commonly called Global Warming. My memory tells me the pelicans from the north first arrived mid-last September, but I don't have pictures of them till later, and the Rogers Releases always confused the issue till they finally got up the strength and flew away.

I have heard others talk about pelicans arriving earlier in the past, but I don't always believe statements like that, because it's so easy to fudge facts not backed up with something like dated photographs. But this is the earliest I remember there being visiting pelicans. A couple years before that, the first pelicans of the season I saw was October 15.

I photographed some other birds this morning, and I'll get to that early next week, after I finish The Great Hagerman NWR story below. I usually don't go to the lake on weekends, because there are so many people walking or bicycling down the middle of roads — and there were scads of those today — plus some huge mass of people involved in some race, but I came anyway, to photo the first of season (FOS) American White Pelican, so next year, it will be easier to track down this date.

 

I'm wondering if I should put this following Hagerman NWR story on its own page.

 

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge

Tree of Black Vultures Near Dawn - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tree of Black Vultures Near Dawn

We loved seeing our old friend the Black Vultures in a tree set against the still sunrise-colored skies early that morning.

 Black Vultures in Tree after sunrise - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Black Vultures in Tree After Dawn

And pleased to see them still right there many minutes later, by the time the sky had turned that lovely shade of blue. It was still cool, and we drove with the windows down long after it wasn't comfortable anymore.

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

An Embarrassment of Riches — A Little Blue Heron in Focus and a Great Blue Heron Out

When I aim at one interesting bird and another one slowly materializes in my view, I'd call that an embarrassment of riches, which is kinda what Hagerman is all about, especially early in the morning.

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

Flock of Canada Goose (slight detail)

According to Wikipedia, "The term goose applies to the female in particular while gander applies to the male in particular. Young birds before fledging are called goslings. The collective noun for a group of geese on the ground is a gaggle; when in flight, they are called a skein, a team or a wedge; when flying close together, they are called a plump.

And yes, it's true, I know how to spell Canada, as in these gooses, but my fingers generally mangle that word. And no, they are not called Canadian Gooses.

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

Wedge of Canada Goose (the whole flock)

So far, all my Hagerman pix from the Saturday before Labor Day are in chronological order. In order to keep them that way, I'll post new ones on top, till I've posted all that day's birds, then I'll put them back in order, when I start adding birds from other places. I doubt you care, but this reminder is for me.

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

Little Blue Heron on a Stick

I always assume whoever was naming herons was drunk or on drugs, because the Little Blue Heron usually isn't blue; the Green Heron is rarely green; and the Great Blue is gray.

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

Cattle Egrets Out Standing in Their Field

And Cattle Egrets don't always hang out around cattle. Here, they're finding plenty to eat in a field.

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

The Closest Cattle Egret

Only trouble was, when we in The Slider, hove into closer view, most of them flew farther away.

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

Cormorant Flyover

I suspect these are Neotropic Cormorants, but I'm never really sure which variety they are, but I'm pretty sure they are cormorants.

Great Blue Heron on a Pointy Log - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Blue Heron on a Pointy-looking Log

Lots of GBHs at Hagerman, which is properly pronounced hag - er - mon, not the way the guy on NPR pronounced it every time during an interview last week. I asked.

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

Four Canada Geese

This series may be the best way to show you all what the land- and lake-scape is like at Haggerman, where we visited very early Saturday morning. It was the earliest we've ever got there, including the time we stayed over in Sherman or Dennison or wherever that was. When we arrived on property, the sky was just then brightening and off to the right from our first stop the sun was blazing through some trees and bushes.

It was cool and calm and quiet there, although we encountered about a half dozen other visitors, some obviously going fishing, others — like us — there for the birds.

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

Four Canada Geese

I had been photographing something else when Anna pointed me at these guys just swimming slowly off the edge of the lake, looking stately, serene and a long way away. When while I was focusing in on them, suddenly they bolted. Running — or hopping, I was too busy keeping them sharp to notice, and now I wonder are they left-right runners or hoppers. Who knows. They were off.

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

Four Canada Geese

Moving more quickly, they leave an obvious but short-lived trail on the surface of the water.

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

Four Canada Geese

Until they were in the air, flapping but still close enough to the surface to still see their reflections racing along with them.

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

Four Canada Geese

Sometimes even touching those reflections.

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

Four Canada Geese

Higher.

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

Four Canada Geese

And higher.

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

Four Canada Geese

Up off the lake and into the hills and trees.

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

And away.

Of course, this series leaves out the oil wells and other birds and trees and else, but we'll get to those, too.

Hagerman's website.

 

 Great Egret Floating to Diagonal Perch - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Great Egret Floating to Diagonal Perch

Yeah, it looks a little blue, as does the far landscape this early in the day. Something about it being illuminated by the open blue sky above instead of the direct sun.

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

Egret in a Tree

We saw several Egrets in more than that trees. Every time we hove into their view — especially below them — they'd fly off somewhere. It didn't matter how slow or careful I drove. Even though they were thirty or forty or more feet up in the tree, they'd bolt every single time we'd drive under.

Not that we had much choice. At Hagerman the roads are often on narrow patches of long, thin, thick green on either side spaces. We had no room to make a wider berth, and always, always, all morning, whatever egret would flee at our approach, even when we implored them to just stay put.

Another View of the GBH on a Pointed Log - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two More Views of the Great Blue Heron on a "pointed"  Log

I can barely pass up a Great Blue Heron in full view, but never one reflected in such calm, smooth water.

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

Leaning Toward Preening

Looks sparrowish.

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

Tail-up Dragonfly

I do feel some responsibility to look up the species of these guys, but not enough to actually do it. If I look up anything this time, it'd be that sparrow-looking bird above.

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

Danger: Unit Starts Automatically

I don't think I ever shot one of the hundreds of rigs scattered around the lake properties, but they are why Hagerman exists, and why all that huge amount of land is open for birders, hunters, fishers, picnickers, nature-lovers, etc. One of these per somewhat isolated islands connected by long thin roadways usually surrounded by tall weeds and often incognito exotic and other birds.

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

Deer On The Road Ahead

Anna always gets excited when we see a deer. This is one of those portions of Hagerman where roads run over hills and dales before we plunged off on one of these long narrow roads again. I have a map of the place, but I haven't seen one online, so I may have to post one of their maps myself.

This deer disappeared as we got closer, and this was, like all my shots of Hagerman this time, shot with a legitimate (no equivalents here) 600mm lens, so he's a far big away, but that Silhouette, especially with those ears that far up, is noticeable.

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

Bugs in the Water

I remember them as white bugs on black water, but point a camera at all black, and you are more than likely to have it render the scene for you as 18% gray, which this is. So my camera was working well, just the photographer was lax in his underexposure duties.

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

Another Dragonfly

There were thousands, if not millions.

Pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers

Or, at least, two of them. One in sunlight and the other in deep shade. First-ever for both of us. Anna, as usual, sighted them, but they kept getting farther away as we clickity-clicked after them.

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

Female Red-winged Woodpecker

Too quickly sometimes for the best focus...

Roadrunner on an Oil Rig - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Roadrunner on an Oil Rig — the Beige Look

Had no idea who this bird was when I saw it up there on a pump that wasn't pumping. Had to figure that out much later after several, only sometimes continuous encounters with it. We've always been fascinated by them. Much more so now, as you'll see shortly, although I'm not all that sure this is the same exact bird.

Roadrunner on an Inside Curve - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Greater Roadrunner — the Bronze Look

We saw this, and only much later connected the sightings. It would scoot forward away from us, then stop to peer back and wait for us to follow. It stayed on the road, and we pretty much had to. Then it would scoot just barely out of sight, and we'd follow in its tracks. I think these may be the best pix I've ever got of this very elusive bird. Maybe because it wanted its pictures taken.

Long-tailed Roadrunner on some Oil Pipes - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Greater Roadrunner with an Extremely Long Tail on Some Oil Pipes — the Green Gold Look

A tad overexposed leg and bright, white feather-wise, but look at that amazing long tail.

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

Roadrunner Hiding in a Tree with Its Crop Up — the Indigo Look

It seemed to act like it was so good at camouflaging that we couldn't possibly see it, and it was right on most of the time, because it blended in so well with whatever was in front of and next to and behind it, but all that he often disappeared, especially looking through the two dimensional viewfinder. But then, at other times we could. Briefly.

Amazin' Disappearin' Tree-runner - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Amazin', Disappearin' Tree-runner — the Blue Look

Human vision darts around looking for something to focus on, and without a telltale cue, we just can't. Camera lenses focus at just one distance, so when it was focused sharply, like its tail is here, it's difficult to miss. But most of the time, as the bird moved around among the leaves and branches, it was easy.

Roadrunner Watching Out from a Tree - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Amazing Disappearing Tree Runner —  the Black & White Look

Before and after each exposure, it would entirely disappear into the tree, branches, limbs, leaves behind, whatever. You got to remember this is not an up-close and personal shot. My tele lens is 600mm. Way back in the Twentieth Century, I used to think a 500mm lens was impossibly, moon-shot long.

And after a few shots, we drove off wondering what it would do next. Go home and tell the family about those weird humans it saw?

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

Turkey Vulture in a Tree

Gorgeous bird, despite what they eat and where and how. Fabulous flyers, and I love the little fly buzzing around the buzzard's butt. Wish I coulda got it in focus, too. But I guess it was better to get the bird. Big strong feet look like they could easily shred flesh.å

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

Eastern Kingbird Unusually Close

When we saw it fly across the road we thought we saw blue and hoped it was a Kingfisher, but it's not.

Three Cattle Egrets in a Tree - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Three Cattle Egrets in a Tree

A lot of birds in trees out there.

Late First-summer Male Red-winged Blackbird - Photograph Copyright 2013 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Late First-summer Red-winged Blackbird

With a name that long it's amazing he can even fly.

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

All Covered with Earl

I knew I had a picture of some full sized pumpers in here somewhere. These dark things, usually squealing and screeching and emitting long, low-frequency moans, pepper the landscape at Hagerman.


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All text and photographs Copyright 2013 by J R Compton.
All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium without
specific written permission from and payment to
the writer or photographer.

My favorite answer is, "I don't know." I am, after all, an amateur.
I've only birded for seven years as of June 2013, although
I've been photographing professionally and semi-professionally and
always amateurishly since at least 1964.

Thanks always to Anna.

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