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

This month's Best: various yet-unidentified shorebirds  5 Avocets flying around Sunset Bay  4 Black-crowned Night-Herons  Armadillo dead by the side of the road  Tommy Fisher's Butterflies & Moth  Great Egret stabs a fish  A Prancing Snowy Egret  Pelicans Synchro-swim fishing  Mandarin Duck  Dark Ibis Flyover  Spike, the Grebe  Great Blue Herons chasing - Adult & juve Tricolored Herons flying together - raccoons in the dark - GBH Takeoff - GBH Stirring It Up - Invisible juvenile YCNH - former unsub Stilt Sandpipers Flying  red diamond  If you assume I am a bird I.D expert, you will be disappointed.  red diamond  The Current Bird Journal is always here  Cameras Used  Ethics  Feedbackred diamond  Bird Rescue Advice from Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation  red diamond  Herons   Egrets   Herons or Egrets?  Books & Links  Pelican Beak Weirdness  Pelicans Playing Catch  Bird Rouses  Courtship Displays  Duck Love  Birding Galveston  2nd Lower Rio Grande Valley Birds  & the 1st  Bald Eagles at White Rock Lake  Bird Banding Info  red diamond  Coyotes  800e Journal   G5 Journal  red diamond  JRCompton.com  Links  My resumé  Contact Me  DallasArtsRevue  red diamond  So you want to use my photos to make your project look better?  How to Photograph Birds  Bird-annotated map of the SW Med School Rookery  Even I use Site Search to find anything here, but that gets art-related finds on DallasArtsRevue, too.

257 photos this month

Sunset Bay = Bird Cornucopia

September 30 2015

Sandpiper Flock Flying Toward Us - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Mostly Least Sandpipers Flock Flying Toward Us

I actually got 8 hours sleep last night, so I was 'late' to arrive at Sunset Bay, but so were some others, including these birds we called sandpipers, presupposing they were all one species, but I now kinda doubt that. Nice thing about Sunset Bay is that there are generally a buncha birds around. Today was no exception.

Sandpiper Flock Flying Past Us - ccpry

Flock of Least Sandpipers Flying Swiftly Past Us

I was hoping to identify these guys, but my usual sandpiper luck is holding me back from that.

Sandpipers Flying Back Toward Us - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Sandpiper Flock Flying Back Toward Us — Closer

Besides, I think there's more than one variety involved.

Sandpiper Flock Aloft - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Sandpiper Flock Aloft

And I don't know who they are.

Sandpipers Descending onto the Tiny Island - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Sandpipers Descending Upon the Tiny Island

I guess they could be several ages and sexes in one bird family or whole different species.

Island of Sandpipers - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Island of Sandpipers

And somewhere back there, there's a Killdeer who was there when all these other birds arrived.

Singled-out Sandpiper Landing -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Singled-out Sandpiper Arriving

It was gang busters fun to try to photograph them all.

Single Sandpiper Standing - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Single Sandpiper Standing

Sometimes in a crowd, it's nice to just focus on one bird.

Another Single Sandpiper Standing Looking Back over Its Shoulder -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Another Single Sandpiper Standing and Looking Back Over its Shoulder

Or another. I think these last two are not the same bird(s). While I was photographing them, I assumed they were all Least Sandpipers, but I'm less certain of that, so I haven't labeled them by that species name.

Blue-winged Teal Flying Past Wing-drying Cormorants - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Short Flock of Blue-winged Teal Flying Past Wing-drying Cormorant and Friends

Birders seem inordinately fond of Blue-winged Teal, although I have not yet understood why exactly. People in general, just don't like cormorants. I hope it's not just because they're black, but people are weird.

Sandpiper Flock Past Sunset Island Tree - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Sandpipers (I think) Flying Over the Tree on Sunset Island

I don't know, as usual, who these are.

Six Sandpipers & A Log - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Six Least Sandpipers and a Log

There were still lots of shorebirds left on the island to the left of these birds testing out a log.

The Great Blue Heron and The Turtles -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Great Blue Heron and The Turtles Log Island

If there are Great Blue Herons around, and it seems like nearly there always is/are in Sunset Bay, sooner or later, I will photograph them.

Something Flying Low - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Something Flying Low

But who? It's not a Least Sandpiper. For awhile I thought it was a Killdeer, but I don't think so anymore. Okay, I assume it's a shorebird, and I have a shorebird book, The Shorebird Guide by Michael O'Brien, Richard Crossley, and Kevin Karlson. I know one of those names, because I assume he does The Crossley ID Guide that's all photographs of most varieties and ages and sex availability of each bird. I use that often, but I've never got around to fully reading or ingesting The Shorebird Guide, though I'm really lousy with them. Like here. Wonder if it has a front view of this bird.

Guess I can skip the pages that map to Alaska or the East or West coasts, but probably look a little more carefully at those that frequent the South Texas Coast, since that's not so far from here, and we get a lot of visitors from there, here. Darn! My photos in front of and after this one are no help. I sure do like looking at bird pix. Except for the leg-length, it looks a little like a Lesser Yellowlegs. Sorta. I think Eric mentioned Solitary Sandpipers this morning.

So nice that this book shows each species at differing times and months and ages and seasons and featherations (Not sure that's a word.) Guess I'm going to have to learn this one. Some of the taller birds in the next pic down might be a Solitary, but most of our 'sandpipers' have much shorter legs. After another - oh - hundred pages, I ran out of pages, and never saw it. Or didn't recognize it. Oh, foo! I may have to ask Bird Chat, and I may have to ask about more than one bird.

A Killdeer and Some Other Birds - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

I Assumed, since they were flying together, That The Flock Was All One Species

But it sure doesn't look like it. Except, of course, for that Killdeer who was out there all along. He's centered vertically and near the left edge of Sandpipers — or whom I thought were sandpipers. The top left bird here, sure doesn't look like most of the others, not that all the others, besides the Killdeer, are the same.

Green Heron on The Island Seconds Later - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron on the Longer Island (to our right) Seconds Later

I know this one pretty well. Should. I've photographed these longer this year than ever before. Green Heron pauses for photographs before proceeding to find some food.

Green Heron with Crop Up Sneaking Down the Long Island - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron with Crop Up Sneaking Down the Longer Island

Hoping for food.

Sandpipers or Somebody Leaving - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

More Sandpipers or Somebody Leaving

Snowy Chase Over Buildings - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Chase with Building in the Far Background

Right about here, there was a long, Snowy Egret Chase involving these two Snowy Egrets. They flew and chased all around the wetter portions of Sunset Bay.

Snowy Chase Over Trees - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Chase Over Trees

Unfortunately, except for these few instance of that long, involved chase all over the place, most of my shots were seriously overexposed, so I'm not showing you them, just like I don't show you most of my many mistakes, but I really should have checked my exposures somewhere along the way of the Snowy Chase. If I'd been using my little Panasonic that is not a single-lens reflex like my Nikon, it would have shown me the exposure every step of the way, and I would have adjusted the exposure as I was shooting. Nikon don't allow that sort of adjusting. Yet.

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

Snowy Chase with Water Reflecting in their Wings

There are ways to save overly overexposed photographs of white birds, but few of those methods worked this morning..

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

The End of My Version of the Snowy Egret Chase

Or so it seemed.

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

Single Snowy Egret Flies

After the debacle with the seriously overexposed Snow Egrets flying all over Sunset Bay, it was nice to correctly expose just one.

Great Egret Landing on the Slant Log - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Landing on a Slant Log

I love it when I get them right and show all their fluffy parts.

Sandpiper Between Two Sandpipers -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Sandpiper Between Two Killdeer

 

 

Some days
defy categorization

September 29 2015

Seven Pelicans on a Dark Log - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Seven Pelicans on a Dark Log

First the results from shooting my little camera at pelicans a little earlier. A micro 4/3rds camera sensor is 225mm square, and my full-frame Nikon's sensor is 884mm square, or 3.92 times the size and/or resolution. So why do I get what I perceive as very sharp images on the little sensor? Well, because I was careful, I guess. I was trying to photograph the pelicans from west of the pier at Sunset Bay with my little camera's 100-300mm zoom, because I'd got such good detail the day before (especially with the kids rowing [below] the long boat the time before.

Way TMI on this subject is covered in my page from earlier this century about Cameras and Lenses, which I have not updated in years.

I also brought my big tripod. Which was stupid, because there's no way to attach my little camera to a tripod, because it doesn't have a built-in tripod foot like my Nikon telephoto lens does. Oh, well, it was better than nothing, but a little ungainly. Slick metal on slick metal meant it moved around way too much, and there was no security, but many of today's early shots were done that way.

The Great Egret Tree with one jumping - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Great Egret Tree with One Great Egret Jumping into Flight

But the details are not always evident. This is still fairly early in the morning, and I'm not sure why it's rendered brown, orange or yellowish, but it is. Probably has to do with the sun through the clouds that time of day.

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

We Wondered Whether These Were Grackles

And at the time I thought they were, but now I'm not at all sure. Kala King says they're Common Grackles, and she's usually right.

The Pelicans Who Flew In -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

One Energetic Pelican

This shot is not sharp but was still shot with the little camera. I made the image smaller, so it might look a little sharper. Eventually, I tired of pelican photographing with the slip (!) shod camera held on the tripod, and I walked over to the pier at Sunset Bay, then later took my little camera back and got my big camera and big tripod.

The following photographs were taken with my Nikon firmly attached to my tripod. By then, there was also much more light.

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

Paralleling Great Egrets

So if they're sharp, that's probably why.

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

Great Egret and Great Egret a Little Farther Apart

I've read that birds sometimes parallel each other when they're feeling similar. Humans do it, too. We either knowingly or quite unaware (which may be more usual) copy each other's gestures and positions when we're trying to get close or trying to mimic each other. Etc. etc.

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

These Great Egrets often had their heads up in a position that sometimes mean a challenge to fight has been issued, but they did not fight, they just hung out together making interesting fascinating photographic opportunities, which I took advantage of. It helped that they were not far from us, so they fairly easily filled the frame. Anytime we can fill or nearly fill the frame with an image, we are taking best advantage of our camera-and-lens' ability to render detail.

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

Great Egret with Small Fish that's just been Captured

I didn't see it catch the fish, but Eric did, so I turned my camera on it with the fish in its beak.

Throat-thickened about-to-swallow -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Same Great Egret whose throat has thickened and is About to Swallow the Fish

I assume the bird has the power to widen its throat. It doesn't just happen. It's ready to swallow, throat opens. And swallowing occurs. Egrets and other Herons swallow their food whole, bones and all, which is why their scat, which is easily visible on the slant concrete slabs at the Lower Spillway — is bright white from all the calcium in bones.

Double Long-legged GE Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Double Long-legged Great Egret

Then there's this.

 

 

More Pelicans

September 29 2015

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

Pelican Landing

I don't know if this pelican is just coming in from the frozen north or just around the block, but I watched it land from somewhat west of the pier at Sunset Bay. It did not seem dead-tired like new arrivals tend to be. More like some bird who'd just gone to the deli and got its energy resupplied. Like perhaps it'd discovered the Spillway's many charms or a decent place to fish alone or with some other birds. In today's only other pelican-in-flight pic, the pelk on the right is blurring by the ones on the log on the left, but I'll be keeping my eyes out for more pelicans-in-flight picture opportunities. In a couple weeks, photogs from all over north central Texas will be joining us on the pier to photograph pelicans in flight, which sport will continue till they fly back north by Tax Day.

Most of the rest of the other pelicans -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Most of the Rest of the Other Pelicans Already Arrived

The pelican at the far left is the one who just landed, looking very perky indeed. Note the difference in swimming mode. I suspect the other swimming pelican, somewhat more prone, is likely still tired from much-farther travel. Note also, the slight gathering of cormorants, which will soon flood Sunset Bay and inundate Cormorant Bay, across the lake and to the left.

Rowers & Yellers - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Rowers and Yellers

And various other entities entering from the west. Used to be a rumor that some of the boating yellers were annoying neighbors with their four-letter yells. I try not to listen.

Seven Pelicans on a Log - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Seven Pelicans on a Log

It's not a big log, and only seven pelicans are on it at this moment. All of today's pictures were shot with my elderly and partially crippled (the once-tilt-and-swingable LCD that's now blue-painters-tape taped permanently to the body, so it doesn't disconnect again) Panasonic Lumix G5 with 100-300mm (approximately 200-600mm equivalent) zoom, all of which feels like a feather compared with the Rocket Launcher Nikon. All this clarity, and I still haven't attempted tripodal enhancement.

Pelican Mounting a Log -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pelican Mounting A Log

The just-landed pelican found another place to park for awhile. I think I counted eleven pelicans, total, so far. I expect a lot more in the next few days, when I dearly hope to document a massive cloud of them overhead, many of whom may well spend the night in the bay.

Not Many Cormorants YET - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Not Many Cormorants — Yet

Meanwhile, a smattering of cormorants are parking themselves in the outer, wet portions of Sunset Bay.

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

Killdeer Island

And off the pier, there was this one Killdeer, peeping up a storm.

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

Watching the Watchers Watch Back

With various aircraft overhead. Some-when this month, I photographed a Barnstormer doing barrel rolls over Sunset Bay, but I can't find the images now in all those I've shot and not used. Gotta gotta gotta do some house-keeping, my least favorite sport.

 

 

Nine Pelicans by Sunday
& We Miss the Water Theatre

September 28 2015

 9 pelicans in sunset from Dreyfuss - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Eight Pelicans in Sunset Bay from Dreyfuss Point

Shooting my elderly Panasonic Lumix G5, because it's so much lighter to walk around the lake with than the Rocket Launcher. Well, I don't remember now what I used to call my big Nikon camera with 300mm lens and 1.7X telextender (more or less = 510mm). I know I called the cam and lens before the one before that was "the Rocket Launcher," and it ain't hardly no "Blunderbuss," which mighta been what I called that 8 or so-pound conglomeration of cam and lens, but now I'm liking calling it Blunderbuss again. This one weighs well less than a pound with the 100-300mm, which supposedly equates to a 200-600mm lens on the Pany, 'cuz it's a micro 4/3 camera, yada yada. Nice pic.

Sadness Upon Encountering No Art Behind the Bath House - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Sadness Upon Encountering NO ART Behind the Bath House

Anna and I continued our walk this morning around the lake, and it were lovely and even cold, though we warmed up somewhat walking from Stone Tables to the southernmost Yacht Club (See my bird-annotated Map of White Rock Lake) and back. Such a beautiful landscape to walk through.

Big Nothing -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Big Nothing

Not sure why they didn't take the tall sticks at the far edges of what once was a concrete-floored swimming area (hence, the "bath house"), even though those poles are rotted on the bottom, which was the idiot reason for removing the other bird perches called Tom Orr and Frances Bagley's White Rock Water Theatre by the stupid residence of the neighborhood around the bath house who found it objectionable that birds perch there.

View of the Dam - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

View of the Dam on the Far, Far Side

Nice to get past the Big Nothing, but then we had to go back by it on our way back to cars in Stone Tables.

What's Left of the Water Theater -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Some more or less informational Columns left over from the Water Theatre

These things are supposed to be revamped, so the natural portion of our program here — if it ever happens again — will be elucidated upon the public.

Entering Stone Tables from Dreyfuss - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Re-entering Stone Tables from Dreyfuss

Such a beautiful place when the morning light slants across the landscape.

Stone Tables Proper - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Stone Tables of "Stone Tables"

If we'd continued round the bend to the left of here and around on the road that's barely visible at the left and right of this shot, we'd be in Greater Sunset Bay, even though there wouldn't be any lake visible for a while yet. Like Sunset Bay, which is more than that one, wet place and incorporates all the trees and land and ponds and streams and birds and birds and birds on either side of Lawther Drive from Poppy Drive past the hospitals and land past the stone tables west to Dreyfuss Hill, Stone Tables incorporates places all around the actual site of the Stone Tables' actual stone tables and recently re-roofed building.

Nine Pelicans in Sunset Bay

Eight Pelicans in Sunset Bay

Then we drove to the lake portion of Greater Sunset Bay to see the pelicans a little closer. The ones closer to the water surface are probably who just flew in from parts northern US or Canada, and they're probably still pretty tired. In the not to distant future (days, maybe a week), there'll be 70-300 pelicans in Sunset Bay (lake portion) for awhile, then the number will settle down to more or less 70 American White Pelicans, who will settle in wet Sunset Bay till just before Tax Day 2016.

Female Northern Shoveler - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Female Northern Shoveler — No Males in Sight

We will probably see the males with their equally-large beaks. Soon.

Betcha the Same Ibises That Flew Over - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Betcha the Same Juvenile White Ibises that Flew Over Days, Weeks Ago

These two Ibises also flew us over on September 13, and probably several times since and probably some before. And that shot is much better than this. Nikon trumps Panasonic again.

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

Female Belted Kingfisher Perching on 'logs' out in Sunset Bay

with a turtle. My best pic yet of the Kingfisher. The lens on the G5 is supposedly equivalent to a 600mm lens, and that little bit more magnification shows here. ¡Muy Beueno detail! I guess the next step is to photograph her with the little Panasonic Lumix G5 on a tripod. Females have that lower, red or rusty-colored band that males do not.

 

 

One More Pelican on Satty

September 27 2015

 Then We Had Four Pelicans - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Then We Had Four Pelicans

And more by the next day, but since this is a journal, we're only going one day at a time.

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

Male Blue Jay in Flight

It was a bird. It was far away and small. I didn't know what it was. Then I did.

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

Duck Ruckus Up the Lagoon

We never know for why, exactly, they get shook up and splashed over, but we can expect it often.

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

Great Egret Flyby

I can't help myself. I see a Great Egret flapping, I try to focus, and clickety-click away.

Another GE Through the Marsh - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Another Great Egret through The Marsh

Lotta GEs around the Bay these days.

 

Quick Roundabout Visit
by Five Avocets in SSB

September 26 2015

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

Avocets Incoming

Big News when I got to the lake after ten this ayem was that some big, white, gulls had visited. Okay, I thought, and watched what might happen next: these five avocets.

Two Avocets Circling - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

2 of 5 Nonbreeding Adult American Avocets Circling

Turned out, these avocets were the big white gulls in question. Nice of them to return for my arrival, ten minutes later.

One Avocet in Detail - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

One Avocet in Detail

I and camera and Eric and his camera followed them around the Great Circle in front of us.

One Avocet Landing — briefly - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

One Avocet Landing

A couple landed.

One Avocet Landed — briefly - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

One Avocet Landed — but Briefly

Stood there briefly.

Avocets Taking Off Again - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Avocets Taking Off Again

Then took off again.

Avocets Flying This Way - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Five Avocets Flying This Way

They flew past Sunset Island, around and …

Five Avocets Flying That Way - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Five Avocets Flying That Way

They flew back higher and northward.

Five Avocets Flying Away - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Five Avocets Flying Away

And they flew away, although I wouldn't be terribly surprised if they didn't fly back again, later. We've had visits by a flock of breeding adults in May 2014, five others (?) in May 2008 and September 2008, and several other times here or there or somewhere else.

Kingfisher on The Twisted Y - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Kingfisher on The Twisted Y Log

Right about then, after carefully scrutinizing who was on all the logs out at the far perimeter of Sunset Bay, I found this Kingfisher of indeterminate sex. Then I found not much at all else, and so I went home.

 

 

Eleven varied wood ducks,
one Great Egret & One GBH

September 25 2015

 Bibrant Female Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Vibrant Female Wood Duck

With something stuck to her beak.

Autumnal Adult Male Wood Duck with Reflection -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Autumnal Adult Wood Duck

Most of these shots are not from Sunset Bay, although that place creeps into everywhere else I shoot. Sometimes I just get tired of going to the same old place every morning to photograph the same birds. So this is somewhere else, but in my top five places at White Rock Lake. With any luck there'll be some sort of landmark to show you where.

Great Blue Heron in that other lagoon - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron in that Other Lagoon

A reader keeps insisting that I tell her exactly where to go and when to see a Great Blue Heron, which she calls a very large bird. It's not. GBHs are 4-4.5 feet long with wingspans around 6 feet. American White Pelicans, which look kinda squat, are also 4.5 – six feet long but with wingspans of 9 feet, which makes this beautiful gray bird short and smallish. I find GBHs often at White Rock Lake, but guaranteeing when someone can see one is a fool's game, and one I'm not very good at.

Vivid Female Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Vivid Female Wood Duck

Wood Duck males are not the more beautiful of the sexes. Females are much more comely.

Colorful Female Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Beautiful Female Wood Duck Swimming
 

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

I'm guessing Adult, perhaps nonbreeding, Male Wood Duck

It is male. It is a wood duck. I'd reckon it's of recent vintage, probably hatched and raised earlier last summer. Pretty. I think this and the four male wood ducks that follow down this page are in chronological order, with this being the youngest, so we can see a step-by-step maturity of its colors and form.

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

Adult Nonbreeding Male Wood Duck

Or whom I'd consider a barely grown-up recent vintage wood duck, of whom I found several at the Old Boathouse Lagoon this day. Lots of Wood duck variety there. And a GBH, too.

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

Adult Male Wood Duck

Possibly just barely an adult.

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

Vivid Male Wood Duck

Look at all those colors along the edges of its wings. Gorgeous, even if its head and beak is a little gaudy.

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

Adult Male Wood Duck

Every Adult Male Wood Duck I saw this day seemed to have a quivering lower mandible. No sound emitted, but that obvious quivering. Maybe he was observing the female of the species.

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

Great Egret Doing This

Probably because it feels like doing it.

Rippling Male Wood Duckk - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Rippling Male Wood Duck

I probably should do a step-by-step of the female Wood duck in today's journal entry, too, but I don't know their chronology that well. I.e., it's not obvious which comes first.

 

 

Green Heron Interlude Almost too close
with Katy, a Killdeer & Kingfisher Pair

September 24 2015

Green Heron Jumps into Flight - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Green Heron Jumps into Flight

I had stood on the pier at Sunset Bay photographing the usual birds and talking with several friends for long enough. Parting, I told them I was going to look for birds, and then, at the other end of the pier, I had the notion that I might find some of those on Sunset Beach, just the other side of the spice forest that surrounds the pier. When birding — and sometimes other times in my life, too — I try to pay attention to such fleeting notions, and there I found this guy, most of whose body is actually so close not all of it is in focus. But enough of it is sharp, I knew who it was immediately.

Guess Who Is Coming -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Guess-Who Is Coming for Breakfast

I'd slept in a whole hour this morning, felt guilty, then felt good about it, and I still got to photograph two of my favorite birds lately this summer. Plus a couple others, too.

GH initial landing - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Initial Landing

Green Herons are birds we've all seen quite a lot of lately, but any birds, compared to nearly no birds, are better. So I was delighted to be photographing a bird as opposed to not photographing any.

Semi Roused Green Heron wlking onto the island - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Semi-roused Green Heron walking onto the now-tiny island just out from Sunset Beach

That it was just within the near focus distance of my 300mm lens amplified by my 1.7X telextender (= 510mm) was utterly amazing. Focus continues — always — to be an issue, but this bird was being oh-so careful to stay with in my focus range, and not getting too close for me to keep photographing it. Really can't ask for that, let alone better than that. Woo-hoo!

Crop-up Green Heron Just Outside Too Close - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Crop-up Green Heron Just Outside Too Close

I could have fit its feet in the image, but then my preferred focus point would have been off his body, and I wanted it inside my focus range, so I cropped off its feet in camera. At that moment, I really did not have a choice.

Green Heron CU Detail - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Unless I focused on its Head

Which was helpful, because it just kept getting closer. I really don't think it even saw me, and I worked at the impression that I was not there by being ever so careful not to move or make any sounds until a woman who had been photographing with us on the pier, started walking towards me. Not usually a problem, but I was really, this close to this bird, that we had already, previously established that she could not see. Maybe it was too close.

Maybe, like many beginning bird photographers, she had not yet learned that what we actually look for in a bird we want to photograph, is motion, not some distinctive markings pattern. And I didn't want her to scare it away by continuing her current path. So I pleaded, "Please stop." And she did, gradually grokking that I was photographing a bird she probably should not scare away, even if at the moment, she could not see it.

Green Heron with Crop Up - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Full Green Heron with Crop Up

Once she stopped, the heron posed for me again, and eventually, she saw what I was photographing, was properly amazed how close it was — I think I heard that gasp of amazement, and she walked behind me till she got the view she wanted. I could hear her camera clicking.

After photographing it on the island, it moved to under the log - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

After repeatedly photographing it on the island, she moved to under the Log

Where I attempted to photograph the bird and its shadow under the log, where it seemed to have found several morsels worth picking up with its beak and eating / swallowing.

Green Heron Standing - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Standing on the Pitiful Small Island Just off the Coast of Sunset Beach

Right about here in today's false chronology, I realized that the chronology I am offering wasn't as it was as I saw it, but was, instead, in some other kind of order, and since I did not want to rewrite the kind of exciting intro to this picture story, I just stuck with it.

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

Female Belted Kingfisher

I didn't know it at this time, but later I realized that the Kingfisher dot I followed between shooting the Green Heron was a female — as indicated by the red-orange, rust-like band below her other bands. And the Kingfishers I'd photographed this and last week were all males, who only have the one, upper blue band. I.e., not all males are more colorful than female birds.

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

The same Kingfisher Still Flying

I couldn't prove this one's sex, because I can't see her bands, but it's sharper than any of my Kingfisher shots, so far lately. Even though I'd been honing in on the Green Heron, when I saw a tiny dot flitting across the bay toward the pier, I followed focus and clicked three times. The third shot was useless, but I tried.

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

Katy Sleeping

Others of today's shots also included Katy sleeping with her lock neck bent back up over her shoulder in a big white lump somewhere off the pier.

And a Killdeer Peeping - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

And a Killdeer Peeping

If you haven't heard a Killdeer Peeping, you should. They're the loudest of White Rock Lake's many peepers, often sounding more machine electronic than avian acoustic.

 

 

Just one bird today & Some landscapes

September 23 2015

A Parrot in a store - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Today's Only Bird

I took some landscape pix today on Anna's and my walk from Winfrey Point to almost round the bend to Stone Tables, but this is the only bird shot of the day, and I can't remember the name of the store, and I don't think I ever knew the name of the bird, but I can tell you it's green and yellow, and it was inquisitive but shy.

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

A Bird Home

It's not a house, but it's a home where birds probably live. It's in what I call "Greater Sunset Bay." Not, obviously the lake portion, but in the area known as Sunset Bay, where we walked today up to and back from Winfrey Bay's parking lot, on our slow journey around the lake. I don't think one gets a sign claiming you are in Sunset Bay on this side of Stone Tables, which may be confusing to some folks, but there's a huge area of trees and birds and people and their pooping dogs who inhabit Sunset Bay without ever getting wet in the lake portion of Sunset Bay, where the actual bay is.

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

View of Greater Sunset Bay from the Stone Bridge on Lawther Drive

This stone bridge and the bridge from which the following view was taken from the Wood Bridge over closer to the apartments that used to be called one name and are now called another name, neither of which I know for sure anymore were taken from bridges that parallel each other. Nor am I altogether sure what street that is over their that such a lovely view is of.

View up or down the path from the Wood Bridge - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Photo from the Wood Bridge toward Doctor's Hospital and Buckner Boulevard

Yes, it's a land mass named after the water body (mass) known as Greater Sunset Bay. Over at the street that comes into the Stone Tables Area, there's a sign that says Sunset Bay one way and Stone Tables the other way. Stone tables does not have a water mass like Sunset Bay does, but Sunset Bay does have a land mass, and this is a part of it.

 

 

Big Buncha Bird Pix

September 23 2015

 Three Cots na Snowy - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Three Coots and a Snowy Egret

Not sure what I had in mind here.

Three, Maybe Four Black-crowned Night-Herons - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Three, Maybe Four Black-crowned Night-Herons

Two on the big, bright "log" front and right. One on the littler log on the left, and I'm pretty sure that's another one above the taller, lower night-heron. And if there's that many plainly visible in one place, there's probably a bunch more hidden in the trees. That's how it works on the far side of the lagoon by the Old Boat House that used to have water in it but in the last few years has got clogged with vegetable growth, so we can't watch the BCNHs there anymore, unless we have a thousand or two worth of focal-length lenses, which really nobody does.

GBH Flies Up the Lagoon - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Flies Up the Lagoon

Lots of GBH action this early morning.

Two Mallards na GBH -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Mallards and a Great Blue Heron

I guess I was hoping for the GBH to continue to cup its wings over the duck. But no…

GBH Fline Low & Lean -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

GBH Fline Low and Lean

Today must be long, low and lean GBH Day.

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

Birds

Not sure which, but lotsa birds flying over.

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

Great Egret Flying at Medium Height

Not flying high nor low, jut flying.

Shirley Wanted These to be Something Else, But they are definitely Femlae Northern Shovelers - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

What They Really Are is Female Northern Shovelers

Who else could they be with honkers that long and large. According to Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America, "bill color variable."

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

Same Two in Better Light

And if you look carefully at this and the previous photo, and scroll down past the Snowy, you'll see these two once again, but soft, blurry and at the bottom left of the frame.

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

Snowy Fline

Up the lagoon.

Two Black Birds on the Twisted Y - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Black Birds on The Twisted Y

And I think those are the two female Northern Shovelers.

Lean, Low Great Blue Herons - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Low & Lean — Great Blue Heron Flying Over the Lagoon

Long, low and lean.

One White Duck's Morning Bath - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

White Duck's Morning Bath

Once a domestic duck, now, though it gets fed morning, noon and night, it might almost qualify as wild.

Three Pelicans - Two Flapping in the Morning Sunlight -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Three American White Pelicans — Flapping in the Early Morning Sunlight

We have yet to see more pelicans. Same thing happened last year, so I guess it's normal.

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

Snowy Egret with Reflection

In crisp, morning light.

 

 

Dasypus Novemcinctus
The Nine-banded Armadillo
DBtSotR

September 22 2015

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

Dasypus Novemcinctus (Dead by the side of the road)

Twenty-two years before I started this online journal of birds, I wrote two books about armadillos. The Nine-banded Armadillo in specific, but all the others, too, in general with accurate drawings and photos of each, all the way back to the prehistoric Glyptodon, who were significantly larger than this one. I got the gig to do the second book, because Victoria, Texas 'leaders' had seen my first book about armadillos, called armadilla, and that is the correct spelling and alphabetization. Its copyright was registered with the United States Government in 1974, and a copy was in The Library of Congress until someone stole their only copy.

It had a song, a game, a dance, recipes, folklore, history, science, comix and both factional and fictional stories about them and the people who knew and loved or hated or painted or drew them. I knew a bunch of the Armadillo World Headquarters poster artists in Austin then, so their work was in there, too. I didn't have to look up its scientific name this time, because that's still lodged in my brain. I still have virgin copies of that newsprint book, and I may just have to post it to the internet, since it still contains good — and goofy — information. I think it would look good here.

Somewhere along then, I realized that the Nine-banded Armadillo edentata (toothless)'s natural habitat was Dead by the Side of the Road, like this large example of the species.

A couple years later, I was contacted by the guys (all men) in Victoria to do The Official Souvenir Program for the First Fifth International Armadillo Confab and Exposition in Victoria, Texas. And so I did it again but different. I think I retained copyright to that, too. If so, I'll put it up, also. About time.

Nine-banded Armadillo DBTSotR - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

In its Natural Habitat — Dead by the Side of the Road

As you may be able to tell, this was a particularly large example of the species, probably nearing its fourth year of life, either perhaps or probably in the woods up toward Buckner Boulevard from The Big Thicket area of White Rock Lake, which would have been just about perfect, except an armadillo's got to do what an armadillo's got to do — cross the nearest road. Most dillos would be safely driven over, unless crushed by automobile tires, except their millenia-old escape technique of jumping when in danger, which puts their most delicate parts just at the level of the most destructive portions of automobile anatomy.

Big Dillo — Big Tail - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Big Dillo — Big Tail

I may have seen dillos this large before, but only rarely. That it had lived this long is a testament to its home in the Big Thicket, if that's where it has lived this long. Dillos only live about four years.

I also visited Sunset Bay today, but all I saw there were the exact same birds I photographed the day before and the day before that, so I am leaving you with the remains of this very large armadillo.

 

 

Kingfisher Closer, Mallards, Coots, Swan,
A prancing Snowy Egret & Three Pelicans

September 21 2015

 Kingfisher A Mite Closer - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Male Belted Kingfisher Ever-so-slightly Closer

Only just maybe a little closer, but not much more detail yet, but I'll keep at it. I got this shot from scanning the area where I'd seen him before. That chattering I expected to proceed each of his forays across the bay, didn't happen this time. The big diff 'tween these and yesterday's [below] is the cam/lens was on a tripod. That helps if the bird is still, but not if it's flying.

Male Kingfisehr Closer - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Male Belted Kingfisher

The white spot behind his beak is a beauty spot, his eye is jet-black behind that white spot.

Kingfisher Flying Too Far Away - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Kingfisher Flying

Not entirely in focus, either.

Wing-preening Female Mallard - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Wing-preening Female Mallard with Coots Back

Looks like she's been divesting little white feathers.

Buncha Coots Standing Around -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Buncha American Coots Standing Around

An elegant crew.

A Snow Comes Flying In - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Snowy Egret Comes Flying In

To save the day…

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

Snowy Landing

And Snowies always put on a little show. This one put on a continuing one.

Log, Feather, Coot - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Log, Feather, Coot

I doubt that one, white feather came from a coot.

Snowy Egret Turns on a Dime - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret Turns on a Dime

But it could have come form this zipping doo-dah.

Snowy, a Prancer Dancer - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy is a Prancer and a Dancer

So elegant, so fierce, so amazing to watch.

Still the Same Three Pelicans - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Still the Same Three American White Pelicans

What everybody's wondering about is when the rest of the pelicans arrive, where will they gather. There's that huge log that got flooded up the creek, that they've stayed on before, when it was a couple places around Sunset Bay, but where it is not is not particularly good for photographers of pelicans.

The Lady Katherine - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Lady Katherine

Jennifer, who's from England where are many swans, says this is definitely a female. We've come to understand that, regardless of what Kathy Rogers of Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation has told us, because we've seen her mating with Patches, a much more domestic, goose.

 

 

Crows Chasing A Kingfisher

September 20 2015

Crow Chasing Male Belted Kingfisher - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Crow Chasing a Male Belted Kingfisher

I heard the high-pitched chattering as soon as I arrived on the pier at Sunset Bay. A grandmother and grand-daughter were filling the water around the pier with slightly torn-open white bread buns. There were no birds in the vicinity, and they kept throwing handful after handful of white bread down into the sogging pit, though I watched that white sog, and after about a half hour, most of it was eaten by gooses who eventually came much closer to the pier.

Meanwhile, I kept hearing that Kingfisher's chatter from the Hidden Creeks area across from Sunset Beach, and I kept wondering when I'd get to see it racing across the Bay. This was my first shot of the Kingfisher, and my sharpest.

Crow Chasing Kingfisher -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Lucky for me, but Unlucky for the Kingfisher, the Crow Got Pretty Close

Soon as I heard his distinctive call/warning, I paid attention to where it was coming from. The trees on the other side of the lagoon, but it was awhile till I saw it, when Eric prompted me, saying a crow was chasing it. I tuned in, hoped I'd focused enough, and clicked and clicked as they raced across the bay, then the crow left, and the Kingfisher rested.

Crow Heads Off Kingfisher -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Crow Heads Kingfisher Off at the Pass

The closer two birds are together, the larger the image I can show here. When they're farther apart, they seem smaller, because I can't just enlarge them, but I also have to enlarge the space between them. When they're closer, like this, you can see the large size disparity between the chaser and the chasee.

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

Male Kingfisher Resting

If left alone to pursue their desires, Kingfishers eat "mostly small fish, aquatic invertebrates and tadpoles," and Crows eat "carrion, small vertebrates, other birds' eggs and nestlings, berries, seeds, invertebrates and human food waste, visits bird feeders." both according to my Lone Pine Birds of Texas.

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

Male Kingfisher

Kingfishers are 11 – 14 inches long with wingspans of 20 inches.

 

Then, I added these

September 19 2015

Pigeons in the Water -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Pigeons in the Water

Here, I was just fooling around. Not paying so much attention to composition or where everybody's head was facing, whether anyone could see their eyes, all that folderol. Quick shots, kinda experimental. I usually don't photograph pigeons unless they're gorgeous all by themselves or doing something really interesting like trying to fetch a mate. I just shot these. Six or seven in a fairly fast rat-a-tat.

Pigeons in the Water - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pigeons in the Water

Of which only two of the series do I deem worthy of showing off, and I'm still not at all sure about this one, except I really like those tail feathers up like that — and I count six sets of eyes looking back.

Snowy Egret on a Dark Log - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret on a Dark Log

This second time through the same shots I'd shot this morning, this one really stood out. The first time through them, not so much. I love the abstraction of trees in the water behind it, and the clear, sharp profile.

Five Varieties in a Lilting Waterscape - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Five Varieties in a Lilting Sunset Waterscape

Two little ducks that look like Wood Duck females, a Great Egret, a mallard in flight, the only three American White Pelicans, so far, and another duck. This and those that follow were taken after sunset, after dinner, and just before dark, though after the ducks had left Sunset Beach after having been fed.

The Noble Goose - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Noble Goose

I have no idea why I shot this or worked it up or put it here.

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

Goose Flap

People who assume things are always asking me what kind of zoom I have — at least those who don't just tell me that's a great camera, when it's mostly lens, not that large a camera, although it is biggish. But if it were a zoom, I probably would have pulled it back a little for this shot — and ruined it. So I guess I'm still happy it's not a zoom.

 

 

Getting Back into the Game
September 19 2015

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

Snowy Egret Flying In

Kinda slept in, didn't get to Sunset Bay till just at 8 ayem..

Snowy Spears a Fish - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Spears a Fish

Didn't really catch much action that late, but did see this Great Egret capture a fish.

Snowy With Beak Through Fish - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret with Actual Beak Through Fish's Side

I've always heard and read that herons impale their catches with their sharp beaks, but I've always kinda disbelieved that idea, too, because in the nearly ten years I've been photographing herons, including egrets, I'd never seen beak through flesh. Till now. This pretty much proves the story.

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

Great Egret in Early Swallow Attempt

Kind of a busy background of pigeons, but I kept shooting anyway as it first attempted to swallow the fish, but failed.

Lining it up - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Lines it up in Beak

Then got it lined up in its beak.

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

Great Egret Swallows

And down it went. There were still three pelicans, but they didn't do much interesting.

 

 

Getting Back into the Game
September 18 2015

Pelk Pair, Open and Shut - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pelk Pair — Open and Shut

I did birds on Thursday afternoon, and met, again, someone who has long been an advocate of this bird journal. Thanks, Jennifer. We talked about swans, which they have a lot of in England, where I think she's from, and the pelicans and other birds including Whooping Cranes and Roseate Spoonbills, neither of which we saw in Sunset Bay today.

These are two of the three advanced scouts who arrived in Sunset Bay September 12. I've been sitting out itching from my half-dozen or so spider bites acquired while photographing one of the Green Herons who has been hunting in Sunset Bay, so I haven't paid that much attention to Sunset Bay or the lake lately, but I missed it all too much today to stay away. And I found pelicans closer than I saw them pretty far out last time I did pay them attention. And I will be coming back at my usual, near-constant attentions over the next few weeks. I still itch, just it's almost manageable.

 Couple of Pelicans Standing Around Talking - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Couple of Pelicans Standing Around Talking

This notion of kinda close involves using a 1.7 X telextender, so I'm using the millimeter extension of about 510mm in the lens department with my nominal 300mm tele, but the pelicans are closer, and so are my exposures here.

Pause Between Preening - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pause Between Preening

Rendering all-white birds can be an issue. One cannot, usually, just click at one and expect to render its bright white feathers as the detailed bright gray they actually show as. They are not all-white, even just their feathers.

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

Great Egret on the Water

Great Egrets, which are probably the most common herons at White Rock Lake are best rendered a neutralish gray, so we can see them and their exquisite details.

Domestic Goose Bent Over Preening - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Domestic Goose Bent-over Preening

There are probably more domestic — not wild — gooses in Sunset Bay than anything else but the much smaller ducks, usually of the Mallard persuasion.

Killdeer with Domestic Geese - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Killdeer with Domestic Goose

The goose is not looking at or concerned about the much-smaller Killdeer, our noisiest peep. I doubt gooses even notice Killdeer unless it gets between goose and food.

American White Pelican and goose -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

American White Pelican and Great Egret

 

 

Concerning Spider bites & not Photographing Birds Lately

I'm thinking I can possibly do birds Thursday, even though what the VA Emergency Room doctors and nurses, who probably know better than I — It wouldn't take much. — all agree it was probably spiders that bit me at least five times, so I can't blame insects. If I knew their species, I'd show a Wiki-Commons pic of them atop these paragraphs.

The only where I went I usually do not, was across the creek from the Invisible Green Heron. Tall weeds The City hasn't mown in weeks, and I just stood there clicking, giving them time to bite arms, hand, elbow and face, which I only felt much later, then wounds oozed.

My left hand is still so swollen I can't see veins on the back of it, so I may abstain at least a few more days, though I dearly miss the birds and people who watch and photo them. The people who worry about me are busy doing that, praying, etc. (Thanks Mom, Anna and K.) So I shall take their heed and hide from spiders longer. I've graduated from cooking my histamines with warm water that always worked before, to cooling them with ice packs, thanks to the advice of an ER nurse, and I'm religiously taking the littlest pills, spreading Rx 2.5% hydrocortisone and desperately trying to not scratch by moving ice packs that kill the itchy-poo prickles.

The only real pain I got is from the ice packs, and I can still take pix, but not out of the house, yet. Maybe some out-The-Slider's window birdography is almost in order.

 

Guest Photographer

Sometimes I like to show images by other photographers.
Anybody is eligible, just send me some samples, and I'll know.

Tommy Fisher's Butterfly & Moth Photos
posted September 16 2015

 Tommy Fisher - Buckeye Butterfly

Tommy Fisher   Buckeye Butterfly   5/10/2013    Valley Creek Park

 

Tommy Fisher   Mourning Cloak Butterfly - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mourning Cloak Butterfly 5/18/2013 Valley Creek Park

 

Tomm Fisher - Female Polyphemus Moth

Female Polyphemus Moth showing under-wing colors   9/10/2015 Valley Creek Park

Tommy Fisher - Female Polyphemus Moth

Female Polyphemus Moth showing over-wing colors   9/10/2015 Valley Creek Park

Quoting Tommy Fisher: "I went to Valley Creek Park today and just as I entered the park entrance I saw what looked like a large leaf flutter down from one of the Cypress trees. As I watched I realized it was not just fluttering, it was flying. It had a pretty good tailwind and was moving fast. I watched it thru my binoculars and saw it settle into the grass fifty yards or so away. I went to the spot and found this super-size moth.
I had never seen one and did not know if it was a moth or a butterfly. I got a few shots, but unfortunately it was partially shaded on one side. It was a good 5.5 – 6 inches wingtip to wingtip. It departed before I could get an unshaded shot and went a long distance and I never saw it again."

"I had no idea what it was. When I got home I showed it to my wife Rita, and we started to research. I could not find it under butterflies. Rita started to search moths and found it, she is much better at identifying birds and critters thru research than I am. When I get a shot of something and don't know what it is, I turn it over to my research department (Rita)."

"It turned out to be a Female Polyphemus Moth. Nature never ceases to amaze me and this moth is no exception. The Polyphemus only lives seven to ten days after emergence and does not eat or drink as it has no mouth or digestive system. It survives only off of the nutrients stored by the caterpillar the summer before. It emerges just long enough to mate and for the female to lay her eggs."

"I never have seen one before and probably never will again. I have seen two different butterflies at the park in past years that I had never seen before and have not seen since, they were the Mourning Cloak and the Buckeye. I just consider it luck to have seen them at all."

Tommy Fisher - Carpenter Bee with Passion Flower in his back yard

Carpenter Bee with Passion Flower in Tommy Fisher's Back Yard

 

"This was taken in my backyard of a Carpenter Bee and a Passion Flower. This guy loves these flowers, any time they are blooming he is there."

 

 

Pelicans Fishing, Cormorants, Coots & Killdeers
September 15 2015

 Pelican Beaks Full of Food - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

American White Pelican Beaks Full of Food

While photographing that poor Green Heron, who never caught anything all while we watched, I looked up and out into the bay, and I didn't see the pelicans on that far log where I'd first seen them, so I went back to the pier thinking they were probably going fishing, and they were.

Three Pelicans Lined Up for Finding Food -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans Lined Up to Look for Fish

All organized at the beginning, but the organization portion quickly goeth asunder.

Pelicans Seining fish with their lower mandibles -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans Seining Fish with their Flexible Lower Mandible

Dunking heads partially underwater, seining with their beaks to get a lower mandible full of food.

Pelicans Fishing Past a GBH -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pelicans Fishing Past a Great Blue Heron

First they swam in front of it, then they swam behind the Great Blue Heron, who is usually just there. I assume pelicans like different kinds of fish than herons do. .

Cormorant JOins the Pelican Fishing Party - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Double-crested (probably) Cormorant Joins Pelicans Fishing

Later, when the whole clan is gathered and rested, we will see cormorants, gulls, pelicans and sometimes even ducks joining into massive flotillas in search for fish. It's all very competitive, but it helps everybody who joins in to find more food, so they squabble among themselves, but they keep doing it day after day, because they fish best when they fish with each other.

Pelk A Drains Pouch and Pelk B Tilts Back to Swallow - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Tilt Down & Drain and Tilt Up & Swallow

Pelican A Tilts Beak Down to Drain Water from Pouch, and Pelican B Tilts Back Beak to Drain Fishes into its Gullet

Peeps Out Of Focus -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Faraway Peeps

Rendered high-contrast to partially alleviate the the focus issue. Mostly, this image of fast-flitting shorebirds serves as a transition.

Cormorants Drying Their Wings - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Cormorants Drying Their Wings

Cormorants dive for food, partially propelled by their wings, which tend to get wet down their, so they can often be seen drying their wings. One cormorant has been out in the bay for a week or so. Now that the pelks are coming back, there'll be gobs more soon. Usually, lately, three pelicans come in early, then after or within a couple weeks, many, many more will.

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

Killdeer In Flight

I shot four times, and managed to get one in pretty good focus.

Two Killdeer on the Beach -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Killdeer on the Beach

Beach = Peninsula = Sandbar = Island

 Female Mallard with Largish Beak - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Female Mallard with Largish Beak

At first, I thought it might be a female Northern Shoveler, but it's not.

Coots Scootin' And Fussin' -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

American Coots Scootin' & Fussin'

x

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

And Splashing

 

 

Mandarin Duck & Invisible Green Heron
September 14 2015

 Mandarin Duck Right Profile - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mandarin Duck Right Profile

I think this is my best photograph of the Mandarin, but he never got close enough to do him right.

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

Mandarin, two female and a male Wood Ducks

Especially compare the Mandarin on the far left and the male Wood Duck on the far right. Their sides are very similar, but not much else.

Green Heron Hunting -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Hunting

It looks obvious, but it was anything but. one of the ways photographs lie is in the rendering of tonalities. This Green Heron was a dark black blob on a sometimes bright, often dark landscape. Lightening it enough for you and me to recognize it — like this — renders the scene way too obvious and bright.

A Little More Realistic - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Little More Realistic Colors and Tones, but Still Not Dark Enough

Because you can still easily see that there's a small, dark bird here. That was not at all clear from across the water from where it was hunting. A guy with a camera who'd been walking down the road (nobody uses trails through there, because there is only one, tiny, narrow tail anywhere, and nearly none at all through the water's edge area, so the road becomes the trail, and so very subtly, the City of Dallas is teaching people to always walk down the middle of roads, even though there are cars using that same path. Pretty stupid, huh?

 Much More Accurate - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Much More Accurate

Anyway, the guy walking by saw us aiming our cameras at — well something invisible to him, and if we looked away, then back, it was invisible to us, too — until we adjusted our seeing — looking into the dark, not the light. Then, and only then, could we see the bird for the landscape, and click our little and big cameras away at it.

Corn-eating Squirrel - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Corn-eating Squirrel

I also got other photos this early morning, but because I also got four very large and itchy Unsub Bug Bites, complete with large bumps on my forehead, left hand and right elbow, I'm not going to go to the lake tomorrow, Tuesday and maybe not Wednesday, too. Besides I still have some de-cluttering to do in my house, and my deadline is Thursday, although I've got done everything else the house insurance people demanded. I also got pix of the three, early-arrival American White Pelicans doing their Synchronized Swim-fishing thing, and some other stuff of interest. Tomorrow, tomorrow.

Male Mandarin Duck with Female Wood Duck -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Male Mandarin Duck with Female Wood Duck

Female Wood Ducks already have a finely-honed appreciation for very colorful birds, so it might not be a surprise that the Wood Ducks tend to not let the Mandarin Duck join in their reindeer games all the time, but sometimes they don't seem to mind.

Visual Lesson on how one could almost overlook a Mandarin Duck - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Visual Lesson on How One Could Almost Overlook a Mandarin Duck

Oddly enough, finding the Mandarin Duck is a lesson in appreciating Nature's subtleties. He usually stays on the far side of the lagoon, when he's there at all. So a telephoto will help, a lot. But even when we know it's out there, because we just saw him there, he tends to blend into whatever's out there. Seeing a Mandarin Duck that far away is a lot like seeing a close Green Heron. We have to adjust our seeing.

Mandarin Duck Swims Left -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mandarin Duck Swims Left

Nobody ever expects quite so much color and pattern in a duck, so we tend to literally 'overlook' its wild colors and arrangements thereof, and it becomes invisible. Not here in a photograph so much, because our lenses focus in just one place, and we're lucky if that's on our subject. But in real life, if we can call Mandarin Ducks real life, they sometimes disappear right in front of our eyes.

Back View of Mandarin Duck - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Back View of Mandarin Duck

 

 

small shorebirds, Egrets, Green Heron, Grebe,
Ducks & the first three of the season's Pelicans
September 13 2015

 Not Exactly Sure Who These Were Looping through Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Not Exactly Sure Who These Were Looping through Sunset Bay

But there were just these two, and they were loop-de-looping, corkscrewing, winding and pell-mell flying in, around and through the inner Bay till they disappeared. I got three shots in the early amber of sunrise. Two in near focus, just this one sharp. More than anything else, details depend upon focus, and focusing these fast little guys was a real challenge — way more than all those ducks and myriad other birds I practice on as they execute controlled falls to earth or water, because these little birds' trajectories changed moment by moment. But I got 'em. Now, if I can only identify them.

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

Great Egret with Coot Almost Silhouette

Our American Coot Supply has well more than trebled in the last day or so, but we have to expect way more again. Luckily, we have plenty Great Egrets already.

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

Great Egret Flying Low

Great Egret individuals disappear from time, but I think they're with us day in, day out, month in, seasons in, through the years.

Green Heron Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron

Anna and I saw two Green Herons this blissfully cool Sunday morning. This one in Sunset Bay, and another along DeGoyler Drive, where I first-ever saw the tiny little herons about a decade ago. Here I photographed it copiously. There I just watched — I watched, identified it aloud, and just kept watching.

Green Heron in the 'Log" named "Bramble" - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron on the 'log' called "Bramble"

At least I called it that when I named all the major log formations in the bay.

American Coot and Pied-billed Grebe -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Aft End of an American Coot and Pied-billed Grebe

Last time I saw the grebe, I got documentation that it was there. This time, I got much more detail. It helped that it had got wet.

Spikey, The Pied-billed Grebe - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Spiky, the Pied-billed Grebe

As my treasured, but I fear permanently out-of-publication Lone Pine edition of Birds of Texas, states about these little (12-15 inches long with a wingspan of 16 inches) birds, "With relatively solid bones and the ability to partially deflate its air sac, the Pied-billed Grebe can float low in the water or sink below the water's surface like a tiny submarine, with only its nostrils and eyes showing above the surface." That book's authors go on, but I won't. Find the book on a used-book site somewhere. It's a treasure of Texas bird knowledge.

Green Heron Looking Up - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Looking Up

No idea what it was so intent upon in the sky above it, but it watched carefully for awhile. Must have been something hungry and/or bigger than it was, flying over. Exposure, focus distance, and too many other variables to give up this marvelous photo opportunity, and try to capture something up there, so I kept the camera trained on the heron. A bird on a log in front of us is better than something in the sky, and I don't switch exposure compensations forth and back with much intelligence. It takes watching the subject intently, so it doesn't fly off.

Green Heron on Log -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron on Log

Pretty good focus = pretty good detail. Nice of this little heron to drop by. If briefly.

Green Heron Lifting its Wings to -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Heron Lifting its Wings to …

… to Fly nearly straight up and away, which it did with amazing speed I was not able to follow. Lucky I got these.

Female Mallards on Blue Sky Water - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Female Mallards on Blue-sky Water

Like I say, it was a gorgeous morning, and the lake was flooded with people enjoying it. We stayed for a long time, doing that long walk we've been promising ourselves. And about those pelicans — every shot I made was way overexposed, so I guess I'll have to go back later this week, and more gather or these go fishing closer to shore.

White Ducks Dabbling - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

White Ducks Dabbling

 

 

the Three Pelicans Sunday Afternoon

The First Three Pelicans - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The First Three Pelicans of the Season

I photographed them so poorly this early cool afternoon, I didn't even want to show you what I got. I had to go back in the much hotter afternoon — with a tripod and a willingness to mess significantly with the exposure till I got it right. I knew by the time I got there, the sun would be behind them, putting them in their own shadows, so I overexposed everything around them to get these shots.

One Pelican Swam Around and Came Back - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

One Pelican Got Down off the Log, Swam Around a Little, then Came Back

Where they were this Sunday afternoon was a little closer to shore than where they were that morning, so they seem to be getting a little less shy. I don't know if one of them had wintered here at White Rock Lake before and led the way, but the one standing on the right is an adult. Sibley sub-identifies that pelican with black feathers atop its head age as a summer Adult (June – August), and from looking at Sibley's painting of this species, I think the one with spots on its wings (left) is a juvenile, possibly hatched up north (anywhere north along a wide, big-smiling arc down from British Columbia, Canada, to southeastern Idaho, Utah, then all the way across to eastern Minnesota, where they probably came from.

Then Got Back Up on the Log - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Then Got Back Up on the Log

It didn't swim very far, but it came back within a few minutes. When they get hungry, however, and that feeling eclipses how tired they must be from flying all that distance from the north, northeast or northwest, they'll start swimming around closer to shore, where they'll do their usual synchronized-swimming fishing. Where, together, they will swam after fish, driving them to the shallows (The whole bay is very shallow, often only a few inches deep, but pelicans tend to drive their prey into the edges of land.), then, when they'd pushed them into water too shallow for the fish, they scoop them up with their flexible lower mandibles. It's great fun to watch them when they do that, and perhaps the best part of the process, is they often come close enough to shore for us photographers to get pix of them up-close and personal — or pelicano.

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

Doing What American White Pelicans Do

Pelican A has its beak open; Pelican B is doing a Lower Mandible Inversion; and Pelican C is just standing there. The mandible inversion, wherein they invert their pliable lower mandible / pouch inside-out over their puffed-out breast, because that stretching helps them keep it pliable, so it can hold gallons of water with fish in it, then filter out the water and tip back and swallow the fish, the whole sequence of which is something alert photographers wait long minutes unto hours for a chance to photograph.

 

FOS Alert: Erin S reported 3 American White Pelicans in SSB Sept 12.

 

 

Every time I visit Sunset Bay, I see something different
September 13 2015

Juvenile Ibis Flying Over - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Juvenile White Ibis Flying Over Sunset Bay

Dark shape above, and Eric's already calling it an Ibis, so I just have to lift my camera while sliding the exposure compensation dial up, because flying birds are either all the way or partially in their own shadows, so I click and click and click, till it's past too far away already. These shots are the best of the bunch.

Juvenile Ibis over Sunset Bay - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Juvenile White Ibis

I was hoping this bird was on reconnaissance, looking for a nice place to settle for awhile, but after it disappeared nothing happened. Although it might have later.

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

Great Egret Banking

Then, not much later, I got this shot of this bird apparently banking for a turn. Of course, it being white against a gray sky background, I had to close down the EV to render it correctly.

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

Snowy Egret Banking

Then as luck would have it, I got this opportunity. Both of these last two were at some distance, so they are very small portions of the full frame, blown up. I had this last one even larger, but it was beginning to break apart visually, so I made the jpeg smaller, so it'd look sharper.

Snowy Egret with Foot Up - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret with Foot Up

When I saw this, often-feisty and fast-moving bird fly in from a little west of the pier, I got excited, hoping for some real Snowy Dancing, which it did some of early, but most of the time, it was pretty calm for a Snowy Egret.

FOS Pied-billed Grebe - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

FOS (first of the season) Pied-billed Grebe

Eric pointed it out for me or I might have lost in a month the similarly-sized and -shaped ducks, distinctive as it is small.

Summer Mold Mallard Rapidly Descending - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Summer Molt Male Mallard Rapidly Descending

I don't always shoot everything that flies into or out of Sunset Bay or the lagoon, but I sure often do, because I always need the practice.

 

 

Hot After Rain
September 11 2015

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

Goose Flap

One of our domestic gooses flapping, but you knew that.

Snow Egrets on the Island - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egrets on the Island

Looks like a dark and mysterious place.

Two Pair Mallards About to Land - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Pair of Mallards About to Land

They really are two pair, just I cropped off the slower female, because I wanted these guys to be bigger. When I get exposure this right, I want to show it off.

Two Pair Mallards Landing - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Pair Mallards Landing or Just About to

All four landed safely, and J R is just so proud he got them all — even the female bringing up the rear — in good focus.

Like Water Off A -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Like Water Off A

Duck's back.

Black Duck, Little Flap -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Black Duck, Little Flap

Before I saw its wings, I assumed it was an adult or very nearly one. But Kala King tells me these are Indian Runners, who run but do not fly, because their wings are too small.

Mute Swan in a Mysterious Place - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mute Swan in a Mysterious Place

Usually, I show pix in strict chronological order. This time, I did it backwards, but not on purpose. This was the shot I take to see if my exposure is right, before I get down to the end of the Pier at Sunset Bay. And yeah, that's Katy.

 

 

MORE PIX That Afternoon

September 10 2015

Northern Shoveler Flock - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Part of Northern Shovelers Flock

Round and round and round they went.

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

Northern Shovelers Flying in Big Circles and Figure Eights

I have no idea why, but I am curious.

Big Buncha Ducks by the Island - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Big Bunch of Ducks by Sunset Island

I think these are Blue-winged Teal and Northern Shovelers. They both seemed to be landing and taking off from this wood-piled area left of Sunset Island.
 

Leap-frogging Sandpipers - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Leapfrogging Least Sandpipers

Of course, they weren't really leapfrogging. They were chasing each other left and right up and down the far side of the peninsula that might be an island by now, and if it keeps raining it might disappear altogether.

More Hopping and Running - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

More Running and Hopping

I don't know if it was them 'playing' or there was some serious purpose, but it looked like fun, splashing down the beach …

Sandpiper Chasing Down the Far Shore -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Least Sandpipers Chasing Down the Far Shore of a Small Peninsula

… and suddenly taking short flights.

Sideways-flying Sandpiper - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Sidewise-flying Least Sandpiper

Oh, and I added a couple more pix below, and some above those, too.

 

 

the pier 7–7:38 am
& That Afternoon, Too
wet and cool
September 9 2015

 Detail of Snorker Flock - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Part of a Northern Shoveler Flock

What I at first thought was just one, turned out to be several flocks flying into Sunset Bay early this rainy-cool Wednesday morning. Nice.

Blue-winged Teal Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Part of a Much-bigger Northern Shoveler Flock

I arrived at 7 almost sharp. Yes, raining but not heavily. Most of it landed on my head and camera, both of which are weather-sealed. This shot, however, was taken around four that afternoon, when I came back to try to do better photography.

More Blue-wing Teal -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

More Blue-wing Teal in the A.M.

This bunch is, I think, Blue-winged Teal, but it's way too far to see their beaks. The two species are on opposite ends of the same two-page spread in Sibley's, so I consider that 'related." There are several similarities, so it shouldn't be too surprising to see them both flying around this early in the morning.

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

Blue-winged Teal Flying By

But these birds' beaks are petite, compared with the Northern Shovelers, whom I often call "Snorkers."

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

Northern Shovelers Closer

Blue-winged Teal excite the local birders, but Snorkers don't get the respect. Which is probably why I love Snorkers and think of BWT as just more ducks.

 

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

Great Egret

Low and inside.

Wood Duck Pair Flying Out - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Wood Duck Pair Flying Out

I only remember focusing on the female, so I guess the male below is a bonus.

Stilt Sandpiper Flock - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Part of a Flock of Stilt Sandpipers

The colors are all wrong in this shot, because it started out all blue. This morning it was point camera up, get blue; point camera at bird on earth somewhere, get real colors. I managed to do the top five shots in today's journal entry pretty close to right, then the right way completely eluded me in this one, and I wasted hours trying to find a way to change colors in Photoflop.

It used to be simple. Then the idiots at Adobe replaced that wonderful facility, so now it's impossible, so I approximated this shot. Badly. But there were a big bunch of Stilt Sandpipers flying around and around this ayem. If you want to see them in their truer colors, check these three [below] that I photographed September 1. I suspect they may have been scouts for this larger flock …

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

Great Egret Blur

There was an overexposed Snow Egret flying in the above slot awhile ago, and it didn't blur, but the overly white areas (no terribly unlike the ones above, but there are fewer and smaller of them here, so this is really a decent replacement for that one. But today was about flocks, not individuals, so maybe neither was right for this spot.  

refidnasb1's video of White-faced Ibis in Dallas' Great Trinity Forest published September 4, 2015.
Then stay tuned for his vid of Great Trinity Forest Clearcutting and Surface Mining Trinity Forest Golf Course.

 

 

Up too Early;
shoulda stayed in bed
September 5 2015

Egrets Waking Up - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Egrets Waking Up

There's more at night, but I am continually amazed how many egrets spend the early morning out in Sunset Bay. Of course, soon, soon, the place will be over-run by the much bigger, American White Pelicans again, for whom these last few weeks' of sleeping egrets is kinda a premonition.

Egrets Up and Away - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Egrets Up & Away

My camera thinks it was night, and it was dark, but the egrets wake and get into the sky with a minimum of fuss. They got places to go around White Rock, The Trinity River and points beyond. I'd love to know where all those who sleep nights at the lake, spend their days.

White Duck with Wing injury or clip - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

White Duck with Clipped or Injured Wing?

I don't know, but it looks like it doesn't have a wing. Clipped, so they couldn't fly away?

The Gooses are back for another day - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Gooses are Back for another Day

Of whatever it is they do. Eat grass (They are great lawn mowers.) Cross the road. Gather together. Disperse. Interfere with duck sex. 'Talk' with humans and other gooses. Honk like traffic jams. Swim. Run on the water, sometimes even fly short and long ways. They're busy at it every day.

Pigeon in the Sunset - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pigeons in the Sunrise

Early in the morning at Sunset Bay.

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

Dabbling Female Mallard

I think. My computer dictionary defines dabble as "(of a duck or other waterbird) move the bill around in shallow water while feeding: teal dabble in the shallows."

From WhatDoDucksEat: "Ducks also have bills that are shaped differently depending on the type of food they like to eat. So what do ducks like to eat? Some ducks are dabbling ducks. This means that they stay near the surface of the water to find food. If you have ever seen a duck with its head in the water and its tail in the air, then you were watching a dabbling duck catching its food.

See also: How a Duck's Diet Varies. Dabbling Duck. Dabbling Ducks. Dabblers vs. Divers.

Pigeons Keep Going 'Round -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pigeons Keep Going 'Round

They circle and figure-8 the inner bay dozens and dozens of times a day. I assume they keep losing their bearings. Pigeons circling on YouTube.

GBH visuall interrupts flow of pigeons - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Early Great Blue Heron Temporarily Interrupted the Swirling Flow of Pigeons

It was exciting when I shot it. now it seems rather pedestrian.

I thought it was a hawk - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

At first, I Thought it Was a Hawk

But maybe it's design is too clean. Now it looks more like a dove.

 

Another, Much better
Great Blue Heron Chase
September 5 2015

 Two GBHs Flying Together - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Great Blue Herons Fling What Seems like very Close Together

This is the sort of image I want to see huge, like filling a whole wall. If I were in the business of selling prints, this is one I'd want to. But then I'd be in the business of selling prints, and I'd need a big, expensive printer that made big, expensive prints — and I'd have to keep it busy most of the time, or I'd have to shop that part of the business out. Or I'd have to engage one of those weasels who say they'll take care of all that, then I'd wake up some ugly morning and see one of my pictures in somebody's magazine, with somebody else's name on it. Oh, never mind.

Which is not to say that I don't sell images or the use of images, just that it's more complicated than one might imagine, and it's not why I go out and photograph birds. I'm fascinated by them, and I love watching them do what seems to be like odd things, till I can figure out what it is they are doing, and why they're doing it. Then I want to photograph it some more.

I like this one enough to want it on my next business card. I keep meeting people who might want to visit this electronic rag, and the way I promoted any of my sites — this and DallasArtsRevue.com has always been by handing out business cards.

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

Great Blue Herons Chasing

I assume they are having loads of fun. I would be having loads of fun if I could fly like this — something I've only seen few times far between. Ever.

GBH Chase A Little Farther Apart - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Herons A Little Farther Apart

Actually, they are probably about the same close apart. Just my point of view of their frolics was different. I could probably go on with this fun chase, but this is all I post-produced. As usual, just the best or the ones that 'said' something I needed to 'say.'

 

 

Shorebirds @ the Dam
Tricolored Herons @ SSB

September 4 2015 — 224

 Dipping into Concentric Circles off the dam - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Least Sandpiper Dipping into Concentric Circles off the Dam

SSB is Sunset Bay, and though we generally go there first and often only, we'd heard there was a very interesting bird at the Spillway, except it was really off the front of the dam, somewhere between The [Upper] Spillway and The Old Pump House, so we set out to walk the path up to it, then the length of it. I, as usual, needed the walk, but it was hot and getting hotter, so I walked it and back, and I was nearly exhausted all day long, but I needed it. I also got pix of several bird species there but none of "the very interesting bird," and when I went off to Sunset Bay, once in the late morning, and once in the too-early evening, it was still hot. But there were many times more interesting species, some of whom posed for me.

River Cooters Off the Dam - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

River Cotters Off the Dam

Oh, yeah, and these are new pix, shot Thursday, September 3, 2015.

One of These -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

One of These - Flying

After I get some sleep maybe I can identify this one.

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

Spotted Sandpiper — Maybe

We can even see some spots.

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

Least Sandpiper in Off-shore Puddles

Or at least — off Dam.

Three Crows Overlooking the Dam -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Three Crows Overlooking the Dam

Well, I was standing on the dam to photograph these crows looking down onto the Upper-most Spillway, where the dam is.

One Railing, One Crow, One Bridge, Two REd Trucks - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

One Railing, One Crow, One Other Side of the Spillway and Two Red trucks

I was attempting to get everything except the two red trucks in one composition. The two red trucks were pure serendipitous happenstance.

Crow Landing;  Crow Standing - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Crow Landing; Crow Standing

The landing crow seems comparatively immense to the standing one. Notice how the latter is looking up to the former. Big one's an adult. Little one's a juvenile.

Wing- and Tail-spread Crow Over Upper Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Wings-spread and Tail-spread Crow Over Dry Upper Spillway

It's easy to get pic of birds with their wing- and tail-feathers spread like this, if one is already cytotechnology the shutter along as they were doing whatever they were doing when this happened, but we never know quite what they'll be doing then, so it's usually just pure luck.

This Tricolored Heron Sure Looks Juvenile - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

This Tricolored Heron Sure Looks Juvenile

And it is. The flashiest color of adult Tricolored Herons is blue [below], but the flashiest color of juveniles is rust-ish red.

Two Tricolored Herons; One Fling; the other Just Standing There - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Tricolored Herons

One Flying and the other one just there.

Tricolored Heron Flying Over SSB - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Tric0lored Heron Flying Over SSB

Notice all the blue. So blue, when I saw my first-ever Tricolored Heron, I assumed it was a Great Blue Heron [for comparison and for real just past the 'coons below], because I managed to not even notice its white belly. We haven't seen Little Blues for awhile, but I know they're out there somewhere, maybe hiding, because I saw a juvenile 'round here somewhere bot SSB, about this time last summer, but I remember when three, maybe more of them, were in SSB spatting among themselves for territory and fresh-caught fish. I'll have to look those up.

Like DallasArtsRevue.com, The Amateur Birder's Journal never throws anything away. All the birds and all the words are all still here on these pages. Barring my numerous errors, you could use the Last Month and Last Year links at the top of every Bird Journal page to go all the way back, see how global warming has changed our world. This Bird Journal goes back to June 2006 online. You could do as well as me to search (also at the top of every bird page) for "Little Blue Heron," caps or not, though, as usual, that might net art of that bird, if any, because The Amateur Bird Journal and my previous predilection are both searched. And if you see ads anywhere along the way, it's probably your fault. I'm not selling anything on the Bird Journal, unless you really need one of my photos. Then it'll cost you, but not necessarily money.

Juvenile following adult Tricolored Heron - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Following Adult Tricolored Heron

Talking about pure luck. Getting both these birds in one frame was just that.

Gu I was Watching with called the bigger one a Little Blue - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Guy I was Watching with on the Pier at SSB called the bluish one a Little Blue

And it's true, it was a little bluish, but it was a little, bluish, adult Tricolored Heron, and the one with a red neck was a juvenile Tricolored Heron. Not all my pix of them do particularly well, but these first five are nearly spectacular.

Killdeer Trio on the Far Side of the Sand Bar - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Trio of Killdeer on the Far Side of the Sandbar

That is, the sand bar formerly known as "The Peninsula."

Goose Standing and Sandpipers Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Goose Standing and Sandpipers — if that's what they are — flitting about

After paging twice through Sibley's Guide to Birds, I'm thinking these are likely to be Least Sandpipers. I've seen a lot of them lately, though usually from their other ends.

 

 

Raccoons
in the Dark

September 3 2015 — 53

Six Pairs of Es and Some Ears - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Six Pairs of Eyes and Some Ears, too

And that's only counting Raccoon eyes above the water line. I shot these with the flashlight and knew-they'd-be-coming fore-knowledge of Charles F, who feeds gooses and ducks and owns Roy, the Wonder Dog, plus, I think I used the built-in camera flash. Charles talked about their eyes glowing, but this is many times better than I imagined. He said there are about ten of them, overall.

You can tell I was hand-holding the cam. Wow! Amazed I could focus out on the island, too. I should have brought my tripod — or found that old, really clunky monopod I don't think I've ever used. I was struggling with just two hands and at least three's worth of things to hold, turn, push or aim.

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

Raccoon Kit

The cam would not focus in dark so dark I could barely see to know what to focus on, so I had to find some light to switch it to manual, which worked this time, but not many others.

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

Another Raccoon Kit

Or the same one in much worse light — and focus. I think those yellow blurs next to it must be two eyes filled with flashlight light. Or maybe another kit whose eyes were.

Best of the Worst Focusts - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Raccoon Slinking Off

Best of the Worst Focuses.

Mama Raccoon with Kit - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mama Raccoon with Kit

Probably the second-best shot of the bunch. The best being the first shot of all those eyes on the island.

I've got a lot of cleaning up yet to do after the sheet rocker and pulling things out of their temporary boxes back into my newly-topped rooms, so I shot an awful lot of pix the earliest morning on the last day of that last month — not counting these, however — so I'm dribbling the rest out — while I continue to organize, move furniture and clean house, but I still found time to visit the lake tonight, apparently for raccoons in the dark, although I got a lot of pix of more ducks in one place gobbling food than I've ever seen before.

 

 

A Short Tale of
Great Blue Herons

September 2 2015

GE, GBH, Coot -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Bearing Down on a Great Egret

If there is any possible way I can, when I see a Great Blue Heron, I attempt to photograph it doing whatever it is up to. This one is landing very near a Great Egret and not far from one of the few American Coots still hanging out in Sunset Bay after nearly all the others flew off to wherever coots flew off too last spring.

GBH coming in, GE Walking out, Coot still just there - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron About to Touch down, Great Egret Walking Out and Coot still mostly just there

Until they amass into the hundreds, if not thousands, coots really are mostly just there. When there's a bunch of them, however, they bicker and fight, and walk on water / coot scoot and operate other adventures.

Great Blue Heron wet landed - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron wet landed

This is the image I must have shot the above sequence hoping for.

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

Two Greats

One white Great Egret and one kinda brownish Great Blue Heron. "Great" in these contexts means big. These are the larger of the North American egrets, all of whom are Herons.

GBH flying over Tomb Rock - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron flying over Tomb Rock

I've seen those birds for decades, but this rock, if it is a rock, though it's probably a log, is entirely new too me.

Great Blue Heron in Flight - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron in Flight

This GBH is illuminated by the rising sun, thus the sunrise/sunset colors.

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

Great Blue Heron Stirring It Up

I've seen Little Blue Herons and Snowy Egrets wiggling their foot to indicate to potential prey there's something good-sized in the water maybe worth attacking and eating, so it'll come within beak reach and get got. I assume this is a variation on that same theme, though I hadn't ever seen it before. I'm intrigued that the water surface is interrupted in a way that looks a lot like a cartoonist's view of energized water.

GBH in Classic, lean-back Pose - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron in Classic Lean-back pose as it's Walking Along in Shallow Water

GBHs are just so cool.

Great Blue Heron Take-off -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron in Running Take-off mode

I don't know if this is the same bird. The big black dots are either bugs or more distant birds, not dirt on my lens.

GBH either taking off or landing -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

One of the Last Steps in a Running Take-off

Directly illuminated by the rising sun.

Great Blue Heron Took Off -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Same GBH Having Just Taken Off

This time its color is different, because it is now illuminated by the sky above and not just direct, early-morning sunlight, which is amber..

 

Invisible Yellow-crowns,
Wood Duck, Killdeer
& a short flock of
Stilt Sandpipers

September 1 2015

Juvenile YCNH in the creek - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in the Creek

Every spring into summer there's usually at least one young Yellow-crowned Night Heron bumping around, learning the ropes, what to eat and what to leave alone unless it's really desperate, standing by the creek, ever watchful for something in the water or at the edge to eat. I've actually seen and photographed two sometimes, but this year, there seems to be just this one.

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Looking Back over its Shoulder

I saw this one much earlier in its youth standing beside this same creek — only on this side, staring. A real treat would be to photograph a juvenile with an adult — a family portrait, if you will. Or if they would.

Adult YCNH near Juvenile - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Near the Juvenile

But not close enough to get them both in the same frame, although Eric, who showed me where the juvenile hid in plain sight often, said there might be an adult nearby, and he may have got them close-enough together later. I agree getting them together in one photograph would be neat, but though I have, rarely, seen them together somewhere on the edge of something big and wet, the night-heron adults usually lurk at a distance, ever watchful, but aloof. They've taught their young what they needed teaching, but it may, like just-hatched ducks, be a matter of following a parent to the right place and being let on their own to do what comes naturally.

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Staring Back at me

It never strayed far from where I first saw it.

And it was amazing, to know exactly where it was, but when I'd look down at the camera, then back up, it was as if I'd never seen it at all, so well did it fit in with its extended environment, all a gray scale of mush, invisible to the passing world. A little thing called focus lets us both see it now. Otherwise, everything would just all blend together.

Adult Female Wood Duck Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Wood Duck Flying just before Dawn

If you hadn't noticed already, my head and camera, are often turned by female Woods.

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

Killdeer Flying

I have long history with Killdeer, tracked these ubiquitous birds down, up and down Texas. If I had killdeer-like history with the unknown subjects (unsubs) just below, I'd know them, too. Only to stumble on something much easier.

There were at least three of these - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

There were Three Stilt Sandpipers Flying through Sunset Bay

I looked through four bird I.D books twice-each, but never did I find exactly who these are. They sure look distinctive as Shorebirds, surely, and I found several varieties that almost fit these patterns, colors, tones and configurations, but none that quite did. Despite the text-book configuration of this — and subsequent photographs. So I asked the forum members on Dallas' Audubon's Bird Chat (all free, but ya gotta register) and "Ycmry" ideed these three birds as Stilt Sandpipers, which I don't remember ever seeing before. Nice.

Those Three Same Shorebirds Flying - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Stilt Sandpipers

Flying in each of the usual views afforded by bird-identification books, but they're rarely exactly like their drawn (Sibley) or photographed (Crossley) pictured selves. But if I could find these birds in books, it should be easy, as distinctive as these photographs — in focus yet — are. But alas! no. I passed them up every time, because my pictures are darker than those in books.

These Gusy Again - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Three Stilt Sandpipers a Little Blurrier

It was as if they wanted me to know their names, they came back around together on several occasions, flashing me with their true and truer selves. But drawing a blank I was. While they were whizzing around, I kept at trying to get them in focus, and am surprised I got two [above] out of three.

Duck, Egret, Heron at the Point of Winfrey

Today's birds continue from yester-morn's shoot, way too early starting in the cool of dark, till somewhere past light.

 

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

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