INDEX

Year Ago

^r redraw page often.
June 2016   

The Amateur Birder's Journal - Stories & Photographs by J R Compton
10th Anniversary!

See my First-ever Bird Journal Page from June 2006,
when modems were slow, so pix were small.

I am NOT a bird I.D expert. red diamond The Current Bird Journal is always here.  Cameras Used   Ethics   Feedback red diamond Dallas Audubon Bird Chat forum red diamond Bird Rescue Info red diamond What to do if you find a baby bird.  Herons  Egrets  Heron or Egret?  Bird Books & Links  Pelican Beak Weirdness  Pelicans Playing Catch  Bird Rouses  Courtship Displays  Banding Info  Birding Galveston 2015  & 2013  The 2nd Lower Rio Grande Valley Birds page  & the 1st  Bald Eagles at White Rock red diamond Coyotes red diamond JRCompton.com : resumé  Contact  DallasArtsRevue red diamond So you want to use my photos?  How to Photograph Birds  Birding Places: Bird-annotated Map of White Rock Lake & The Med School Rookery & Village Creek Drying Beds   JUNE's Best Pix : Monk Parakeets on the Beach  Killdeer in the Grass  Three Young Red-shouldred Hawks on a Hunt at Sunset Bay  reverse shot of Red-winged Blackbird Proclaiming  Pigeons Landing & Pigeons Wooing  House Sparrow with big bug  Black-chinned Hummingbird Feeding a Hummingbird  Then same but larger Hummingbirds fed   Scissor-tailed Flycatcher taking off  Mockingbirds Wrestling  Mockingbird flashing  Adult Female Wood Duck in rich color 

235 photos so far this month

Saturday Night Skies To & Around The Lake
posted Sunday Mornin’ June 26 2016

 Swirling Blue & Clouds - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved. 235

Swirling Blue and Clouds

I knew where we were when driving back from looking at art and eating dinner, but I have nearly no idea where we were when the sky began impinging upon our view enough I got the little Pany out and began wide-angling it.

Buttlemilk Vivid into the Setting -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Buttermilk Vivid into the Setting

But this is probably the lake, were skies are often, in the evening, sky-ier and more vivid, just begging for clicks. Later, Anna helped me pick these winners from dozens of awed shots up.

Darker, Muted and an Airplane -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Darker, Muted and an Airplane

Across the lake, a storm of color seemed brewing.

Still Glorious, some stiations ad people -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Still Glorious, Some Striations and People

And this side, looking what must have been west it were vivid and vivider.

Sunset Itself with More Obvious Striations - cpry

More Obvious Striations, Still Buttermilk and Color, color …

We began discussing striations and clumps and color oozing.

Rising Striations and Still Buttermilk - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Rising Striations and Still Buttermilk with Blue

Every direction held its sway.

Lilting Pinks -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Lilting Pinks

Some seemed involved in another sky altogether.

Back the Other Wa There's Dark - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Back the Other Way There's Darkness

And back where we drove from, up the west side of the lake, darkness chased us.

with subtle colors swirling - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

with Subtle Colors Swirling …

In some directions, it got darker and darker with little lilts of warm and windy.

And Odd Remnants of Day - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

… and Odd Remnants of Day

And others, here looking up from the egrets still gathering in the pool at the lowest end of The Spillway there was still bits of the leftover bright.

 

 

It's not like I'm bored with a gazillion Egrets & Herons, yet…
But these lovely parakeets showed up and posed for me,
so I photographed them & posted these Friday June 24 2016

 Low-flying Parakeet - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Low-Flying Parakeets

I could go on and on photographing the egrets and everybody air-balleting and flying and landing with the sun in their wings and all those visual clichés — and in fact I did, ever hoping they wouldn't go away for another couple days. Hoping that the Fish Kill would go on and on. But I'm not showing you any more of those photos today.

Green Landing & Standing Monk Parakeets - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green Landing and Standing Monk Parakeets

Today, I'm showing you parakeets way up-closer than I have in a long, long time. They and I pretty much coincided at My Favorite Boat Dock, where I and The Slider settled in while green Monk Parakeets flew in and out of my field of view. Sometimes they just stood around, sometimes they cozied up, sometimes it looked like they might fight.

Monk Parakeet Splah-Bathing - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Monk Parakeet Splash-Bathing in the Pond

A few even splash-bathed, which I think is the favorite purpose of small birds I've seen there in the last few years. I've seen House Sparrows and grackles and starlings and even a Male Red-winged Blackbird doing that there.

The Parakeet & THE Dove -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Parakeet & The Dove

Nice for various species to come join our little party on the beach.

Green Monk Parakeet Profile -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Green, Monk Parakeet Profile

I've heard and read them called "Green Monk Parakeets," but their proper species title is Monk Parakeet — Myiopsitta monachus, although they are mostly green. They came from South America, but have since spread to temperate regions almost everywhere on this planet.

Three Prakeets - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Originally Titled Three-parakeet Tiff …

But I really don't know if they were fighting or just having fun. They like to be noisy, and it's not easy to tell.

Couple of 'Keets tanding On The Beach - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Couple of 'Keets Standing on the Beach

It's rare enough I go to see the parakeets anymore. They're usually way far away. So very nice to have me park The Slider up the hill, and have them come in and visit and pose for me for awhile. Thanks, guys.

Monk Parakeets Landing -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Monk Parakeets Landing

I have a bunch more Fish Kill Week photos that I can work up for say … Monday or Tuesday, so stay tuned.

 

Interesting link: How to Photograph Birds in Flight by Thom Hogan

 

 

A Great Gathering of Egrets and Herons & Ducks & Other Birds
photographed Wednesday & posted late Thursday June 23, 2016

dah do - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

3 Great Blue Herons, 2 Little Blue Herons and Bunch of Egrets

Great Blue Herons, as a rule, don't hang out together much, except twice a year, in my limited experience. One of those must be their mating season, and I don't know what the other time is about. But Little Blue Herons do, and certainly Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets do. Some birds are social. Some not so much. But this apparently was a great excuse for everybody getting together. Ben says he even saw some Tricolored Herons. I'm sorry I missed that.

Great Egret Landing Under the Frothing Dam -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved. 216

Great Egret Landing Under the Frothing Dam

According to The USGS, "Many, but not all, fish kills in the summer result from low concentrations of dissolved oxygen in the water. Fish, like all other complex life forms, need oxygen to survive. They get theirs in the form of oxygen gas dissolved in the water." I wonder, because I saw fish flapping and trying to get away from some ducks, and the egrets I saw catching fish did that with their usual dart-forward-and-spear fish-bodies techniques. They weren't just picking up dead ones out of the water.

There's more and more specific information from Refidnasb on Dallas Audubon's Bird Chat forum (free to visit, but you have to register — also free — to post or respond).

Snowy Egret Landing - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret Landing

I visited The Spillway four times yesterday, utterly exhausting myself, but every time I went I found something new to photograph. Most interesting was more bird species. Overall, I shot more than 700 images. So I'll be much more careful with today's selections, and I'll probably go back through yesterday's and delete some of the less-than pix there.

Great Egret Over Birders on the Far Side - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret over some Birders on the Far Side

Sometimes putting these images in strict chronological order helps make them make sense. Sometimes there's nothing we can do about that. This time — except two shots — it was just most convenient.

BCNH with Large Snake -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Black-crowned Night Heron with Large Snake

In the next pic in this series but not seen here, the snake crawls over the left edge and down into the foam, and in the one after that, it disappears entirely. So yes, it was definitely a live one — and it looks like it's been eating its fill.

Great Egret Past the Grafitti Wall - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Past the Graffiti Wall

I love photographing birds flying close.

Overcrowding Leads to -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Overcrowding Leads to

Challenges. And challenges lead to …

Battles -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

… Battles

Though never any blood, the battles appear fierce — and elegant.

Aerial Battle - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Aerial Battle

They look a lot like avian ballet.

And More -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

And More Aerial Battle

The few battles I saw were quick to start …

Twent Three Egrets - cpyr

Twenty-three Egrets and Four Ducks

And quick to finish.

chase

Great Egret Chasing a Snowy Egret

If it were a real fight, the Great would win, wings down. But it's all for show, thought some lessons may be learned.

The Falls - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Falls …

… are at the bottom end of the Upper Spillway. But there's more than one falls. They transition from the flat spillway above, down over lots of rocky places.

Cattle Egret Landing - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Cattle Egret Landing

Neither Cattle Egrets nor Little Blue Herons were present the first day or evening.

Great Egret and Little Blue Heron - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret and Little Blue Heron

The light and dark of it. Check out my Herons  and Egrets pages for much more info, including pix of young at various ages.

Leave It To a LBH to Catch a Real Fish - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Leave It To a Little Blue Heron to Catch a Real Live — and Big Fish

Everybody's gathered to eat the tiny little shad, but Little Blue Herons are not conformists.

Snowy Egret with a Do - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret with a Do
 

Great Egret vs. Great Egret - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret vs. Great Egret

I didn't see the transgression which impelled these two into this battle …

Great Egret vs. Great Egret - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret vs. Great Egret

… but we can assume it had either to do with a place to stand to fish or a fish.

Great Egret vs. Great Egret - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret vs. Great Egret

Although it's always possible that these two birds have seriously disliked each other for a long, long time., and this was just the latest opportunity to express their antipathy.

Egret Fight - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

I Assume These are still the Same Two Egrets Going At It

Sometimes egrets just challenge and thrust and leave the area. Others keep going at it and at it till they're about to drop.

But Ya Never Know - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

But Ya Never Know

The duck seems surprised, but surely it's been watching what was going on directly in its way.

Great Egret in the Calmed Pool -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret in the Calmed Pool

Water furiously splashing down the rocks, and this Great Egret just calmly standing there staring up into space. I know the feeling.

Dead Shad Floating - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Dead Shad Floating

I did not see any dead fish until late the second day of this  "Fish Kill." I did see a lot of very large fish, especially in the shallows at the bottom of the Middle Spillway. Somebody I spoke with briefly asked me if I'd seen the gold ones. I did not see any giant gold fish this trip. But over the years, I have seen many of those giant, glittering fish.

Three Cattle Egrets on Rock Islan -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Three Cattle Egrets on Rock Island

At this point I was near exhaustion, way too hot and had spent enough silicon — and worse yet, shutter executions — I just wanted to go back to The Slider's AC. But first, a couple of fem gracks:

Female Grackles with a Dead Fish -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Female Grackles with a Dead Fish

What I saw was dark birds with a flash of white I assumed was a lump of bread. As we can see here — and I couldn't see then, this is a fish. Perhaps one of those notorious deceased shad. I'm very curious how long this fish has been dead. Did it die a couple days ago, but all these birds gathered to eat what was left of it? Or was it alive when this grackle got it? As too often, I just don't know. But they were in a hurry to leave, so I had to click quick.

Portrait of a Black-crowned Night-Heron -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Portrait of a Black-crowned Night Heron

This bird was standing on the tree that's lately got stuck on top of the Lower Steps as the lake water went over that slight impediment and rushed off through the municipal golf course.

 

 

Egrets, GBHs and Other Birds on the Spillway Today
shot & posted Wednesday, June 22, 2016

 Great Egret Lands by Snowy Egret on the Middle Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Lands by Snowy Egret Along the Upper Spillway

I saw a lot of egrets along the Upper and Middle Spillway as I drove west this blazing hot afternoon. While I was working these images up, I got an email from Kala King explaining, "There has been a fish kill of the Little Silver Shad. Which means that there are lots of egrets and herons and big fish and turtles and other Predators chowing down."

Egret Landing Among Egrets on the Upper Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Landing Among Egrets on the Upper Spillway

I suspect there were many more fish earlier.

Egrets and Crows with one Crow with a Fish - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Egrets and Crows — including One Crow with a Fish in its Beak

They all seem to be waiting for whatever happens next.

V-wing Great Egret Flying Over Middle Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Flying Over Middle Spillway

Great opportunity to see big white birds flying thither and yon.

Great Egret Flies by a Little Waterfall - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Past a Little Waterfall on the Middle Spillway

Lots of little and large places for water to fall subtly and spectacularly along The Spillway.

Great Egret Landing by Two Ducks - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Landing by Two dark Ducks

I'm curious what kind of ducks these are. Don't quite look like mallards…

Great Egret Lands Among Egrets and Crows -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Lands Among Egrets and Crows

American Crows, Three Great Egrets and one Snowy Egret at the bottom left.

Great Egret Landing into the Blue of the Upper Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Landing in the Shallow Blues of the Upper Spillway

Lots of egret elegance all along the Upper, Middle and Lower Spillway today.

Snowy Egret Landing with Egrets - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret Landing Among Great Egrets

Note the small, stripey bird at the upper right corner. I assumed it were a Killdeer, then I thought maybe not.

Maybe Not a Killdeer - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Doesn't Really Look Altogether Like a Killdeer

Well, like one maybe, but not exactly like one. The placements of the patterns seem wrong.

Great Egrets On and Almost In The Spill of the Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egrets — On and Almost In the Spill of the Spillway

Why it's called The Spillway, and one of my favorite scenes to photograph over the last ten years of photographing the birds at White Rock Lake. The white things in the lake behind are not birds. They are floats. See below.

Great Egrets Around a Pond on the Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egrets Around a Pond on the Middle Spillway

The Spillway spills water down a mostly flat but inclined concrete platform. Then the water swirls and spills into a rougher rock course that stays inclined, so the water then spills through an area before Egret Island's trees interfere by splitting the water around that island, then the streams of water again rejoins below Egret Island into the Lower Pond and the Lower Steps, after which it flows under the Walking Bridge, then the garland Road auto bridge, then east toward the Municipal Golf Course and its many little waterfalls and off toward I-30 and beyond.

Great Egret Flyover - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Flyover

The bones in its upper wing seem especially dark because this egret is illuminated through its body from the sun.

Great Egret Landing on the Top of the Lower Steps - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Landing on Top of The Lower Steps

And I'm headed down the concretized hill toward my air-conditioned car.

 

 

Cool, Blue Sky Pix on a HOT Tuesday Afternoon
shot & posted Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Great Blue Heron in the Pool Over the Lower Steps - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Fishing in the Pool Over the Lower Steps

I hadn't really noticed the fence in the upper background when I was shooting, although I may have acquired the habit of framing images over the fifty-plus years I've been making photographs, but it was a surprise to see the shadow of it contrasting all the horizontal ripples in this pool.

GBH Catching Yet Another Fish in the pool - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Catching Yet Another Fish in that Pool

It kept catching fish. I only watched it maybe five or so minutes, but it caught at least five fish in that time — maybe twice that.

Slightly Different Exposure - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Slightly Different "Exposure"

This is me playing with the framing in post-production in an elderly version of Photoshop that I bought outright before they started charging by the minute to use their precious software that this is so much better than, because I can still operate it. All today's shots were with the same cam and lens, just cropped differently.

Same GBH, Same Distance, Same Exposure - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Same Great Blue Heron in the Same Pool with Slightly Different Print Exposure

This time I just wanted to make that splash stand out. It was fine with me if the bird went into near silhouette and if the blue of the sky nearly took over the photograph. I was having fun, and this is what I did.

Pigeon On A Fence - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pigeon On A Fence

This is the start of another series, only I didn't know it, and instead of fooling around with the print exposure, I just rendered it as well as I could as I watched and clicked.

Pigeon Partially Inverting - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pigeon Partially Inverting

Obviously, it's not really inverting. It's just getting into an elaborate rouse I didn't see coming.

Partial Pigeon Rouse - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Partial Pigeon Rouse

Everything is puffing up.

Deeper into a Pigeon Rous - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Deeper Into a Pigeon Rouse.

Not hardly no partial about it anymore. This is a full-fledged pigeon rouse.

Inflated Pigeon Perched - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Inflated Pigeon Perched on a Fence

Comfy in its inflated condition, the pigeon rests. It was blazing hot today, and I bet a puffed-out pigeon is cooler than one who's not.

Shooting Up into the Middle Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Shooting Up into the Middle Spillway from the Other End of the Fence the Pigeon was on

About all I was really trying to do here was get as many egrets in the same picture and at least apparently in focus as I could. There's a duck and some other birds toward the upper middle of the pic, too. If my telephoto lens were a wide-angle, we could probably see the dam way up from the top of this image and the sky above that, but we got that blue sky here reflected, instead.

 

 

Rounding Up Some Previously Shot Bird Pix
posted Monday, June 20, 2016

Killdeer in Deep Grass - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Killdeer in Deep Grass

I think it was pulling the old, I am injured, please follow me away from my nest routine before I got my car in just the right position to photograph this bird barely peeking out from the tall grass along the road leading into the Old Boathouse area. At least it was holding its wing peculiarly. But by the time I got The Slider backed into the right position to photograph it, it was just squatting low in the tall green grass.

Killdeer Up to Sitting in the Grass - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Killdeer Up to Sitting in the Grass

Then, gradually, it rose to sitting position.

Killdeer Sthanding Up out of the Grass - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Same Killdeer Standing Up Tall in the Same Grass

And finally, stood there, looking all handsome and aloof.

Boat-tailed Mallard very near the Lake - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Boat-tailed Mallard very Near the Lake

I am often fascinated with the various ways birds hold their feathers, and the boat-tailed look is one of those.

 

 

Those Same Young Red-shouldered Hawks
On an Early & Largely Unsuccessful Hunt
shot & posted Friday, June 17, 2016

 First Sighting - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

First Sighting at the Edge of Sunset Bay

I generally refer to the whole ecological miasmas, including land, trees, animals, birds, buildings, parking lots and even humans as Sunset Bay, but here I am referring to the water mass after which the neighborhood is named. I went to Sunset Bay this morning to photograph birds, but for awhile I didn't think I'd find anything but the usuals [below], which I love — don't get me wrong — but I was longing for something a little different. Just then, in my moment of doubt, in flew two, birds screaming loud and often, one on either side of the road.

Downy Young to Screaming Teenagers: The story of these Red-shouldered Hawks
growing up is captured in a series of photos on these Bird Journal Pages: 
March 18  April 19  May 10  May 24  and today, out on one of their first hunts.
  

Another Hawk - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Another Hawk Squawking Loudly

All three of the hawks I saw today screeched loudly, high-pitched and near constantly. I don't think they were trying to scare anybody, and Eric and I conjectured aloud that they must have really wanted the parental units to come feed them. I assume this morning's trip was an attempt by the parents to push the kits kicking, biting and, yes, screaming into the notion of catching their own food and eating it.

If so, it did not work. Not this time anyway.

Main Crow Guard-dog - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Main Crow Guard-dog

There were at least four, fairly prominent adult American Crows who had appointed themselves the Saviors of Sunset Bay from the scourges of young hawks. It's a role they often adapt against a variety of territory interlopers, and they're used to winning. This morning, mostly, they were just loud, and I never saw even one of them actually engage any hawk or hawklets in any way. Crows are smart, and three hawks at once may be too many to deal with. And I assume there were some parental hawks around, also.

Hawk Looking Down from High Up -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Hawk Looking Down from High Up

Sometimes, the hawks didn't seem to mind perching close. Other times they seemed determined to park far. I like close better, because then I get to show you details. Since this caption is, so far, rather short, here might be a good place to post that Eric and I both believed that these were the young Red-shouldered Hawks from the nest that was not so far away that I have followed since March of 2016. Here are all the links to these hawks so far:

Up the Hill on a Branch -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Up the Hill, on a Branch and Finally Out in the Sun

Often they perched in shade, so them coming out into the sunlight was especially rewarding. Besides having more light than most of today's hawk shots, this has the most real colors.

Every Time I Thought I Had Finally - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Every Time I Though I Had Finally …

Caught up with them doing something active, they did something else active and flew away.

Voted Most Likely to Be Eaten by a Hawk - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Voted Most Likely to Be Eaten by a Hawk

I didn't get a photo of it, either because the hawks were moving too fast, or they were never there, really, but I saw all the pigeons down on Sunset Beach first bunch up very close to each other, then suddenly disperse altogether up the creek where I could no longer see them. I wish I were fast enough on the uptake to capture a hawk flying low into that crowd of pigeons and coots. But I never saw them there, so I have no photo proof it even happened.

Never Quite Ready to Commit to Chasing and Catching - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Never Quite Ready to Chase and Catch Food

I've noticed that in today's photographs, they seem to change colors often, but I suspect that has more to do with exposure and lighting that actual bird colors. And there were, according to Eric — I only ever saw two at any one time, but my eyes aren't that good, and he often helped me find them when they were hidden among the shadows. When they appear bright and blondish, I could see them. When they were dark and blending into the trees, it often took awhile before I could see them.

Hawklet Staring Down at Me - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Hawklet Staring Down (at me, I assume)

But then humans are generally species-specific about these things, and it might well have been staring down at Eric or a mouse in a field behind us.

Hawklet Profile with Sun -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Hawklet Profile with Sun

Luckily, my camera has a variety of focus shapes and sizes to utilize, and often today, to get past focusing on three parts instead of bird parts, I employed the pinpoint focus. To great success. Sometimes.

Busy Looking and Sounding Fierce - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Busy Looking and Sounding Fierce

Or else calling its parental unit to come feed it. I did not see the hawks all the time, since they were crisscrossing the lakeside areas of Sunset Circle, but they never, in my sight, at least, acted very fierce. I saw pigeons scatter, a couple times, but I never once saw a hawk chase or catch anything, and I really wanted them to. I figure it's all a big lesson, and that eventually, they will catch on.

 

 

The Amazing Very Slowly Exploding Milkweed Plant
posted June 16, 2016

The Amazing Exploding Plant - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Amazing Exploding Milkweed with Milkweed Bugs

I was looking for birds when I saw these along the side of the road. I was amazed at this first one, clicked it a couple times, then drove down the road a little more. Kala says those are Milkweed bugs in the pic above. I saw them — red and black bugs are hard to miss — but only now know who they were.

Apparently, to us who watch closely, are widely distributed at the lake and around Dallas — here in The Tropics. I was mainly attracted, because they looked like they were exploding, but it helped that they were beautiful..

 Exploding Plant Part Two - cprPhotograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Exploding Plant 2

And found this. I'm sure somebody out there knows (Kala King did.) what this is, but I like it. I like it. Ka-blooey in very slo-mo.

 Early Milkweed by Kala King

Early Milkweed Form that Kala calls "the flowers
that came before the seed pod a few weeks ago."

The form shown in this Kala King photo probably has more to do with it being called Milkweed.

 

Cornell Labs' Great Egrets During
Nesting Season
vid is informative.

 

 

Pigeons Flying & Courting + Flowers and Squiggly Lines
posted late June 15 2016

 As The Cardinal Twists - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved. 146

As the Cardinal Twists

The day began with a walk, and since I was carrying my big, heavy camera with my big, heavy lens, I took pictures along the way, mostly — but not always — of birds. Up, …

Female Great-tailed Grackle Strutting -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Female Great-tailed Grackle

down … or wherever.

Honeysuckle - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Honeysuckle

Makes my mouth water. Used to borrow these flowers from neighbors' over-the-fence distribution points and suck on them awhile. I remember the flavors, but I no longer partake.

Biker, Biker Bike Bag and Bike - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Bicyclist, Biker Bike Bag and Bike

Big guy, big bike, little backpack, little helmet. Keys dangling out of reach.

Follow the Bouncing Yellow Line - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Follow the Bouncing Yellow Line

This is on top of the dam. I quickly tired of being on a so-called path (It was concrete, and worse, it was completely surrounded by thick un-deciduous trees, so I could see the path and the trees, and all the other people on the path, but nothing beyond that, including darn few birds. So, soon as I could, I departed that 'path' and lit out for places I could see for miles and miles, like the top of the dam. Not exactly sure why a dam top needs a dotted yellow line, but at least it's not straight.

Tree Thumps Caught on the Dam - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Tree Thumps Caught on the Dam

And the bottom of the dam. And around the corner to the right, past those plants, was The Spillway.

Upper Spillway Splashing - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Upper Spillway Splashing

Every once in a while, the already rough surface of The Upper Spillway (below the dam) were these outcropping of water splashing.
 

And These are from Later that Day

The Proclaimer - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Proclaimer

I've photographed Red-winged Blackbirds for ten years now, gradually getting better at catching them with beak open and red/yellow epaulets rising off their shoulders, nice to get a rich black reverse shot of one for a change. No eyes to focus on instead of the bird, per universally-accepted insipidity. Gorgeous reds and yellows and blacks. All my dozens and dozens of RWBB pix led up to this — and went nowhere. New photogs often disclose that they only get a small percentage of good shots. Rest easy, we all have that same experience.

First, The Mockingbird, Then … -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

First, The Mockingbird, Then …

Or I think it is a Mocker. But Mockingbirds aren't usually yellow, so who knows. The next day, driving down the same path I saw a Northern Mockingbird that looked about as yellow as this one. I think this one has Mockingbird Eyes.

Blue Jay - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Blue Jay

Then this guy just flew right in, and the Yellow Mock flew away as if all in one continuous motion. I've seen Great Egrets and Great Egrets, and Great Blue Herons do the same thing on different perches. Must be a Bird World Law of Physics.

All I Know for Sure is that it Catches Flies - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

If I had to guess, I'd call it a Western Kingbird

But all I know for pretty much certain is that it catches flies — or it wouldn't have those fine filigrees of feathers out front around its beak, not unlike a cow-catcher on the front of old-fashioned steam engines.

Many Barnswallows from Across the Parking Lot - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Many Barns Swallows from Across the Parking Lot

Barnswallows on a Wire - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Barnswallow on a Wire — Close Up

Shooting almost straight up at the high line full of Barnswallows. This shot, like everything down from "The Proclaimer" [above] was shot on my 300mm lens without my usual 1.7X extender. So it's just 300, not 500 mm, and it's noticeably sharper. Wish I could get all my birds to come a little closer.

More Barnsallowers on a Line - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

More Barnswallows on that same Line

Love the fly-away spread of single feathers on the one on the left.

Who That? -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Female Eastern Kingbird

I assumed it were a swallow when I aimed the Blunderbuss nearly straight up at it, and didn't give it another thought till it came up in post-production. Then, I just was not sure, at all. But Kala King says it looks like a female Eastern Bluebird — and I believe it, which is a big surprise.

I've been searching and searching for any bluebirds lately in the places I've seen them often before, and they're just not there. Or I couldn't find them. How delightful a surprise to have this one show up on the cable behind the Winfrey Building I drive up under almost every day of my life. Nice. Thanks, Kala.
 

Pigeons Flying

Pigeon Landing A -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pigeon Landing - A

I stood there under a tree very near the edge of Sunset Beach watching and attempting to photograph pigeons for more than an hour.

Pigeon Landing - B -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pigeon Landing - B

What I hoped to attain was photographs of pigeons flying. What I mostly got was photographs of pigeons landing. There's still an elegance in them, but when they flew from one of three landing areas around Sunset Bay — the beach, the hill in front of what used to be the restaurant and a ways west of the path to the Pier at Sunset Bay — flying to one or the other from one or the others, it was always a puzzle which way they'd fly and what tack they'd take on coming in for final approaches.

Eventually, after watching the whole swirl awhile, I figured out if I just waited, I'd eventually see a lot of pigeons coming in, but I was never sure I'd get to follow them in, so my cam could catch focus up to them, and mostly I did not. But a couple of them worked just right.

Pigeon Coming In -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Pigeon Flying In and Preparing to Land

This one is almost perfectly exposed. The next two, however, are not. I was experimenting … which is always a tedious and/or fun endeavor. Waiting, waiting, waiting, then hope for a few wildly gyrating seconds, then I could always photograph them on the ground.

Same Pigoen  in Express Mode - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Same Pigeon A Little Closer to the Ground

And darker, because I thought it needed darker. Unfortunately, where it needed darker the most was in its bright white wings, where it least wanted to go.
 

Pigeons Courtship

Especially Taken - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Especially Taken

Apparently, I was not the only one on Sunset Beach who was especially taken by this mostly white pigeon. I didn't know it was a she, but the guy on the right was certainly aware. The whitish one was not, however, taken with him. So he continued his tail-dragging quest.

But He Kept Trying - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

But He Kept Trying

Note their comparative ultraviolet colorings here. His is at attention. She, not so much. Yet. But she's looking back at him, and she's not fast-walking away like every other female he's done his dance for.

Tail Dragging - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Tal-dragging Pigeon

Tail-dragging is a major sign of interest by male to female. In addition, this and other pigeons on the make, tend to turn in tight circles.

Til Still Dragging, Standing Upright, Chest Expanding upward - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Tail Still Dragging, Standing very Tall, Chest Expanding upward and out

Looking large and strong seems to be a common attractant for various species of birds and animals and people. Not a position pigeons seem to want to hold for long, but for jus this long, it seems to have its allure.

Walking Along Necking and Glowing Purple - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Walking Along 'Necking' and Both are Glowing Purple

Bodies are separate, but there is that beak in the neck and back-of-head feathers that she doesn't seem to mind.

I Must Have Missed the Quick Moment of Mounting -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

I Might Have Missed the Super-quick Moment of Mounting

Bodies are not just aligned, they are in very close contact. Most birds sex quickly. Blink and you missed it. I might have blinked, but I wonder whether I caught it and don't recognize it. There's something pinkish tan in under there that seems to be connected.

Colors Fading, Bodies Separate - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Colors Fading, Bodies Separate, Flap to Relieve Tension

And that's it, as far as I could see or photograph.

Red Spider and Net - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Red Spider

Oh, and can you tell how much sharper my lens is without that pesky 1.7X teleXtender?

   

  

Walking & Photographing through The Big Thicket
posted June 14 2016

 View Up the Hill toward Buckner Boulevard -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

View Up toward Buckner Boulevard

We started at Big Thicket Loop then walked up to about where the path crosses the road again, not far from where the boat-rentals are lately gone from, Thank God. And took pix going both ways, but as often here, these images are presented in chronological, but not geographical,l order. It's a pretty place we don't often go to photograph but we like the drive that ends in a loop that, instead of following the path through the barricades, toward the Bath House Cultural Center, loops us back down the road again to the Mockingbird Bridges (Walking and Driving).

Red-bellied Woodpecker high in a tree showing tongue - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Red-bellied Woodpecker Branch-framed High in a Tree Showing Tongue

Way high, and I was hand-holding The Blunderbuss, because I can deal with the large, sorta complicated tripod, when I'm walking. So the fact that I captured that slight protrusion from its beak above and got the rest of the bird, but not the tree, is pretty amazing, especially tilted back as I was to even see it.

Adult Red-bellied Woodpecker Profile -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Red-bellied Woodpecker Profile

When it finally turned a neat profile, it was no longer framed by the intervening branches that I barely notice when photographing but turn pretty obvious, even when this out of focus, in the resulting photograph.

Red Boat with Green Blanket -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Red Boat with Green and Red Tarps

Sailboat owners must be among the best appreciators of wild color.

Corinthian Sailing Club with Airplane in the Sk - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Corinthian Sailing Club with Airplane in the Sky

Surrounded by vegetation, from this view, at least, this looks like a quiet gentle place, which it mostly is.

Adult Western Kingbird — a Flycatcher by Trade - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Eastern Kingbird — a Flycatcher by Trade

I waited and waited for it to turn around and face my way, but it did not. Note the hair-like feathers over its nose that are used to capture flying insects, which is why this bird and many of its cousins are called Flycatchers. These tiny feathers can be seen in the next two images below, if you look carefully.

Adult Western Kingbird in the Bongbong Tree - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Western Kingbird in the Bonbon Tree

Of course, that's not the tree's real name. It's all I could think of to call it — with all those big green fruits hanging — and it doesn't look like any of the crab-apple trees I saw online.

Adult Western Kingbird with a Caterpillar in its Beak -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Western Kingbird with a Bug (maybe a caterpillar) in its Beak

It could be any number of other bugs, though, and this angle doesn't clarify anything much. But catching bugs, after all, is what Flycatchers do.

Mallard Drake Preening in the Morning Sun - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mallard Drake Preening in the Morning Sun

We don't often get to see their gray fuzzies on the side like this.

Mallard Drake Flapping -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

That Same Mallard Drake Flapping

He's in focus, just his wings are flapping too fast to be rendered sharp.

All-American Sailboats - cpr

All-American Sailboats

Or something like that. This is Texas.

Great-tailed Grackle Reminds us to Lock and Take - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Male Great-tailed Grackle Reminds Us to Lock our Car and Take our Keys

Many people despise Grackles, and some shoot to kill them. I like them, because they are amazing in so many ways. I've seen several sets of males fighting lately, but I've not got them at it especially in the air.

Killdeer on the Rocks in the Shadows - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Killdeer On The Rocks in the Shadows

The shade that extends up and back above its head is blue because the sun doesn't shine on it, only the blue sky. The sunshine begins near the top of the photo.

Trouble with Silhouetting Dragonfly - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Trouble with Partly Silhouetting a Dragonfly …

The trouble with silhouetting a dragonfly against the bright blue water and sky is that it renders its body much more difficult to identify, although those brown-gold spots on its wings should be the dead giveaway. But I couldn't find it in my National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects & Spiders, which is organized by colors. I'm just amazed that I got this bug this sharp and action-stopped. It was my third try clicking at it with a 500mm lens.

This dragonfly looks a lot like the Skimmer, Celithemis elisa, which has those very brown spots at mid and end of wings, plus more toward its body that are not here, so it could be a female or something entirely different. I didn't choose a specific dragonfly. I took what I could get, which may be my working procedure for birds as well. See Google Images for Celithemis elisa.

The Other ide and the Skyline in the Distance - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Other Side and parts of the Dallas Skyline in the Distance

What many people do not realize from looking at all my photographs of White Rock Lake is that this body of water is wholly inside the the city of Dallas City Limits. Way inside, in fact. It is often described as the largest Lake & Park inside the city limit of any city in the U.S. People get carried away with their ONLYs sometimes, and I can't prove it, but it's an utterly wonderful place to photograph birds that is within spitting distance of downtown, as well a entirely within the city limits.

Sailoboats - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Sailboats with Masts and Ropes Clinking in the Breeze

This is probably also the Corinthian Sailboat Club. Its my favorite club to photograph.

Nutria

Nutria (Coypu) Swims Past the Reeds
But I missed the Green Heron

I'd much rather photograph a Green Heron than a Nutria any day, since I, like many others, consider the Coypu to be big rats — albeit a River Rat, and while I hold not disgust at these amazing animals, I'd still rather have got good pix of the Green Heron that preceded it by only a few seconds but stayed below the line of the reeds. Alas!

Wood Duck Mom and of 7 kits - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Wood Duck Hen with Three of Seven Young

We call these kits who are out swimming and finding their own food — under the careful tutelage of the mom. I think I should not be calling adult females with kits "Mom," but I can't remember why not — especially when that description is so apt and communicative.

Blue, White and Red inthe Gentle Blue - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Blue, White and Red in the Gentle Blue

Just sitting out there well off from shore.

Lining It Up at the Corinthian Club -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Lining it Up at the Corinthian Club

Then I took another click or five at that Red-bellied Woodpecker still up in that same tree, but none of the newer shots were as good as the ones I'd already exposed.

 

 

Bird Abstractions on the Slants under the Bridges
posted June 12 2016

Pigeons Vs. GBH - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved. 99

Great Blue Heron with the Subtle Advance of Pigeons

At least it's what seems to this Great Blue Heron — that these uppity pigeons who have invaded its territory to — well, apparently, drink some water — or cool their much smaller feet. But they might be after the fishies that dwell in that precious water this Great Blue Heron is guarding, because …

Pigeons Defy Great Blue Heron - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Pigeons Defy Great Blue Heron

When he spots their infiltrators, he …

Chases Them All Away - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Chases Them All Away

How dare they enter his realm?

Hunkered GBH with Reflection - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Hunkered Great Blue Heron with Reflection

I turn and return and re-return to this amazing place so often, just because in this season, at least, there's such wonderful birds gathered up and down its length to photograph in so many positions, poses and contradictions.

Abstraction with Slant Under Walking and Driving Bridges -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron with Slant Under Bridges Abstraction

Maybe it's too easy.

GBH on top shelf of lower steps -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron on Top Step of the Lower Steps

But it's such an interesting place of odd and repeating abstractions brought to us from the minds and souls of civil engineers and the birds who enter those spaces.

When I Shot These, I Never Once Thought of them as a Series -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

While I Was Shooting These, I Never Once Considered These a Series

I was just trying to get interesting images under the bridges, and it really wasn't this shot that convinced me it was. I did notice it was a sip.

GBH Abstraction and Hearty Swallow - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Tilt Back and Swallow

And this was the subsequent swallow. Perfect in profile. Probably my favorite bird yet, although I still love grackles and mockers and so many others.

GBH Abstraction Looks Away - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Abstraction Looks Away

No telling what it saw or heard or felt or why it turned that way. If I wait, they often do. Birds on wires, birds on the edges of The Lower Stairs, almost always, if I wait, turn to show me their elegances. Click, because I've been waiting.

A Lot of People Just Cannot Let a Snake Lie -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

It's on the sidewalk; I assumed some idiot human or bikler murdered this snake

Lotta people just can't leave sleeping snakes lie. Even though snakes do more good than we do.

Meanwhile The Pigeons - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Meanwhile, The Pigeons Come Back without a Clue What to Do

With no Great Blue Heron to scare them away from their moments in the cool water. If you are as curious as I was when I saw this image what exactly pigeons love to eat, check out this forum on Pigeon Talk.

Geat Egret Catches One of a Long Seeis of Fishes -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Catches One of a Long Series of Fishes

Meanwhile, Great Egrets and …

While Snowies Catch Fish After Fish After Fish -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

While the Snowies Catch Fish After Fish After Fish

Snowy Egrets busied themselves catching fresh fish.

Very Large Fish in the Middle Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Very Large Fish Swimming in the Shallow Water on the Dam Side of Egret Island

I moved around at the fence that parallels Garland Road on the road side of the middle spillway, where there's a gulf of mud between the concretes. I don't know much about fish, but no birds were attempting to catch these guys, who are probably bigger than any throat around.

Mouse Remnants on the Sidewalk -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mouse Remnants on the Sidewalk
 

The Lower Steps from Higher Up - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Lower Steps from Higher UP

On the eastern side of The Walking Bridge (that's parallel to the Garland Road vehicle bridge), then down the bit of grassy hill, there's a fence that's easy to lean arms and cameras on, to hold them steady with smaller apertures that give photographers greater depth of field, including most of the birds along the upper step here.  There used to be a fraction rule about where in a long line of something, one can focus upon, to get the most birds sharp. I have here attempted a corollary theory to get all my birds in a row sharp. But the farthest Great Egret escaped it.

Snowy and the Sluice - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret and The Sluice

Big yellow feet, black legs, the remnant of nuptial plumes on its head and tail and water sluicing down the steps.

Pigeon on

Pigeon on Fence

Looking down at water moving and the spillway wall behind.

Cattle Egret Standing There - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Cattle Egret Standing on Rock Island

I keep being surprised to see Cattle Egrets around the lake or flying over it this season. It never lasts, although they are often in plain sight in fields of cows along our highways.

Snowies & XXXs standing Up while Cattle Egrets Reflect Upside Down -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowies and a Cormorant Stand While Cattle Egret Reflections Hang Upside Down

Until this time I hadn't really noticed many interesting birds on the little rock island that appeared this side of the Lower Steps a few months ago — although my understanding of how time teeters, pitches and yaws, stretches and retracts — gaes aft askew.

Then the Cattle Egrets Fl Away - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Then The Cattle Egrets Fly Away

I'd just barely got my first shots of them standing, when they began flying away. This first shot has that Great Egret and this Snowy, but the background isn't very exciting.

Cattle Eegs Awa - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Cattle Eegs Away

But let them fly a few seconds farther and the down-shadow of the Walking Bridge over slants and frames and settles them and their reflections down.

Two Greats and a Barn Swallow -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Greats and a Barn Swallow

I never saw the swallow. It's a happy happenstance to balance out my composition. And in a pretty fair dinkum of focus, too — a minor miracle.

GBH with Coots and Ducks Under the Bridges - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Herons with Coots and Ducks Under the Bridges

When I first saw this image playing in on my computer screen, I thought those dark lumps were pigeons and imagined such a fortuitous ending for my series.

 

 

Here are those same Black-chinned Hummingbirds at two-weeks-old.
Plus, Bill J. Boyd's shot of Nine Black-bellied Whistling Ducklings
Posted June 10 2016

Black-chinned Hummingbirds Ready to be Fed - copyright 2016 Bill J. Boyd - All Rights Reserved75

Two-Week-Old Black-chinned Hummingbirds Fed by Adult Female — amazing.

I moved Boyd's original photo of this same female feeding her then, four-day-old hummingbird [below] , so I can keep them together. Difficult to say which pic is more amazing, the younger birds below or these spectacular ones here.

Bill J Boyd - Hummingbird

Four-day-old Black-chinned Hummingbird Being Fed
Photo by Bill J Boyd of Austin, Texas

Boyd wrote: I have been watching a hummingbird nest for the last two-weeks at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, where I volunteer.. We watched the nest being built out of lichen and held together with spider webs. Last week I saw one of the baby hummingbirds being fed (there are two in nest) and just wanted to share with you. BTW, a hummingbird egg is the size of a navy bean.

This baby was 4-days old when I took this shot. Shot with a Nikon D750 and 80-400mm lens ISO 1250, f/5.6, 1/500 handheld from about 6-feet on May 24, 2016 at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin, Texas, where Bill J Boyd volunteers.

This is another of Bill's photos, this time of young Black-bellied Whistling Ducks with their mother:

Adult Female with Tiny Black-bellied Whistling Ducks - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducklings with Adult Female

See amateur video of these same ducklings at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. Boyd's photo is on but not in the video.

See also my Mother's photograph of an adult Black-bellied Whistling duck with her cute little striped ducklings from west of Mission, Texas in the Lower Rio Grande Valley — on my very first Amateur Birder's Journal page, ten years ago, when I started this bird journal. What goes around, keeps going around.

 

 

& Some of my Accumulated Photographs
Posted late June 9 2016

One Mallard Stretches while two others watch - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

One Mallard Stretches while Two Others Watch

Just barely caught this Mallard Drake stretching while the other two watched me intently.

Mockingbird Jump - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mockingbird Jump

I kept hoping it jump off that wire, and when it did, I got two shots. This was closer to being in-focus than the other.

Adult Male Eastern Bluebird -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Male Eastern Bluebird

I keep looking for Bluebirds. But this is the only one I found.

Female House Sparrow with Big Bug -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Female House Sparrow (I think) with large insect

From where I stood inside the Stone Tables Building on the way to Dreyfuss Point, I could not see the insect. I thought I was just photographed some birds in the darkish rafters.

 

 

Walking Fast, Forth & Back 2 Miles @ White Rock Lake,
Only Stopping to Take More Bird Photographs
Posted June 8 2016

Female Black-chinned Hummingbird Probes a flower along the Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved. 68

Female Black-chinned Hummingbird Probes a flower along the Spillway
See also Bill Boyd's photo of a Black-chinned Hummingbird feeding her young in Austin [below].

These flowers are growing along the sidewalk overlooking the Middle Spillway on the Garland Road side, where I often look down from for birds on the Upper and Middle Spillways. My first four or five shots were terribly out of focus, as were all those after this. I have my Nikon set to shoot anything — focus or not — while I keep clicking away trying to find it, so I don't lose panning.

Often the first shot or two are OOF (out of focus) while I follow along — just keep shooting as the camera acquires focus. I've read in books and photo sites [Thom Hogan, The Manusurovs, CameraLabs, Ming Thein, Image Resource are my faves.] this procedure is not what most photogs choose, but it works for me. And this is proof.

If the camera suddenly stops clicking just because it's not in focus, I'm SOL, and it'd be hard to find a bird flying in a straight line, and impossible to find a hummingbird amok. Nice, too, that the flowers and leaves were vivid, and a spider had been busy. I think this is only the first or second hummingbird I've ever photographed at White Rock Lake.

Meanwhile, down in the trough below:

Great Blue Heron Waiting for Just the Right Fish - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  

Great Blue Heron Patiently Waiting for Just the Right Fish

Water over the Lower Steps was frothy white and wild that day after another yet more rain. Nice contrast to the usually gray Great Blue Heron. Stopped a little while to photograph birds down in the splash catching fish. We were going to walk a mile, ended up doing two. Fast and slow. Fast walking. Slow watching birds and taking photographs.

Great Egret - full frame - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret - Full Frame

I often crop images to show here, but this, for a change, is the full frame. Either it or I was just too close to the action. Like to have got more of it, but this was enough.

GE Fling Up from the ud of the Middle Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Flying Up from the Mud of the Middle Spillway

I love to watch the shadows ripple along a Great Egret's bright white wings as it delicately maneuvers. Years ago, I gave a closer-up photo of an egret very like this one to a guy for a book about fluid mechanics. Air being the fluid; wings the mechanicals.

Great Egret Flying Over the Middle Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Flying Over the Middle Spillway

Such beautiful, elegant creatures …

Of course, Nature does not abhor a straight line - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Of Course, Nature Does Not Really Abhor a Straight Line

This that looks like candles, but I really don't know what they are, has not much really to do with Nature. I just liked its dotted demarcation of White Rock Lake as shot from the Garland Road side fast-walking somewhat east of the Dam. When I was in school, I was taught that Nature does, but there's lots of straight lines in nature.

Snowy Egret Over the Lower Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret Over the Lower Spillway

Snowies only have about 3.5 feet of wingspan, while Great Egrets have another half foot, and Great Blue Herons have six feet long wingspans. But this bird sure looks like it has a wingspan of miles and miles.

Great Blue Heron on the Upper Slant Near - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron on the Upper Slant near the Winstead Fence

Love those deep rust colors with the contrasting gray blues accented by the white and black ruff down the front of head, neck and wings.

Snowy Egret Angling for the Perfect Place on the Upper Slant - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret on the Upper Slant Angling for the Perfect Place to Fish

Great Egrets, who are generally larger than Snowy Egrets, have black legs and feet and orange-yellow beaks. Snowies have black beaks with yellow lore and yellow feet. This one seems in a hurry to go catch some more fish.

No Telling What's Going On Here - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

No Telling What's Going On Here

It looks like a Snowy Egret looking back at its shadow, but I seriously doubt they much care about their shadows. It's probably landing, but it could be anything, really. I was just clicking crazily away. My apologies, Kelly, for scaring the birds, who always came right back, but I was whup from walking two miles fast, and my mind was leaning toward air conditioning.

Snowy Egret Action on the Lower Slant - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Egret Action on the Lower Slant

Really only their crown plumes and a little around the edges of wings are visible here — I love the left one's shadow racing along the slant, but keep reading, and you'll see more feathery Snowy finery.

What Looks Like Is About to Become a Snowy Chase - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

What Looks Like It's About to Become a Snowy Chase

Snowy Egrets are a feisty bunch, willing to chase or spat at any time for any including the flimsiest of excuses. Note the Snowy on the right flaring its head and body plumes to make itself look even more formidable.

Snowies Hardly Ever Opposed to Showing a Little Fuzz - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Snowies Are Hardly Ever Opposed to Showing a Little Fuzz

It's mating season — or just past, and Snowy Egrets have some of the more extreme samples of nuptial plumes available, and being the remarkably feisty birds they are, they don't mind letting them show to anyone they might consider a foe — which includes nearly every other bird their size or smaller.

Three Greats and Two Snowies on the Trees on Egret Island - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Three Greats and Two Snowies in the Trees Overlooking
the Lower Steps from Egret Island

If I can't get into the slow lane coming back west toward Garland Road by The Lower Spillway, I can see the egrets gathered in these tall trees overlooking The Lower Stairs, to know if there's enough worth turning onto Winstead, parking and waking around to the bridge. If I'm in the slow lane coming down the hill going the other way Garland Road, I can see them gathering along the steps, and if there's a Little Blue or something equally or even more interesting — like a Tricolor — I'm in.

Great Egret Fling Past the Wall of Scat - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Flying Past the Wall of Scat (a.k.a., the Upper Slant)

White scat dribbling down the slant appear blue here, because they're in the shade, which is illuminated, not by the sun s shining on the egret, but by the blue, blue sky above.

Great Blue Heron in Partial Rouse - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron in Partial Rouse

To learn by seeing what rouses are, see my birds rousing page.

Enagagement Photo at the Lake - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Another Happy Engagement Photo Using WRL as the Backdrop

No nuptial plumes showing, but they're smiling really big.

Great and Snowy Egrets along the middle Spillway - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great (flying) and Snowy (waiting for fishes) Egrets Along the Far Side of the Middle Spillway

 

 

More Pix from Last Week's Rookery Visit
Posted in the p.m. of June 6 2016

 Downy Young Great Egret - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved. 50

Downy Young Great Egret

Not sure how I managed to miss these shots before. I guess it helped that I hadn't worked them up yet. So while I was looking for something else, I came upon these, and I quickly began working these up — a process that involves looking at every single image as large on the screen as I can make it to see which are in sharp focus and have some sort of meaning. This is a close-up of the full image that is next down the page.

Downy Young Great Egret with Parent - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Same shot, but more inclusive:  Downy Young Great Egret with Parent

It seems likely this chick was the first-hatched, which honor bestows upon it the likelihood that it will grow fastest, get the most food and attention from its parents, which hardly guarantees survival, but it's a giant step forward. Younger, less healthy juveniles often get pushed out of the nest, and the rookery grounds were littered with dead, frail white bodies.

Hot Cattle Egret -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Hot Breeding Adult Cattle Egret

Earlier this summer was comparatively cool. Now it's hot in the sun and sometimes windless trees. Adults may be relatively more able to do something about it.

Great Egret with Downy Young - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret with Downy Young

I'm showing this image, so you'll believe me when I talk about the adult tending the chicks, most of which we cannot see, in the image with the adult's wing up to shade the nest below. Here, we see the top of a fluffy white head, the vague detail of one eye and beak. There may actually be two young in this and the pic below, and I suppose it's possible there could even be three. Either I was too low, shooting upward, or they were too high.

That Same Great Egret Tending Its Young - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

That Same Great Egret Tending Its Young

I'm fascinated by the growth of feathers and the structures of birds' wings. The details visible just above this parental egret's neck and head show something I don't know what is, and it looks more like feathers just growing in for the first time in a juvenile [below] that something on an adult. The results of an injury? Some of the smaller branches above the actual nest partially obscure the adult's face and eye.

Adult Breeding Cattle Egret -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Cattle Egret

Here's another of my sequences of a bird standing (perched) transitioning to a bird flying, with a few kinks.

Adult Breeding Cattle Egret About to Fly - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Cattle Egret About To Fly

Here, the Cattle Egret has its wings up to push air down and rise off the tree branch.

Adult Breeding Cattle Egret Running on Tree-tops - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Cattle Egret Running on Tree Tops

And here, its feet have let go and are helping it run forward into the wind.

Adult Breeding Cattle Egret Flying in the Air - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Cattle Egret Flying in the Air

You can always tell when their feet are dragging behind and below them without grabbing onto anything, that they're in the air and flying, even if those feet look like they're fully prepared to grab onto something if they need to. Note its crown stayed up throughout, so intent on the process at uh… foot.

No Trespassing Bird Nesting Area - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

No Trespassing  Bird Nesting Area

This is one of many warning signs all around the rookery warning humans to stay outside the treeline. But some photographers think they get to go in as far as they like, so I yell at those, "No Trespassing!" It usually works, but perhaps not permanently.

 

 

Sneaking Up on the Med School Rookery
Posted the afternoon of June 4 2016

Great Egret Looking Back - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  39

Great Egret Looking Back

Once again, I took my sweet time entering the grounds of the SW Med School Rookery. I walked in a ways, put down tripod with camera attached and looked around for birds to photograph. When I walk in quickly, they all run or fly away. When I go slowly, the do not sense any sort of danger, and I can photograph to my heart's content. Just to keep it copacetic, I tried to stay in the shadows (mostly because it was much cooler under there), and I took about fifteen minutes to get to the sometimes paved, sometimes mudded-over path around the rookery.

Cattle Egret on the Memorial Wall -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Cattle Egret on the Memorial Wall

Each of the six or seven, I think, stopping places afforded me a slightly different view and assortment of birds.

Two Great Egrets in the Shadows -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Two Great Egrets in the Shadows by the Path Around the Rookery

The differences between shadows and light were a little more extreme than I or my trusty Nikon was able to cope with, but after blitzing the Cattle Egret on the brick wall just above, I think I got the exposure just about right here. I didn't want to stay there very long, but I wanted to see how the rookery birds were doing.

Poofed-out Cattle Egret - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Poofed-out Cattle Egret

Of all the egrets in breeding plumage, the lowly Cattle Egrets are the most extreme, although this photo does not show it. I watched as it raised and lowered the feathers on its head, neck ruff and back, but I didn't get decent shots of anything but this one.

Great Egret Jumps into Flight - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Jumps into Flight - 0

I was actively working with (click, then change; click, then change again) ISO and shutter speeds, etc. So those bright white areas of this bird would not be so blown out (solid white without details), but I got its eyes, eyebrows and face, not just sharp, but well exposed. Then I sensed a change about to happen. It was crouching as if to spring into flight, so I paid attention and tried to follow it up.

Great Egret Jumps inot Flight - 1 - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Jumps into Flight - 1

So when the egret jumped up and grabbed wings full of air, I brought my aim along with it. You have no idea how thrilling it is to have kept it in the frame as it radically changed its vertical position.

Great Egret Jumps into Flight Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Jumps into Flight - 2

A little wing clipping here, but great action, and it's just suspended, feet dangling, with that same tree in the background, but the tree is moving left and behind.

Great Egret Jumps into Flight - 4 - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Jumps into Flight - 4

It's still climbing, passing another Great Egret, and we see delineation of specific feathers, as if it truly were capable of moving any one or group of feathers at any time, not that I doubted it. I've been watching birds in general and Great Egrets in specific for ten years now, but still, I can only follow camera with bird sometimes. Like this one.

Great Egret Jumps into Flight - 4 - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Jumps into Flight - 4

Another set of cupped wings full of air as it continues to gain altitude.

Great Egret Jumps into Flight - 5 -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Jumps into Flight - 5

Till it begins to disappear into the shadows above. I considered and reconsidered including this shot, because the egret is entering an area of the little forest that is the rookery, and we can't see all its connecting parts any more. But I like this shot — and the sequence.

Young Egret's New Feathers and Wings - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Young Egret Shows Its New Wings - 1

Note the nest that fills the bottom of this photo, often behind the tallest branches of the trees on this side. All four of these shots are from that same framing, though I may enlarge some subsequent ones slightly. We'll be watching the bird standing in the middle as it stretches to show its new wings and feathers, barely visible here at what here looks like its tail, but is really its brand new left wing, which beginning to show as it stretches new muscles.

Young Egret - New Feathers - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Young Egret Shows Its New Wings - 2

It may look like damage, but it's new growth of wings and the feathers needed for flight not so long from now. Compare these new wings with the slightly older wings on a slightly older chick flying above.

oung Egret - New Feathers - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Young Egret Shows Its New Wings - 3

As it stretches its new wings, we see a more and more of the under structure that comprises its brand new wings it barely knows what to do with, yet.

Young Egret Shows Its New Wings and Feathers - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Young Egret Shows Its New Wings - 4

And the long line of feathers growing into its new wing musculature. Its head is no longer visible behind the branches on the left, but this is what new feathers look like when they are growing into wings. Nice of it to show us.

One Hot Chick - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

One Hot Chick

This is somebody else entirely. And as I relearned recently, birds don't sweat, they pant like many animals do.

 Egrets in the Jungle - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Egrets in the Jungle

 

 

Egrets, Ducks & Their Downy Young, Coots, Gooses & a Sparrow
Posted early June 3 2016

 Great Egret Looking Back - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved. 24

Great Egret Looking Over Its Shoulder

Sometimes I amaze myself with near-perfect exposure. Most of the time, I do not.

Whitish Domestic Duck Resting -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Whitish Duck Resting

I'm sure the Bird Squad has a name for it, but I like it for its feather detail, even though we're supposed to make their eyes the sharpest.

Partly Leucistic Coot - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Partly Leucistic Coot

I've been watching this coot for a couple weeks. Wondering what the deal was, since most American Coots are all black with that unique white beak (both of which are often very difficult to expose correctly) — and dark, red eyes set into the darkest part of their black feathers. Leucistic (of an animal) means having whitish fur, plumage, or skin due to a lack of pigment.

Canada Gooses Following Domestic Gooses - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Canada Gooses Following Domestic Gooses

Nice to see some of them still around — and acting more like regular gooses.

Male House Sparrow -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Male House Sparrow Walking Fast

I was sitting on the bench where Ann usually sits, talking with Robert B — about cameras, lenses, Viet Nam and Tuy Hoa (pronounced two-E wah), where we were both stationed. He in the army; me in the air force. The Army base was forward, caught most of the war up close and personal. Air force only got attacked once in the couple months I was there. I assumed due to all those Vietnamese people who were let onto the base every morning to do our cooking, cleaning and other 'drity' jobs. While Robert and I talked, I kept photographed birds, including this one and most of those below.

Great Egret with Reflection -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret with Reflection

Always nice to get a reflection shot. I got the bird at almost perfect exposure — or I would have been tempted to darken the water and reflection below.

Adult Breeding Female Wood Duck -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Breeding Wood Duck

I never tire of photographing Female Wood Ducks, especially with their colors showing. I often tire of photographing male Wood Ducks, though. They're just too garish. The hens are subtle, and they take care of the babies. Daddies sometimes eat them.

Adult Male Breeding Wood Duck - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Breeding Male Wood Duck with Scruffy Head

So, it only fitting, I guess that I show some of the drawbacks of trying to be outrageously handsome all the time. Something I never had to struggle much with.

Great Blue Heron Flying in the Rain - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron Flying in the Rain

Not exactly showing its greatest beauty, but elegant in a long-winged kind of way.

Great Egret with Diffuse4d Reflection - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Great Egret Flying Over Its Diffused Reflection

I followed this one across Sunset Bay. Beauty, pure beauty.

Same Great Egret Flying - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Same Great Egret Flying

Probably the same bird. We don't have a surfeit of Great Egrets right now, so each individual is worth paying attention to.

Adult Female Mallard Giving What For - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Adult Female Mallard Giving What For

She's the protector, and she does that vehemently, whatever she's protecting.

Two Downy Young with Adult Female Mallard - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Kids and Mom

Which often, especially these days, includes little ones.

Wettish Down Young Mallard and Adult Female Mallard - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Downy Young and Adult Female Mallard

Such beauty and abundance, except each set of hatchlings, which may number — I checked with my oft-cited Lone Pine edition of Birds of Texas: "female incubaes7-10 light green to white eggs for 26-30 days." And they extremely lucky when they keep 10% till the young ones fly away. Doesn't seem fair, does it?

 

Too Hot, Too Slow, Some Birds Though —
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher & Angry Mockingbirds
Posted June 1 2016

Scissortailed Flycatcher Taking Off - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Taking Off from Elderly Plumbing at Dreyfuss

I don't remember making this photograph, but then I don't remember a whole lotta things anymore. I just barely remember that first Birder's Journal page ten years ago, except back then, at first, at least, it was called "The Addlepated Birder's Journal," because I was pretty addlepated as a birder.  Which word my Mac dictionary defines as "lacking in common sense; having a muddled mind." I've learned a lot about birds since then, mostly by watching them slowly and photographing them quickly.

I don't think I've ever seen Scissor-tail feathers bounce like that before.

Scissortailed Back on the Pipe - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Long-tailed Scissor-tailed Flycatcher back on the Pipe

But it's always easier when they hold still. The plumbing used to feed the Dreyfuss House, where many community activities were held till there was a small fire there, but the fool Fire Department could not find Dreyfuss, because all the roads around White Rock Lake had the same name (Lawther). Since the Dreyfuss disaster, they City has changed a lot of street names, and made it confusing for everybody else.

Mocks in Aerial Combat -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

The Only Shot I Got of Them Fighting in the Air

I tried and missed. I tried and misfocused. I tried and tried, but I just wasn't quick enough. So glad I at least got this one shot of these two Northern Mockingbirds facing off in the sky. This is the most energetic, out-and-out fight between mockers I've ever seen.

 Mockingbirds Fighting - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Mockingbirds Fighting

It was hot. And for a long time it seemed birds were slow to show. Then I found these guys fighting on the ground and in the air. Clickety-click. I didn't really get going till later this morning. I've been spending a lot of time cleaning my house, so I may be late for awhile.

Mockingbirds Fighting on the Ground - cpr

Mockingbirds Fighting on the Ground

Nice of them to stay on the ground for long periods of time now and again. Helps to be able to focus — or almost focus.

Rollin' & Tumblin' - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Rollin' & Tumblin'

Really difficult sometimes to find where their heads are.

Bumping Lump of Angry Mocks - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Bumping Lump of Angry Mocks

Hard to tell where one birds stops and the other starts. Molten lump.

Bird with Insect - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Bird with Insect

I don't want it to be a Mockingbird, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were. Kala King says it's definitely not a mocker but, instead, it could be an Eastern Phoebe. I like that. Kala suggests we visit this page on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds site, under its field marks section, and we should check out the photo of the second juvenile.

Branch with Geometric Leaves -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Branch with Geometric Leaves

Not sure why I photographed this, either, but it looked a lot like a piece of sculpture.

Coot Scootin' -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Coot Scootin'

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

Except as noted, all text and photographs Copyright 2016 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. 30

Free Hit Counter
Free Hit Counter
389 by end March; 1242 end April; 2327 end May