20 photos so far this month. The current Bird Journal is always here Cameras Used Ethics Feedback My Other Bird Pages: Herons Egrets Heron or Egrets Links & Bird Books Pelican Beak Weirdness Pelicans Playing Catch Rouses Courtship Behaviors Banding Birding Galveston 2015 & 2013 2nd Lower Rio Grande Valley Birds page & the 1st Bald Eagles at White Rock Coyotes JR's resumé Contact Area Bird Resources: Dallas Bird Chat Bird Rescue Info You want to use my photos? How to Photograph Birds Birding Places: Bird-annotated Map of White Rock Lake & Spillway & the Med School Rookery & Village Creek Drying Beds December's Best Pix: Kestrel In Flight, Beaking from Beneath. New map of the Old Fish Hatchery Area & Spillway On my other job, I'm an art critic and I've reviewed 2,320 movies this century. Please do not share my images on Pinterest, Tumblr or other image sharing sites.
Male American Kestrel Chasing an Invisible Bug,
photographed December 3 & posted December 4 2016
Other White Rock Lake photographers find him elsewhere, and some even find him with his mate. But I haven't seen her in a couple years. Wrong place. Wrong time, I guess. But I love finding him on the wire at the edge of the downhill to the lake behind the Winfrey Building.
Because with him up on the wire, there's always the possibility I can capture him taking of and doing some serious fast flying — usually after a flying bug. I never saw the bug, but I think he did.
He flew fast and directly to something out there, and he must have swallowed it while I was trying to keep the cam in focus on him.
Because I never saw it, but for a big change, I managed to keep him in focus.
All the way back to the wire.
Avian Action in and Around Sunset Bay
photographed December 2 & posted December 3 2016
It's always amazing to watch this pile of pelicans writhing up from sleeping to do the all-important preen.
Pelicans are a social bunch until another one gets pissed off. Then they beak at each other, which can sometimes cause great harm, like poking a hole in the mostly flexible lower pouch area. And though we sometimes, rarely, see holes in the lower mandible, it hardly ever happens. They don't have hands and they need their feet to stand on, so it's seminaries to engage in beaking.
Beaking rarely lasts more than a few seconds, but a heated battle can last a minute, maybe. The Pelican with the longest beak often wins.
I think the pelican looks dismayed. This mount has become the most popular pelican perch, and here the cormorants, who have taken over every other perch in Sunset Bay, have also taken over this one. Pelicans often get into beaking wars over The Saddle. Inter-species warfare, however, seems unthinkable.
NEW Then Kala wrote to tell me of a photo Eric has in a FYI email:
"Regarding pelicans and cormorants competing for that favorite perch, next time you see Eric, get him to show you a pelican pooping on a cormorant that wanted the pelicans' perch. He has it on his phone… He said it looked like the pelican did it on purpose."
And the pelican heads off somewhere else.
I haven't seen a pelican attack a cormorant, but now I'll be watching for it.
I keep meeting new photographers at Sunset Bay, which is great, because it is my most effective social grouping.
Great Blue Herons sometimes look blue and some other times they look brown and here, most of it looks black.
About five minutes prior to this photo, I watched this comparatively comely Muscovy fly remarkably elegantly over the near-shore bay. I was too amazed to see it, because I remember the huffing, train engine sound other have made, and this one did not.
This was the first shot I got off as maybe six pelicans came in.
Several of us Sunset Bay photographers have developed the theory that pelicans returning to Sunset Bay suddenly materialize right at the point where all the "logs" are on the perimeter of Sunset Bay. We rarely see them before they get there, so it's magic when, poof! they materialize and we have to get our cameras in aiming and firing positions.
I was slow on the uptake and did not achieve focus again until they were near.
Meanwhile, even more cormorants were flying into the area. Like we needed more cormorants.
Lots of out-of-focus (oof) shots intervened. Cameras have more difficulty focusing in low light.
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.