144 photographs so far this month Cameras Used Ethics Feedback My Special Herons & Egrets pages include photos of eggs, just-hatched nestlings, fledgling, downy young and/or other juvenile birds. Telling Herons from Egrets Links & Bird Books Courtship Behaviors Pelican Beak Weirdness Pelicans Playing Catch Birds Rousing Banding Birding Galveston 2015 & 2013 The 2nd Lower Rio Grande Valley Birds page & the 1st Bald Eagles at White Rock Coyotes JR's resumé Dallas Bird Resources: Dallas Audubon Bird Chat online Bird Rescue Info So you want to use my photos? How to Photograph Birds by JR. My Bird-annotated Maps of White Rock Lake & Village Creek Drying Beds Please do not share these fully copyrighted images on Pinterest, Tumblr or other image-sharing sites. NO ADs & NOTHING FOR SALE! Just photos — mostly birds. If you see ads, you probably let them happen. I use Firefox for Mac and love not seeing them here, once I set it up. I'm not making any money off this site, so nobody else should, either.
People, Things & One Fuzzy Hawk photographed March 22st & posted March 24
On our walk this evening we saw people gathered on the little bridge over the creek that flows out of the apartment buildings above Greater Sunset Bay (Sunset Bay Park) and asked them what they were photographing. They said a Red-shouldered Hawk high in the trees overhead, and pointed. I found it up there quickly enough, but photographing it through the intervening branches was a booger. But I kept trying. And came back later to try some more.
At first I called this image "The Wedding Party," then the people started looking sad, so I changed it. Anna stopped in the middle of the Winfrey extended parking space, so I could get this shot out the window..
I identified. And it's always an adventure out there.
I used to wish dogs could be banned from Greater Sunset Bay, but now I like their freedom of the place as long as they're on a leash connected to a human. And not attacking birds.
Places like this, just west of Sunset Beach across the lagoon, just seem so cool and… What can I say … gloriously green.
Purple, purple, purple.
Every time I am leisurely driving or walking by this — or any — bridge really, I want to photograph the mix of textures, colors and shapes under it. Sometimes, there's birds under there, but that's no big necessity. They are often very comforting spaces.
Sometime, somewhat past the middle of the last Century, I hitched a ride with a Daddy and a Kid, and the kid was, his Daddy said, "queer on trucks," so every time they saw one, they had to exult and be just happy for a few moments. I feel that way about the under sides of bridges, which heretofore I have only seen and enjoyed.
And there's one more bridge-under on this creek that I may have to add later.
I kept moving around and trying to get a view of the hawk without intervening limbs and twigs, which often steal focus. Note here just how sharp the twig just in front of our hawk is.
And — eventually, this is what I came up with. It all would have been so much easier, if I'd brought my trusty tripod. But this is about as close to actual focus as I ever got this particular hawk this particular day. I'm sure I'll see him/her again. Probably soon — and a lot more easily accessed.
I've photographed him before, many times. But I think this is best I've got.
Blacks, Whites & some other colors photographed March 21st & posted March 23
Today was another photographic experiment. I decided to only bring my 300mm lens and not the 1.7X teleXtender I almost always attach to the back of it. 300mm alone almost seemed like using a wide angle lens. Before that I almost always used a 2X extender. I didn't feel naked, but my lens did. I wondered if I could manage with that short a lens.
And Boy, Howdy! could I ever.
The trick was to get close to a lot of birds. I did attend The Pier at Sunset Bay, but I also attended a bunch of other places all around the lake.
It was gobs of fun. And the resulting photographs were all surprisingly sharp. Except the ones I am not showing here.
The pelicans on this log that's nearly white with scat are familiar. I keep photographing this bunch. The cormorants seem to have more bird-anality today.
I didn't plan it — I'm just posting all the successful pix in the usual chronological order.
My insisted-upon chronology juxtaposed this pair of disparately gridded things.
I thought today's photographs would all show either black or white birds, but I've let in a few mid-tones, too.
They look fierce — and sometimes they are. Won't be long now till the male grackles all get involved in what amounts to fisticuffs and wrestling. As they spiral upwards tearing and biting at each other.
I photographed this pelicans over and over and over today,attempting to get a full view (which never happened) of the tag attached to its wing. It is a pelican who has returned to Sunset Bay in White Rock Lake many times. I just couldn't quite read the number on its tag. The 21 on the end is easy enough — and the smaller 12 above it, but what number proceeds it?
UPDATE: Kala King to the rescue once again: "You found good ol' S21. Here is the official information …. I got when I reported seeing it my first time, " American White Pelican was too young to fly when banded by Theresa Pope in 2013 near Ogden, Box Elder County, Utah. It was then encountered [at White Rock] March 12, 2015 — and several times since."
Handsome-looking galoots with and without fly-away feathers.
Cute, huh? the way I managed to get all those coots to join in the photo shoot today.
The wet one had just splashed up a bath.
Not sure why — by my understanding of photo logic it should be just the opposite — but today I seemed to get many more birds in strong focus. Maybe because I had to be closer to them. That 300mm lens is supposed to be very sharp. Anything one puts in the optical way of a sharp lens — filter or magnifier, lessens the sharpness.
One Never knows about coots. Interesting the way this mostly black bird has very nearly acquired the color and texture of the log upon which it stands.
Love the expression on the second gull. The greedy one followed the one with a fish for a long time. This was as close as they got to me.
I've been thinking that I should 'wear' a wider-angled lens on one off my trips to the lake, so I can get the whole pigeon flock as it circles the area over and over and over again, as the gang of pigeons figures out where it is.
I would never even attempt to photograph a bird flying fast and this close with the doubled or 1.7ed lens, because the bird would be too fast and too close. But this worked out very well, indeed. Sometimes I'm quicker than at others.
Sometimes, in the past, I could get one pigeon in an approximation of focus, but two? No way! The upper one is somewhat sharper.
Now, you can pretty easily tell who's just had a bath, and who probably needs one.
Grackles were not just visual today, they were also noisy. But that's pretty much normal for grackles.
First one came by and started nibbling at whatever was in the grass. Then another and another. Soon all these pigeons were right there. Shorter (shorter focal length) lenses show much more depth of field than longer lenses, and, of course, the actual lens is exactly as long as it's been all along, except today there was no teleXtender.
I kept noticing hawks in trees. Well, two hawks today. A tripod and 1.7X lens would have made it a lot easier.
And instead of sneaking up on them, I trusted my shorter (focal length, not actual physical length) to deliver much better sharpness than when it's doubled or 1.7ed times as much.
I didn't get it in focus the first three times I attempted to, but this one ain't half bad.
I used to be concerned about the preponderance of "Lesser" species at White Rock Lake. But it just means that this species is smaller than the greater varieties. I don't remember seeing a Greater Scaup. But I'd still like to, of course. Wonder if I could tell the differences.
The most difficult portion of a coot to photograph is its nearly bright-white beak. Got that almost perfect here. But not often-enough today. And I love the way its feet show, cool and calm and underwater. I absolutely LOVE those wonderful lobed Coots feets!
At least, I think it was a fish. It was a biggish, dark blob and it was moving and seemed slippery, but I never saw the pelican actually trap or swallow it. And it was a merry chase there for awhile.
Usually, these guys show as a little black blob with hardly any obvious shape to the body or head. And I love, love, love the chevron of red transitioning to golden yellow on its shoulder.
I got lots of pix of this duck in bright sunlight on land, but none show its head well.
But the ducks were NOT purple. More like dark reddish brown. But these and the iridescent duck just above are likely to be of the same species. Notice the white vertical stripes down their sides.
UPDATE: Sunning itself on the thick cable strung with many other thick cables over and across the new (ish) wood and metal bridge behind The Old Boathouse. I had originally labeled this one as a "Double-crested Cormorant," but Kala King tells me, "It is actually a Neotropic 'Comrorant. Double-crested have yellow around the eye and neotropic have black around the eye."
I love this picture of those walls and corners ripple-reflecting in the water.
I really wish they had swum closer together, so I could show them much larger here.
Another Grackle in Another Tree
Walking with Anna photographed Sunday March 18 & posted March 21
We started walking near Green Heron Park (See my bird-annotated map of White Rock Lake. I may be the only one who calls it that.) and wandered south nearly to Free Advice Point, then back. For too long we wondered what were those birds so far out into the lake.
I was carrying my camera sans tripod, which I dearly missed, but would find a tree without branches at my comfortable height, then cling to it hoping the red ants crawling up on one side and down the other, wouldn't find my contact parts inviting. The tripod would have been a little more convenient to hold the long telephoto still, except that it's a pain to carry very far, and I hadn't brought it, anyway, because Anna drove.
The reason I need a tripod or a convenient tree is because my hands shake, especially when holding metal & glass weighing in the neighborhood of eight pounds. So do do my mother's hands, so I come by those shakes honestly. I lift-20 pound barbells ten times thrice a week, but cameras with long lenses are not so conveniently balanced or shaped, although there is a handle.
These are, as usual, large enlargements from the combination of my 300mm lens and 1.7X extender (= 500mm, according to my Nikon — or 510mm for the rest of us), which turned out fairly sweet. There may have been as many os 40 or 50 Blue-winged Teal of both sexes there that day, but by the next day they were all gone. I don't remember seeing any of them fly, so I missed the blue wing displays.
You can barely see it in this shot, but the one on the right is showing its nominal "Double-crested" feathers on either side of its head.
The two bunches of feathers sticking out on each side of its head are the "crests" referred to in its Latin name. I always attempt to photograph one every year, but I didn't find one last spring. Note, also, its bright blazing, green eyes. Sorry I can't show you the bright blue interior of its mouth.
Cornell Labs attempts to visually elucidate the often rather subtle differences between a Breeding adult Double-crested Cormorant and all those other adult cormorants, but Audubon explains more, in a more organized fashion.
Complete with reddish feathers — the redder they get, the closer he is to breeding time it is. The blue beak marks him as a male. Females have steel-colored beaks. See also How to Tell the Difference Between Male and Female Ducks.
Our wonderful lake is full of bacteria, which is why swimming is prohibited — although the cement-floored area (invisible here, because it's under water) just this side of the Bath House (big yellow building) used to be a public swimming facility — thus its name. Now it's a cultural center.
I've often wondered about the persons who paddle these floaties. I've seen them fall off into the water, so they must be getting dosed with E Coli, which our lake is often tested for and it is usually found. I suspect most lakes have abundant Escherichia Coli. Especially noteworthy E Coli sites online include (colorful photographs) + (Wikipedia page).
I've decided that a snag is a log with branches that could snag you, and a log is a snag without branches. Logs often float, but sometimes they achieve a zero sinking probability rating, like this angelic-looking gull has.
I've always been a big fan of angels, especially of the ones in the media. I was very impressed by Saint Michael The Archangel when I was a Catholic teen. My most recent favorite TV winged such being was Earl (played by Leon Rippy) on Saving Grace, but who can forget Clarence Oddbody in It's A Wonderful Life or John Travolta in Michael. Appreciating angels may have led me, on my usual wandering path, to birds. They fly.
Gul-Lee! posted March 19
I've often seen gulls behaving oddly, flying up high, then looking down. Sometimes they play with an object that either does or does not float. Carry it up as high as they dare, then drop it, and either try to catch it on the way down, or after it's already under. Sometimes this game seems to keep them busy for tens of minutes. Often they get tired of the game when bread is available from a local coot, who had considered it their own, then is surprised to find that the gull has snatched it.
Since I was not able — or capable — of photographing one gull through the whole process (mostly, because I keep my rapid-fire clicking at slow), today's journal pix are from various directions and angles, so they don't exactly match. We may be able to tell that this Ring-billed Gull just leaped from the surface of the water, because it's left a trail of water bubbles.
This gull had been dancing on the water, then it tipped over to drop its beak, which will very soon be followed by the rest of it.
This is just a little farther down.
This looks a little like suicide, but the gull has been practicing, so it knows what it is doing. I had my doubts. And apparently, I did not keep clicking once its head met the lake. Or all that was left above the reflective water by the next shot was air.
For shallow dives they may not get much of themselves underwater. Just the beak and head is necessary.
One assumes the rest of it — the parts we cannot see — is groping for whatever it dived into the water for.
Then it jumps out of the water, and I presume, flies back up, to look down and catch and/or eat something else. Or so I thought, because of the splashing going on under it, that it was coming up out of the water. But wouldn't it be utterly dripping with water?
Looks like I'm going to have to catch another few Ring-bills in the act, set my cam to shoot faster, and …
Home Again - Jiggity-Jig — Am White Pelicans
I have many more San Antonio/Galveston pix, but I've been visiting WRL at least once every day since we got back, and these are some of my faves of those. I still have some Galveston pix to show, but first, these, then maybe some other WRL pix, then back to finish the SA/Galveston Trip pix, too.
This was the first time I'd got the opportunity to photograph American White Pelicans at my favorite lake anywhere.
I was enchanted by the wonderful light, then I noticed the pelks at the right end were getting a little feisty — all four of them.
I was standing on the Pier At Sunset Bay with Bill J Boyd, [see below]. Bill is the Owl Docent at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and he used to live in Dallas and comes here for his haircuts — and to photograph pelicans at White Rock Lake. Great fun and good conversation.
The game of the name in Pelicans Season is to capture them flying in, at or over. This was my, this day's best shot. The beak fin is non-gender-specific but means this pelican is of mating age. More fin info on BackYardNature.net.
Guess I'm doing these pix by species. For awhile, I only had a very few pix and species, still got not so many species represented, but I keep finding more pix to include., while still including only the best quality. Or near there.
Might take all week to get my home-again species-related images all lined up, but then I can finish off the Galveston/San Antonio trip and maybe by then I'll have more local shots.
Lately Bird Notes: A Great Horned Owl named Athena has nested for 9-consecutive years at the entrance to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. She nests in a planter 10-feet above the entrance. This year she got on the nest February 9 and will sit on eggs for 30-37 days so we should see owlets by mid-March. Once they hatch they remain in the nest until they fledge at end of April. With photos by Bird Journal Contributor and friend Bill J Boyd, who is the Owl Docent at the center. www.wildflower.org for facts, time line, pics, etc.
Now back to our late-February San Antonio / Galveston trip:
& Then Some (more Pix from SA/Galveston)
I have on previous Galveston visits, but I did not manage this trip — to get pix of Black Skimmers up close and personal. To get them here, at all, I had to choose pix where they were just there accidentally, not something I chose to photograph, although if I had seen them, I would have paid abrupt and serious attention to getting them in serious focus.
Looks like a Laughing Gull. And yes, they really do sound like they're laughing. Although it is not a particularly pleasant sound.
Some sort of sparrow.
I love seeing Tricolored Herons down there.
The feathers on the back of its head are being blown by a wind that seems to be cutting across its shoulders, pushing it up the back of its head, and down its back.
I recognize this specific place, because the road where I parked to capture this image is Sportsman Drive, which connects to The Eight Mile Road, which has almost always — this trip being the exception — offered up magnificent views of many, many birds who were nearly as curious about us as we were about them — some species of which I'd never seen anywhere else up to that time. Maybe we got there a tad too early in the spring. Or something. There were fewer birds this trip, and less amazing variety.
Sometimes I so need to get away from all the reality surrounding me in every possible dimension, I just have to accept the existence of abstractions I don't know what are or or why. This one looks electrical.
All along Sportsman Drive are swamps that usually offer amazing varieties of birds. Still offers amazing birds, but the variety was down, but the tour was hardly a disappointment.
In this field, the wind is having its way with this GBH
We see Kestrels often at White Rock Lake, so it was hardly exciting to see this one here, but I surely could have done a better job on this one.
Laughing Gulls are everywhere down there. Anybody with a camera that actually focuses can get a much closer up shot of a Laughing Gull. But by this time I was tired of actual close-up images of Laughing Gulls [above].
Sometimes, I let the Brown Pelican's cap show too yellow, but this is a remarkably accurate coloration for a pelecanus occidetalis.
Unlike Brown Pelicans and Laughing Gulls, Tricolored Herons are not ubiquitous there, but if you look in the places Tricolored Herons would likely be — swamps, for example, and edges of ocean — you will be able to find them. You'll probably even be able to focus on the head, body and wings. I felt lucky at that moment, to get focus on its legs and feet. I'm pretty sure I'd never photographed a Tricolor from this viewpoint before.
I remember where I was when I was where I was when I photographed the Great Blue Heron above. But I am not at all certain where, on a map of the Greater Galveston Area, we were when I photographed these birds. The road was longish, and there were gobs of people along the beach on the long and narrow road where we were driving. Anna was, as usual, navigating. She knew where we were and where we were going. I think I was driving, because I remember slowing down for these birds. It was grand fun, because we kept finding place after place with wild selections of amazing birds.
That we could see, there were only these three Loons. The two on the left were the two Loons shown above. I never, ever-ever thought we'd find Loons in Galveston. But I'm still a Galveston Neophyte.
I've already gathered at least two additional bunches of fairly good photographs of birds at White Rock Lake lately, And I might well post them here sooner, then add the last couple of collections of yet more birds from Galveston later. Sometimes chronology seems essential, while other times it is just too confusing.
It usually takes me a couple day to a week to get all my grammar and spelling corrected. I've pretty much given up on chronology, but those pesky numbers may yet prove worth leaving where they are. Sorry the confusion. It's a way of life, unfortunately.
Catching Up with the Chronology & Geography
I'm very confused about where each set of birds were and what I was doing there, but I still want to go back and back and back to Galveston.
Several years ago, when I had finally understood that I had a serious memory issue but did not know what was causing it, it turned out it was one of the medicines the VA was feeding me, while they continued to declare that I had been having a series of mini-strokes, though even their own machine kept reporting that I'd never had a stroke of any kind. That machine was accurate. But the doctors interpreting the machines insisted I'd had several strokes.
So that time I went back to Galveston on my own, I wrote in magic marker on my arm, my name, where I lived, and what I was doing where I was, and where that was. Sure enough, the next morning, I didn't know any of those things till I saw my arm.
Later, after I'd returned to Dallas and was listening to The People's Pharmacy on KERA-FM early on a Saturday or a Sunday morning (before I went back to sleep), I realized from what someone they were featuring said, that what I had, instead, was a bad reaction to a Statin drug. I quit taking it then and there, and next time I had appointments at the VA, told my doctors, who — of course — didn't believe me.
Then, about a year later, I noticed that Statin had ascended to my allergies list, though they still insisted I had had mini-strokes. I've never had one of those episodes again, and now, finally, they don't even send me their stupid Statin pills.
For that while, I daren't go to Galveston alone, now I think I might should.
I've been getting confused about this Bird Journal in a very similar way, and it's taking me too much time to figure out what I'm doing wrong and right. What I need is to reorganize this page, which complex process is gonna be a booger.
I wish I knew where these various landscapes were, so I can go back sometime. But…
Looks like big pink things in the mid-distance and very large red lumps farther out. I was concentrating on the Avocets, so the red and pink stuff didn't even register. I suspect now the pink things were Roseate Spoonbills, but I didn't see them so I didn't attempt to get better focus on them. I like the big red ball, but I could have cropped off the big red blobs and the pink smears. Might 'eve even made a better photograph.
I never gave the brown pelicans enough attention this trip. My bad!
This is one of those photographs that I am especially proud of. Love the way its beak pokes between its wing feathers. And the tones are lush. Might even be the same bird as just above.
Sometimes, Galveston Island seems like an exotic treasure. Sometimes not.
Not sure why I was focusing carefully on the boat and not the birds, but they mostly look like the same old gulls and those other smaller birds I can only rarely identify.
I think I have one more bunch — or maybe two more bunches of Greater Galveston Area birds to post here, but I also have one post's worth of photographs of birds from White Rock Lake waiting impatiently to get loaded up. I sill visit WRL every day of my life. Sometimes twice, but it hasn't been the incredible variety Galveston was, so I long to return.
Another Ferry to Bolivar
This looks suspiciously like one ferry to another, although there's little or no crew on either. Plus, it has / they are foreshortened by the telephoto and just sitting there waiting.
And organized little bits of bright, blazing colors.
It must have been there since the last big hurricane — at the turn of the century before last.
There's just too many of these birds that look too smellier for me to figure out. Would help if I had better eyes — or a longer telephoto lens. Maybe.
Wonderful to be able to look at some strange birds and just know their name, history and where they came from. This one and all those others nearby could have come up from Padre Island, instead of down from the far north from BC, Idaho, Montana, Utah and/or Minnesota, to name just a few of the northern places American White Pelicans have been tagged from and found out at White Rock Lake.
Nice to know some shorebirds by sight, even without turning pages slowly with a big light over my shoulder, wondering.
I am so glad I get to photograph these birds, and that sometimes I capture them clear and sharp in intriguing places, while yet my brain strangles their lasting oral effects on me and I cannot find their images in all the bird I.D books I have.
With both Brown and White Pelicans — and some other littler birds. I looked up the word on my Spanish to English dictionary, and it's a cognate, which either means it means the same thing in that language as in ours, having the same linguistic derivation as another; from the same original word or root, or somebody's foolin' with my mind again.
That dreaded word, "common migrant and winter visitor," says the Crossley Guide to Eastern Birds. We' are and Galveston is, Eastern.
I love this bird slipping the surly bonds of earth. …
And flying low.
Well ahead of me. I thought I could hold my camera still, but I could not, so I went back for my tripod, which helped significantly.
Actually, it's a Tree Swallow. A woman who was coming back when I was coming up on that beach, asked what that swallow-looking bird was. I knew exactly the birds she was talking about, but I didn't know who they were, yet. Eventually, back in Dallas, Anna said it was this. The woman said she'd never been able to catch up with it on her camera. I've practiced many hours at WRL capturing Barn Swallows, so it wasn't quite impossible, but ever a challenge, though I'd rather have caught it that close going the other way.
I don't think I've ever seen this many American White Pelicans down there. Always a pleasure.
Can't see them from this far view, but those are terns. I can't tell which exactly, because I didn't manage strong focus on them.
Wish I could identify the terns. I've spent hours on it, looking page by page through The Shorebird Guide, to no avail. Too far, to over-exposed.
This is the road up to High Island (behind me as I stood halfway up there, having asked Anna to stop to let me out to photograph awhile. I had no idea what I was going to photograph. I liked the light and the place, and I really didn't know what else or why, but I needed out to photograph whatever was out there, and she stopped, and I got out.
As usual, when I have that instant need, I quickly found things to shoot. Things I wouldn't normally photograph in a place I'd never before thought I needed to photograph, but so very joyed I did. And I didn't have to identify anybody. I guess I needed more sky.
And when I got back into the car later, I had no idea what I had or did or why. But I'm glad I did.
Galveston: Ferry Ride & Walks on Beaches — posted noonish March 7
It was the only time in our short stay in Galveston that I saw such a raggedy sky, and of course I had to photograph it. As usual in my photography and life, I was leaning left. And I probably could have fixed the horizon, but I like the tip of it. There were always big, medium-sized and other ships out there. We thrilled to see long lines of Brown Pelicans flying over the shore, but never felt compelled to photograph them this time, since I always had before.
We visited lots of places to see birds at Galveston, of course. Comparatively small island with many birds and bird places.
Cute little brown bird …
The shape is familiar, but in the past, I've called Galveston's Grackles "Great-tailed" when they aren't. Sure looks the same with the tail cropped off.
I had another shot of the same bird showing head and beak, but this one fascinates me, and the other one was just well-exposed and adequate.
I'm a big fan of lighthouses, though I don't get fanatic about them. If the left side of this pic looks painted on, it was. Somehow I got that end blurred while the rest was pretty sharp, so I over-burned it in.
I keep delaying showing you these pix — although I've been working on much more interesting photographs, only a few of which don't even involve birds — but here are these. I should know all these birds on sight, but of course I don't. It would probably help to follow old friends to Galveston, even if those end up in Houston, which is a lovely town, but difficult to get through. I've been considering being part of the next Dallas Audubon's Master Birder program. I'd love to know all that stuff, and getting better at identifying birds would be fabulous, but I want to continue to have lots of time to — oh, whatever it is I do.
Hadn't expected to see white pelks, but they were plentiful on Galveston Island, though hardly omni-present, like the brown ones.
Although these were obvious.
Gonna end today's foray, so I can get into some, lately more interesting birds and pix, with a bird I don't see much around Dallas or White Rock Lake, but that we saw almost everywhere we went on our San Antonio and Galveston trip.
For the last half of the last week in February through the first half of the first week of March, we visited my Mother in San Antonio, shot a few bird pix there, visited Mom a couple more times, then drove on to Galveston, which driving would have been gorgeous and lush, except it always seems like about three-quarters of the ride is us drudging through Houston's happenstance highway development. When we came back at the end of the week, we drove up I-45 and skipped most of H and were happy for it.
While we were in S.A., we took Mom to Our Lady of the Lake at Elmendorf, where we saw who by now are our old friends, the Egyptian Goose pair, and their recently hatched (more like weeks than days), the many Muscovies, and a batch of not-at-all shy Northern Shovelers. These duckish gooses look distinctively different, so I assumed one was male and the other was female.
But nowhere I looked made such distinctions, if they listed them as having both sexes at all. I have seen them in parks around Dallas and Irving, especially a few weeks one year, five or six years ago at Sunset Bay, at a river crossing deep in dark trees of The Texas Hill Country north (maybe) beyond San Marcus and these in San Antonio.
Aren't these feathers just gorgeous?
And, I was going to say, isn't he handsome. But I only thought they had hes and shes, and it usually takes one of each sexes to raise young.
Wikipedia says more and what they say is more coherent than most sites do.
Mom was especially taken by these (she called them) "beautiful ducks." I agree. But not everybody does. Some folks find their warty red faces off-putting.
At Sunset Bay and other places at White Rock Lake, N. Shovelers rarely get close enough to people to get any kind of photographic details. At Elmendorf, they're not nearly so shy.
I wasn't close to the Shovelers, but my telephoto lens brought me apparently closer. If I'd actually been closer, they probably would have found a way to get farther away.
More birds later this week, including many Galvestonian birds.
Except as noted, all text and photographs Copyright 2018 & before by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium without specific written permission from and payment to J R Compton.
This Journal has been going since June 2006
I am an amateur. I've only been birding since June 2006, and the best of that is documented in this Journal, all the pages of which continue online. I've been photographing professionally, yet always amateurishly since 1964 = 54 years now. My photos have been in more than 100 exhibitions (and I think I'm finally over that ego boo) and 50 publications including Life Magazine. Now, I just take the pix I want to and show them here.