I sometimes post other photographers' bird pix, and I will watermark those with a © notice and web URL. E, if you got one. Unless you're an expert image corrector, plese email full-size jpeg (I prefer straight out of the camera) images of at least one-meg each to jrcompton 23 @ att.net (no spaces) with your name (as you want it to appear) & the bird species in the file name. Use the words Bird Journal in the Subject. Please also tell the City & State where you photographed them. They can be from anywhere.
The Best Pix so far This Month — at least the ones I had the most fun with — are down this journal page from the Egrets Fighting to the Mandarin Duck.
Same Places, Same Birds, But No Fighting —
Photographed Recently; posted June 15
Snowy Egret and Great Blue Heron with Slosh
Way past the Great Blue Heron maiting season, but note the remnants of the orangish nuptial feathers on the head and back toward the tail of the Snowy Egret. The Great Blue Heron is just plain handsome.
Don't worry, no fightin' and flyin' pix this time.
Great Egret Preening Nuptial Feathers
A bramble of tree limbs has been resting just out of the main stream down The Lower Spillway ever since the recent rains started.
Great Egret, Great Blue Heron and Dam Froth
Love that slosh.
Great Blue Heron Landing in the Slosh
Here, the GBH's feathers seem as frothy as the water all around it.
Perhaps I should call it a Partial Rouse.
Five Egrets Reflections in Sunset Light
At Sunset Bay, of course.
Poofed-out Snowy, Great Egret and unPoofed-out Snowy …
… watching intently for fish to catch.
Standup GBH with Bowing Great Egret
It is bowed, but it appears to be concentrating on the toes of its left foot.
Great Egret with Target Ping
My favorite part of this shot is the target-shaped ripple just below the egret.
CC Young Growing Up
I don't know who did it, but sometime back, there was a persistent rumor that some lake organization had emphatically requested that CC Young Senior Care on East Mockingbird Road not build tall additions to their current buildings, "so that White Rock Lake would not begin to resemble New York City's Central Park." They were afraid that, if they allowed CC Young to build tall, others would also.
I'd been hoping for a higher place to photograph the whole lake…
Big Fish Left at The Trickle
It's difficult to name a body of water that changes nearly every time it appears. So I've been calling the temporary bodies of water out, along East Lawther Drive / White Rock Lake Trail around Dixon Branch that sneaks into White Rock Lake Park under North Buckner Boulevard, past The Trickles, which is absurd enough I might remember it next time. I've been watching it for about the last half decade. Looks maybe like someone lifted this big fish out of the Trickle (Stupid name. Surely we can do better.) by its mouth, and the mouth stayed that way after the fisher-person got his hand back.
Yeah, I tilted the fish up so we could see it better…
Anna Palmer Photographs Some Unusual
Birds & One "Rare Sighting for this Area"
Adult White Ibis
These images by Anna Palmer are some of the highlights from their June 6 outing when Anna Palmer drove around White Rock Lake with our friend Annette Abbott, who was one of the first members of whom I still sometimes call "The Bird Squad," who gathered informally up form Sunset Beach in the evenings when Charles F feeds the gooses, ducks and any other avian species who shows up.
Anna called Annette "a very good spotter," and from these birds, I'd have to agree.
Adult Male Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus)
Northern Bobwhite in the grass on the southeast side of Emerald Isle Drive, almost past the baseball fields up towards Garland Road. After Anna posted this image on eBird, she said, "The guy who reviews posts there emailed to say it was "a very rare sighting for this area."
Adult Male Baltimore Oriole near the Old Boat House.
Anna and Annette saw the Oriole at the same time as it was flitting back and forth between two trees in front of the car.
More Egrets at the Spillway
Photographed June 7 — Posted June 9
Flight Under The Garland Road Bridges
The plumber was scheduled for 2:30, and after doing what else I had to do, I took an hour for the lake, stupidly starting at Sunset Bay, where I got nearly nothing, then driving home in the slow as usual far right lane going toward downtown about forty minutes early, I looked down into the Lowest Spillway, saw sluicing water and egrets gathered up down the slant shore, and even a Great Blue Heron.
So I made a quick turn on Winstead, parked in the lot across from the Seben-Leben, pulled off the telextender, then carried my cam down to the walking bridge over the lowest spillway.
Fly and Stand
Along the way, I shot these. I should have, but I did not also bring my little blue plastic fold-up kiddie stool that would have raised me about eight inches higher enough to photograph over the bridge parts I was stuck behind — and I really could have used a long-sleeved shirt, so I could lean on tops without burning arm skin.
Great Blue Heron on the Bottom Step
Great Egret Challenge Among Snowies
It's called heads-up display, and it usually means a challenge. The Great Egret on the right is issuing, and the one in the big middle of this pic is either ignoring it, might be interested in catching a fish or two, or hasn't noticed. Most of the not noticing is between species. On the left here is the beginning of a Snowy Egret chase scene, with a choice of chasees.
Great Egret Flying Over Reflection
I am always always always fascinated by Great Egrets' effortless elegance and sometimes grace.
This Way / That Way
There was a lot of egret action going on down there. Almost all involving Great Egrets (the big ones with black feet) and Snowy Egrets (the smaller ones with orange feet). The larger, Great Egrets have better moves and are more noticeable, because they're so big, but Snowies get all het up and flash a lot of feathers.
Is This A Fight or Are We Just Chasing Around?
And a lot of chasing. In fact, more chasing than anything else, really — although occasionally two would fly up and shove or bump one another. In the eleven years now I've been doing this journal, I've never once seen any bird bloodied in these mostly ceremonial "battles" that determine who's dominant.
Hey, Eeg. You Wanna Fight?
And with all that flurry and elegant flying and thumping and bumping, Great Egrets' rather timid action never seemed to bother the surrounding bird species, who were either hoping to catch food or scheming their own attacks.
Who You Chasin'?
Most of the action occurred only inches off what I call "the slant" — the approximately 45 degree concrete mass down the sides of the lowest steps down to and then under the water that today, at least, was moving fast. Only rarely did somebody get chased off enough to go flying around the inner area under and out from the walking and driving bridges parallel to but still near Garland Road.
Whole Lotta Chasing Going On
Meanwhile, down on the surface, Snowies and other Great Egrets were busy catching fish — or trying to. Sometimes a crowd of egrets will gather around a chase/"fight" out in shallow water, but mostly they go about their own business, which usually involves catching and ingesting fish.
Some Chase. Some Watch.
And I'm not kidding about swallowing fish whole. Once they get a fish or whatever's caught, then aligned into their beak toward their throat, they swallow it whole, which action usually only takes a few seconds. Often, especially with the larger, Great Egrets, it's possible to watch — though difficult to photograph — the lump go all the way down those long throats.
Because they swallow their prey whole, they swallow all the prey's bones — and everything else, and it's the calcium in those bones that makes their scat white. And why — especially here against a relatively dark surface — it appears so bright.
Maybe next time I'll get my cam & lens kit together while the slant is still relatively unscatted.
Three Snowy Egrets Flying
As photographers know, bright white areas in a photograph tend to draw attentions away from their subjects. It is very noticeable and annoying, and I wish I could make it darker.
Snowies Dancing while Great Egret Stands and Fishes
While I mostly concentrated on the action.
Snowy Egrets With Water Chaser
These last several photos were my willful attempt to concentrate on the white birds a ways away from the massive candy stripes of scat.
Attack from Above
Which, there for a little while, was near constant.
Snowy Hat with Scat Texture
I love it when Snowies poof their feathers up and out to look more fierce.
Snowy Having Just Caught a Large Fish
They usually kill their pray by stabbing them with that long, sharp bill. Then it's a matter of flipping it around to align with its beak and gullet without dropping it. I saw a couple of too-big fish dropped this day. Must have really been disappointing. Fishing on a slant helps those mortally wounded fish get away quickly, but then they're easier pickings for some other bird down the line.
Note that the Fish Is Bigger Than the Snowy's head
You might not think this little bird could get that big fish down its throat, but you'd be wrong. Where there's a will or hunger-enough, there's a way or two, too.
Position It Just Right
The first step is to get the long, comparatively thin fish, aligned with beak and throat. Then it goes down quickly, although a bump shows in the throat as it does.
Big Catch Aimed Down
Long throated birds take food down one few inches at a time, which we can often watch. First the bird widens its throat, so even very large fish have a place to go. Then it waggles its neck and throat this way and that, to be certain it'll go all the way down. It's fun to watch their wiggle-dance as it goes down, but my today photos look like they're just standing there with a thick throat.
Egret Battles at the Lowest Spillway
Photographed June 5 — Posted Later that Same Day
Snowies Drop-down Chase Up
There wasn't enough light — is the photographer's lament. But there just wasn't. Except for no shadows, we'd all think there was a sun up already. Under the walking and driving bridges on Garland Road too early this morning. Before the sun got up into the sky — and could shine down between the clouds, instead of through them. But it didn't. I'm home now after checking while doing errands, and it's even darker with more clouds and booming, wet thunder. Mid-to late afternoon is better, brighter, more action-stopping — sunlight-assuring contrast and apparent sharpness.
Half a Snowy Fight
Right camera, wrong lens.
Well, the right lens, but I needed to lose the telextender to get back to good old 300mm and its wider window on the world. 500mm is just too-magnified for action this close. It'd be easier to aim and catch up with fast moving birds, like I so spectacularly did not do here. I got a lot of partial shots today, that if I'd got the wholes of them, would have been spectacular.
I'll do better next time — practice helps almost more than anything else, but these ain't bad. And it was the most fun I've had in too long a time. If I weren't waiting for a plumber, I'd be down there now, despite the forecast of rain. There's sunshine now, but it didn't last. This morning it was all filtered through thick clouds.
Snowies Squat & Jump Battle
Great Egrets can be suckered into a fight, but I think they'd just as soon catch and eat more fish than all that silliness. But Snowy Egrets hardly even need an excuse.
Wing Lean on Slant Up
I didn't see anybody fall over all the way, but there were some trips and leans involved in this ayem's fish-a-thon.
What's Hoppening Here?
What looks like one egret charging down the slant with its right wing seriously awry is two Great Egrets battling, probably for space, fishes caught or uncaught or just cussedness. Each so intent, they've almost merged.
Tiptoe Tilt Down the Slant
Looks like a fall is imminent, but this elegant Great Egret took it all in stride, floating down the Slant — partly dancing and partly flying.
Three Egrets at The Trough
Great Egrets are much taller, have long black legs with black feet and a yellow beak with green lores. Besides their usual feisty attitude and occasionally bouffant crown, Snowy Egrets have black legs with yellow feet, black beaks with yellow lores, and everything else is white.
I Finally Found That Mandarin Duck I Was Lookin' For & Other Adventures
Photographed June 3 — Posted the Afternoon of June 4
Adult Male Mandarin Duck on Sunset Beach
Kept hearing rumors around Sunset Bay of a Mandarin Duck family being raised at the lake, and some people who had seen all of them promised pictures, but I never saw them. Then, when Anna and I dropped by Sunset Bay for the Evening Feeding Saturday Night, someone pointed us to a Mandarin Duck already there. I spent much time photographing him.
Left Front Quarter Male Mandarin Duck
I had thoroughly checked out the rumors, visiting the supposed range at another part of the lake, but never saw the Mandarin family where they were supposedly hanging out, so this opportunity was a gift. I'd still love to see the pix of the Mrs. — and the ducklings, if any. But I have serious doubts.
Adult Male Mandarin Duck
I had my trusty Nikon and the big tripod, so I set about photographing him — again. And again.
Front Eighth View of Mandarin Male
I probably shot forty pix of this guy, but in the end, I settled on these several directional views. I photographed his shy attempts (most successful) at eating corn grain Charles poured out for all the gooses, ducks and other birds gathered up Sunset Beach, but he was moving so fast, he usually blurred into the semi-darkness.
Adult Breeding Male Wood Duck
Among various other ducks.
Various Stages of Male Wood Duck Plumages
(and some Mallards, too)
There was plenty of bird action to keep me occupied.
Two Adult Male Mallards — The one on the right in Summer Eclipse Plumage
From what I understand, once their breeding is done, and they no longer need to attract a female, their feathers eclipse.
The Sky Is On Fire
Anna Pointing Out Specific Bird Species
Adult Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Anna photographed in the Rain along the Creek
I've been wishing and hoping for some Yellow-crowned Night-Heron action in Sunset Bay for several weeks. I had begun to think they had vanished, till Anna told me about finding and photographing this one at Sunset Bay a couple days ago. I hope that means Y-c N-H chicks roaming the area later this summer…
Farside Sunset (Note Jet in Front of the Cloud at Top Middle
I know where I am when I'm over there, and I'm over there nearly every day, but I haven't mapped that side from this side enough to name this place, although it could be Free Advice Point. See my bird-annotated map of White Rock Lake for specific geographical details.
Readying to Throw His Net…
…in the inundated field on the bend around toward Stone Tables and Dreyfuss Point from Sunset Bay. I probably should have waited till he threw that net.
Cottonwood Tree Snow on the New Ponds
Created by the recent rains.
A Rabbit in the Dark on Rabbit Hill on Dreyfuss Point
I call the part of upper Dreyfuss Point that overlooks the lake on toward the Bath House, Rabbit Hill, because we've seen dozens of rabbits there at a time, generally in the evening or after dark, when we can only see them with headlights. They're smart to stay off the concrete, so they don't get run over, but it's always fun to see some out in the weeds and wildflowers. I'd been calling that area different names over the now eleven years of this bird journal, but Rabbit Hill is the best and most appropriate yet.
Two Doves on a Wire
I wanted to put the Mandarin ducks up front in today's journal, so the rest of it — except these doves on the wire around the parking lot behind The Winfrey Building, appropriately enough on Winfrey Point. So, rather than arranging everything in today's entry chronologically, they are instead arranged geographically.
Photographed June 3 & as far back as May 30
— Posted June 3
Female Grackle Looking Around
This looks more like real colors.
Common Grackle with Friend
Corrected & Updated: I could only see the bird in the foreground. I didn't notice its odd coloration when I photographed it. The above caption did say "Blue-headed Great-tailed Grackle. Kala King to the rescue once again: It's not a Great-tailed Grackle. It's a Common Grackle, of which we see here much less often. Our more usual Great-tailed Grackles sometimes seem to have blue feathers, but it's usually over less specific areas of their bodies, and I didn't think I'd ever seen a blue-headed one. But I've seen, but not really noticed Common Grackles down along the Gulf Coast.
Mockingbird Making Sure Everybody Pitches In
I still think just as any Dasypus Novemcinctus armadillos' natural habitat is dead by the side of the road, Our State Birds belong on signs.
The Old Pump House, Smoke Stack and Filter Building with Dark Skyline Back
In general, the more the telephoto, the larger the farthest objects seem. I've probably photographed this setup dozens, if not hundreds, of times. This is darker on the skyline and brighter on the old red buildings.
Great Egret Fishing Off the Spit
It's also where the pelicans (here mid-September through mid-April every year) nest n that same area. I've seen Green Herons hunt there, and Snowy Egrets and Little Blue Herons battle over fishing rights, right there. Probably many other birds, too.
Li'l Brown Bird at My Favorite Boat Ramp
I'm assuming it's a wet English Sparrow, but I'm the amateur in the titles on the top.
Four Pigeons on a Branch Up Sunset Beach
I'm sure they perch on branches fairly often. They are birds. But I hadn't seen this flock do that before, so I photographed them doing it.
When I sit on one of those piers or their posts, I usually end up with strange bug bites in my butt. So I usually forgo that opportunity.
We keep seeing locks locked into the ironwork on overlooks and bridges. More pop culture we've missed.
Wandering Around the South & East Sides of the Lake
Photographed June 1 Posted June 2
Snowy Egret Watching for Fish on the Slant
Down into the Trough of the Lower Spillway Steps. I didn't see it catch anything, but I bet it did. I tried not to stay where it could see me very long.
Great Egret Doing the Same in the Rain
Was a rainy day, but I didn't have anything better to do after being at the VA Horse Pistol already too much of the day, then napping the rest of my nine hours sleep and eating decent food of which the VA had none available, and I didn't want to walk in the rain across the street to the Subway. Most of today's shots were shot from the driver's side of The Slider, whose nose is falling off after I slid it up yet another curb parking. But the Toy shop body repair guy said they could paint it any color I want, and I want yellow — even if green would be more appropriate for a Red-eared Slider.
The Other Side in the Rain
Layers of rain-diminished scenery across the lake and the land beyond.
The Circle Tree Cut All the Way Down
I was so much hoping they'd leave that tree standing, so mayhaps some more branches would grow out of it. It was a great tree while it lasted — till that last big wind storm — and many wonderful birds used it to rest, relax and look down from. Sadness is.
in the Rain up Winfrey Hill
Very Wet Mockingbird
on a Bench Around Winfrey Circle
Dead Wet Mockingbird
On a White Stripe in Winfrey Parking Lot
Wet Great Blue Heron Trying to Get A Little Less Wet
I saw it flying low and slow around those trees twice, landed, then flew some more, but I was staying dry in The Slider and couldn't get a bead on it till it landed. But it was lovely to watch.