I wasn’t going to go to the lake today but because I had an errand to take care of, I went to the lake for about an hour. It was much warmer than I expected which made my visit shorter than it could have been. I decided to explore the side by the spillway. There is a great trail that I want to walk but I’m going to need someone to go with me because it is quite secluded. I walked a little bit of the trail but decided to head back for safety reasons. As I left that trail and headed back to my car, I spotted this very little bird that kept flying from tree to tree while making this quiet squealing sound. I tried several times to get a clear shot but it was just too fast. I got one shot that is decent enough to share but that’s about it. Today’s visit was all about this little bird, possibly a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.
Between the rain this morning and the storms this afternoon, I visited the butterfly house and White Rock. My favorite photos from the TDG are of the Malachite butterfly. It looks like two completely different butterflies when you look at it with its wings opened and then closed. I prefer the butterfly with the wings closed. It catches the light beautifully. I didn’t stay long because I really wanted to check on the nest at White Rock.
I have two new photos from the opposite direction (than yesterday) that capture the Oriole arriving at the nest much better. I was standing under a nearby tree waiting for the Oriole to return when a family stopped and asked me what I was looking for. Not wanting to be rude, I explained that I was waiting for a bird that had been flying around. They stayed so long that I missed the opportunity for more photos. I decided to leave and go exploring but the rain came so fast that I ended up just going home.
Well, I visited the Rookery today as part of my new goal of branching out and exploring other places. There are so many birds nesting in that one small area. Walking around the perimeter, I was able to photograph five different birds. There are many more that I just wasn’t able to get a clear view of because they were keeping to the center of the Rookery. The Black-Crowned Night Herons were flying around quite a bit but I didn’t have my other camera. My Panasonic is great for still shots but I haven’t mastered birds in flight with it.
So I ended up at White Rock anyway. I always do! This time I found the Oriole’s nest. It is beautiful! I sat down for about an hour and watched the Orioles come and go from the nest. They are so fast that I wasn’t able to get the shot I wanted but I did get a few that are okay. I’ll try again as long as I don’t disturb them or draw attention to their nest.
I saw an Orchard Oriole yesterday while I was at White Rock Lake. So naturally, I went back to the same tree today. I didn’t see the Orchard Oriole again but there were a couple of Baltimore Orioles. They have this pattern they follow of flying between certain trees. If you watch long enough you can estimate how long it will take for them to come back after they fly away. And they do fly away.
Sunset Bay was full of activity today both from the people and the birds. I was there to photograph the birds but Tom ended up taking my picture. I didn’t realize at first what he was doing but once I did, I tried to keep from having anymore taken. I am not very photogenic. I prefer to be behind the camera instead of in front of it.
There were plenty of Wood Ducks at Sunset Bay tonight. There were some in the trees, some in the water and some just hanging out waiting for food. Who can blame them; they get fed very well. Although I really like the Wood Ducks, I’m going to branch out and give myself mini assignments for other birds and other parts of the lake or other locations altogether. We’ll see.
Wood Duck and her babies
Same mom and babies
Male Wood Duck in a tree.
Male and Female Wood Duck
I am drawn to the photos of flowers with the combination of red, yellow, orange and green. I wonder what the research says about each color.
red is the color of energy, passion, and action;
yellow is the color of the mind and the intellect;
orange is the color of social communication and optimism;
green is the color of balance and growth.
(The meaning of colors in color psychology)
Mix all of these colors together in a photograph of flowers and I’m happy. 🙂
I was hopeful that I would find the Screech Owl family again. I tried last night and again tonight. No luck! They must have moved on and so will I. I’m just glad I happened to see them when I did. Walk slow and pay attention because you never know what you might see.
A Mandarin Duck has appeared at Sunset Bay. It isn’t as colorful as the last one that we saw and it doesn’t have the golden paddle wings that make it so distinct. Unless it is going through some seasonal change, it isn’t the same one. But that’s okay because this one likes to stay in one place and pose. The other one wouldn’t stop for a second so I never got a good shot. I don’t know how long it will stay but it adds to the variety at Sunset Bay. Since it is closely related to the Wood Ducks, it has found the perfect place to hang out.
Male Wood Duck perched on a tree stump
Female Wood Duck perched high in a tree
Mandarin Duck at Sunset Bay
Posing Mandarin Duck
Posing Mandarin Duck
I spent most of my extra time at White Rock this weekend. I did visit a new place on Saturday morning but nothing seems to compare to White Rock (at least not yet). Beginning on Friday evening through Sunday evening, I photographed several different birds. I was most excited when I found a Screech Owl family, mom and three babies. I have a Mockingbird to thank for that. Standing under a certain tree, I heard the commotion before I saw the Screech Owl fly away. I didn’t know it was a Screech Owl at the time. Waiting to see if this bird would come back, I wandered around for a few minutes but then decided to check the original spot again and that is when I noticed the three owlets. I called Robert, a fellow photographer, and told him what I found. He made it within a few minutes and it wasn’t until after he arrived that I noticed the adult owl in a nearby tree. I shared the find with JR Compton and another friend but swore her to secrecy. These owls are in such an open spot that I don’t really want too many people disturbing them, including myself.
Wood Duck at Sunset Bay
Wood Duck at Sunset Bay
Wood Duck Babies
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher at Boy Scout Hill
Red-bellied Woodpecker at Sunset Bay
Baltimore Oriole at Winfrey Point
Same Oriole on the ground at Winfrey Point
Screech Owlet – They are flying from branch to branch and this one landed on this perch for about a minute before moving on.
Screech Owlet – This is the same one as above. The other two were hiding behind some leaves.
Screech Owlet – This owlet kept peeking at me through the leaves. I never really saw more of this one than what you see.
Adult Screech Owl
Adult Screech Owl
Should I go or not? Tuesday afternoon was sunny but by the time I was heading home, the clouds had rolled in. I didn’t go to the lake on Monday afternoon so I decided to go ahead and go. I kept thinking to myself that even on a cloudy afternoon I might see something different. I’m glad I went. As I walked down the dock at Sunset Bay, I noticed the small bird fly by and land just off to the side. It was something different…a spotted sandpiper. These are very difficult birds to photograph because they not only move as they walk but they bounce up and down as well. I don’t think this bird was still the whole time it was on the ground. Of all the photos I took, only a few are somewhat clear. So I am glad that I went to the lake even though it was a cloudy afternoon.
As I drove to Sunset Bay on Thursday afternoon, I wondered what I might see that evening. Little did I expect to see a red-shouldered hawk in the middle of the grassy field, just off the road. I checked the rearview mirror, stopped and was able to get a few shots before parking. It actually stayed in the same spot while I parked and walked across the street to get some more photos. It was more interested in looking for food than it was in me. Unfortunately, it was unsuccessful. It flew to a tree, then to the wooded area, before finally making it back to the nest (I think it is the same bird.) This was quite a series of events to witness. I don’t really consider myself a “birder” but it sure is fun to capture something like this.
Well, the threat of bad weather got the better of me today. The forecast said the storm should be here after 7pm but when the clouds rolled in and the wind picked up, I decided to hurry home. I was a little disappointed but at least I was able to photograph a butterfly. No birds today. It is quite the task to track a butterfly at the lake and try to see where it lands, that is, if it lands. Luckily, the butterfly landed and I was able to get a good shot.
I’m hoping that the storm weakens before it gets here. I’m also hoping that I can continue chasing butterflies tomorrow.