Unexpected Opportunity

A Kingfisher! I was so excited to see this bird at the spillway. It stayed for about five minutes but it was so far away that I could only hope that one of the photos would come out halfway decent. Secretly, I wished for a perfectly clear shot but I knew that wasn’t going to happen unless I jumped the fence and swam to the little island. But then I would become one of the people bothering the birds. So, of all the photos I took, I can post one somewhat decent one.

Sunset Bay brought an unexpected opportunity for me to photograph some Mallard ducklings. I was happy to see them come so close to me and stay put for a few seconds. I felt much better about the morning especially after knowing that the Kingfishers shots would be blurry at best. So, after about an hour at Sunset Bay, I had photographed a new duck to the area, a green heron, an Eastern Kingbird and the ducklings. I had also seen a Great Egret and a Great Blue Heron. I really should have called this “Expected Opportunities” because there is always something to see and enjoy at the lake.

Kingfisher at White Rock's Spillway - I watched this Kingfisher preening for about 5 minutes before he flew away.  He was far off so I wasn't able to get a very clear shot.  Darn not having one of those super zooms.
Kingfisher at White Rock’s Spillway – I watched this Kingfisher preening for about 5 minutes before he flew away. He was far off so I wasn’t able to get a very clear shot. Darn not having one of those super zooms.
New duck at Sunset Bay
New duck at Sunset Bay
Green Heron - Apparently there are three green herons that have been visiting Sunset Bay.  I was able to see one before he flew off.   I would love to see all three at the same time.
Green Heron – Apparently there are three green herons that have been visiting Sunset Bay. I was able to see one before he flew off. I would love to see all three at the same time.
This Eastern Kingbird was difficult to capture.  He was moving so fast trying to eat as many insects/bugs as he could catch.
This Eastern Kingbird was difficult to capture. He was moving so fast trying to eat as many insects/bugs as he could catch.
The Family
The Family
I had so much fun with these little Mallard ducklings.  I think they were as curious about me as I was about them.  They came fairly close quite a few times.
I had so much fun with these little Mallard ducklings. I think they were as curious about me as I was about them. They came fairly close quite a few times.
Playing in the Waves
Playing in the Waves
I think I was getting too close.
I think I was getting too close.
Just enough morning sunlight...
Just enough morning sunlight…

Hot x 3

What was I thinking! Sure, there is time for a quick 30 – 40 minute visit to the arboretum before they close. Water, please… I will be quick. It won’t be that hot anyway. What was I thinking!

Yes, it was a quick visit but it sure was hot. I saw maybe five other people while I was out there. It seems it was even too hot for those searching for Pokémon. While I do love the arboretum, I have to remember this visit the next time I think to myself that I can get some photos during a “quick visit” in the middle of the hottest part of the day.

So I’m glad that there were some birds singing and flying around and some flowers soaking up the sun. Otherwise…

Blue Jay - I couldn't resist since he was singing his  heart out.
Blue Jay – I couldn’t resist since he was singing his heart out.
Blue Jay - He stayed put singing long enough for me to get several shots.
Blue Jay – He stayed put singing long enough for me to get several shots.
These little flowers caught my eye as I was headed to the rose garden.
These little flowers caught my eye as I was headed to the rose garden.
A few roses were doing well despite the heat.
A few roses were doing well despite the heat.
Close up of the previous rose.
Close up of the previous rose.
This rose had just the right touch of sunlight.
This rose had just the right touch of sunlight.
The water lilies had pretty much closed for the night except for a few of these very tiny yellow beauties.
The water lilies had pretty much closed for the night except for a few of these very tiny yellow beauties.
One last picture before closing time.
One last picture before closing time.

Fair Park (7/16/16)

I went to Fair Park to visit the butterfly house but I ended up spending more time at the lagoon watching a juvenile green heron trying to catch dragonflies. In the hour or so I was there,I saw him eat only one dragonfly and I got a decent photo of that moment. The green heron was easily distracted by other birds, people walking under the tree, dragonflies and even an airplane. It was quite entertaining to watch the heron stalk back and forth depending on what had it’s attention. I’m sure someone could say the same thing about me if they were watching me watch the green heron.

Leopard Lacewing Butterfly
Leopard Lacewing Butterfly – I found this butterfly in the outside butterfly garden. It should have been inside the butterfly house.
Pink Flower
Pink flower found in the outside butterfly garden.
Water Lillies in the Lagoon
Water Lillies in the Lagoon – This is one of my favorite water lily photos of all I’ve taken over the last few years.
Not Happy!
Not Happy!
Distracted by a Plane
Distracted by a Plane – The eyes are so unusual. They look like crazy eyes.
The One that Got Away
The One that Got Away
Hunting Dragonflies
Hunting Dragonflies
The Hunt
The Hunt – He eventually caught this one.
Catching Breakfast
Catching Breakfast

Estero Llano Grande SP (July 13 & 14)

I enjoyed a few hours at the Estero Llano Grande SP during my trip to South Texas. I was able to visit with my family and sneak away for a chance to photograph some different birds that I might not normally see in Dallas. The heat kept my visits to the park to one hour on Wednesday evening and two hours first thing Thursday morning. By the time the park opened on Thursday morning, it was already close to 90 degrees. I was one of only a handful of people braving the heat.

I saw many more birds than I was able to photograph. Even though it was so hot, the birds were still out and about. One of the park employees even showed me the tree with the resident screech owl. I never would have noticed the owl on my own. I’m sure I walked by many birds that I didn’t notice even though I was walking slowly and scanning each tree. All in all, I had a fun morning. I will visit again in November when birding is in full swing.

Preening Buff-bellied Hummingbird
Preening Buff-bellied Hummingbird
Buff-bellied Hummingbird
Buff-bellied Hummingbird
Another photo of the same little hummingbird
Another photo of the same little hummingbird
Glowing
Glowing
Rabbit
Rabbit
Eastern Screech Owl
Eastern Screech Owl
Eastern Screech Owl
Eastern Screech Owl
Butterfly on colorful flowers
Butterfly on colorful flowers
Great Kiskadee
Great Kiskadee
A pair of Great Kiskadees
A pair of Great Kiskadees
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
I don't know the name of this bird.
I don’t know the name of this bird.
The last photo of my visit.
The last photo of my visit.

White Rock – Illegal Fishing

I have been disappointed at the low number of birds at the spillway the last few times I have visited. But I have noticed people fishing on the other side of the gate each time (illegal). I’m sure that these people are scaring off some of the birds and disturbing their daily routines and habits. This has also been happening at Sunset Bay, although allowed. Very disappointing! I’m not sure what can be done because it seems to be many different people not necessarily the same person that can be given a warning or a ticket (at the spillway).

There are still some brave birds, or maybe very hungry birds, that continue to search for food regardless of this intrusion. I have also noticed a Yellow-crowned Night Heron resting in the trees. I’ll keep visiting and hope that the birds aren’t being disturbed too much.

Snowy Egret looking for food
Snowy Egret looking for food
Black-crowned Night Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Balancing Act - Resting on one leg
Balancing Act – Resting on one leg
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron - Twisting & Turning
Yellow-crowned Night Heron – Twisting & Turning
Great Egret
Great Egret

Purple Martin Swallows

I got a tip that the Purple Martin Swallows were starting to gather at the lake. It was described just as I found it. There were so many of them that it was an amazing sight, especially when they flew off and then flew back. This happened each time they heard a dog bark.

I didn’t have much sunlight left by the time I made it out there so I will try again to get some closer shots. They have beautiful colors that can be seen better in the sunlight.

Female Purple Martin
Female Purple Martin
Purple Martins
Purple Martins
Purple Martins
Purple Martins
Crowded
Crowded
Purple Martin Gathering - Too Many to Count
Purple Martin Gathering – Too Many to Count

Central Park, NYC

I was able to spend this past week in New York and because I had been before and visited the typical tourist spots, I decided to focus on Central Park. I enjoyed the focus on nature during this trip. While there are still quite a few tourists in the park, it is a much different feel than Times Square.

I decided to visit a different part of the park each afternoon starting with the part closest to my hotel and then expanding from there each of the following days. I wasn’t going to be able to see everything so I decided on the Great Hill, the Conservatory Garden, the Ramble and the Central Park Zoo. If I ever make it back, I will add to this list. I would also like to go sometime between March and May.

Robin and Nest
Robin and Nest
Robin
Robin
Cream and Gold
Cream and Gold
Gray Catbird
Gray Catbird
Not sure but interesting
Not sure but interesting
Purple Flower
Purple Flower
Zinnia
Zinnia
Soft and Pretty (a favorite)
Soft and Pretty (a favorite)
Different
Different
Yellow Flower
Yellow Flower
Sleeping Raccoon
Sleeping Raccoon
Juvenile Robin
Juvenile Robin
Cardinal
Cardinal
Butterfly
Butterfly
Sparrow and Chick
Sparrow and Chick
Red Flower
Red Flower
Burst of Yellow (Cheery)
Burst of Yellow (Cheery)
Pink Petals
Pink Petals
Black Stork (Central Park Zoo)
Black Stork (Central Park Zoo)
Beautiful Lilies
Beautiful Lilies
Hydrangea
Hydrangea
Hydrangea
Hydrangea

Wigeons at White Rock (6/18/16)

The Chiloe Wigeon pair seems to have made White Rock their home for now. The are amusing to watch as they interact with the other ducks. The male is quite feisty and the female is a bit timid. When the Mallards peck at the male, he turns and gives it as good as he gets it. The female just tries to stay out of the way. I don’t know how they ended up at White Rock or how long they will stay, but I’m glad I got to see them. As I pay more attention to the birds around me, I realize just how special and important White Rock Lake is to them all.

Chiloe Wigeon Male
Chiloe Wigeon Male
Chiloe Wigeon Pair Arriving at White Rock
Chiloe Wigeon Pair Arriving at White Rock
Chiloe Wigeon Pair , Male Profile
Chiloe Wigeon Pair , Male Profile
Chiloe Wigeon Pair, Sunset Glow
Chiloe Wigeon Pair, Sunset Glow
Chiloe Wigeon Pair
Chiloe Wigeon Pair
Chiloe Wigeon Profiles
Chiloe Wigeon Profiles

Full of Surprises

Monday evening at White Rock was full of surprises. A Baltimore Oriole at the Boy Scout Hill area actually stayed put long enough for a few good photos. A juvenile hawk was calling for it’s mom. I heard this as soon as I got out of my car at Sunset Bay (you have to listen 🙂 ). Closer to the lake, I was able to photograph a pair of Chiloe Wigeons – thanks Ben! They are Chilean Whistling Ducks. And, of course, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks decided to visit Sunset Bay. When I feel like skipping a visit to the lake, I’m going to remember the fun I had Monday evening.

Baltimore Oriole - Front View
Baltimore Oriole – Front View
Baltimore Oriole - Wing Detail
Baltimore Oriole – Wing Detail
Juvenile Hawk
Juvenile Hawk
Chiloe Wigeon Pair - Chilean Whistling Ducks
Chiloe Wigeon Pair – Chilean Whistling Ducks
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
At Peace
At Peace

Morning Walk at White Rock or Mosquito Morning

I had fun (except for the mosquitoes) joining a group from Audubon Dallas on an early morning bird watching walk at White Rock. It is amazing to me how quickly they can identify the birds by their calls. I have learned a few of the more basic such as the Cardinal and the Oriole. I have a lot to learn. It is a little more difficult for me because not only do I have to hear it, but I also have to see it and then it has to be kind enough to stay put long enough for a photo. 🙂 The smaller birds have a more difficult time cooperating. I have chased quite a few from tree to tree only to come away with a blurry image of a really interesting bird.

There were quite a few different birds out and about this morning but I was most excited when someone spotted the Yellow-Crowned Night Heron nest. There were four juvenile herons watching us before we even saw them. We didn’t stay too long so that we wouldn’t disturb them too much. I have to admit that I left the group a little early because I just couldn’t take the mosquitoes anymore. I think they actually liked the deet from our spray.

Waiting for breakfast at the White Rock Spillway
Waiting for breakfast at the White Rock Spillway
Black-crowned Night Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Great Blue Heron or Tricolored Heron? Catching breakfast
Great Blue Heron or Tricolored Heron? Catching breakfast
Caught the Night Heron moving from one step to another - thought this was funny.
Caught the Night Heron moving from one step to another – thought this was funny.
Focused on catching breakfast
Focused on catching breakfast
Juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night Herons There were 4 in the nest but one jumped out to the side.
Juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night Herons
There were 4 in the nest but one jumped out to the side.
Juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night Heron
Juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night Heron
Female Wood Duck
Female Wood Duck
Tufted Titmouse Pair?
Tufted Titmouse Pair?
Great Egret with morning catch
Great Egret with morning catch