Hello! Most of my posts take place around San Diego County, (Mostly Lake Murray) unless otherwise noted.
For more posts and photos, I also post on Hubpages, a site that is a bit different than others. Thanks!: Shorebirdie on Hubpages

Friday, August 21, 2015

Not Done With Ducklings, Yet

Still not done with ducklings. Since the duckling-eating gull died, some of the ducklings have been sticking around a lot longer. The heron still hunts around there, but not so much. I haven't seen the great egret, but I saw a bunch of large white feathers that might have been either him or from the geese who are molting.

Anyway, there is was a problem with me watching the ducklings growing up. There were three moms with ducklings all around the same age. All three moms looked almost identical and may be related. At some point, the ducklings got mixed and matched. I think there are two families that are being raised together by two females, but I'm not sure. As a result, I will not be able to separate the photos of the ducklings into families. Currently, all the ducklings are a little over three weeks old.

However, I can tell you specifically about what happened to Sissy's ducklings.

After a couple days from the last time I posted, Sissy only had two ducklings.

Two days after that, she only had one.

This guy was pretty independent and actually lived over two weeks, but grew very little. Eventually, a predator found him and he disappeared.

This little guy's mother abandoned him and he swam around for a long time looking for her. She eventually came back, but he got separated again.

Another mother with three other ducklings eventually adopted him to be with her brood.

He's still alive as far as I know.

Here they are about a week ago. I haven't seen them since.

There were other mothers still having ducklings, too, but I don't think they made it.

The mother who originally had nine got down to about two. Then, she disappeared. However, she sometimes re-appears out of the blue. I get confused as to whether she is the one with the foster duckling or not.

There is one mom with a single, extremely friendly, duckling. They rarely make an appearance, but when she does, this guy loves to follow friendly people around. Here he is, last week, coming up to me to the point where I could almost pet him. I only saw him once since then. I believe he's the same duckling that was running up to me when he was a day-old.

I believe his mom was the one who originally took in the foster duckling, but another mother seems to have kidnapped her other three ducklings.

Uno, the last uneaten duckling, has made it to adulthood and is mostly on her own.

I suspect that all those ducklings are still around, but the mothers are keeping them hidden in other areas.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ducklings still being seen

Here is another duckling update at Lake Murray. Even though it is late in the season and many ducks are already molting and even migrating, there are still ducklings being hatched. Here are some updates.

Uneaten Ducklings:

The two "uneaten ducklings" were doing quite well and were growing fast and healthy.

Unfortunately, something happened to one of them soon after this next picture was taken. The one in the front went missing. It's unusual to lose them when they reach this age of about three weeks old.

Here he is with his mother who was swimming quickly away from something.

This last duckling was named Uno II:

Growing feathers:

These next two pictures were taken today. Uno II is nearly a month old now. He's more than half feathered.

He's the same age as those two older ducklings when they left their mother.

Speaking of the older ducklings, I haven't been photographing them that much. Both ducklings are completely grown now and flying. Now, it looks like the smaller duckling might be a boy, too.

Smaller duckling

Big Brother

Last week, several new broods were seen. A mother duck had nine ducklings and took them through the "gull gauntlet" without losing any that day.

A few days later, there were only three left. After that, I didn't see them at all.

Another mom had two ducklings in another area, one of which was acting a big strange. I thought maybe he was having seizures.

Mom didn't like this young pied-billed grebe swimming around near her babies. I've never seen a grebe actually grab a duckling, but they are certainly capable of it. Mostly, I see them with small fish and crayfish.

A couple days later, the duckling that looked like he was having seizures was perfectly fine.

Here is the other duckling. After that day, I didn't see them anymore.

Another mom had seven ducklings in the same area. I didn't see her when she had seven, but I saw her with five a few days later.

Then, she had only four. Here are two of them:

Here are the other two. I didn't see them a few days later.

Sissy, who has been missing along with her sister, Pumpkin, surprised me today with three big ducklings.

Pumpkin has been missing for over six weeks, but that's not unusual for her this time of year. I hope she's OK.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Duckling update at Lake Murray for the last few weeks

Instead of posting duckling updates over and over, I decided to put the last few weeks of ducklings together all in one post.

Mom and One Duckling:

First up is a mom of a single duckling I first saw on June 16th. A crow tried to grab it, but I shooed the crow away. Later, I didn't see him and feared he had been eaten shortly after I walked away. Then, I saw the same mom and duckling three days later. He also disappeared soon after I saw him and I haven't seen him or his mother since.

The Uneaten Ducklings:

The story behind these ducks is that one of the western gulls was intensely watching this family of four, but I managed to steer him towards a couple of dead fish nearby. Once he discovered and began feeding on the fish, the ducklings passed by without harm. However, a few days later, there were only two. But they may not have been eaten by the gulls. Mama duck has a habit of taking them back and forth across the lake. I'm thinking a fish or cormorant may have gotten them. The other two are still around and growing strong:

The Older Ducklings:

The older ducklings are still plugging along and are just about full grown.  All they need is their primary feathers. They are almost the same size of the adult ducks.

New Littles:

These ducklings just showed up a few days ago. The mother started with six, then she had five. Today, I didn't see her at all:


All the goslings have grown up and are flying, including the youngest one:

In Memorium:

Sadly, the three ducklings that were in the last post were all eaten by the western gull. I tried to dissuade the gull, who caught them by sneaking up on them, but he ate them anyway. 

Also, both Sissy and Pumpkin, the two blonde female ducks, have been missing for a couple of weeks and I'm very concerned. Trouble has been around, but his bill was damaged from what looks like a rock.