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

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Fat Sandpipers, Domestic Ducks and RIP Mr. Squeaky

I haven't been doing a whole lot of photos lately, but here are a few that I've done in the last month. 

I did my yearly bird watch around the Bayshore Bikeway on New Year's Day. I saw a lot of stilts, some of which were having a bath party right in front of me.

I think some birds are getting ready for migration. There must be a good insect population this year because I found this extremely chubby spotted sandpiper at Lake Murray. She looked like a little tennis ball:

A horned grebe showed up at Lake Murray and stayed a while:

Grumpy, the outcast Canada goose is actually starting to look like a girl. He still has a boy voice, though. He will be two years old this spring. His goose manners have improved and he's starting to socialize a little bit with the other Canada geese.

Ming-Ming says hello and asks "where are the girls?"

Here is a photo of Sissy, the buff duck:

Here is Sissy and Pumpkin with Buff:

The two new girls that were dumped last month. The brown and white duck that was with them disappeared after New Year's. A gray duck that was with Sissy and Pumpkin also disappeared. Uno, who also lived in that area has disappeared as well. No sign at all of them. All, except Uno, cannot fly.

Snowy ate a fishing worm the other day. I hope it doesn't kill him. I think that as long as it doesn't have any hooks in it, he will be OK:

There's a new Muscovy girl swimming around with the new geese. I'm betting she's from the same owner as the geese. I wish they'd stop dropping their pets there. The geese have already had problems getting caught with fishing line and hooks.

Finally, we say goodbye to Mr. Squeaky, the Pekin. He used to hang out with Mr. Pekin and the duck with the bad arthritis. For some weird reason, he decided to go off on his own last week. I saw him far from where the rest of the ducks. He looked very sad and was possibly not feeling well. He didn't seem to be looking for anyone or following a female, which is the usual reason for a male duck breaking away form the group. His adventure didn't last long as coyotes were quick to grab him when they got over to their usual hunting area. He had never been there before. 

I thought he had been at Lake Murray for a year and a half, but I actually don't think he's been there much more than a year. He was the youngest of the Pekins. His mate, Squeaky, was rescued last year.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Surprise December Ducklings

Nothing much has been going on at Lake Murray for the last few weeks except for a surprise batch of December ducklings. The mother was first spotted with four, but by the time I saw them, there were only three left. Within a few days, it appears that the gulls got all of them or they were stolen by people. A gull was spotted with one a couple of days after I took these photos. There were also reports of them running up to people. When the mother saw me one day, she acted like she thought I had one of them, so I think one or two may have been kidnapped.

At first, I thought the mother was an elderly duck with a hormone problem. However, when I look at this next picture, I notice she looks a lot like Miss Friendly, a five month old female. Miss Friendly was the super-friendly duckling that loved to follow people around. It appears to be a genetic trait as these ducklings had the same personality.

Also this month, four runner ducks were dumped, one of which has a broken wing. They are two males and two females, it appears.

They found their way over to Sissy and Pumpkin who have adopted them. They are now bonded to the two older buff ducks and hate to be too far away from them.

The killdeer have been super friendly. I've seen Firecracker hanging out in her old hangout where she was raised. Her brother, Killer and his mate, Dee have also been seen hanging out in the same spot. All of these killdeer, including Killer and Dee in the next photo, are now considered nearly elderly for killdeer who usually live about nine or ten years at the most. They are about 5.5 years old.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Shorebird counting

I had the opportunity to go out and do two different walks and counts. I did a Salt Work's tour on November 22nd and I counted shorebirds for Point Blue Bird Observatory on December 1st. Both are on the San Diego Bay.

Salt Works Tour:

Semi-Palmated Plover with a bunch of brine flies all around.

Dunlin and dowitchers:

Dunlin and western sandpipers:

Eared grebes:

Why did the godwits cross the road? To look at all the birders who walked by:

Lots of long-billed curlews all around. Here are two of them:

American avocets:

Short-eared owl (looking away):

I also saw killdeer and one of the peregrine falcons in the area snagged one of the tiny sandpipers right in front of me. Poor little sandpiper. The owl was also eating one of the grebes.

Point Blue Bird Observatory Coronado Bay Survey:

I counted in my usual area around the ferry landing all the way up to near the naval base entrance. Most of these were closer to the ferry landing area.

Black-bellied plover:

Marbled godwit:

Sleepy shorebirds (godwits and willets):

 Brown pelican:


The sanderling woke up and freaked out some of the sleeping birds:

Lots and lots of willets:

This next one was OK, he was just sleeping. I was worried he was sick, but when I walked away, he and a marbled godwit followed me up to the walkway:

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Return of Some of Snowie's Ducklings?

Before I start with the possible return of three of Snowie's March ducklings, I'm sorry to say that one of the Pekins went missing at Lake Murray during the last month. I'm not 100% sure which one it was, but it could be Mr. Squeaky or one of the older ones. There's no sign of him anywhere.

Now to the strange news. These two buff-hybrids showed up about a month ago, and they were the right age to be Snowie's ducklings from way back in March. They appeared to be rouen and buff and I thought maybe Pumpkin or Sissy laid eggs in Snowie's nest. However, I am starting to notice some appleyard traits in them.

What's really odd is that these two ducks, whom are obviously domestic ducks, behave just like the wild ducks. This is unusual for dumped ducks and even ducks raised by wildlife rescues. It's possible that someone raised and returned them, but it's also possible that they were stolen by another female duck and raised in another location at the lake. I'm betting someone took them as they disappeared right before Easter and during a time there were a lot of people at the lake due to a major news story in the area. Either that or they're just regular dumped ducks.

Another duck that may have returned is "Uno" the last of Snowie's ducklings. He looks like a twin of Snowie's mate and was actually at the lake for a couple of weeks before I noticed that he was something new. What's even weirder is that he remembers his name and will sometimes come when I call him. He seems to have some recognition of Snowie and her mate Snowy, too, though they definitely show no signs of recognizing him. His head and bill shape is also the same as Uno, also. So, regardless of where he came from, he is going to be known as Uno from now on.

The two new geese are less afraid and will come up to me now. They are very well mannered. They seem to think they belong to the flock of "Sissy, Pumpkin and Runner Duck" and are always nearby. I think Pumpkin likes them and calls for them when they're not around. I'm not so sure that Sissy and the boys like them. I've caught them nipping at Runner Duck, but not really hard.

There is a resident female killdeer in George's territory. I think it's Little Miracle. There is a male killdeer in Junior's territory and when these two get together, there's a lot of vocalizations. Little Miracle will greet me, but, of course, doesn't let me get too close.

Some other fun pictures include this green heron that I saw this morning:

 A common yellowthroat:

And I did a shorebird count at the San Diego river mouth later in the day, but this picture of a long-billed curlew was the best that I got.

Other than Miss Friendly, it looks like the other three ducklings have appeared again. I don't have any good pictures. There were two boys and two girls overall. The two boys are really scruffy and one of them is extremely friendly. I call that extremely friendly one "Goofball". His brother is not as friendly.