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 Squidoo, a site that is a bit different than others. Thanks!: Desertdarlene on Squidoo

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Great Backyard Bird Count Day 1

Today is the first day of the 2015 Great Backyard Bird Count. And, of course, I timed it to go with my monthly bird count at Lake Murray. Unfortunately, many species decided not to come out today. It was also extremely warm and dry out, too.  Most of the usual suspects were out and about.

Here are a few photos I took. I didn't take too many and half of these are of domestic birds:



Northern shovelers (all male)

American wigeon (all male)

This next one is of that domestic duck across the lake whom I haven't named.


The two Babbas, domestic geese:


And, I threw in this picture of a gopher trying to get some greens, lol. (he wasn't counted)


I also saw some horned grebes and a couple of western bluebirds, too. Conspicuously absent were scrub jays, Say's phoebe and swallows.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Desert Birding at a golf course

Today, I birded two areas around Borrego Springs. The first area, near Pena Springs in Culp Valley, only gave me a sparse number of birds and most of those birds were identified by voice. I didn't get any photos of them.

The second area I birded was Rams Hill golf course. I had heard there was an Inca Dove there and, since I was in the area, decided to check it out. This area is restricted, so don't expect to just go in there and look around any time you want.  You can only visit the area around the clubhouse and golf course unless you have a good reason to visit other areas.

I often don't consider birding at modified landscapes in the desert true desert birding because there is much more water than what would normally be in this area. This attracts animals that would never have been there, otherwise. But, it also concentrates local desert birds as well. Many of the birds I saw were common, but I did managed to get a Vesper sparrow, one that I never saw before. There were also verdin, finches, Eurasian collard and white-winged doves, and an American pipit. I saw no killdeer, though. Here are some highlights:

American Pipit, very friendly:


Plenty of Eurasian Collard Doves:


The white-winged doves were shy and didn't really want their picture taken:


Vesper sparrow:


White-crowned sparrow:


Ring-neck duck:


Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Day Shorebirds

Here we go, counting shorebirds on New Year's Day. But, today it was very cold in the morning, so not a lot of birds were out flying around. This resulting in me seeing almost no gulls, terns, starlings, or anything else that likes to fly around early in the morning.  Here are some highlights:

First, I was greeted by wigeon and northern pintail duck butts:



Some birds were far away, like these avocets as well as a whole lot of stilts, too:


Short-billed dowitchers were sleeping all over the place:


Least sandpipers:


Some of these guys were sleeping:


Willet and godwit:

Willets:



And, a few days ago, I did a Christmas Bird Count in Escondido.  I didn't take a lot of photos, but I did get some of the common ground doves:


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Loony Birds



Merry Christmas!  Above is three domestic ducks and a pelican, below is Pumpkin, runner duck, and a mallard.


Here is a photo of the above three with the new girl, Mini Cinnamon:


Trouble says hello:


 Another duck that looks a lot like him is being rejected by this female:


Gadwalls:



I saw two Pacific loons. Here is one of them:


A juvenile western or herring gull:


And, I know it's hard to see, one of two horned grebes:


Friday, December 12, 2014

San Diego Shorebird Survey for Point Blue

It's that time of year again and it was time to count shorebirds around Coronado Bay for Point Blue Conservation Science.  Luckily, we were able to do it yesterday because it's really rainy and windy today, so it would have been very hard to do.

Here are some photos. I didn't see many shorebirds, but there were a few.

The day started out with marbled godwits.


Those two in the photo above later flew off to a grassy area of the park, but left after people with dogs started walking by.


Another marbled godwit with a willet:


A different willet nearby:


This willet was dodging a whisky bottle in the surf:


I think this willet didn't feel well:


This spotted sandpiper was really aggravated with me and kept running away.  I told her I wanted to take her picture and she decided I was alright and started posing for me:


Flock of marbled godwits and willets:


There were lots of other birds in the water including surf scoters:


And, lesser scaup:


There were also some royal terns laying around until I got too close for their comfort and they flew off.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Little lost loon

Yesterday, while I was counting birds at the lake, I came across this lost juvenile Pacific loon.


He seemed pretty relaxed, mostly grooming himself.


I've seen common loons at this lake (Lake Murray) before, but not Pacific loons.  During the winter, Pacific loons live near the ocean.  Later, someone saw an adult at the same lake.  I think the two might be calling to each other.  The other loon was quite a distance away from this baby. They might have arrived together.


I didn't take many other pictures that day because I was busy counting.  but, I added this one of a snowy egret chasing small fish around.  It's an awful lot of energy to spend on catching such small prey.


Sunday, November 30, 2014

End of November


We had a little squall of rain pass through at Lake Murray this morning, but it got better later.  It's supposed to rain a little harder in a couple of days.



This is one of the new killdeer which I think is from the family of three chicks.  He was scared of the camera.  He looks like Killer did when he was his age, so I'm sure he's related.  I think he might be either Smudge's son or Killer Junior's son.



I was surprised to see two white-faced ibises fly by, but they didn't want to land.  I think there were too many people around.  They did circle a bit, looking for a spot, but didn't find any to their liking.



Trouble is now almost indistinguishable from the other male mallards.  Here is a photo of him from a few days ago.  I think I saw him today, too.  He knows his name.


Pumpkin (AKA Big Sissy) is doing a lot better and can be seen all the time with her Sissy.  She's molting really bad now, though.


A new domestic duck was dropped off at the lake a couple weeks ago.



This lucky male bufflehead has four girls in his harem:


There go the beautiful bufflehead girls:


For anyone who was wondering what happened to the gull with a broken wing:  I found out that he was rescued last week.  I don't know if anything can be done for him as it was a bad break which has healed, but I'm hoping he won't be euthanized.