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, July 18, 2014

Update on Troublemaker and a few photos of the anchovy feeding frenzy

At Lake Murray, there's been a flood of new baby ducks.  Unfortunately, most, if not all of them, don't make it much more than a week.  

Earlier this week, I saw the mama with the last of her ducklings; the one that was brutally attacked.  His sibling was gone.  This guy was 10 days old when this photo was taken.  I did not see her or the duckling today.  I'm hoping she moved him on to a safer area, but I don't have hope for him.




 Troublemaker is starting to grow just a bit.  But, something is definitely wrong with him (and, yes, he is definitely a male):


It's been about 6 weeks since I first met him and he was at least 2-3 weeks old at that time.  So, he should be about 8-10 weeks old now.  But, he looks and acts like a 5-6 week old.  His siblings are normal for 8-10 weeks old.  So, Troublemaker may actually be the same age as his siblings, but behind on development.




Mom keeps a good eye on him, but she's also trying to encourage the others to fly and can't wait for Troublemaker to catch up to them.



His best friend is his brother, seen here at the bottom right.  The one at the top is an adult male.  He gets along well with other ducks and is smart enough to know to avoid the large males.


On Monday, I went to Imperial Beach where they were having a hug anchovy visitation.  Lots of birds were there.  I saw one juvenile snowy plover, whom I only got a blurry photo of, so I'm not posting it.  Here is his dad who ran up to me to distract me from his chick.  A female was also seen in the area.



Lots of fun willets, many still in breeding plumage:


Pelicans diving for their favorite fish, anchovies:


But, the big spectacle was the tens of thousands of shearwaters flying by the shoreline for hours.  It was like the passenger pigeons where they just kept on coming.  I saw that they were flying in a huge circle.  Thousands and thousands of birds continuously streaming by..  Everyone that saw them was amazed.



Sunday, July 13, 2014

Duckling update and RIP Bigboi


Sorry I haven't been updating much.  There's been ups and downs with the ducklings.  

This duckling is the last of the ones I saw last Sunday:


Here are two from that four near the pipe.  I scared them off the shore.  I thought the mom was with them, but when I saw there were four ducklings when I knew there were only three the last time I saw the family a few days ago, I began to get suspicious.  The mama duck was chasing one of them as well.



The mom's two ducklings were near here when the other two came around the concrete pipe.  Everything seemed OK and all four ducklings enjoyed each other's company.  Then, the mother duck viciously attacked this duckling, grabbing it by the head, dunking it, and slamming it against the pipe.  I managed to get her to stop and she went away, leaving two of the ducklings by themselves with no mother.


The one that was attacked stopped peeping and seemed tired and wasn't feeding as well as the other one.


A hungry gull came up and watched them, but that gull had an overgrown bill and probably couldn't have gotten them if he wanted to.

About a half our or more, later, mama came back and they swam with her.  The one duckling seemed a little "off" and not feeling well, though.


Here's another mama with one duckling.  I think she was the one who had the second set of four, not the mama I saw earlier with two.


These ducklings were brand new and were trying to hitch a ride on mama's back whenever she stopped swimming.  Mama took them to safety.



Troublemaker is still around and is starting to grow and fill out.  But, he's much, much smaller than his siblings and is even small for his age.  I'm still not sure he's going to make it, but things are looking better for him.




Here's Pepper, he's so pretty!  However, he gives me an extremely hard time whenever I want to photograph him.  I tried to get his "good side", but he wouldn't let me and kept turning his broken wing to me.  So, here he is.


Sad news about Pepper's dad, though.  Bigboi went missing after I saw him last Sunday.  Puff, the crested runner, was depressed and hung around where Bigboi's body was said to be found.  I didn't see the body, though.



Today, Puff was back with the other two males.  He's now the oldest domestic mallard at the lake.



The geese, though, are still doing wonderfully.  I haven't taken any new pictures since the last time I posted.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ducklings are now in!

Finally, we're starting to see ducklings--a lot of them.  I am seeing new broods every time I go to Lake Murray in San Diego.  Last Tuesday, I came across the mom that had four ducklings, but now she had two. 



After I had taken their picture and walked away, mama duck began screaming her head off.  When I came back, one of the ducklings had somehow gone a long distance in a matter of about 30 seconds.  I'm suspecting a young gull or crow took him, but dropped him when mom went after him.  Both ducklings were re-united after a few minutes.  However, I didn't see those two ducklings or their mama today, so I'm not sure if they made it.

Last Tuesday, I found Boat Dock Peaches with one duckling.  I didn't see the duckling today, but I did hear Boat Dock Peaches screaming her head off at the males as she usually does. I don't know if she still had her one duckling:



I did see the other mother who had four ducklings who still has three that are growing large.






Another mother with four hatchlings:


This mom had six or seven ducklings.  I thought I saw her with seven at first, but later I only saw her with six.  Here she is with 5 ducklings:






Troublemaker is still very small, but mostly feathered now.



He's still about half the size of his siblings:



Here's a few of his beautiful sisters:



And, finally, the baby Canada geese are nearly full grown and are flying a little:




Sunday, June 29, 2014

A new wave of ducklings


There seems to be a wave of ducklings going on right now at Lake Murray.  I think the cooler, less dry weather has helped with nesting.  Better late than never.  It will be interesting to see if we have more late hatching ducklings this year.

I found this mother with 8 hatchlings all scattered around very early in the morning:



Here she is when there was more light out.



These three ducklings were without a mother, but didn't seem worried.  They just continued on feeding.  I could hear mom quacking from far away.



There she is!  She flew back and they all swam up to her:



Little troublemaker and his six siblings are still around.  He's grown a bit and is more than half feathered:



Here's his mom and two of his siblings (a third was under water):



The nervous mama was down to four ducklings, but they sure were cute.  She was nervous of me at first:



One duckling really like his mom:



But, decided I was OK enough to come up to me:



Here she is with three of them, one was hiding behind her:




Here is the one:





Some good news!  Big Sissy was seen very early this morning feeding with Little Sissy and Runner Duck:


Then, as soon as it was light, she went back into hiding: