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, 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, 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.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Coyote Day and Lots of Thrashers

I got to see the coyotes today. They were very far away, but my friends pointed out this family of three hunting. I think they ended up catching a large rabbit. They're pretty small in the pictures, but you may be able to make them out.

In the first picture, there are actually two, but one is very hidden:

There's two in this next photo, too, one in the middle, one off to the upper left:

There are usually only two California thrashers at the lake, but today there were at least a dozen. These two, on the fence, were chasing each other:

This one didn't care about what the other two were doing. Also in the area was a very loud Costa's hummingbird:

It poured down rain a couple days ago. It rained so hard that I don't think even the ducks liked it. Here is Miss Angel and Mr. Squeaky trying to get out of the rain:

Pouring down rain in this photo. The coots are beginning to arrive. The ruddy ducks are already at the lake as are some teal and eared grebes:

The female goose has a companion. Someone dumped that male that's in the background of this next photo. I'm betting they were from the same owner as they've been best friends since day one.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Final Duckling Update and the Temecula Duck Pond

With the end of the season, this will probably be the last duckling update for this year in San Diego and at Lake Murray. 

I didn't see much of the last remaining ducklings in the morning after my last post. Sometimes, I saw them in the afternoon, especially Miss Friendly. Miss Friendly is the one who liked to follow me around. I didn't visit the lake very much in the afternoon, but I did get this picture of Miss Friendly when she was almost a month old.

For weeks, I didn't see any sign of the ducklings until I found this one whom I also think is Miss Friendly at about seven weeks old. She still has fuzz around her legs. She still did her baby talk when I approached.
I think I may have seen the "foster duckling" earlier this week, but it's hard to tell. Project Wildlife releases the ducklings around the same age as those ducklings are now, so it would be hard to tell them apart. I may never know if those other three ducklings made it.

Miss Una is fully grown and is a silly girl. I saw her chasing down flies one time. She's usually by herself.

Sometimes she likes to hang out with the male ducks that Project Wildlife released a couple weeks ago.

Sad news about Skeeter. She has fishing line wrapped around and cutting through her leg. She's been dealing with this for a few weeks. Problem is that the girl is super smart and no one can catch her! The other ducks in the flock are also protecting her, the little buggers. She's unraveled part of it herself, but not all of it. Last I saw, her foot was still "alive" and she's wiggling her toes, but it is swollen up.

In more sad news. someone dumped this female Chinese goose. She is very confused and is wandering around screaming her lungs out and coming up to people. It's clear she wants to go home. I'm hoping she will settle with the other geese, soon, before the coyotes get her.

I went to the Temecula duck pond last week. It's a very nice park and pond. What's neat is that ducks have the right of way on the busy road out there. However, I don't feel the pond is really ideal for ducks with it's raised sidewalks and bumpy rocky haul-out area.

Here is a sample of some of the domestic ducks there that people have dropped off. That runner duck is in charge.

These next two are mallard-domestic hybrids. I'm betting the runner duck is the father of this first one:

The little black-and-white female is in severe need of rescue. Her keel bone sticks way out. I'm not sure if it's a deformity or due to starvation. Some ducks can't really get any nutrition from bread which is the only thing to eat at this pond.

Temecula has a city law outlawing the feeding of ducks, yet I saw at least 6 people who fed them while I was there. All of them fed the ducks bread. This is a photo of their pamphlet discouraging feeding. I don't know if anyone ever reads it. I wish, too, they would also mention something about abandoning domestic pet ducks, too. The ones that seem to be extra hungry are the domestics and they must be fed or rescued.

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.