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

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.

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.