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, 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.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A few little birds I found when counting them this morning

Today, I went to Lake Murray and counted the birds.  One of the first things I saw, unfortunately, were the pigeons and grackles fleeing in fear.  I knew the hawk was nearby.  She had caught one of the older pigeons at the lake.  This is a very large female Cooper's hawk that was about as big as a red-shouldered hawk.  A small male adult has also been seen in the area.  

Poor piji.



The kingfisher was being a brat.  He was sitting in a nice, photogenic spot on a tree for a long time, but when I took the camera out, he flew further away.  Here he is over at the new spot:


I saw a female black-throated gray warbler.  My camera wasn't co-operating.  Yes, she is in this pic:


I was surprised to see two American pipits at the lake today:



And, we have a new dumped duck over in Coyoteland.  I hope he learns about coyotes:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Just a little update


Though migration is going strong and there are tons of birds at Lake Murray right now, pretty much blanketing the water and trees, I haven't been taking too many photos in the last week or two.  I should take more.  Tomorrow, I am thinking of doing a bird count, so if I see anything rare, I will try to photograph it.

It looks like Smudge and her mate have three young killdeer with them.  There is either a male Cooper's hawk or a female sharp-shin hanging out in the area. I think it's a Cooper's hawk, but can't really see it because he won't stay still.

These three youngsters are in a fear-crouch.  They were screaming earlier.


Big Sissy has been renamed Pumpkin and she's been out in the open more often instead of hiding in the reeds all day.


Little Sissy is still known as Sissy (she is in the back of the photo).  Yesterday, I was really worried as she was having trouble breathing and was gaping and coughing. She seemed to get better after a few minutes, but I'm still worried.  Life in the wild is rough and one can't stay sick for long out there.



Trouble has found some mallard friends, mostly young mallards and maybe his brothers.


He's still very small, though, compared to the others his age.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Birding in the desert

I managed to get out to the desert very recently and shoot a few photos of some birds, mostly around the Anza-Borrego Desert's Visitor Center.  The weather happened to be mild, but still very dry.

The first bird I heard at this place, as soon as I stepped out of the car, was a Costa's hummingbird.  Though they have a high-pitched call, they are extremely loud.  Even if you have hearing loss on the high end, they should be loud enough to hear for most people.  They sorta sound very insect-like.


I tried to find a black-tailed gnatcatcher, but couldn't.  Instead, I got this photo of a blue-gray gnatcatcher.  This print is for sale on Fine Art America:



The black-throated sparrows weren't being very co-operative , this is the best shot I got:



A loggerhead shrike is looking for lizards to impale.  He seemed completely undisturbed by my presence:


Mockingbird peering at me:



Ravens were everywhere, but no crows.


There was also a flycatcher there that sounded unfamiliar.  I think it was a Hammond's flycatcher.  Both it and the Pacific Slope flycatcher migrate through the area and it didn't sound like a Pacific Slope flycatcher to me.  I didn't get a good photo except I did get one with a definite notch in its tail.  It was also fairly yellow-ish.

I didn't see any quail or even verdin, which is kinda strange.  Someone else saw an Inca dove in another spot in Borrego Springs.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

A few random bird pics from Lake Murray

Just a few random bird pictures today.  I saw no shorebirds at all, nor have I see the scaup, yet.  I know there are a few down here in the San Diego area, just not at this lake.  However, there are more coots there now that I've ever seen before.

I haven't been taking many pictures because it's been really dark and cloudy in the morning, so the light is bad.

Here is a gull doing a courtship call to another gull a few feet away.



This ring-billed gull has some sort of tumor or weird feather growth.  It doesn't seem to be bothering him and when he shakes his head, it wiggles lightly.  He is full of energy, but it looks like he swallowed a golf ball.



Fancy-foot pigeon.  There were actually a few of them there.  I didn't see the racing pigeon, though I heard there was a strange looking pigeon who died there.  However, the racing pigeon really didn't look all that strange, kinda like this one.



Song sparrow with some kind of insect in its mouth:



Little Trouble:



And, the male ruddy ducks are following around the female teal again: