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, August 15, 2014

Boat Dock Peaches has new ducklings!

Boat Dock Peaches finally hatched her ducklings a couple days ago.  Here's a photo of four of the five of them.  I guess she had six to begin with:


One of the goslings is limping and lagging behind.  Mom waited for him.  Here he is greeting his siblings after making it back to the group.  



An ibis came to visit today.  That duck in the background doesn't know what to think about it:



Just a shot of the pigeons flying around.  There's a new sprinkler system that goes off whenever a bird tries to roost on the docks.  As a result, the pigeons seem confused as to where to hang out:


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rattlesnake and bird count

I counted the birds yesterday, but found nothing unusual.  Because I have limited time and have to cover a long distance, I often don't see "details" with the birds.  I plan to do a stationary count a little later to get a more thorough look at the birds in the area.  However, there were a LOT of mallards and way more coots than there used to be.  So, I think migration is beginning.

I got a report of two rattlesnakes on the road, but I only saw one.  I think it's a southern Pacific rattlesnake.  Here is the picture of him:



Everyone stopped to enjoy the snake crossing the road.  Then, some guy on a bike tried to run it over!  What a jerk!  The snake ended up going into the brush to hunt rats and mice and maybe a towhee or sparrow.  I didn't see the other snake which was said to be much larger.



Ducky Ducky is starting to look a little better and I caught her having a bath yesterday with her boyfriend.


I also found Troublemaker, the duckling.  He looked like a ruddy duck when I first saw him.  Mama duck seems really frustrated with him because he's a bit disobedient.  He's lucky to have a mother like him.  Most female ducks would have given up on him long ago.

Woman releases pet parakeets at Lake Murray:

I got a report that a woman has released a lot of parakeets at the lake on possibly two different occasions.  One was re-caught, but I haven't seen the other ones.  Two hungry Cooper's hawks have been hunting in that area.  Seriously, don't release your pets there.  It's not safe.  If you loved your animals, don't do this to them.  The animal shelter will take in birds and they don't euthanize the well behaved, healthy ones.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Old and young generation wood ducks


I thought I would post this photo of Doodle's Son, an older wood duck, and a younger one, perhaps Doodle's grandson.  They seem to be best buddies.  I haven't seen any wood duck females at Lake Murray in a long time.

Update on Ducky Ducky:

Several attempts were tried to catch Ducky Ducky who is totally beaten up and not doing well.  But, all were unsuccessful.  However, someone wanted to help out Big Bumblefoot with his infected feet, so he was caught instead.  However, his feet are so bad that the only option for him is a series of painful surgeries that the lady who is caring for him thinks would not be humane.  So, Big Bumblefoot is going to stay at her house in comfort with good food and plenty of attention until he passes away.

Big Bumblefoot


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

RIP Puff

Last photo of Puff


Bigboi's friend, Puff, died late last week.  Last time I saw him, about a week ago, he was doing very well.  His hurt leg was mostly healed and he even ran up to me with a lot of vigor.  But, he was acting a little weird.  Mostly, he was by himself all the time, but he did seem to want to be near me.  I think he had a broken heart from his best friend dying.

In other news, I think it might be time to rescue Ducky Ducky.  She's looking really bad, but not bleeding.



Trouble is still around and not much has changed with him.  Mama seems to be taking good care of him.



I don't think he'll ever be normal, but his mom still cares.  However, he's still a bit of an independent duckling and you can often see him by himself.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Birdy update


Not a whole lot going on bird-wise.  I got a close up of this wood duck whom I think is Doodle's Son (the one whom I called Doodle's Placekeeper).  He looks like his dad after his last breeding season.  I'm betting this guy is now "retired" and may not be breeding anymore.  We shall see if he gets his colors back next year.  Usually, when they get scruffy like this, they're near the end of their lives.  Doodle lived over a year in his scruffy phase.  He appears healthy otherwise.


The Canada goslings say "hello".


Troublemaker is still under-grown and fuzzy on his back.  But, he is showing some growth.  Here he is next to his mom:


He might not be a Brewer's duck because he's getting blue speculum feathers.  But, he still looks different from a regular mallard:


He still has a lot of white on his belly:


I love watching the terns doing courtship.  Here, a female is waiting for her male to bring her something to eat.  I also saw a juvenile Forster's tern:


I couldn't identify these, at first, but they're cowbirds.


I saw a California gnatcatcher family, but only the mom let me take a photo of her:


The domestic ducks seem to be mostly fine, though I think something is going on with the Pekins.  I think we might be missing a couple of them.  It's been hot and this breed of ducks don't do so well in hot weather.

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.