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

Monday, May 28, 2018

Updates and Alaska Trip

I've been very busy lately,  but I did take some bird pictures. I haven't been keeping a whole lot of track of the ducks at the lake. Several have gone missing. For example, I haven't seen the puffy-headed pekin and his girlfriend for a while. Also, we've had several really young ducklings dumped which didn't make it. There are a couple of new domestic ducks, too, including a Muscovy hybrid (Mulard).

New Moulard at the Lake

Miss Half-Face showed up again this year with what looks like a bad infection. I'm not sure, but I think someone finally caught her. I haven't seen her in a while.

Miss Half-Face



Also,  I went to Cordova, Alaska for their Copper River Delta shorebird festival. Here are some of the pictures I took of the town and the birds. Most of the birds were the same as they are around San Diego, but in their breeding colors.

Mount Eyak

Not sure which mountain this is.

Hartney Bay with geese

Greater white-fronted geese

Off the Henly Trail

Henly Trail easy part

Western and least sandpiper with a few dunlin

Snow geese

Whimbrels and peeps

Hartney Bay in the mountin

Hartney Bay in the evening


Bald eagle hanging out in the neighborhood

At the lake,  two broods of Canada geese have arrived so far. There's been a few broods of ducklings, but not a whole lot. Grey Babba seems to have taken a new wife, but she has a wandering eye, so I am not sure if that marriage is going to last.


Blonde duck also has a new dumped girlfriend of his very own.






Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Random Rambles and Pictures

I just thought that, since I have't posted in a while, that I would post a few random updates.

I saw Pepper the duck a couple of weeks ago at Lake Murray. He'll be 7 this year.


Several ring-necked ducks are also at Lake Murray right now.


Remember Snowie and Snowy's duckling, Uno? Well, he's back with his girlfriend. He's less red now, but still looks a lot like his mom and dad.


This new gray duck was dropped off the lake a few months ago. She's doing well so far. I think we also had a new female Pekin, but something happened to her.


Fat little spotted sandpiper is spending the winter at the lake.


Here's a sunset photo from Lake Murray in November.


I went to the Southeast Arizona bird festival last August. I got some OK pictures. Here's what I think is a Laconte's Thrasher at the Payton Center for Hummingbirds.


Lots of White-winged doves there, too.


And, of course, hummingbirds. I saw several species there. Here are two different kinds right here.


I was also at the Salton Sea last weekend. Not much going on there, though. No ducks or pelicans.


Ring-billed gulls flying by:


Stilts, too, and a couple killdeer, but not much else.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Final Duckling Report

I'm sorry that I haven't been updating lately as I've been so busy that personal projects have been put aside. I have a ton of photos which haven't been processed yet, including several bird pictures from my trip to a bird festival in Tucson.  In the meantime, I have a few duckling photos from the last of this year's ducklings.

I would have to say that, in terms of survivors, this year has been a great duckling season, except for July. I didn't see a single duckling hatched in late June or July survive, though a few might have in areas that I couldn't reach.

I think in my last post on July 7th, I mentioned this orphaned duckling and the mom who lost all of her ducklings. Well, the duckling finally bonded to this mama. I saw both of them for a few more days before they disappeared. I think the mama took him to a safer place. I am not sure if he made it adulthood, but if he did, he may be the only one to do so.



This mother duck had 13 ducklings to begin with. She hung around the boat docks and was doing really well with her ducklings and managed to keep most of them alive for at least two weeks.


Then, unfortunately, a coyote or dog attacked her and her ducklings, ripped off part of her face and damaged her eye. The eye is still there, but severely damaged. She then began to lose ducklings until, after almost three weeks, none were left.

I saw the mama duck for a couple of weeks after this and she was healing up very well and showed no signs of affliction except she had to compensate for not being able to see on that side. She was even flirting with the males. Unfortunately, I haven't seen her for almost a month now and don't know if she just moved off to a new area of passed away.



The adopted duckling with the older sibling grew up and are really tight best friends. The adopted one is a female and the other one is a male and go everywhere together.


Here is the female one, still friendly.




The other duckling that was raised separate by another female became independent really early and left her mom on her own.


A new mother duck with four ducklings showed up. She looked like one of Miss Una's relatives.



A fifth duckling from her brood was hatched later at someone's house, so the person at that house released him at the lake. However, she released him to wrong mother who attacked him. That mama had an independent duckling and the new duckling bonded to him and was glued to him for a long time. 


Then, he began to follow any adult duck he could find, even the males. I had a feeling that he was part of the mom with four above, so I used his following the other ducks to an advantage. I pretended I was throwing food out to get all the ducks to follow me towards the other mother duck (who was actually coming up from the other end of the beach area). 


The mother duck went up tot he duckling, who wasn't sure about her at first, and he seemed to brace for an attack. However, she began clucking at him and he blended in with the other ducklings. He seemed just fine when I left as seen in this photo. Unfortunately, the next day, I only saw four ducklings in that brood, again, but I think he was still with her.


 Unfortunately, none of those ducklings survived. Here is the mom with her last one, whom, I am almost certain, is the one that was released. At least he lived his short life with a loving wild duck family.



There was one other duckling hatched in early July. He, too, was one of four who were doing very well until they started disappearing. This is his last photo taken in late July when he was almost a month old. Someone told me they saw a mama duck with a young duckling in an area that is difficult to get to, but I never saw him again and I thought I saw his mama alone. I am hoping that she just took him elsewhere.


As of the end of July, there were no young ducklings left, however there were a few older ones around that may have been either ones that were raised in other parts of the lake, or Project Wildlife releases.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Duckling News and Bad News


Well, I have some very bad news about some of the Lake Murray favorites. The bad news is that the coyotes have been extremely active in the area around the fishing pier and have killed several domestic birds and perhaps a wild one or hybrid. But, before I give you more details about that, I would like to say that this has been a very good duckling season. So I will give you the duckling news first, then the bad news about who is gone.

First, I put together a slideshow. Below the slideshow, I will give you an update on some of the individuals in the video.  Here is the slideshow:




This photo was taken today. Two moms had a single duckling in the area. However, I think the mama to this little one has disappeared. This female is the mother of the other duckling who has also disappeared. She is trying to adopt the one without a mom, but he is making it difficult to her. His future does not look good unless he lets her get close to him.


These are the two ducklings which used to go across the lake in deep water at least two or three times a day. They are nearly independent and their mama can't keep up with them. They've wandered off on their own many times.


This is "Little Guy." His mama was raising him near the parking lot. However, this particular mama duck loves to take her ducklings to an inaccessible area around the time they are a month old. Little Guy is about two weeks old here. Last I saw him, he was about 4-5 weeks old and getting very big and feathering fast. I wouldn't be surprised if he was one of the many young ducks whom I've seen hanging out together lately. I don't think I could recognize him now.


This is Leuci, a Leucistic mallard. She's at least seven or eight years old. This is her with her last duckling out of a brood of about six ducklings. This little guy lived a few days longer than this photo, but didn't make it.


These two ducklings and the one in the photo below this one have a strange story. The two mamas look almost exactly alike. At one time, all three of the ducklings were together. There were two older ducklings and an adopted younger duckling. Then, when the bigger ducklings turned about two weeks old, the family split in two. One older one and a much younger one went with one mom and another older one went with the other mom. When the two moms get together, the three ducklings mix and match and are fine. However, the mom with two does not accept the other one, so when the families depart, the one duckling goes with one mom and the others go with the other mom.



Here is a new duck someone dumped at the lake. She has a hybrid mallard boyfriend already and is very shy. She goes way off to the far end of the lake and back to the docks everyday. I'm really surprised she's still alive because she is bright as day and I'm sure the coyotes see her at night.



OK, now for the bad news.

Remember the two new ducks I mentioned in my last post? Well, I don't even think it was a week after they arrived that the Pekin disappeared. The brown khaki duck went off with Blue for a while, then started hanging around Runner Duck and his buff friend. She was fine for about a month, then she, too, disappeared. I'm really hoping that their owners had a change of heart and came back to get them. I haven't seen any evidence of them being eaten, but I don't always see that when it happens.


Miss Grey reappeared and I was really happy. She was fine for at least a week or two, then disappeared again. Today, I found a large pile of feathers that looked exactly like hers. Since she has disappeared for long periods before, I'm hoping that the feathers were not from her and she will show up again.


Eight-year-old Snowie may have also been a victim of the coyotes, too. I saw some speculum feathers and some body and wing feathers that look a lot like her special feather patterns. Plus, her mate, Snowy has been acting very strange and her son seems traumatized. I did not find her on her nest.

Warning, grizzly details in this paragraph: However, someone said they found a head of a "regular mallard" near where I found the feathers, so it might not be hers. They said it was sliced clean off, which makes me wonder if humans are involved, though I have heard that can also happen naturally.

As you can see from this photo, her head doesn't look like a "regular mallard."


Another duck that's missing is the one that nesting near Peaches a few years ago. She was a Project Wildlife duck from a few years ago and hung out in that area. Today I found four duck eggs with holes in them. I suspect that they belonged to the owner of the feathers. Snowie had two eggs in her nest which were abandoned and disappeared a long time ago and these new eggs were still fresh.

Also, I am worried about this white goose. He hangs out with the grey goose and they have been at the lake a very long time. I only saw the grey goose today. This is extremely unusual as they are always together. They're both males, so no one is nesting with this pair. Here's a picture of them in 2012.


Miss Angel has also not been seen for over two weeks, but was not healthy the last time I saw her. Her mates, Little Guy and Big Guy, have also not been seen which makes me think she is hiding somewhere with them.