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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

More duckling photos and baby goslings!

Snowie seemed to have shown up with an entirely different brood yesterday morning at Lake Murray in San Diego! She had only one non-mallard duckling and six mallard-type ducklings. I thought she lost her brood and stole another brood.


But, nope, I looked back at the photos I took a few days before and she originally had about 8-9 mallard-y ducklings and only 4 multicolored ones. So, it would seem that nature selected for the mallard coloring.

This is the last of the non-mallard ducklings:


With his siblings:


Having a rest under mama:


Escape! If you've ever observed a mama with ducklings, you will know that the ducklings are in control of everything. Mom just tags along to make sure they're OK.

Escape!

This is the little weak duckling that I'm surprised has survived this long.


She gets very tired easily. But, don't give up. The last duckling I thought was too weak to survive was one of the few that made it to adulthood in that brood. So, maybe this one might surprise me.


The first brood of new Canada goslings are at the lake. These guys are a few days old. I expect a second brood along in a few weeks.



The brood from last year seems to have disappeared except for one. I hope they have left for good and gone up north were they should be.

Friday, March 27, 2015

First ducklings of spring 2015!

First Lake Murray ducklings award for 2015 goes to Snowie, again! She had them about a week or so earlier than last year. There were 13 and she's managed to hold on to all 13 for at least two or three days.









The whole brood together, all 13 of them.


RIP Howard, AKA Picked On, AKA Outcast:

Howard got a broken wing last week and was taken in to Project Wildlife. He didn't survive. This picture was taken on the day he went in to the hospital. He was actually starting to do better and was eating again on this day.


Squeaker and the male of the pair that adopted her look for Howard where he was last seen. Howard helped Squeaker learn how to be a goose and was the one who got her integrated into the group.


Miss Squeaky, the Pekin may need to be rescued, soon. She's getting a bald head. As soon as she starts showing raw skin or bleeding, a rescue attempt will be made. Right now, she's showing a lot of wing itching, probably from being mounted.



Friday, March 13, 2015

Update with bird festival, gbbc, and ducks

Since I've last posted, we've had the Great Backyard Bird Count, Bird Festival and a lot of other birding things going on. I see lots and lots of breeding behavior in all animals right now. We had a little rain, but it's also been extremely hot, too. I know I included the first day of the GBBC, but not the other days.

I didn't take any photos at the bird festival. I was mostly there on Sunday at the Big Sit and one other lecture. I did see a lot of gulls and a few ducks in the river. The weather was great and I'm sure the out of town visitors had a great time. I hear they had decent bird sightings on most trips.

At Chollas Lake on the 15th, I saw this friendly spotted sandpiper who reminded me of Bob:



I think is is Mylee the gosling at Chollas Lake I posted about a few years ago. She seemed to know my name.


I found this stilt and avocet enjoying the Otay River Mouth area.


Around the end of February, I saw this turkey vulture at Lake Murray wearing a wing tag. I found out that he was banded in Fallbrook about two years ago as an adult. He was part of a study of migrating turkey vultures in Orange County. I've seen him a couple times since then, but not much.


I thought this female house finch on the cactus looked pretty cool:


This gull is humongous! Bigger than a lot of the ducks, even.


One day it rained, and Peaches and her boyfriend came up to my car. Peaches has a nest now. She's getting up there in years.


Pepper's wing actually looks a little better. It's not sticking out sideways as much as it used to:


This little girl at Lake Murray looks to be a khaki Campbell. She's quite a loudmouth. I named her Skeeter after another khaki Campbell who is a celebrity.


Saw this cinnamon teal at the lake on the 8th.


And, today, I saw Snowie, who I think is also sitting on a nest. Her two boys have been seen a lot without her lately. I found duck parts near where they were standing, but, of course, it was not her.


Friday, February 13, 2015

The Great Backyard Bird Count Day 1

Today is the first day of the 2015 Great Backyard Bird Count. And, of course, I timed it to go with my monthly bird count at Lake Murray. Unfortunately, many species decided not to come out today. It was also extremely warm and dry out, too.  Most of the usual suspects were out and about.

Here are a few photos I took. I didn't take too many and half of these are of domestic birds:



Northern shovelers (all male)

American wigeon (all male)

This next one is of that domestic duck across the lake whom I haven't named.


The two Babbas, domestic geese:


And, I threw in this picture of a gopher trying to get some greens, lol. (he wasn't counted)


I also saw some horned grebes and a couple of western bluebirds, too. Conspicuously absent were scrub jays, Say's phoebe and swallows.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Desert Birding at a golf course

Today, I birded two areas around Borrego Springs. The first area, near Pena Springs in Culp Valley, only gave me a sparse number of birds and most of those birds were identified by voice. I didn't get any photos of them.

The second area I birded was Rams Hill golf course. I had heard there was an Inca Dove there and, since I was in the area, decided to check it out. This area is restricted, so don't expect to just go in there and look around any time you want.  You can only visit the area around the clubhouse and golf course unless you have a good reason to visit other areas.

I often don't consider birding at modified landscapes in the desert true desert birding because there is much more water than what would normally be in this area. This attracts animals that would never have been there, otherwise. But, it also concentrates local desert birds as well. Many of the birds I saw were common, but I did managed to get a Vesper sparrow, one that I never saw before. There were also verdin, finches, Eurasian collard and white-winged doves, and an American pipit. I saw no killdeer, though. Here are some highlights:

American Pipit, very friendly:


Plenty of Eurasian Collard Doves:


The white-winged doves were shy and didn't really want their picture taken:


Vesper sparrow:


White-crowned sparrow:


Ring-neck duck:


Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Day Shorebirds

Here we go, counting shorebirds on New Year's Day. But, today it was very cold in the morning, so not a lot of birds were out flying around. This resulting in me seeing almost no gulls, terns, starlings, or anything else that likes to fly around early in the morning.  Here are some highlights:

First, I was greeted by wigeon and northern pintail duck butts:



Some birds were far away, like these avocets as well as a whole lot of stilts, too:


Short-billed dowitchers were sleeping all over the place:


Least sandpipers:


Some of these guys were sleeping:


Willet and godwit:

Willets:



And, a few days ago, I did a Christmas Bird Count in Escondido.  I didn't take a lot of photos, but I did get some of the common ground doves: