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, September 26, 2014

Here come the migrants!

I've seen many come through from killdeer to ruddy ducks to eared grebes at Lake Murray and other places!

Eared grebes

I got a kick out of this pair with a ruddy duck, still in partial breeding colors, and a little female green-winged teal.  They seemed to really enjoy each other's company and were following each other around.  Then, the teal decided she wanted to be with the mallards and swam towards shore.  The ruddy duck seemed confused for a while and waited in deeper water.  I didn't see if they got back together, later.


Troublemaker is still around and has his wing fathers now, but most of his feathers are fluff.  He seems to like to hang around gadwalls and another group of mallards, but is mostly alone.  Sometimes, his wing feathers look extremely green, but sometimes they're blue like in these photos.



I didn't see him today, but he's been seen all over the lake, so he could be anywhere.

Blue was competing for a new girlfriend and has been seen doing courtship with the other males.  But, not very much lately.  I think he's missing Ducky Ducky:


And, I finally found these guys.  I've been looking for them for months!  Looks like the female survived breeding season.


I think Junior, the killdeer came to visit, but I never was able to get a photo of him.  I've also been seeing spotted sandpipers more and lots more coots.  There was one baby coot, but he has disappeared for n ow.

Friday, September 19, 2014

RIP Ducky Ducky and Fred comes to visit



You may remember that we tried to rescue Ducky Ducky about 6 weeks ago because she was so beat up, but she wouldn't be caught.  She did end up getting better and I thought she would be around for another year.  But, while foraging this morning, she got her head stuck in some rocks and drowned.  I'm guessing it happened while it was still dark.

Fred the yellowlegs came to visit today.  He was being really friendly, too.  But, when he saw no killdeer, he moved on.


Speaking of birds, the grackles are really looking uuuuuglllly!


A couple of days ago, I thought Oreo had died from the heat.  But, he showed up today with two other ducks whom I haven't seen in a long time.  Oreo has been at the lake since April of 2011.



Troublemaker is still around and has his wings.  But, his condition is pretty icky looking.  I don't think he's every going to look normal.



Here's some beautiful gadwalls, whose numbers have increased.  I think the first one is Gaddy, but the other ones of another male that Gaddy was keeping an eye on




I threw in this photo of the Canada geese family flying around.


In other news, one of the mallard drakes is hobbled by fishing line.  I saw Neo nearby and I think the hobbled duck might be Indy or his brother.  I don't really think it's Indy, though.  Nothing life threatening, but it does restrict his movements.  We might be able to catch him eventually.

All other ducks have made it past the heat wave with no issues.  

Sunday, September 7, 2014

World Shorebird Day and Trouble Update

Yesterday was the very first ever celebration of World Shorebird Day (though I've seen in some places that it's official the 5th, but celebrated the following weekend).  People were asked to count birds from the 5-7. I went to the lake on the 6th early in the morning, but found no shorebirds.  Today, I went to Fiesta Island in Mission Bay and found several shorebirds.  Luckily, I went before the crowds came in.  It was already crowded with thousands of people and I could see thousands more coming in.  The shorebirds I saw today probably moved to another area after I left.

Marbled godwits and willets

I did a quick drive around the island, stopping at various points to check out the birds.

Black-bellied plover

2 Godwits, I'm thinking 1  might be a juvenile

Short-billed dowitcher amongst the godwits

Western sandpipers

Male and female horned larks

Heermann's gulls

Another Heermann's gull

There were absolutely no ducks or terns on the bay at all, at least in that area.  It was probably a good thing because there was about a hundred speeding watercraft out there.

Back at Lake Murray, the ducks are plentiful.  I took all these photos on Labor Day.

Snowie in her fresh molt

Both sister ducks are seen together a lot, but it's still hard to photograph both of them together.  Here's Big Sister.



After about two weeks of not seeing him, Trouble came up to visit me.  The thing is he was sneezing and his eyes were irritated.  The right eye looked only slightly irritated, but the left one was obviously sore.

He still has his long, yellowish legs:


Trouble couldn't resist rubbing his left eye constantly to the point where it was swollen and red.  I'm thinking the algae in the lake where he hangs out was irritating them.  His nares actually looked clear and clean, not like he has a cold.  His eyes were a little drainy, but not draining mucous.


One good thing is that he now has all his feathers and can fly, but I don't know how well he can see with his irritated eyes.  I didn't see him yesterday, but I hope he's OK.


Trouble still stays within visual contact with his family.  Here are two of his brothers nearby.




Friday, August 29, 2014

Update on Trouble and Peaches

I didn't realize I went so long without updating everyone on the ducks at the lake.

First, I wanted to update everyone on Boat Dock Peaches and her ducklings.  A few days after my last post, Peaches only had one duckling.


I wasn't able to visit the lake until much later and she had no ducklings left at all.

Trouble gave me a good close-up.  He is so curious about everyone and all the other ducks:


He was beginning to get a little errant feather right where the back of his head and neck meet.


I saw him a little bit later and he had grown.  But, he was so far away I couldn't see any details.  A week or so later, I looked for him at least twice and didn't see anything that looked like the duck in the photos above.  The closest I've seen is the duck pictured below.  He's only slightly larger than Trouble and has the errant feather and correct head and body shape.  But, appears to be a much older duck.  I have a feeling that this might not be Trouble and Trouble may have passed on.  But, I know of no other ducks that are the same size and shape that Trouble was.



Ducky Ducky looks a lot better and has even gained a little weight.



The two wood ducks, old and new, are still there.  The younger one is getting his drake colors again while the older one looks like he's not going to be full colored anymore, but still looks healthy.


Wednesday, I found this recently released rehabbed mallard acting weird.  I thought she was sick.  But, she was actually hooked together by a nasty 8-pronged fishing hook and lure.  I'm so glad I asked for help with her because I thought she was sick and dying.  She was unhooked and all the hooks were removed and she was re-released.


RIP Big Bumblefoot:

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine rescued Big Bumblefoot to help him with his foot infections.  When she couldn't find the source of the infections, it was agreed that she would keep him comfortable.  I told her that I didn't think he would live a lot longer.  I actually expected him to live anywhere from 3 months to about a year.  Unfortunately, he died about 8 or 9 days later.  But, during that time, he was spoiled and loved upon.  He died in his sleep in comfort.  His new owner was disappointed that he couldn't enjoy his retirement longer.

This picture was taken only a couple of days before he was rescued.  He had an awesome temperament and loved being with people.



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