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

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Killdeer news, more babies on the lake

When I arrived, I didn't see M2 or his girlfriend, F3 anywhere, which isn't unusual. I was hoping that they were attending a nest.

I visited the M8 territory to see if I could find any chicks that I might have heard running around and making little killdeer chirps. But, I didn't find any. Instead, I found M8 fighting with a strange male and female that I don't think I've ever seen before. Also, it looked like Mrs. Deet was there, too. When the intruding couple flew off, Mrs. Deet stayed with M8.

Mrs. Deet?

M8, he sure is hard to take a photo of.

The intruding male and female

The intruding female seems rather large, perhaps she's trying to find a safe spot to lay eggs.

I wonder if all this fighting over territory is one last chance of having a brood before the end of breeding season before the ones from the north return to the area.

On the way to M4's territory, I hear a coot screaming in alarm and saw a big, black bird leaving. I think it had a nestling coot, but I couldn't be sure. The bird was huge, possibly a turkey vulture. It's rare for vultures to eat live food, but I found out that they do take nestlings and weak birds once in a while. Mostly, they just don't like to chase down their food, so they take anything that can't run away fast or fight back.

Near some fisherman, I found the 16-17 day old ducklings and their mom. The fisherman said that they were next to be eaten, but they've already beaten a lot of odds and I am pulling for them. They also said that the black bird got a duckling, but the only thing that was around here were grebes, coots, and the three ducklings that seemed fine. I think the mother duck was a little worried and moved them away. I just hope the fisherman cleaned up their fishing line as it was all over the place and the ducks were really close to them.

I found a new family of ducklings, just two. The two little ones were not being obedient to mom and kept getting separated. Mom wasn't attentive enough for them.

M4 had a visitor in his territory that looked suspiciously like M2, who was chased off and headed back toward his own area. M4's voice is still raspy, but doing OK. Around his territory, the grass has been cut short in preparation for the fireworks.

As I was leaving the M4 territory, I heard a red-tail hawk call and fly over. A minute later, a mother duck (sounded like it was coming in the direction of the female with the day old ducklings) screaming her head off and I was sure that one of her ducklings was now a meal.

But, when I walked on, I saw the hawk being chased off by three or four swallows and it's talons looked empty.

But, at first, all I saw was one duckling.

Then, the second one popped up. All was well for the time being.

I didn't see the older ducklings and hope that one of them didn't get caught by the hawk. I didn't have my binoculars, but I thought I saw the mom and at least two of them hiding under some reeds far away.

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