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

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Lake Update, night heron, killdeer and more ducklings

I just wanted to give a general update as to what has been going on at the lake in regards to the killdeers and other animals.

First of all, we have a night heron around near the main entrance stalking the squirrels. There are a ton of squirrels there, but a lot of people are upset because a lot of the animals near the parking lot are often thought of as some people's personal pets. They are fed and sometimes handled regularly. I am a bit bothered because they will eat killdeer chicks, though there aren't any around right now.

And, there is a new duckling in the neighborhood, about four or five days old and the heron is nearby. The heron sits at a squirrel burrow opening and waits for the squirrel to come out. I fear that he will do that with a duckling's hiding place, especially since ducklings don't know what to be afraid of and run right into the heron's mouth.

But, he's made it four or five days so far and the heron has been around that time, too. And, he has his mom around to protect him.

The killdeers are doing great. M2 is in his own territory, calling for his mate, whom I didn't see. But, females are basically allowed to go anywhere they want and she may just be feeding someplace else. I can't imagine that she can put off laying those eggs any longer. I wonder if killdeer can delay egg laying like some other birds can. Well, I'll find out. But, then again, she may just go and sneak some eggs into other female birds' nests. I've heard of that happening with killdeer, but it's rarely observed.

M1 ("Little Male") was originally on the south side beach when I found him. He has figured out that if he goes near the picnic tables, away from the shore, that it's harder for people to see him, so he's been hanging out there. It really is harder to see him there, though. He went over to where two men where feeding the duckling, ducks, and pigeons after they left to get some of the seed that was left. But, he got annoyed by some people and went over to his north side. I think that's when M2 sneaked over to his territory (probably because his mate was hiding over there) as I didn't see him when I left.

M4 and his mate (I can't remember what number she is, but I'll call her Bo) were doing just fine and I actually saw the two together. At first, M4 was agitated while his mate didn't seem to mind. He did his hiding thing, but he also did a gesture that I'm finding pretty common with killdeer and I don't know what it means.

What I've seen M4 and other killdeer, mostly males, do is turn his back towards me, stick his tail way up in the air and his head way down the ground, exposing his white belly. He doesn't spread or flash his tail feathers at all. I don't know if it's a trick to hide, or a white flag of surrender telling me that he's not going to fight and he wants me to go away. I know that when killdeers make threats, they generally flash the tail at the intruder, stick their tail up in the air while facing the intruder. Every time he would bow down and face towards me, he would quickly turn his back. If I don't respond, he will look back to see if I'm looking, or flatten himself on the ground. Usually, at the same time, he gives a loud trill.

M4 starting to "dip" Eventually, his whole front end will be on the ground with just his tail in the air

Eventually, he calmed down and decided I was not much of a threat and pretty much walked right up to me. I even saw him go over to the water and drink and eat a bug, which I've never seen him do. He, then, got annoyed at me and went somewhere else.

M4 getting annoyed, and calling before leaving

"Bo" running

"Bo" thinking of leaving She looks like she might have gotten into some fights, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment