Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tiny and Killer "together again", fog, spider webs, hawks
Once again, it was a very foggy morning at Lake Murray in San Diego. The afternoons have been great, but the early morning was foggy. I like to go to the lake early in the morning because many birds are shy and will go into hiding once human activity picks up during the day.
I saw a lot of spiderwebs that look like these two.
I didn't take any photos while I was looking at the killdeer in the ballfield. There appeared to be an extra one there today. I did see Tiny, Secret, Shy and her dad, and the Tiny "look-a-like" there. But, it was too foggy to make out anyone else.
When I went to the other side of the lake, I saw Tiny again and I saw another killdeer with him that I thought was Secret who had followed him over and had a white feather. They play-fought each other now and then, but seemed to get along. I thought it was great that Tiny brought a friend over as he seems much happier. But, it wasn't Secret that was there, it was Killer, his brother. Makes sense as I don't think George would allow an unrelated killdeer to "use" his feeding area.
With Killer around, that means that George and the rest of the family are probably nearby. Killer may have been kicked out of the area that they're in or may be starting to spend time on his own. Both killdeers seem to almost look female because their "mustaches" aren't very dark, but they act totally male and I can see a mustache "template" now and then (as well as a few dark feathers around the eyes sometimes).
Back at the ballpark, in the sunlight, I saw Secret hanging out with Digger and two adults in one field, the "look-a-like" all alone in another, and the "baby" in another field with his half-sister Shy and her dad. The "baby" is actually not a baby any longer. He's about 8 weeks old and ready to start practicing to be a male. However, he stays clear of Shy's dad and any other adult male. I couldn't get any good photos of them as my camera battery died.
I wasn't able to take pictures of the hawks today because the two hawks I saw were two that don't really like me hanging around. One of them was a juvenile Cooper's hawk male who, at first, was harassing the pigeons. I was told that he caught one sometime during the last week. While I was watching, I saw him seriously try for a phoebe bird at Padre Point and it looked like he caught it, but immediately went to a tree and perched. So, maybe he missed. Glad the killdeer chicks weren't still running around there. On my last bird count at the lake, there were 3 black phoebes missing and he may be the reason why.
A large, female adult Cooper's hawk was riding thermals looking for something to eat while I observed 4 killdeer at the north end of a ballfield. Suddenly, she dived down and landed very close to the ballfield, but I don't know where as I didn't see where she landed. She did not fly back up, so she may have caught something. A few doves flew away, but not a mad panic. I think she caught something on Del Cerro Point, possibly a squirrel or a rabbit.
The hawk seemed to be shadowing a turkey vulture and when it moved in one direction, that's when she attacked. I wonder if the vulture was directing her to food. All the killdeer in that field were OK, by the way and didn't seem to be worried about the hawk and were more concerned about construction noise nearby.