I didn't see much of the killdeer today, mostly the M6 mom in the big baseball field, at first, and then her son, Secret with her later. I could hear killdeer all over the lake, especially when the hawk flew by, but I didn't see much.
I saw some new creatures today, most notable yellow-headed blackbirds and ruddy ducks! I've never seen ruddy ducks at Lake Murray before. They were hard to get a photo of because they didn't come close to the shore. But, they were very cute!
Here is a shot of a female yellow-headed blackbird:
Here is a shot of a ruddy duck:
Here's a photo of a wood duck I saw. Sorry it's blurry. I tried to get one of the female, too, but she was too shy and all the photos I took of her were much more blurry:
There is a very young seagull chasing around the attacking the coots and sometimes the ducks. Most of the time, it left the ducks alone, but insisted on harassing the coots. He didn't seem like he wanted to hurt them, mostly just chase them around or peck at them (they pecked at him when he swooped over them). He seemed fine with the smaller birds. He also seemed really clumsy at takeoffs and landing, so I don't think he's been flying all that long. Why he was singling out the coots is news to me. I'm glad it's not duckling and chick season, but I worry about him bothering the killdeer, who were not around. He ignored the grackles.
There is an overabundance of coots on the lake right now, more than ducks. I am surprised that predators aren't picking them off or they haven't gotten a lot of diseases.
I think this is the almost drowned coot who hangs out in a different area now. He is really friendly and often walks up to people. He looks like he still has a swelling on his left side, otherwise he seems fine.
Warning, graphic photo:
As I was leaving, I went over to where the coots liked to hang out under a tree and found what looked like to be a drowned coot, dead.
It looks like it might have had the same thing that happened to the other one. Either the hawk or the osprey is jumping down from the tree and landing on them. Last time, the hawk was chased away before he could finish the coot, but this time, it looks like it died without being eaten. Ospreys don't usually eat birds, especially ones this large (they will take small birds and chicks once in a while), so if it's the osprey's fault, it was an accident.
Still, the coots continued to feed under that tree while the water levels are high.
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