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

Friday, November 19, 2010

In-laws, stray cats and birds needing help!

Killer, feeling left out

Today was cloudy and dark and I did not have my tripod, sorry if some of the photos appeared blurry.

In killdeerland, namely George's feeding area at Lake Murray, Killer, Digger and Digger's parents are still all together. Killer not only has a problem with Digger's dad, but also his mom. That's unusual as male killdeer seem to be very tolerant of any females, but not in this case. I think he's afraid that they're going to take his girlfriend away. Digger, I think, is enjoying her parent's company.

Conference between Digger and her parents.

Digger and a duck

When I left, I heard them beyond the fence area chirping and playing. There were some backhoes and trucks moving the dirt around near the treatment facility behind another fence.

No killdeer at all were seen at the ballfields, which is good because someone was spraying weed poison on the grass. It's best if they wait a few hours before going there to feed.

Feral cat alert:

A feral, or stray cat was seen in George's feeding area near the chain-link fence near the entrance to the lake and the office outbuildings. It appeared to be hunting for mice, but when it saw me, it hid pretty fast. I think it's been in the area for a while as it knew just where to hide. It also explains the behavior or the killdeer in that area a few months ago when Martha and George were acting strange and seemed to be mobbing something. Also, it explains why there seems to be few squirrels there. I doubt that the cat is currently a threat to most of the ducks, except the small white duck and maybe a gadwall, neither have ever been seen in this area. It is a threat to the killdeer, phoebes, wrens, sparrows and sandpipers in that area, though. However, since it's probably been there for at least a few months, I'm sure the birds and wildlife are aware and alert to it.

It makes it even more a miracle that those little killdeer chicks and ducklings in that area survived. I just hope it's moved on or gone by next spring and I hope the killdeer choose to nest in another area if they nest early. I don't think it has easy access to George's current hiding area, but I can't be sure. The cat may have been disturbed by the construction.

I've never seen any evidence of cats in that area and am surprised I haven't seen any earlier with all the apartments and houses around. I couldn't get a photo as he hid himself very quickly.

Also seen:

A black-crowned night heron in the reeds:

Lots of scaups and two female buffleheads:

Scaups and a couple of female buffleads

The juvenile female Cooper's hawk. She was trying to spend time with her mom who was out hunting, but her mom chased her off. She seemed very upset and did begging calls from a nearby tree while her mom disappeared. She's almost grown, her eyes are oranger now and she's almost as big as her mom.

I saw two ospreys today, a large female was flirting with the male. They took off before I could photograph them.

I saw this sandpiper, preening:

And this wood duck pair was preening:

Several gadwalls were seen, too, but I didn't get a good picture of them.


Ducky is doing great. He's gotta be the happiest almost grown duckling in the world:

Also seen was Tom the muscovy and Bill's "baby duck", but I didn't take a photo of them.

Birds needing help!

I saw at least three birds in serious trouble.

One was a young male mallard who was a long fishing line wrapped around him with two weights on the line. He couldn't fly off and looked like he was so bound up that he was going to drown. I think he managed to get the line off of him, but one should be on the look-out just in case:

This coot has fishing line and a hook stuck to his beak. It is unknown if he swallowed something or the line and hook is wrapped around his beak, instead:

I think this is Ducky's friend's brother whom Bill has been trying to catch for a while. He has fishing line around his left foot and I think he's slowly loosing the use of his foot or is starting to become bound by the line:

If you can help, that would be great! They were last seen near the main parking lot off of Kiowa road and will probably come close to you if you feed them. You might need two people to do the job or helping them. Please be gentle and kind to the animals.

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