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

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

No killdeer, so my favorite ducks

The lake level keeps getting higher, so I see no signs of the killdeer at all, except for one that I think I saw flying around on the western side of the lake.

So, here are some photos of my favorite ducks:

I know there's exposure problems with this photo, but I thought it was a nice interaction between Oreo and Big Boy. Big Boy is missing half of one of his feet, but I never noticed until now. He's been hiding it by not getting out of the water unless he feels safe.

Here's a photo of a cute female wood duck scratching herself on the head:

The crested duck has taken an interest in Oreo and flirted with her while Latte (BigDaddy2), her childhood friend, was somewhere else:

And, here is Tom rooting around in the mud showing his green shine:

And, a gadwall swimming in the shade with the domestic ducks:

In other news, "Jumpy" one of the juvenile seagulls that liked to jump on the coots has died. He was very sick when I last saw him several weeks ago and it looked like his leg was hurt bad. His leg was swollen at his death, but not broken. I don't even think he was 6 months old, yet.

Also, there's a pair of feral geese that are going to make it hard for me to visit the M4 killdeer territory, I think. They don't like anyone who they think are fishermen/women and attack or act aggressively towards people they aren't sure of. Most of the time, they are no problem for me, but sometimes they are and I don't want to get hurt. They are also aggressive towards all the other ducks/birds, too. I don't think they're a pair, but we shall see if one lays eggs. That would explain a lot.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Lake Murray flooded

George and Tiny's feeding area was completely flooded

Lake Murray's water level was so high from the recent rains that it overflowed into the parking lot. But, today, it was just at the edge. It also covered some of the walkways. Picnic tables and trash cans were also several feet offshore.

This is what usually is a little peninsula jutting out where people can fish from

The reeds the ducks like to hide in

These picnic tables are usually several feet away from the water's edge

The ducks were loving it, but Tom was being grumpy with me. All he could think about was preening and pulling out his under-feathers. I called and called him and he didn't come to me. When I walked up to him, he jerked away and hissed at me. But, I managed to get him to come up and get some food from someone else.

A lot of people were feeding a lot of food to the ducks today. They were really hungry. I hope they didn't get sick from gorging on all the food. The parking lot will be closed tomorrow, but I'm sure someone will be there to feed them.

Many of the ducks were missing or not seen. But, I did see Flycatcher:

And, Chocolate 2, now named Cinnamon. She was calling loudly for the boys and several of them answered her:

I found this crested duck courting Cinnamon. I think he's one of this year's ducklings, possible one of the "Chocolate" ducks:

The hurt duck was there and he seemed to be doing slightly better, but not much:

This heron was enjoying his time on one of the picnic tables separated from the shore:

I ate an apple and tried to throw it into a trash can a few feet away from the water's edge and missed. This coot grabbed the apple core and swam away with it. I was worried, a little, because apples seeds are deadly to ducks, but I think it was OK. The core sank under water and it's unlikely that they ducks will eat the seeds anyway:

Come back with my apple!

The ospreys could be heard calling back and forth:

And, I got a photo of this Say's phoebe at the ballfield:

And, when I was leaving, I saw this little kestrel. Hopefully, it was after mice and not the black phoebe nearby:

No killdeers today. I did hear a few, but saw none anywhere.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

George visits his son, a hurt duck, small birdies

Today was a cloudy, almost rainy day, so most of the photos I took came out very blurry. Here are a few:

One of Martha:

One of Tiny and his new mate:

Here's one of the family, minus Tiny's mate.

Tiny and his dad get along extremely well, but his mom, Martha, has a problem with Tiny's mate, especially if she gets close to George, her mate.

I don't know where Firecracker is, but when the family started to move further away, George ran back and forth seeming to look for her. So, she still might be around.

The ballfield killdeer were hanging around on the shoreline. I didn't know they were there until a hawk swooped at them, sending all 10 flying off. They all went and hid in plain sight on top of some brown dirt and rocks:


All the ducks are doing fine, but this one was the victim of the predator attack and the owner of the clump of down I posted about earlier. I don't know if anything can be done for him, perhaps he might heal on his own. I think he's one of Flycatcher's brothers:

Tom is looking good!

Oreo is wondering where the food is:

Here's the new crested duck:

Ducky plays around with a gadwall and his friends:

And, I think this is Chocolate 2! I don't remember her having a green bill, though. In her last photo, her bill was orange. This might be Chocolate 4, but when I called her name, she recognized me and ran right up:


Here are some nutmeg manikins (a former caged bird that escaped):

This is a gold-crowned sparrow, though you can't see the crown:

And, a white-crowned sparrow:

The blue heron followed me everywhere, all around the lake:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lake Update

I thought I would check on the birds at the lake and everything is still the same, it seems. Tiny is still staying with the new female and his mom, Martha. Martha is getting along with the new female pretty well, except she does get a little mean sometimes.

Tiny plays games with his new mate

Mom is still not sure if she approves

Tom, the muscovy, tells vultures: "I'm not dead!"

Tom, the big, black, muscovy duck at Lake Murray was having his daily nap across the bay from where he usually visits me early in the morning. Some vultures started to surround him, but he woke up and probably began a hiss-fest at them. I could see him moving around, but couldn't hear him. The vultures then left him alone. Sometimes, vultures will attack animals who are not yet dead, but would be too weak to defend themselves. Tom needs to get more lively. He's old, can't see well and, I think, might have some kind of arthritis, but he's not dead. It's possible that he didn't react fast enough because he couldn't see them very well. But, if he was attacked, he would be more than capable of fighting them off.

"I'm not dead!" Tom says (that's his third eyelid over his eye, shielding from the sun)

I wonder if that happens to Tom a lot nowadays.

Ducky, the "lost" duckling is still around and still with all his duckling-hood friends.

I also saw a couple of red-head ducks, a male and a female:

Male (with coot)


The egret was still very much in concentration. I never saw him catch anything, though, but he sure was patient:

A couple of ducks have not be seen in a while since Bill stopped feeding them. Chocolate, the large mallard-rouen-runner mix is missing, but may be with her buddies somewhere else on the lake. When she's on the water, it's a little harder distinguishing her from the other ducks at a distance. She can't fly very much, but she made it all the way to six months old, so she's probably fine. Also, Snowball, the white mallard, hasn't been seen in a week. Either he was captured or flew off with his buddies. If he flew off, he may be back.

Lots of seagulls today! There are people bringing large rolls of bread and feeding them to all the birds. I heard someone complain that there were too many seagulls, but I never saw them until now. They may be there because of all the bread still being fed to them. Also, some of them looked like ring-billed gulls who visit here in the winter.

And, finally, here's a little video I took of all the geese and ducks:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tiny finds a mate, and his mom seems to approve

Tiny has a girlfriend

Tiny was seen with two other killdeer with him, both females. One was a small female whom I've never seen before, but seemed to be about his age. The other looked like his mom, Martha, whom I haven't seen in a while. Last time I saw Martha, she was a little sick, but seems a lot better now.

The new female, one I've never seen before

Mom, Martha, seems to approve of the young lady


I saw all the ducks except Snowball, the white mallard. I looked everywhere for him, all over the lake, but couldn't find any trace of him. A lot of the other mallards are missing, so it's entirely possible that he flew off somewhere else with them. There was a predator attack last weekend, but he was fine a couple of days ago and there has been no sign of predators attacking ducks since then. A northern harrier was also spotted today and they are known to take ducks, but I didn't find any evidence that any ducks were harmed recently. He may come back, eventually. I hope he went back to his home or was taken in by someone. I miss him already.

Curly was doing very well, even got some peas I gave him.

Tom was doing very well and I wanted to take his photo when I left Lake Murray, but he disappeared, probably sleeping in a tree across the lake.

I did get a photo of Big Daddy 3, one of the popular males in the park:

Also seen:

Some house finches:

Lots upon lots of white-crowned sparrows:

And, this egret was really concentrating on catching fish:

Bob1 was seen (I believe both "Bobs" are females, but not sure) I think she's molting:

I saw some flirting between two osprey, here is the male, the female is shyer:

And, these coots were wondering when they're going to get fed: