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, December 31, 2011

Flying ducks!

I was surprised to see Pepper actually fly today!  I didn't know if he could because of his domestic duck genes and the fact that he was always watching birds, but never flying.  Well, today, I saw him fly quite well, though only a few feet.  He was very un-cooperative as a photo subject.

Also, I saw Quacker back to her flying self.  She's a cayuga, but today I saw her actually keeping up with a wild mallard!  She was so fast!

This is one of the "friendly ducks" that wasn't impressed with Pepper's honk-whistles that he was trying to impress the females with.

I sometimes see Not Pepper around now and then:

Spoonface (Bossy) still has his ring around his neck/crop.  He hates it!

Baby Bob was briefly seen, but it was really dark, so my shutter was too slow for a good photo.  I rarely see her after the sun comes up.

I thought this seagull has a crayfish, but when I looked more closely, I couldn't tell exactly what it was.  It might have been a twig.

Male Anna's hummingbird, singing:

Song sparrow, though it looks a bit different than other song sparrows:

I found a couple of killdeer in the ballfields, I don't know if they're a pair or two sisters.  They seemed really friendly with each other.  What got me is how much both of them looked like Digger, Shy, or Tiny.  They might be Shy's babies (Shy is the sister of Digger), or at least one of them might be.  Shy's mate was the male who looked like Tiny and was a foster dad to Surprise, Shy's brother (who is now, probably Firecracker's mate).

The duck I posted about a few months with the broken/damaged wing may have been eaten by a coyote or raccoon.  I saw a feather pile near where she hangs out, but didn't realize she was missing because she sometimes disappears and then I see her later.  She might be one of Ducky's ducklings, but she may have also been one to arrive from migration.  I believe her wing may have been hurt during mating or fighting.  Here is a photo of her from September.

She never seemed bothered by her wing and happily swam around the lake and grazed along the shoreline.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Spoonface, Pepper's brother and other birds

Here are some photos of the birds at Lake Murray that I took today.

Spoonface still has the ring around his neck and he fights with it every chance he gets.  But, I've also noticed a personality change with him.  He's gotten more like his old name, Bossy, more aggressive and more vocal, too. He is also getting more green on his head.  Other than the problems with the ring, he is now a very energetic little duck.

I saw George and Killer's offspring all hanging out near the entrance.  Later, they all flew away and hung around the solar panels of the water treatment plant because a very large tomcat was hanging around.  I've never seen that cat before and I first saw him near some coot remains.  But, I think the owl or another raptor got the coot as it looked plucked like a raptor does it.  

Anyway, I think this is George III:

In the ballfields, I saw the M6 mom and dad.  But, I also saw another pair one of whom is one of the chicks that grew up there last year.  I think the male might be castor.  The female is completely new, perhaps the one I saw alone earlier in the year:

Perhaps Castor, maybe Pollux

The unknown female

I also saw a sora out in the open.  Usually, it only comes out when it's cloudy.

And, one of the great blue heron was seen.  I think this might be the female.  Both parents have been seen together this year.  I think they're going to make a new nesting spot on the other side of the lake.

This is Pepper's brother, the "gray duckling".

And, here is Pepper:

I found these bones, but I think they might be chicken bones from picnics, but could be coot wing bones.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Spoonface needs help!

Spoonface (Bossy) needs help!  He got some kind of orange plastic ring around his neck.  It's not real tight and wouldn't be a problem except that he gets his bill stuck whenever he tries to get it off.  Then, when he's in the water, he twists, turns and fights to get it off.  I'm afraid he's going to get stuck and/or get in a position where he could drown.

He likes to hang out at about the two mile mark where there are two benches.  I tried to catch him, but he wouldn't go for it.  He tried to fly, but couldn't because of his missing feathers and, instead, cartwheeled all over the place.

Sorry it's blurry, but here he is fighting with the ring

A couple of the wood ducks were seen today.  I think it was Doodle's Placekeeper and a female.  Last week, I saw Doodle's Bully, his female and her duckling.

Jill was back across the lake where she and Jack used to rest.  She swam all over, looking for him, but then went to sleep at her usual spot.

I expectantly saw a spotted towhee:

A house wren, scolding:

I saw five killdeer in one part of the ballfield area.  I think they're George and Killer's offspring.  Here are photos of two of them:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Some old favorites

I thought I would post a few photos of some old favorites at Lake Murray.

Big Daddy


Here's Spoonface.  Good news, his body feathers look like they've grown back.  His wing feathers may not grow back until the next molt.

The friendly juvenile wigeon

Jill was finding comfort hanging around the big embden, who might be a female, but I'm not sure.  His/her mate tries to chase off Jill, but she mostly ignores him or just moves away a little.  She seems to be in a much better mood and is beginning to fit into the group.

The Canada goose is not letting Louie get near her.  Louie always keeps his eye on her and calls to her, too.  She sometimes answers back.  Whenever Louie gets vocal, the Canada goose tries to drown him out, but he's no match for the Chinese gander.

I also got a photo of the California thrasher that lives near the ballfield.  I think I saw a sage thrasher, too, but couldn't get a photo of it because it was blocked by branches.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Goose fight!

Louie and Jill are still fighting over at Lake Murray.  I think Louie is frustrated with her not responding to his constant flirting.  I think I did see her nod her head at him a couple of times, though.

Louie pursuing Jill

When Louie grabs her, she grabs him back and kicks him.  Then, they begin fighting with their wings:

After a second or two, one of the Canada geese starts to attack Louie.

In this fight, a third goose attacked the Canada goose after he grabbed Jill's back feathers.

I found out, though, that Jack (Jill's mate) was not taken away to the vet's and that he, most likely, was stolen from the lake.

Other than that, nothing much is going on.

Northern shoveler


Clark's grebe


3 lesser goldfinches

Boat dock duck gang

Sunday, December 18, 2011

San Diego Christmas Bird Count

Yesterday, I took part in the annual Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count.  My portion was the southwestern side of Chollas Lake, usually locked to the general public.  It includes the model air plane flying area.

Not many of the birds were co-operative about having their picture taken, especially the horned larks:

Saw many savanna sparrows, too.


And, several kestrels:

We could see the snow on Mount Laguna from where we were.

There were also meadowlarks, cedar waxwings, lots of yellow-rumped warblers, northern harrier, gnatcatchers, tons upon tons of Anna's hummingbirds, a merlin, red-tailed hawks,  California towhees, and many other species.  Very disappointed in the severe lack of killdeer (none!).  

At the lake, I saw this cute little female muscovy:

And, Arrowhead!

Update on Jill:

Jill has re-joined the main flock, but is being harassed by all the geese.  Louie is totally in love with her, but attacked her once, probably in an attempt to mate.  Jill resisted and began fighting back.  One of the Canada geese got upset and attacked Louie.  Later, he made sure that Louie couldn't get near Jill.  Louie shadowed her around, cooing and flexing his neck at her, but she kept her distance.  It might be too soon for her and the other geese in the flock are making sure that she's kept at a low rank.  

Someone else also thought that Jack might have been stolen from the lake, too.  They said they saw footprints around where he and Jill hung out.  But, like I said before, there is a lady who looks after them over there and I haven't talked to her about it, yet.