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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Digger almost gets caught by a hawk!

Today, I saw Killer and Digger in their usual spot, but they were letting me get really close to them. A few minutes later, I see the big female Cooper's hawk coming across the water towards me, but I don't think she sees the killdeer at first. But, Digger lost her nerve and tried to fly out. Immediately, the hawk tried to grab her, but Digger did an evasive move and I screamed out. The hawk went away and chased around some pigeons before going over to George's territory. I could hear George and Martha doing alarm calls, but did not see the hawk catch them. Later, a vulture came near the area and she harassed it, chasing it away. Since I see her over there often, I wonder if she's keeping a nest there. I hope George does OK.

Killer goes for a swim

I couldn't get a photo of the Cooper's hawk, but I did get one of this little sharp-shinned hawk that was after all the blackbirds:

Across the lake, I thought I saw Firecracker with the new M4 male:

I could hear another male across one of the little bays calling and she responded. Later, that male did some fancy flying before picking a fight with the new M4 male.

This little black cayuga is new to the lake and not integrated with the flock. I've seen her often by herself. But, when I put some food down, she started chasing around one of the chocolate ducks:

Head bob bob bobbin'

This juvenile seagull looked to be kinda sick:

On the way home, I saw this red-shouldered hawk. It looked like he just had a meal:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Backyard Chicken Enthusiasts meet up at Lake Murray

Last Sunday, a group of friends from Backyard chickens.com set up a meet-up at Lake Murray. They brought all kinds of little chicks and full grown chickens for people to play with or buy. They also brought a duck named Leia:

I had a lot of fun playing with the little black silkie chicks. I even got a tub of mealworms. I'm thinking of leaving them for the killdeer if I can get close enough to leave them for them before they they get eaten by the coots.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A day made for ducks

While this morning was really nice, the afternoon turned very rainy and not that many people came to the lake, so all the duckies were very hungry and came running up to me. But, I forgot to bring food.

Tom was there as was Curly. Curly got mad that I was paying so much attention to Tom that he jumped on Tom's back and nipped his tail. It was funny to see, but Curly is tough! Later, Tom went and rooted around in the grass before going back out to the parking lot. Lately, he's been laying around in the parking lot much of the time. I don't know why.

Here's a new duck, she's a gadwall-mallard hybrid:

This is her with a male that loves her a lot:

Lots of wood ducks today:

Got anything good to eat?

I think Ducky's girlfriend is being too flirty with other males. Poor Ducky was chased away by the older males who challenged each other and were encouraged by head bobbing from the female:

Big Daddy was there:

As was his daughter and her mate:

Big Daddy2 and the chocolate ducks:

And, finally, Cinnamon and one of her boyfriends:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love is in the air

Curly says hello!

Many of the birds at Lake Murray have begun to pair up and there's lots of flirting all over.

Ducky and his ducklinghood sweetheart do nothing but eat and mate all day. The female's brother tags along, but is not allowed to mate:

These two ganders were busy bossing around every goose they see (but they were fine with me):

This Canada was being grumpy towards Curly and the ducks, but no one was hurt. I gave him some birdseed:

Bob 2 was spotted in the M4 territory:

And, this killdeer was there, too. I couldn't identify them and did not get a good photo of the female. The male looks a lot like the old M4 male, last seen mated with Mary at the end of last year, and the M6 dad. It could be Surprise or Secret, but the head shape is not the same. The female looked like Bo.

This killdeer looks a lot like Firecracker:

She was flirting with a male that I couldn't identify, but might be Surprise's guardian:

And, of course, Digger and Killer in George's territory:

And, finally, the male osprey with a fish at the nest. He was calling his mate to join him, probably for a chase around the lake:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Seagulls, geese and ducks

I was writing an article for Examiner.com (I'm the San Diego Nature Examiner) and had to take a photo of Lake Murray's new "no feeding" signs for my article. While I was there, I snapped a few photos of the other birds.

First, though, a killdeer update:

Killer and Digger have been seen feeding in George's feeding area while George and Martha are possibly attending to a new nest beyond the fenced area. Other killdeer have been heard, but not seen.

OK, now back to the other birds:

Here are some seagull shots from Lake Murray:

2nd year ring-billed gull wading:

Baby (1 year old or less) ring-billed gull:

Baby (1 year old or less) Calfiornia gull. He was pretty rough looking, possibly sick, but could fly:

The two trouble-making Chinese geese:

Aflac and Latte arrive too late to be fed:

Heron sitting in her nest:

Ducky and his friends were not seen today. It's possible that Ducky's mate has gone broody early. Hopefully, the heron won't eat her ducklings.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lake update 02/07/2011

It's been a lot quieter at Lake Murray in regards to the waterfowl as many have moved on since the feeding there has diminished. All the domestic ducks are still there as are all the geese except one Canada goose that has been missing for a few days. Breeding season is beginning in this region and many birds have gone off to begin pairing up and having babies. Most of the geese have moved near the ballfield areas at the northern end of the lake, including two missing geese that have shown up again.

Killer and Digger were seen enjoying the bugs in their dad's territory. Killer has gotten a little more nervous about people lately and does more alarm calls than he used to. However, he's nowhere as nervous as Little Male (Junior) was, at least yet. Perhaps he's anxious about his mate.

In the ballfields, the Surprise and his guardian were feeding in the shade, but I didn't get a picture of him.

The hurt duck is still around and is looking better, but probably won't grow his feathers back until next fall. He may never fly well ever again, though. It depends on how bad the damage to his pinion joint is:

There were two red-tails flying around being mobbed by crows. One red-tail went one way and the other kept going until he circled around me. Later, he came back to hunt rats in the reeds near the lakeshore:

These shoveler ducks were sleeping while that coot was sneaking around:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Quiet day at the lake

No killdeer were seen yesterday and a lot of other birds were "missing". It was very cold that morning, so that may be why. I did a bird count and the number of mallards have decreased %60 since the end of last November. Coots have declined %40 and most of them are hanging around the main parking lot of Lake Murray. Ruddy ducks are very few, but lesser scaups are holding steady in their numbers.

This lesser scaup was looking for something to eat:

Here's the domestic duck posse. Actually, I think they're all after Oreo as a mate. There was a female Pekin duck not in the photo.

These two ganders were caught fighting, but not seriously. They're actually best buddies, though. However, it may just be that they like to keep an eye on each other.

Those two bossed around these other geese before their wrestling match:

And the osprey was fishing nearby, almost hit some ducks while diving into the water:


This juvenile ring-billed gull arrived with the other ring-bills last month. I took this photo on January 18th and tried to catch him, but he kept swimming out in the water. He and another gull both had this problem with their wings. Possibly, they were playing and strained or pulled their wing muscles. On Sunday, he looked like he was healing and was even flapping his wings and getting lift. Yesterday, I found him dead in another area. It looked like he died in his sleep. His feet was folded up under him and his eyes were pretty much closed and his wings in the same position as in this photo. I looked at his hurt wing and there was no break or any other visible problems, so it was probably only strained. Something else must have been wrong with him. The other gull with this problem is doing OK.


The two geese that were hanging out across the lake in the ballfield area have not been seen in at least a week. It's possible that they're a pair and may just be nesting somewhere. Or, perhaps, someone came and picked them up. I haven't seen any indication that the coyotes got them. I saw them last Tuesday night in an area close to where the coyotes hunt. They can't fly, so if they didn't get caught by the coyotes, then someone had to have taken them out.

Also, one of the Canada geese has been missing for a while, but they can fly, so he might have just flown away