The first thing I saw this morning was one of the older ducklings struggling with a fishing hook on a line that was snagged on a stick sticking out of the water at Lake Murray. At first, I thought that maybe a couple of ducks were fighting over a bug on the stick, but it was actually Caramel trying to free her baby. Apparently, the shiny lure attracted the duckling to nip at it, but she got caught and couldn't get away. All the other ducks in the area came to her rescue, including all the females with other ducklings. Thing is, there was a man sitting right there, saw what was happening, and did nothing!
I went into the water, waist deep and with clothes on, and got the fish hook out of the duckling's mouth. I didn't have anything to cut the barb off the hook, so I had to pull it back through the bill the way it came. It must have hurt and it was bleeding a little. Caramel talked to her baby while I was doing this. I was more concerned about getting the duckling back to her mom and getting out of the water that I didn't check on what the damage to the bill was. But, I think I saw the duckling a few hours later and the damage was unnoticeable to the naked eye. I could see a little blister on the bill in a photo I took, though. But, it looked like the bill had started to heal already. Either that or I had the wrong duckling in the photo. Here is the photo of the duckling that I think I saved:
I also saw that Butterscotch still had three ducklings of her own (down from 14, but many were stolen by other females). Here are two of them:
Pepper and his six siblings were all doing great, here's a photo of a few of them:
There was a group of kids there and they all seemed to love the little guys.
Ducky's ducklings are fine, too. Here is one of them:
And, the last parking lot duckling is looking scruffy:
I also saw four other ducklings that were about two to three weeks old, but didn't get photos of them. Also, one of the "stolen" ducklings from last April was eating out of someone's hand! Absolutely adorable.
And, look who I saw today! SIR FRANCIS DRAKE! If anyone remembers, he was the duck that had fishing line hung up around his leg for a year before someone could catch him. His leg was permanently damaged, but it's gotten better over the last year:
Shy and her mate still continue to mob and follow me around and now the chicks have picked up their habits. Squiggy was doing mobbing calls along with the best of them. Castor was hanging out with Shy somewhere else, but seemed unworried about me compared to his sister.
I also found a killdeer that liked to hang around on a gabled roof!
This is a house with many birdhouses and feeders, though I think the owners temporarily took the bird feeders down because the Cooper's hawks have been hanging around too much. It appears that this killdeer (which, I think, is Mary's son and George's grandson) was purposely tormenting Big Mama Cooper, the Cooper's hawk (she's a very experienced shorebird hunter, too, so the killdeer was very gutsy). He was flying to the roof and then when the hawk came by, would fly down to the water where another killdeer was. Then, he would fly back, start calling, and when the hawk came back, fly off again.
The second time I passed by, he had flown to the roof and the hawk was coming back towards him. A very unfortunate blackbird was flying into the area while the hawk was heading back to the house and the hawk went after him. Though I couldn't see it, I think the hawk got the blackbird just out of view. Hopefully, there wasn't a second killdeer up there that she got instead.
Birding In Troubled Times
3 days ago