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

Monday, August 29, 2011

Yellowlegs are back!

The first greater yellowlegs came back to Lake Murray today. I wonder if it's the same one that arrived at the same time, last year.

Other shots taken today include:

A green heron and a young duck. The young duck freaked me out because she looks exactly like the duck that died last Friday even down to the pale bill and markings on the bill. I thought I saw a ghost, but more likely her sister. Only when the dead duck was alive, her bill was more bright orange.

Here's a shot of the dead duck's two other siblings:

The baby seagull is still begging for food from its mother:

Bossy duckling is doing very well and loves hanging out with these males, getting chased by a daddy coot trying to protect his chicks:

Bossy's two sisters were across the lake. Here they are with Peep, whom one of his sisters is in love with. Pip was also nearby:

I found this coot, I think it was sick. It's a juvenile and missing large portions of it's feet. It was all alone and couldn't seem to keep his eyes open. He did get up and start swimming and eating, but he's really lethargic. It worries me because the new friendly ducklings were hanging around nearby:

And, here's one of the friendly ducklings nearby. I thought I saw fishing line when I looked at the photo, but I think it was a spider's web. His sister was nearby and she looked like she had fishing line around her head, but when I looked later, it was gone. It was probably an algae string. I'm think I'm just being extra concerned about fishing lines right now. They were hanging out right near where the dead duck was laying (I reported the dead duck to staff who said they would remove it, but hadn't when I last checked):

And, Pepper was seen, too!

Finally, I saw this grebe with a crayfish. Another grebe relentlessly attacked the one with the crustacean until the first one swallowed it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Death by fishing line

Today, there was an unfortunate discovery: one of the young friendly females was discovered strangled by a fishing line and being towed by another duck, probably her sister until she was cut free. She was about 5 months old and was one of the friendliest ducks you'd ever meet. She was practically covered by fishing line from head to toe. She was one of the original 11 ducklings hatched last April and raised by "Duckling-napper" the female that steals ducklings from other females.

From her bill, she looked, at first, to be the Bossy duckling, but it was mostly because her bill was pale from death. Bossy duckling was just spotted (along with her extra friendly sisters and brother) together far away from the scene. This is a photo of the duck before she was killed:

Graphic Pics:

The following contains two graphic pics of the duck with the fishing line around her:

I hope that never happens again. Too bad it was a really good natured female. We need more of those around Lake Murray.

Better news:

Bossy duck is fine and getting better. One of the dead duck's sisters has a crush on him, but he constantly pecks at her. I don't think she's going to give up on him.

Bossy likes to hang around the large drakes

I found three of the youngest ducklings together:

I took this photo of Cinnamon because she's so cute:

And, the black Swedish and Pekin are still plugging along and have even grown bigger:

No sign of Pepper or Curly today. It's been hot.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Skimmers, godwits and ducks


Here are some photos of shorebirds I saw in the San Diego River channel on August 23rd in the morning.

I thought this was funny. I think this guy was fishing for mussels or something like that. All those egrets, plus some willets and gulls, were watching, very closely, what he was doing.


Godwits and skimmers:

There was also a big flock of sandpipers and I saw one juvenile spotted sandpiper. Also, lots and lots of cormorants and a few herons, too.

Back at the lake, nothing new is happening. The two ducklings that were being pelted with rocks were OK, but they still haven't learned to stay away from people with rocks. There were some little kids throwing pebbles, but didn't hurt them. The thing that gets me is how some parents pretty much condone them doing it and will not stop or take the child away once they start throwing things at the animals.

Anyway, here are a few photos of them. They are so friendly and love to follow me around:

Bossy Duckling seems to be feeling better and is changing into his big boy colors.

Pepper says hi, too. He's not very friendly with me right now for some reason and moves away if I approach. Such as change from when he was little and would run up to me:

Doodle says "Leave me alone, I'm tired". He showed his age today and was really lethargic.

One of the baby wood ducks was seen by himself:

And, the two baby coots are still around:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bob1 brings back her family

Sorry for the blurry photo of Baby Bob

Bob1, the spotted Sandpiper near the entrance to Lake Murray has come back and she appears to have brought back at least one juvenile with her. I heard another spotted sandpiper or two peeping in another area who could be her mate(s) or other chicks. Female sandpipers usually aren't involved with rearing their chicks, that's the males' job. But, the unspotted one seemed very attached to Bob1 and followed her everywhere and Bob1 didn't even try to attack the youngster (who also appeared to be female, but hard to tell).

Bob1 (in front) and Baby Bob (in back)

George III has been hanging out in his grandfather's old territories. But, I think he misses his brother, Killer Jr. terribly and constantly calls for him:

I found these two youngsters flirting in the ballfield across the lake. I thought it was Shy and her mate at first, but when I looked at the photo, I could see that the two were juvenile. I suspect that they might be Georgina and Spike.

Another baby coot hatched recently:

Pepper was spotted! No longer is there any signs of him being an all black duckling:

These two young ducklings were seen being very cute and following me around. Their voices are just beginning to change from peep to quack. They were friendly to everyone who stood at the shore and waited, expectantly, to get fed. Unfortunately, soon after I took this photo, a kid came by and pelted them with rocks. They looked OK when I last saw them, but I worry about their safety as even when they were being hit, they still stayed close to the person who was throwing the rocks.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wood ducks! Plus a bossy duckling seems sick

Lots of wood ducks have been seen lately. Here is a photo of Doodle, the old beat up drake. His right eye is now totaly swollen shut:

Here's a video of the wood duck family with 5 almost grown ducklings. I think I found two of them over with Doodle and the other adult males.

The "bossy" duckling that is by himself has been very lethargic in the morning. I almost picked him up. But, later in the afternoon, he's out with the other ducks acting normal. So, I left him alone. I saw him today and he was sleeping on his feet. It might just be that he's not a morning ducky. Here's a video of him. He's a on a graded boat ramp, so that's why he walks funny:

Just for fun, here is a video of the geese at the lake. I was feeding them romaine lettuce.

I also saw this new duck today:

Killdeer update:

George and most of his family seem to have moved away. Today, though, Killer was heard calling to another killdeer passing through. It's entirely possible that George flew over the hill to the San Diego River Channel as I got a strange response to some killdeer in the drainage ditch near the I-8 yesterday when they saw me.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Things are changing at Lake Murray and around the region and it's getting harder to keep track of all the babies that have fledged and are moving around. Pepper and a couple of his siblings have been missing for almost two weeks now. I have searched everywhere for them and have found nothing. But, I did find this guy: Ducky!

Ducky was hard to track at the age that Pepper is now, so we may see Pepper again, soon.

The "bossy" duckling that is on his own is always sleepy. But, I think he's OK.

Killer Jr. is missing. It's the first time that I've haven't been able to find him since the day he left his mom and dad. George the third was hiding out with the ducks, then flew away:

Shy, her mate, Miracle and their male chick are still over in the M6 territory where I don't usually walk. George (Sr.) is also living nearby, too. I haven't gotten any photos of him since January, I think.

I found this recently fledged western gull with his parent, begging for food. Then, he harassed the ducks and played with sticks and other things in the water. Today, he was still hanging around his parents, calling for them to feed him.

And, here is a California gnatcatcher that I found bouncing around:

I expect to see some migrating birds arriving very soon.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Family drama in George's territory

George's grandsons have been staying in their grandfather's old territory, currently held by Killer and D. Well, they were fine until today when their dad decided that they needed to leave. Killer chased them around and puffed himself up as did his mate, D. Both chicks were very submissive and made it clear that they weren't there to fight. They kinda need their parents right now so that they can learn a little more about evading predators and keeping a territory.

Killer is in each photo interacting with his sons. He was particularly interested in Killer, Jr.

George III lays down as his dad walks by. Perhaps a submissive gesture?

It's been warm the last few days, so many ducks were hiding. Both Curly and Pepper have not been seen for a while. Last time I saw Pepper, he, his mom and little sister almost got run over by a boat at the launch. I was calling them over at the time and they were running up to me when it almost happened. The guy launching the boat was very careful around them. I saw them later that morning, but haven't seen them since.

The one lone bossy duckling is enjoying himself on his own.

And, Ducky's ducklings are all doing well.

Here's some Pekins trying to cool off in the warm weather:

Doodle, the old, beat up wood duck is doing well. That's his tongue hanging outside his bill:

And, Grumpy and his friend went over to where Meanie died. Here's a photo of them near the feather pile. Later, they were seen lying on top of the feathers. I wonder if they ever think about Meanie.

Today, I saw a yellow-headed blackbird, this time a female. These birds are one of the first signs of the fall migration.