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, May 31, 2011

Boat dock ducklings and little kildeers getting big!


The boat dock ducklings, all 7 of Peaches' ducklings, are getting big. Some are almost as big as their mom. They're all a little more than 5 weeks old.

Pepper and the gray duckling are both getting a green sheen on their heads. This is not the same as getting their adult colors, but it is an indication that both will be males:


The gray duckling

At least two ducklings have definite quacks developing and are likely to be girls. I'm still not sure about this little guy, the smallest duckling, yet:

Ducky's girlfriend still has three ducklings:

I found one of the parking lot ducklings still around. I was worried because, once, I saw his mom without any ducklings at all. I couldn't get any good photos of him, though. He was the smallest of the three, the other two of which have disappeared.

All the young killdeer are flying all over the place. Spike is totally on his own a lot, harassing the resident males of the area. I couldn't get a photo of him. However, his brothers Squiggy, Castor and Pollux are still staying close to home. Squiggy is beginning to follow his brother, Spike and do other things, though. I think Squiggy likes to look after his younger brothers, which makes him want to stay near the nest site.




Their flying skills are still poor compared to the adults, but have gotten substantially better since last week.

Their parents still protect and defend them, but the dad is beginning to make more nest scrapes and flirts with the mom. So, they may be breeding again. All the brothers continue to play and kill-dee each other.

Mom killdeer

Tom the muscovy:

A couple of days ago, I put together a video of stills and video of Tom the Muscovy on Youtube:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Loose ducklings!

Like last year, there are a bunch of loose ducklings peeping around, losing their moms and moms who can't seem to keep them in control. I think it's because all the inexperienced moms are hatching their first ever brood right now. I hope they get things right for the duckling's sake. I almost saw a fish get one of them.

I saw Peaches' ducklings early in the morning, but not later. It is a warm day, they could be spending time in the shade. Several new drakes were seen around the boat dock and that may also be why. I'm glad they weren't there because there was a mom and child feeding the ducks and the child was chasing them all over! He could have hurt the little ducklings. Anyway, here are some pictures:

The pale duckling


Nap time!

Caramel was with her ducklings, too. They're a little younger than Peaches':

Pollux, the killdeer chick made his fuzzy debut yesterday. He still has a lot of down on him, especially around the head and chest area. I also got photos of Castor and Squiggy. I thought I got a photo of Spike, too, but after looking at the photos, I didn't see any of him. He likes to fly all over the place and is definitely the leader of all the chicks. When he's gone, Squiggy takes over.



Castor (reminds me a lot of Tiny)

Big sister Shy was looking after all of them.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Everyone is growing up!

More ducklings have hatched and all of Peaches' and some of Caramel's ducklings have made it to about 4 weeks old, save the ones that they stole from Butterscotch, who are three weeks.

7 ducklings

Pepper and the gray duckling


Also, three of the four killdeer chicks from the M6 parents have been seen flying. The smallest chick, Pollux, has not been seen, yet, but may be nearby.




Killer was having an argument with another killdeer that looked a little bit like his brother, Tiny:

Junior was courting his mate by scraping a hole in the ground right in the middle of where people, dogs, ducks, crows, and seagulls all walk! In fact, two people with dogs walked right through his nest scrape. I hope this is only a courtship scrape and not a real nest scrape:

So many new ducklings today. Ducky's girlfriend was seen with some little ones. First, she was seen with only one. Later, she was seen with two more.

And, here's a mom with about a dozen new ducklings. I couldn't get a photo of all of them:

The mom who had started with four, then had three, and now one was seen with her one duckling. It's entirely possible, with all the new mothers around, that the other two may have gone off with another brood:

One heron chick has fledged, the other is still waiting his turn. But, his sibling visits the nest now and then.

I found a surprise today, a juvenile black-crowned night heron:

The sad thing was that there was a small, dead, wet duckling nearby. I don't know if this heron was the reason why it was dead or if it was carried there by something else. The poor little duckling had been dead for a while and was emaciated. It looked like it had never eaten anything. His eyes were closed and one leg was stretched out. I suspect he may have died from drowning or hypothermia and was picked out of the water by either the heron or the nearby seagulls.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More ducklings!


The boat dock ducklings are all doing very well! However, we are having a very cold and wet storm passing through right now. Currently, the oldest ducklings are just under 3 weeks old and just starting to get feather shafts and are already producing oil. The younger ducklings are about 2 weeks old and one family is about one week old. I am not worried about the one week olds as they can be warmed up by their mom. But, the 7 large ducklings may have trouble keeping warm during the next two days because they're too big to fit under their mom. I hope they will all be OK.

Anyway, here are a few duckling photos:

Caramel still has three of her own ducklings and 1 of Butterscotch's ducklings:

One of the tiniest 5 day old ducklings:

All the following photos are of the 7 ducklings that Peaches is taking care of:

The two Chinese ganders are being constantly harassed by the Canada gander who chased them all the way to the other side of the parking lot:

The ring-billed gull was being harassed by the crows:

And, here's a shot of a lesser goldfinch. I still haven't been able to photograph the robin nearby.

Killdeer chick update:

I did not see any of the killdeer chicks, but I thought I heard Spike and maybe Squiggy in the same general area that I've always seen them. But, I think the other two are nearby. I hope to see them in a few days when they should be flying.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Yellow-crowned night heron

Today was international migratory bird day today, so I went down to the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve to check out the festivities there. When I was there, I saw a yellow-crowned night heron--very rare in San Diego. I thought I would share the photos here, first:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fly week for killdeer chicks, ducklings getting big!

Spike and Squiggy, 24 days old

*Blogger was down much of the last day, so I could not update

This is the beginning of fly week for the killdeer chicks. Killdeer chicks tend to start to fly between 26 and 33 days old. They also go through a tremendous growth spirt, lose most of their down, and begin to fly. Today, I did not see them. But, I did see them a couple of days ago and they did not look like they were ready to fly at all. I couldn't get close, but here's some photos of them I took a couple of days ago:


I found out that Shy has charged herself with two of the chicks and today, it looked like she was trying to get them to follow her near the coyote area and drainage ditch, but she wasn't being successful. I also think Spike and Squiggy have run off towards the water, too, as I heard chick noises around there. Dad seems to know where they are, though. I hope to see them again by this time next week. Here's a photo of Shy panicking because she has lost sight and sound of the chicks:

The ducklings by the boat dock and showing good development. However, they are being a little more disobedient and when mom swam away, many didn't follow her. Then, some developmentally disabled kids started throwing rocks and she flew off. The ducklings, thinking the kids were throwing food, chased after the splashes from the rocks. Also, their dog got lose and jumped into the water, luckily the ducklings weren't there at that time. I think the ducklings ended up hanging around the kids all day. I hope they're OK and will check on them, soon. In the meantime, enjoy these pics:

Pepper and his sister. Pepper is turning browner and all the bigger ducklings are beginning to get pins on their wings:

The gray duckling:

All the ducklings huddled, sleeping:

The gray duckling and a sibling:

Another good thing is that Peach's sister, Butterscotch still have at least 5 of the 14 ducklings she had started with . 5 is a good number to have. She's also using the boat dock as a shelter. I couldn't get any photos of her today. But, Peaches is sure happy to have her around.

Here's another set of ducklings, three days old. When I last saw them, there were four of them, now there's only three:

Bigboi, Pepper's presumed dad, came to visit me:

The heron chicks are getting big! Sometimes, it's hard to tell if what I'm seeing is an adult or baby:

I also saw a wood duck family a couple of days ago, but the mom didn't let me get too close. It looks like she's got about 5 ducklings right now:

I also saw a ring-billed gull a couple of days ago, rare for this time of year. The California gulls were picking on it. It had an injured foot and it appeared to have an injured wing, too.