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 29, 2012

Getting ready for babies!

Everyone seems to be getting ready for babies, building nests, picking partners, finding a place to raise their babies.  There are killdeers in the ballfields again.  I think Mom and Dad killdeer are going to breed there again.  Dad even flashed his tail at me as I walked around the fence.  I bet he's doing nest scrapes around there.

Mom killdeer

These next two are the ones that I saw in the other, large field a few days ago.  The male looks like Surprise, but he is a juvenile.  The female, I just realized, looks like Secret's mate and now that I think about it, the male looks a bit like Secret, too.  I think this may be Secret's son and Secret's mate.  Secret is the brother of Shy, Surprise and Dee.

The mystery hummingbird is back and is starting to get more dark black or blue color under his chin and sides.  He is still smaller than an Anna's, even smaller than the two juvenile Anna's in my yard that are only a month old.

The moorhen with the light behind him in the clover:

Spoonface and his ring:

Beautiful Jill:

She seems to really like this guy and may have chosen him as her new mate:

Hurt wing:

Finally, a red-winged blackbird singing his heart out:

Update on Waddles:  Someone said that she disappeared the same time last year and may be laying her eggs.  I don't remember her going missing last year, but I will hold off declaring her official gone for a while longer.  

I saw no sign of the juvenile gull that was sick a couple days ago, not even any feathers that would indicate that something ate him.  Lake staff do sometimes dispose of dead animals before predators find them, but I figured with the vultures waiting for him to die, there would be signs that something happened to him.  It's highly unlikely that he got better if, indeed, it was metal poisoning.  But, maybe he did get better and it wasn't metal poisoning.

No sign of the scaup with the hook and line.  Many scaups are now leaving the lake and I think he might have, too.  I wonder how far he had gotten on his migration since he wasn't able to eat much.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Waddles is missing

When I went to visit the lake, I heard a strange goose sound like a sick goose, but when I looked around, I couldn't find anything, so I started to take pictures of the ducks.  Unfortunately, my camera battery died and this is the only photo I got.  I think it's one of Caramel's daughters, all grown up and with a mate.  It's a bit blurry.

The geese were all scattered about, but I found all of them except Waddles, the large female goose in the middle of the photos.  Waddles is a bit heavy and sometimes has trouble walking.  But, I think she's lost weight recently and has been doing better.  She had a nest last year, too.  Her mate is the white goose right behind her.  He was extremely quiet today, barely making a sound.  He seemed a little confused, but did not call out for Waddles.  He hung around Baby Goose, the juvenile Canada goose all day.  Usually, he's very vocal, and being part Chinese, easily heard.  Today, though hardly a sound.

Jill the goose is doing well and seems to have chosen one of the Canada geese as her new mate or companion.  She looked like she was getting ready to nest, soon.

I also saw another sick juvenile California gull.  The vultures were waiting for him to die.  I chased the vultures away and the gull was able to walk quickly to the water, but stumbled like a drunk part of the way there.  I'm thinking he swallowed some metal or got botulism like the other gulls that have died.  I checked on him, later, he was out of the water and standing near a tree, not being bothered by the vultures, but they were watching him from above.  They were also circling where I heard the strange goose sounds, too.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Foggy Day. Also, Scaup in Trouble

Today, it was very foggy early in the morning.  In fact, the whole time I was there, it was foggy.  It wasn't until after I left that it became sunny enough to get good pictures.  As you can see from the photo above, there wasn't very much visibility.

In the photo below is a female killdeer in the same ballfield that the male I saw last time I was there.  I don't know who she is.  She seems to have the square head that many of the native-born killdeer at the lake have.

The next photo may be disturbing to some people.  I saw a scaup way up on shore, not even near the water.  That usually means trouble because they never come on shore except when they're sick or dying.  I took a photo and tried to catch him, but he flew off way into the water.  He looked normal while in the water.  At first, it looked like he just had a little fishing line wrapped around him.  It wasn't until I saw the photo that I realized not only did he have a fish hook in his tongue, the the fishing line was wrapped all over his body.  I don't even think he'll ever be able to eat again.  I did see him drinking some water, though. 

In more disturbing news, a friend of mine found a mama duck that had been run over on the entrance road early yesterday morning.  It was probably the same duck that I saw in the road earlier in the week that almost got hit several times.  I checked all the female ducks in the area to see if I can identify one that might be missing.  It's a little hard because some ducks are laying, so it's normal to have a few females missing.  As far as I know, the only duck I couldn't find was Drama Mama, the one that had the two ducklings that kept wandering away a few years ago.  I kinda lost track of her last summer, so I don't know if she's truly missing or had flown away.  

While I was checking out the female mallards, I found this one with a chipped bill.

I was really was worried about Ducky's girlfriend because Ducky was all by himself.  But, I think I saw her and she was OK.  Ducky was being a butt-head and picking fights will all the drakes.  For some reason, he seems to want to kill this beautiful young duck that is smaller than him.  I don't know why he hates him so much.  He and his girlfriend's brother are still buddies, though.

I don't know if it was because of the fog, but all the ducks were very itchy like they had mites.  Hurt Wing was pulling her feathers out of her hurt wing.  I wonder why.  They look horrible.

Big Daddy was being a good boy and not trying to fight with anyone.  He has been seen, however, checking out all the girls at the lake.

I saw this red-tailed hawk near where Ducky was.  There was a lady feeding the squirrels and I wonder if he was using this time to take advantage of the squirrels coming out.  I told the lady about the hawk, but she got snippy about it.  She was basically setting the hawk's dinner table for him without realizing it.  Some people are just so clueless.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Killdeer and Duckies!

Squeak and a coot

There were killdeer out this morning.  It looks like three females and George III who seems to be attracted to his cousin, Squeak.  Below, there are two females, possibly George's two other daughters or Dee and with one of the younger females.

In this next photo, I found this killdeer all alone in the ballfields.  I don't know who it is and he wasn't quite shaped like Squiggy, but could me.  He looked a little bit like Shy from the side.  Here he is trying to hide from me.

Spoonface (he just took a drink of water):

Pepper was standing in a way that made him look almost exactly like Buffy, especially in the shade.  I couldn't get a photo of him standing that way, but here he is standing off to the side:


Female lesser scaup:

Male lesser scaup:

I saw these geese first thing in the morning.  32 of them heading east:

Baby Bob:

And, finally, some turkey vultures.  I don't know why that one was holding his wings out, perhaps to cool off.  They ate a dead fish nearby.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chollas Lake.

A buff duck at Chollas Lake

Today, I wanted to do a little bird counting for the Great Backyard Bird Count, so I went to Chollas Lake and just counted around the small lake for a half an hour.  

Here are some of the domestic drop-offs there:

The next photo is of Guido.  If you call him, he will come up to you.

This runner duck was limping:

Saw a black-crowned night heron:

And, the merlin checking out all the lesser goldfinches and yellow-rumped warblers there:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Great Backyard Bird Count; RIP Buffy


Today is the first day of the Great Backyard Bird Count, 2011 and I was out counting birds at Lake Murray.  Unfortunately, I found out that someone found Buffy near death early this morning.  He died shortly afterward.  His last photo is posted above.  For the last two weeks, he was treated like an outcast by his own offspring and group that he's been a member of for about two years.  He was also very friendly towards me and started following me around when I visited the last couple times.  There must have been something wrong with him or he might have been sick.   He acted like he was very hungry and I don't think he ever learned to properly forage.  I'm sorry he had to spend his last days alone and lonely.  I also usually start my walks near where he is, but didn't today, so I didn't get to see him one last time.

The next photo is of three ducks that were dropped off in October, I think.  They're doing well, but they want nothing to do with any other ducks.  The males don't even want other females who seem to flirt with them.

Quacker ran up to see if I had any treats:

The lesser scaup are venturing close to shore, looking for handouts.  They usually do this time of year right before they migrate.  They almost never come on land because they are severely boat shaped and can't walk right when they do.  Their legs are placed far to the back unlike the mallard-type ducks:

I thought this was a gadwall until I looked more closely at the photo.  There were two wigeons in severe molt.  

Finally got some wood ducks counted.  This looks like Doodle's Placekeeper"

This one looks like Doodle's bully:

Doodle's Placekeeper and a female:

Here's a bufflehead, the only one left at the lake:

Big Daddy (AKA Cinnamon, Paprika):

This next duck is one I don't think I've ever seen before.  She was pretty friendly and quacked a lot, but wouldn't let me get too close.  Her wings are kinda messed up.  I sure hope she wasn't released her before she was able to fly.  I am a little concerned about her.

I had to take this picture of a common yellowthroat through a fence.  There were more than usual today:

Lesser Goldfinch:

And, from my house, the two baby hummingbirds!  One of them was practicing his flying yesterday.

Uh oh, the killdeer are thinking of nesting in the ballfields again.  I sure hope they don't.  I think this is the M6 mom and dad.