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

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A morning at the lake

I went back to Lake Murray and snapped a few photos:

The mother duck that lost all her ducklings last year is down to three babies, but they're healthier than the babies she had last year at the same age.  It was around the age that these ducklings are that she lost all of them.  Today, though, she led them right toward the heron!  I followed them and the heron disappeared.  I didn't see him leave, but I couldn't find him anywhere.

Then, the mom was being harassed by a few drakes and her ducklings moved head of her.  But, the soon stopped and began calling for her, so she flew over.  I left a few minutes later.  Hopefully the heron was nowhere to be found so that she could deal with the drakes without risking her ducklings to the heron.

These two ducklings seemed to have become good friends.  It's the rouen and a regular mallard duckling:

All the killdeer where out calling and fighting.  I don't know which killdeer this is, but it was arguing with Junior.  I think it's George's son from last year:

Pepper still has his hurt wing, though he seems to be moving it around a little.  He hasn't changed otherwise and was even seen harassing a female duck.

I'm really surprised these guys have survived this long.  They've been at this lake almost exactly one year:

I'm also really surprised to still see ruddy ducks at this lake at this time of year.

I don't know if this female ring-necked duck is ever going to leave, either:

Yesterday, I went to Cabrillo National Monument.  It was a free week with no entry fees.  I saw some pelicans:

And, surprisingly, some California quail, too:

Later, I went to Famosa Slough and saw some stilts:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Two fuzzy dumped Easter ducklings

Last night, there was a lot of rain.  This morning, I found these two baby Pekins all alone, dumped at the side of the lake.

 Apparently, they had been there since the afternoon before.  They appear to be about 3-4 weeks old, which would put them right in the middle of the Easter season.  Usually, ducklings this age won't survive the night, especially a stormy night.  But, luckily, it was warmer than usual and the predators stayed away.  In the morning, one of the herons was eying the smaller of the two.  Plus, they seemed to be starving.

When I got them home, they were very dirty from the dirt in the carrier I was using.

I gave them a little bath:

They were still dirty, but they seemed to get really tired in the tub, so I took them out and dried them off.

Here is a video I made of them bathing (Yes, I know my tub is disgustingly dirty.  It's not as bad as it looks on video and I cleaned it afterward):

They were later taken to a store called Bird Crazy on Clairemont Mesa Blvd. to be adopted out. Bird Crazy specializes in exotic birds, but they thought they could help these babies. If you are interested in adopting them, look up that store here in San Diego.

Later, when I was returning the carrier, I saw Cinnamon's Twin.  The boys have been rough with her unlike Cinnamon whose feathers, so far, are in good shape.  Cinnamon's Twin also has lost a lot of weight.

"Baby Goose" is all grown up and still hanging around, but seems to have no friends.

And, here is a funny looking gadwall.  I think he might be in the middle of a molt or could be a mallard-gadwall hybrid with genes heavily on the gadwall side:

Junior and Killer Junior, the killdeers were having a lot of fun chasing and yelling at each other.  Shy's mate was really upset about a Cooper's hawk that was trying to attack him, but, then, went for some crows instead.  And, Squeak's eggs have all hatched and all the chicks have been moved to a secure location where people can't get to them.  Shy went with them, leaving her mate all alone.

Monday, April 23, 2012

More Ducklings

Today, there were only 4 ducklings out of the 6 I saw a couple days ago.  The little rouen doesn't have fishing line around his head anymore and seems a bit stronger.  Those ducklings were scattered all over the place.

The weather was dark and drizzly.

The rouen duckling

A cormorant looks like a sea monster stalking the ducklings.  But, even though the ducklings swam really close to him, he ignored them.

And, here is a couple of wood ducks.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Foggy ducklings and a problem for Spoonface

Today was a very foggy day and I went early to go check my nests.  The killdeer eggs are still around and should be hatching sometime in the next week.

I found this poor girl with two large males with her.  I think this is one of the "Friendly ducklings" whom Spoonface (Bossy) used to hang around with.

Speaking of Spoonface (Bossy), I think this is him, not only does he not have his orange ring around his neck, he can fly now!  However, he went over and attacked the female while on the concrete, possibly harming her.  Hopefully she is OK and he didn't crush any forming eggs inside her.  However, it appears that Spoonface injured himself and seemed not to be able to retract his penis.  He was able to retract it, but it came back out.  Plus, his sperm fell on the concrete as well.  If he can't retract his penis, it will get infected and he will die.  Always something with him!  Here he is before the attack:

Now to the foggy ducklings.  This is the same female who lost her entire brood last year.  5 were stolen by "Ducklingnapper" (who was not seen today) and the rest died.  These ducklings were hatched almost to the day as her brood last year.  This year, though, she is more attentive and she warns them to stay away from people.  Unfortunately, she has a little rouen baby that is not doing well.  Plus, the baby has fishing line wrapped a little around the top of his head.

The little rouen with the fishing line

Friday, April 20, 2012

Good-bye Caramel, RIP

I have confirmed that the dead duck I saw earlier this week is, indeed, Caramel, one of the best duck mamas on the lake.  Above is her most recent living photo.  I didn't want to think it was Caramel because the body was found in an area where she hasn't been in for a long time.  Also, I know she was on a nest and just figured that she went back to her nest.  Her death appears to be natural, perhaps she was egg-bound, but could have been over-mated, though there was no signs of her being so. Those three males that hurt the buff duck do live in that area and they are rough on some of the girls.   No signs of fishing equipment injury, either.  She leaves behind two natural daughters, one natural son, and one adopted son (from her sister, Butterscotch).  No sign as to what happened to her boyfriend in the photo.

She was one of the three "Fish Food Ducklings" from about two years ago.  Here is a photo of her with her two sisters taken in June 2010:

Here is a photo of her and her brood last year.  The small duckling is one of her sister's:

Here is a photo of her and her brood a little older:

I checked and doubled-check the photos of the dead duck and recent photos of her and all markings line up perfectly, including a small orange mark near her nostril and her cheek patches.  I believe all her offspring is still alive.  I hate to lose any female ducks there because there are so many males, but to lose a good mama as Caramel is even worse.  She raised four ducklings last year, which is pretty good.  I am sure she would have raised even more if she had lived.

Her two sisters, so far, are doing great.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pepper is hurt

Pepper, the little black duckling that grew up to look a little bit like a mallard, has hurt his wing and may be permanently flightless from now on.

I have a strong feeling that he was attacked by one of the two big domestic ducks that hang out at that spot, probably the blue Swedish.  The only reason why Pepper and his brother were even there was because their mom, Peaches, is in the area.  

It appears that whatever happened affected the elbow or just above it.  I didn't see any broken bones protruding and it may be a tendon or joint issue.  He may never fly again.

He doesn't seem to be in any pain or suffering and even banged his wing against a few objects without flinching.  Since he is a hybrid, he is usually not accepted at wildlife rescues and human societies.  Hopefully, his wing will get better.

The two large domestic ducks (friends of the buff that died) were totally missing today.  It is strange that they both disappeared at the same time.  It would also be strange if they were taken by someone for dinner because those two ducks were starving and didn't have much meat on them.  If someone who is reading this rescued them, please let my know in the comments box.

Below is a photo of a courtship feeding between two Forster's terns.  This is the best photo I could get.

Also, here is a photo of a western grebe that got close enough to let me take a photo of him, though it was through the reeds.  A Cooper's hawk frightened him and he dove under water.

Monday, April 16, 2012

We say goodbye to a couple ducks

Today, we say goodbye to Curly, the curly billed duck.  Though I haven't seen him dead, it is very unusual for him to be missing so long.  I think the last time I saw him was in December or January.  Someone else said they saw him in February and someone else in March.  But, for me, it's very unusual for me not to see him in more than a month.  So, I presume he has passed on from old age.  He was a very healthy and vibrant duck until the end.

Curly's last photo taken on December 22nd, 2011

The other duck was a female mallard that I found the vultures eating.  The bill and head markings as well as the darker coloring of her feathers indicate that she might be Caramel or her mother.  Caramel was seen doing well a few days ago and the body was found in an area where she hasn't frequented in almost a year.  So, I won't be able to make a good determination of who it is until all the hens return from their nests.  

Here is a photo of Caramel's sister, who was in a bad mood today.  Notice her fanned tail.

This next photo was taken after he opened her mouth in threat, opened it and closed it a few times and let out a big loud quack before looking at me in a cute way.  I think a male walked too close to her.  She then went off to see if someone else would feed her.

I believe this next picture is of Spoonface's sister, the real bossy duck.  She was being really friendly today.

I think this is the formerly rescued Peep, her mate.

This is one of the trio where the female duck died a couple weeks ago:

Here is the other survivor:

When I went this morning to look at the killdeers in the ballfield, Shy and her mate were going absolutely nuts.  I looked everywhere for a nest and didn't find one.  I got distracted by some scary looking large dogs, one of them a large rottweiler trying to climb a fence, in a yard bordering the park, so I didn't take any photos of them.  The dogs were set off by all their screaming.  I forgot that I had to talk to the killdeer to make them feel more comfortable, but I was so distracted, plus I was listening for the one chick I think they're caring for whom I think is nearby.  If you want to make friends with killdeer (or at least calm them a little), you have to talk to them.  

Here is a photo of Shy I took a couple days earlier:

And her mate, AKA "Tiny's Twin" because he looks a lot like Tiny, George's son.

Across the lake, many other killdeer were out flying around doing territorial call.  Little Killer Jr. was being escorted around by Junior who didn't like sharing his territory with him.  

Here is the much bigger Junior: