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 29, 2012

Lake updates

I still only see two chicks.  However, though it's really hard to be totally sure from all the photos I took, it appears that the two chicks in the ballfield, today, are the two female chicks.  So, today, the male chick is nowhere to be seen.  One chick seems to be more mature than the other:

It was cloudy when I first arrived.  I didn't see any heron chicks, but found this adult heron.  I did see one chick later on.  However, about 100 yards from the heron nest were all these mostly eaten parts of what looks like a wood duckling, baby coot, and even a pigeon.  The duckling might have been another baby coot.  I know the red-shouldered hawk likes to roost in that tree, so I'm thinking that he raided the heron's larder as I've seen him in their tree now and then.

Neo was finally seen close enough for me to get a photo of him.  He is 38 days old now and is very feathered out for this age.

His bill is also turning very green, usually something that doesn't happen until at least seven weeks.  I can already see no distinguishing marks on his bill, so after he matures, I may not be able to distinguish him from the others.

I found this mama with one duckling, possibly about three weeks old, in the drainage ditch.

Fish Food Mama's ducklings were seen.  Here are four, Indy was just out of the photo:

Here is Indy:

Mom and the duckling that likes to stay near her:

This squirrel was really upset with me and made it clear that he thought I was a danger by screaming at me.

Big Daddy has decided to join Cinnamon's group and follow her around.  It seems like Stubby was displaced:

The smaller duck was warned away by the bigger duck when he passed close by:

Two baby coots nearby:

Finally, we say good-bye to this wonderful little ruddy duck.  I don't know what happened to him, he was found near where the duckling or baby coot parts were.  Some of his feathers look like they got plucked, but otherwise he was intact and it didn't look like he had any injuries.  He was also found on the opposite side of bay from where he usually hangs out.  It's possible the red-shouldered hawk attacked him, but he doesn't look like he's been attacked.  I thought it was strange that he was still at this lake this time of year when all the other ruddy ducks had left.  He also slept a lot, too, and wasn't getting into his adult colors as fast as he should.  Perhaps he was old and it was his time to go.

Another thing I noticed was a lot of feathers in one area and I can't figure out who they belonged to.  They kinda look like gadwall feathers and the gadwall was missing, but he was also in molt and his feathers had changed.  I also didn't see the Pekin and Swedish duck in that area, which is also strange.  Hopefully, they are OK.  In another area, I saw several small white feathers near where the snowy egret likes to fish.  They seemed to be too small to be egret feathers, but it's the only explanation.  I think something got him, too, or he was attacked and went to another area.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A killdeer chick is missing

I only saw two killdeer chicks and they were both out of the open in one of the baseball fields at Lake Murray.  I thought it was the two females, but when I looked closely, I saw it was Smudge and a boy killdeer.  No sign of the female with the long mark on her forehead.  I have no idea where she went, but hope she's just hiding.
Little boy killdeer chick


Smudge and her brother in the background
 Smudge doesn't seem to be shy at all.

Squeak and Pollux were both there.  After I left, I could hear them screaming in panic.  I think a hawk or crow might have made its appearance. The screaming didn't last long, but I hope all of them are OK.  I'm sure they left the field and went back down to the water's edge.  Hopefully, they didn't run into any fast cyclists or anything.


I saw this mom with one duckling and thought it was the mom that had four, then three, then two and now one.  Last Friday, I saw a gull harassing the mom whom had only two ducklings out of the four original, and I thought that maybe it got one after I left.  But, no, this is a new duckling.  Mom and duckling soon disappeared and went into hiding after I took this photo.  The mom with the two ducklings was seen and both ducklings are OK and doing well.

Mom with new duckling

Mom with four of the five ducklings.  The fifth was off-frame.  They are three weeks old now:

2 ducklings


Mom was keeping an eye on everything.

This duckling got some algae that was on a piece of fishing line.  But, he got it off him.

All five were out on the land, then, all of a sudden, they all ran to the water all at once.

I also saw the "brown mama" and one of her ducklings was screaming for her.  I didn't see any of the other ducklings, though I did see the mom looking for them.  I think one of the herons got one of her ducklings a week or so ago, but I'm not sure.  It could have also been another female's duckling.  I saw the two, almost grown, ducklings from the 10 that were hatched first this year, too.  I think I might have even seen Neo and his mom sitting under a bush.  I thought I saw Neo on the side of the lake in the same area on Friday.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

More ducklings and killdeer chick photos

Sorry about it if you are getting sick of seeing killdeer and ducklings photos.

Junior doing a broken wing act

The first thing I came across was Junior doing a full-blown broken wing act.  He made very little sound and just started flapping around.  His mate did a mini version of the broken wing act.

Junior's mate
 Then, they did an "ungulate response", which is where they fan out their tail and wings to warn cattle and other large animals that they're about to step on their eggs or young.  I stayed on the trail and looked all around, but saw no eggs or chicks anywhere.  There were also several gulls there eating a dead fish and I think they were keeping an eye on them as well.

Across the lake, I saw the two little female chicks boldly out running around.  The other, smaller, chick was further away, hiding, but had very loud lungs!   I am already noticing differences between the two females.  This one has a little mark on her forehead:

Un-named chick

This one has a smudge on her neck/cheek.  I am going to name her smudge.  I don't think she has any forehead markings:



Un-named chick
Dad, Pollux was torn between his two daughters and the other chick further away.  He came and gave his two daughters a big hug to keep them warm, but I didn't get a picture of them under their Dad's wings.  Here is a photo of Pollux when he first arrived:

Neo is now totally on his own.  His mother has pretty much completely abandoned him, though she does stay in the general area.  Neo is very mature for his age and is almost as feathered as some ducklings that are two weeks older than him.  But, he's still pretty small.  Whenever he hears his mom quack (mostly at the males harassing her), he begins to peep really loud for her.

Here are the older ducklings who are only a couple weeks from being full grown.

Fish-food mama still has five ducklings.  "Picked-on", the Canada goose with no tail, is being a total jerk with them, snaking his neck and pecking at them as well as many other smaller birds.   I also don't trust Louie anymore because of that injured Pekin duck that was dropped off and because I heard that he killed a gull around the same time.

Here are the five ducklings:

The mom with four ducklings now has only two ducklings:

Good news about the two Pekins that I mentioned yesterday.  I found someone to catch them and take them home.  They will be well loved:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Squeak and Pollux's Babies (with photos)

Pollux and Chick

Squeak and Pollux's chicks are now almost a month old.  They should be flying in about a week to ten days.  This is actually the first time I've gotten a good look a them.  I think two of them might be females and one really tiny one might be a male.  This one female was really bold and didn't seem to mind me taking her picture.

At one time, when I was taking pictures, Squeak "growled" at me to get me to look at her so that her chicks can get away.

I think this is a photos of Miracle, across the lake:

 I'm not sure who this is, but he/she has a spotted chest band like Georgina did:

The two "sisters" of the duck that was rescued a few days ago are still alive, but are still hanging around where they were dropped off.

I forced them into the water so that they could get a drink of water as they appeared dehydrated.  They even found a little algae to eat.  But, within a few minutes, they were back at their spot.

Bossy was seen and he's still has a ring!  I don't know where it was all this time.  It looks like if he gives it one more push, he can get it off.  Either that or this is a new ring.

I saw this "stumpy" duck with a folded up tail.  He looks like Stubby, one of Cinnamon's boyfriends.  Perhaps they're related.

These are the ducklings from the 10 that hatched in early April.  There are two left, but the third one might still be around.  Later, when I came back, the mom was all alone.  So, I think that these ducklings are probably staying on their own more often.

I think this is "mama's little weakling", the one that I thought wouldn't make it the first day.

Fish Food Mama still has her five babies:

When I first arrived this morning, I saw the red-shouldered hawk attack the family, but mom managed to distract it and all five (and mom) got away.  I haven't seen the hawk since.  I have a feeling that that type of thing probably happens several times a day every day to this family.  I hope nothing happens to the mom as these babies would be doomed to be orphaned at this age.

I didn't see the mom with three.  I saw the juvenile herons with something that looked like a duckling about the size of the five above, but it might have also been a squirrel.