Saturday, July 21, 2012
Ducklings at sunrise, killdeers at sunset
Early in the morning, yesterday, I found the mom with the ducklings, but there were only three, sadly. My little favorite was gone. She was very sleepy and weak and almost got left behind the day before, she she may have died or gotten eaten.
However, a female with a lone yellow-ish duckling was seen across the lake with another female. Could it be that the missing duckling was duckling-napped by Ducklingnapper, the duckling-napping female? She spent a lot of time around this family, lately. Or, since Big Daddy spends a lot of time over there, it could be another female with a different yellow-ish duckling.
I saw this newly fledged western gull near the ducklings. He seemed very confused, but was no threat to anything and walked away.
About a half hour later, as the mom was taking the ducklings into cover, I heard her scream and flop around as if a hawk was after her. Her ducklings quickly ran out of sight. I didn't see anything that could be threatening them and I looked and looked and could not find the mom and the ducklings. I thought I saw a flash of brown in some vegetation by the water, though. There were other ducks there, but they swam away.
I came back in the evening and looked and looked and did not see the ducklings, but I did find a fresh dove feather near where I last saw them. So, what I'm thinking is that a Cooper's hawk caught something nearby. It's entirely possible that the mother duck moved her ducklings completely out of the area because the incident scared her so much.
In another area, I think I saw Peanut:
Her dad Pollux was keeping an eye on the "giant" killdeer. The other male seemed more interested in fighting and following Pollux than in Peanut. Every time the other male started a nest scrape, Pollux would nip and kill-dee at him. Peanut stayed out of the way, but seemed to really want to be with her dad.
No sign of Smudge, her sister.
I saw a female redhead. Never seen on there in the summer before:
And, those four dumped ducks are still there. Louie is constantly shadowing them. So far, so good; he hasn't hurt them.