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

Monday, September 30, 2013

Last gasp of a dying camera

I had an unfortunate accident with my current digital SLR. I packed a new water bottle in my backpack with my camera, as I always do, and it ended up spilling and soaking the camera.  I had taken precautions and have had water bottles leak before with no problems, but this time I was not so lucky.  I've had the camera for more than five years (almost six) and it was about a year old when I bought it, so it's time for a new one, anyway.  It's just hard because my expenses just suddenly have gone up more than 15% and I don't make that much of a margin over the amount I need for my basic needs.  So, it might be a little while before I get a new camera.  I'm not sure if the lens was damaged, too, but I don't think it was.  If the lens was also damaged, then it would be even longer to get a new lens because I would have to pay the camera off before getting a lens.  So, it could be a little while before I post more close-up bird photos.  But, I might do some other creative things such as drawings, landscape photos, and videos.

But, I did manage to get a few photos yesterday being able to retrieve the photos due to having bought a CF card reader a few years back.  I didn't have much control over focusing and other controls, so not all the photos came out that great.  But, here's a few:

This is the time of year where killdeer parents bring out their debutantes to meet other young killdeer in the area.  I think this first photo might be Smudge:

I think this photo might be her young son:

White-crowned sparrows suddenly showed up in droves:

The big flock of ducks with Cow bringing up the rear:

The "rubber band" ducklings:

Rubber Band and her brother:

Eileen isn't spending much time with her ducklings and was across the lake from them when I saw them.   I think she met with them later. A coot didn't like them feeding nearby and when the ducklings didn't show any fear or concern, the coot pecked at one of them while he feeding  under water and then slapped his feet on the water.  I've seen coots nearly drown teen-age ducks, but generally they're fine with most other waterfowl there.  And, I've seen amazing tolerance from coots to young baby ducks.

Here's Pepper!

Here he is flapping his wings.  For those who don't know, Pepper broke his right wing when he was about 9 months old.  He strips the primaries on the broken wing because they drag through the water when he swims and they absorb water, making them heavy.

This duck has fishing line wrapped around his foot so bad that I think the foot is permanently damaged.  He won't let anyone catch him.  In this picture, he's way out in the water.

Jill is still alive, but she is losing weight and I think muscle.  Her wing is drooping.  She looks so sad and is almost always by herself.  But, she is alert:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Signs of fall waterfowl migration

I saw several signs that fall migration is in full swing.  First, a large flock of long-billed dowitchers flew over the lake before leaving.  Then, I saw some new duck species.  

Though we have some gadwalls most of the year, I saw a few new ones.  I know that Project Wildlife was going to release a few, but that was over a month ago.  This gadwall was really cute, not as pretty as Gaddy, the resident male gadwall, but pretty cute.  Note the bright red feathers near the wings.

Also, I saw a few small green-winged teals:

Here's a mallard pair:

We have two new young dumped ducks.  I wish people, at least would fatten up their dumpees before they dump them:

The blonde duck is changing colors and seems to be getting a gray head:

Jill has been very sick and even disappeared for a few days.  I thought she was dead, but she wasn't.  She seems better today, but has lost some weight.

I think this might be Smudge:

And, I think this might be her baby, the first baby I've seen in the season.  He still has baby down.

I don't know if you can see them well, but I think these are two juveniles in the ballfield.  They were horsing around and play-fighting.  One looks a lot like Pollux:

You probably can't see it, but there's four killdeer in this photo, two adults and the two juveniles who seem to be having a lot of fun.  I think the adults might be Squeak and Pollux.

I also saw a young male mallard with fishing line wrapped so tightly around his leg that I can see the foot tissue dying.  He might be one of Butterscotch's ducklings or another duckling that flew in.  He's definitely over four months old because he's almost in full adult colors, but still has a young face.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A killdeer argument

This morning, I came across two male killdeer having an argument.  They looked like Killer and Smudge's mate and seem to know each other.  But Smudge's mate, even though he's much younger than Killer, was not happy about him being there.  Smudge's mate was probably just protecting the area for his family.

When Killer started to approach, Smudge's mate went into display mode.

I was here first!

What?  I'm just here for a bath! (said Killer)

Can you believe this guy? (said Smudge's mate)

OK, that's enough, go away.

I've got my eye on you!

You're not moving fast enough!

I'm so mad!

I also saw a scrub jay and a nuttall's wood pecker among other birds.  The scrub jay wouldn't sit for a photo, so here's the woodpecker.

I guess one of the spotted sandpipers decided to stay longer.

Jill is acting weird.  She's just standing around, not moving.  She does move eventually and she will move if you make her move, but she's not grazing and is just standing still.

Eileen is still limping, but seems OK:

Here's her ducklings:

Monday, September 9, 2013

Duckling update

Well, I went to go check on the mama duck and her older ducklings and I noticed that the mother had some kind of hip or leg injury.  But, strange thing was that it didn't bother her one bit.  She constantly walked on the ground and even up and down hills.  

She also swam OK.  Maybe she had that injury for a while and I didn't notice it last Friday.  I don't know how well she can fly, though.

Rubber Band has lost his rubber band on his bill.

You can really see the mallard in him:

This duckling is a crybaby and hates to be apart from his mama:

I think this might be Stretch who was there with another male and a young female.  I think his mama was there, too.

There are two new dumped ducks at the lake, a male buff and a female Cayuga who will probably not make it through the next breeding season:

A fair number of spotted towhees were heard (and one seen) at the lake today, but were camera shy.  There were signs of a hawk hunting pigeons near where the ducklings were.  The killdeer were also heard around the area.  A coyote was also seen stalking Bumblefoot and the other ducks across the lake just before the ducks were due to get fed this morning, but all ducks are OK.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Rainbows and Rubber Band

Double Rainbow

I got to the lake early in the morning and saw a great rainbow that went from one end of the lake to the other, but I could only get a photo of one end.

Some people in other parts of San Diego got photos of the entire rainbow from end to end.  I also saw some rain to the north of the lake later on.  But, no rain at my house or at the lake, either.

Pat was the first duck I saw this morning, before it was light.  She was scared because she couldn't see me, but later walked up to me when it got lighter out.  Today, she has decided to be a girl duck, some days, she thinks she's a boy.

I found this little duckling hanging out with some other wild mallard ducklings the same age in this one area.  They all seemed to act like brothers, so if they were dumped, they were all dumped together.  However, this one duckling has a rubber band under his tongue on the bottom of the bill.  From the marks on his bill, I suspect that the band had been around his entire bill at one time.  If humans dumped or released him, I don't understand why they wouldn't remove the band from his bill as it poses a choking hazard.  The duckling seemed mostly unbothered by it, except I did see him gulping a lot and acting like he was trying to swallow something at one time.  The band seems to be a bit loose, so hopefully he will lose it or it will break apart, soon.

I'm going to name him Rubber Band, or Bandit when (or if) he gets older.  Here he is with two other ducklings who appear to all be about 7 weeks old, about the age that Project Wildlife releases their ducklings.

There was a female duck with them that was watching over and protecting them as well as talking to them.  Sometimes wildlife rescue agencies give ducklings to motherly ducks to raise and release them all together.

All the ducklings are boys.

Here they are in the daylight and now I can see that the dark duckling is a hybrid mallard-Swedish duckling who will probably look like Pepper when he grows up, perhaps darker like Not-Pepper.  The mama doesn't look familiar, though I have seen females like her at the lake before.  She might be native to the lake, but I find it strange that they would suddenly show up at this age if they were native.  

However, she does look a LOT like Zippy, which means the ducklings *could* be both Oreo's and Neo's ducklings if they are native to the lake.

I think I also saw Bob1, the spotted sandpiper,  in the morning and tried to get a silhouette photo of her in the sunrise, but she would have none of it.  She flew away and called to a second spotted sandpiper whom I think is her mate or her offspring (more likely her mate as females don't really participate in mate rearing, especially after they have learned to fly).

The new Pekin was discovered over by the duck bench last Friday, but I haven't seen him anywhere, since.  Hopefully, his owner came and picked him up or something.  There's no sign of a predator attack and there is no reason why he would have been caught any more than any other of the Pekins there.

And, finally here's a photo of Snowie and her fresh molt, looking more beautiful than ever.  I don't see her or her mate that much anymore for some reason.