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, December 23, 2013

RIP Louie the gander

Louie the gander was missing last Friday, but I saw a "white blob" swimming across the lake and thought that it might be him (or a pelican), so I decided not to be concerned.  I looked everywhere very carefully and saw no sign of him or that anything happened to him.  On Wednesday, he was perfectly fine and looked like he was beginning to fit back into the group after being ostracized after Jill's death.

Louie and Jill last March

Louie was very healthy, but wasn't eating a whole lot.  Nonetheless, he had good energy and muscle tone and I did see him eating some, so I didn't worry about him.  But, he was forced to stay away from the main group of geese, so he most likely slept alone.  This morning, I found a lot of white feathers near the reeds close to where they sleep.  The feathers went all around the reeds from back to front.  It looked more than just regular molting feathers that blow around sometimes.  I'm thinking Louie might have died last Wednesday or Thursday and maybe the raccoon found him while scavenging between Friday and today.  

I'm still holding out some hope that he's just hiding somewhere, but this is really unusual for there to be no sign of him for this long.  Even when he looked for Jill, I would always find him somewhere.  Louie was a very old gander who might have been more than 20 years old.

In other duck news, someone told me they found the headless body of a black and white duck in the trash, but I saw no sign of it.  This duck was the only duck missing at that time, but he was found today.  All the other domestic ducks are also fine.  There are two domestics that I rarely see that I can't verify that they're OK, but they live far across the lake. 

All the ducks are in breeding mode and doing honk-whistles.  Here's several male gadwalls chasing a female:

One in the mid-ground of the photo is doing a honk-whistle:

Baby Blue was also doing honk-whistles.  I also heard a lot of "rejection quacks" from females.

And, Rubberband and her brothers keep plugging along.  I don't know what happened to their mom, Eileen.  Last time I saw her, she seemed to be breaking away from them and going off with a male duck.

I also got a few killdeer photos:

I think this is George's skinny 2013 daughter:

And, I think this might be Little Miracle, though her head markings look a lot like Firecracker.  She was very friendly:

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Shorebird Counting Day

Today is the day where, once a year, Point Blue Bird Observatory counts all the shorebirds around San Diego Bay at the same time. I was assigned the Coronado Island area.

My day started out with a curlew, though with her head tucked in, she looked just like a marbled godwit:

There were a couple of short-billed dowitchers with her:

The other two in the group were marbled godwits for sure because at least one of them pulled their head out and I could see the long, pointed bill:

This kingfisher was spotted with a fish and she dropped it when she saw me coming.  Then, she sat on this light pole hoping I would leave so she could go back and get her fish:

There were a whole lot of shorebirds in that spot:

Close-up of a willet and two godwits:

Look at that middle godwit and how he puts his toes up when he walks across the rocks:

I went to another area and people were chasing the birds!  Oh no!  I asked them to stop and they did, but it was definitely an awkward and uncomfortable moment there for a few minutes.  All the birds came back, I think.  I'm glad because there were a whole lot of them:

And, a sanderling was with them, too:

Some of the godwits were having a disagreement, plus the tide was going up:

And, here is the sanderling again:

There were two spotted sandpipers there today.  I saw this one who might be a juvenile:

Oops, water going over his feet:

Oh no!  My feet are getting wet!

In other bird news, there were plenty of surf scoters around:

This one was showing off and following me around:

And buffleheads.  Lots of buffleheads and coots:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Snow Goose at Chollas Lake

Yesterday, I happened to take a walk at Chollas Lake after work and found this little snow goose among the domestic geese there.

I didn't have my camera at that time, so I went today and he was still there.  He is about the size of a large Pekin duck, but smaller than the domestic geese.  Here is a side view:

Front view:

Three-quarters angle:

A close up shows the black "lips" that are characteristic of snow geese:

Snow geese aren't necessarily rare or endangered, but they are rare at Chollas Lake or any area west of the foothills and mountains.  

If you go to see the snow goose, be ware of this large African gander.  His name is Arrowhead and usually he's not a problem.  For some reason, he gets excited when he sees me.  Today, he seemed upset at me, probably because I haven't been coming to Chollas Lake that much in the last few years.  He ignored me yesterday and today, he demanded my attention and acted like he was going to bite me, but didn't.  Then, he ignored me when I tried to call him towards me later.  

If you encounter him, make sure you say his name and pay lots of attention to him.

Here is a domestic goose about the size of the snow goose.  It is mostly blind in that one eye and the other eye is completely missing.  But, he knows how to work it when he wants you to feed him.  Totally adorable.  He looks like a small embden goose.

I threw in a picture of these two ring-billed gulls because they looked so cool: