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

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Gaddy the gadwall returns

I was thinking of Gaddy the beautiful gadwall this morning and how I hadn't seen him for a while.  But, he showed up for me.  Gaddy was one of two gadwall ducklings hatched at the lake and he lives there all year around.  I think his sister, though, took off with a male mallard as I haven't seen her since last fall.  Gaddy is molting and he doesn't look as cute as he did when he molted last year.

I threw in this photo of Bumblefoot who is still alive and still in pretty bad shape.  I hope she heals more.

 Canal Mama is doing well with her four ducklings, but they were not in the canal, but out on the lake.

Fish Food Mama's ducklings are getting their wing feathers.  I only saw 7 of them, but I'm sure the rest were there, hiding.  They should be able to fly in a couple of weeks.

I saw this mother with 9 tiny ducklings, a day old.

She was not doing a very good job of organizing them and made very little vocalizations.

Unfortunately, while I was there, two gulls made several attempts at grabbing one of her ducklings.  I managed to shoo the gulls away, but after I left, I saw them attack again, but didn't get any.  The mom seemed to be clueless about the gulls.

I think this mama lost all her ducklings to gulls last year in another area.  At least she tried to raise them in a different area this year.  But, I don't expect these ducklings to survive.  None of the ducklings in this area have survived so far.  The only ducklings that seem to survive are the ones with very organized, bossy mothers.

She even led the ducklings right up to this night heron.  But, at the time, I think he just wanted to sleep.

The osprey chicks are just about ready to fly off.  Their parents are trying to coax them from the nest.  One seems interested.

And, finally, I have to say "good-bye" to Big Daddy.  Here's his last photo, taken while he was sick early in April.  He seemed to get better and disappeared a couple weeks later, most likely with the other males in his group. I suspect he got too weak and curled up in the brush or reeds and died.  He's been gone before, but never for a month or more.  He was there at least four years.   I also said "good-bye" to several other ducks such as Cinnamon's Twin's Twin, the crested rouen, and the "little girl" pekin duck that the males beat up.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Birds

Memorial Day had so much great weather that the lake was busy.  Unfortunately, the big ducklings were the only ducklings I saw today.  I don't think the two little ones that I saw yesterday made it.  Also, there were two red-shouldered hawks and one attacked one of the female mallards, probably testing to see if she had ducklings under her.  I think the mallard got nicked, but she seemed OK.  Red shouldered hawks are known to kill small ducks like wood ducks, but I think a full-grown mallard would be a bit of a challenge.

The big ducklings were jumping up and gleaning from a tree hanging over the water.  This is why one should pick up their snagged fishing equipment as I have rescued at least one snared duckling who jumped up at something on a tree or stick only to get caught by a fish hook and left hanging.

Here they are looking for food on the ground.  I found a rubber fishing lure and managed to get it before they did as ducklings this age would, most likely, try to eat it.

The birds were really out today.  Here's a couple photos of a lovely male nutmeg manikin.  They are established in this area.

Exciting news about the ospreys.  The babies are almost ready to fledge and were flapping their wings.  Mom had just dropped off a fish and this osprey was not sharing with his sibling.

I finally got a good look at one of the several black-headed grosbeaks, but he didn't make it easy to get a photo.  When a man with a dog passed by, he left the area, so I only got a photo of the bottom of him.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ducklings continue. . .

I hope you're enjoying them.  I only went to the lake for a few minutes today.  The mom that had three ducklings now only has two.

I started calling "Sweetie!  Sweetie" at her, but got no reaction from her.

However, this duck was nearby and immediately started quacking and ran up to me when I called "Sweetie".  She seemed a little peeved that I was calling the mama duck Sweetie.  So, maybe this is Sweetie and not the mama duck.

The mama with ten ducklings was hanging around the boat docks and she still had ten ducklings:

And, I saw Smudge. She ran up to me:

Her tail is in really bad shape.  I hope she molts those bad feathers, soon.

Stay tuned tomorrow, I'm going to take more photos if I see any baby ducks.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Chocked full of ducklings

 Today, I saw a new mom with three very tiny ducklings.

 Mom was very nervous because there was a red-shouldered hawk flying around, watching her.  Her ducklings were very obedient to her calls.

I haven't figured out who the mom is, she might be new.  But, she looks familiar (Update:  I *think* it's Sweetie, Fish Food Mama's daughter.  She knows all about red-shouldered hawks):

Canal Mama with her four ducklings:

Butterscotch with her three ducklings:

Here are five of the ten half-grown ducklings who might be from Fish Food Mama (but, I'm still not sure):

This one came up to me like Indy did:

She was very protective and kept threatening me even when I wasn't very close:

Giving me a "dirty look":

Still protecting:

I saw a pair of black-crowned night herons:

The blue heron was really close to the tiny ducklings.  He stole this fish from a gull:

Here is the disappointed gull:

Later, someone said she saw 12 small ducklings near the first three I saw at the same time I was there, but I didn't see them.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Baby ducky update: :D

Canal Mama with your four ducklings:

I also saw Butterscotch with only three ducklings now.  But, they're almost as big as her and are fully feathered except for their wings.  In about two weeks, they should be ready to fly.

I got a good report on Fish Food Mama because she took her ten ducklings to the boat docks, but by the time I got there, she was gone, so I didn't get any photos.  I could hear peeping in some reeds sorta in that area, but they sounded like hatchlings and not half-grown ducklings.

You can tell it's getting close to the end of breeding season when you see the females healing.  Bumblefoot is already starting to look better (and, yes, she looks better because before she looked awful).

You can see that some of her feathers are beginning to grow back on her neck and her scabs are healing:

Papa heron was hunting squirrels and was dead serious about catching some.  His mate was over where I heard the ducklings peeping, but not too close.  I heard they ate a lot of ducklings a few weeks ago right in front of people on the other side of the lake.  Their three chicks are also fledging.  It's not a good time to be a young duckling in that area at this time.  But, I think Fish Food Mama's ducklings might be a little too big for them (or harder to catch).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Canal Mama duck lives! And, Fish Food Mama with 10 half-grown ducklings?

It appears that "Canal Mama" didn't fall victim to coyotes.  I found her in the canal this morning not far from where the blood and feathers were.  She still had four ducklings.

I think I saw Butterscotch flying around, but did not see her nearly 6 week old ducklings.  It's possible that she has moved to a new area or the ducklings are off on their own.

I saw this brood of ten half-grown ducklings and their mama, now a month old.  I see a few males, but mostly females, so far.  We shall see as they get older.

I think this might be Fish Food Mama as she's the only mother duck I know that can raise ten ducklings to this age at this lake.  Her face and bill markings are a little off.  but, when I saw her looking at me, later, she did seem a lot like Mama.  She also recognized me.

At the time I saw her, it looked like a fisherman in a boat might have been harassing her.  But, I think she was OK as she's one smart mama duck. I don't know if the harassment was intentional or he was just being a jerk.

I also found the black and white duck dumped a couple of weeks ago way across the lake hanging out with the mallards whom seem to like him.  No sign of the gray duck.  Also, Big Daddy has been missing for a long time.  If I don't see him by the end of the month, I may declare him deceased.  Pepper has also been missing for a week or two, too.  The crested female rouen is missing as well.  And, several Pekin ducks are missing, but I think they were all piled up in the reeds.

There's still a mystery as to which duck was caught by the coyotes.

Friday, May 17, 2013

RIP Mama duck and ducklings

This morning, I heard the crows mobbing something near the canal where both Butterscotch and the mother pictured in the photo above were staying.  The mother in the photo was staying in a canal that was above where the lake road was.  Butterscotch was staying in a reed bed below the canal, a third duck was sitting on a nest, and I think Fish Food Mama was seen not too far from there recently.  When I got near that area, I found blood and female duck feathers that looked like they came from the mother in the photo above.

At first, I thought the duck was caught near where Butterscotch was, but when I remembered where the crows were mobbing from, I think it was the mom in the photo above that was caught and carried down to the lake road.  This was the mother, I think, who had the ducklings last year and brought them to the canal after the gulls got most of them and raised them there.  She has stayed in the canal ever since, but not in the area where I usually walk.

I suspect that the ducklings were also caught and eaten as I heard no sign of any ducklings in distress.  I'm sure she died defending them.   I doubt she still had the six, more likely she had two or three left.  They would be just over two weeks old. Or, it might have been a totally different duck with no ducklings whom I don't know.  But, some of the feather patterns look like they came from the mother duck pictured above.

I don't think I saw any ducklings today, except, perhaps, Butterscotch's ducklings who are nearly old enough to be on their own.  I didn't see any sign of Butterscotch, but her males weren't too far away from the ducklings, so she might be there.  I will let everyone know if I see this mama duck and her ducklings again.

I saw Squeak and Pollux with another killdeer whom upset Squeak a lot.

Pollux seemed very excited and did a big nest scrape:

Squeak came over to approve it.  The third killdeer ran off and disappeared.

"That's nice, dear" Squeak says

I thought I saw Pepper chasing after the girl ducks.  I hadn't seen Pepper in a while and was happy to see him.  But, it was not Pepper, but Cinnamon's boyfriend, the one I call "Mr. Rapist", but not aloud.  I think Cinnamon's "boy band" has broken up.  I haven't seen Big Daddy, lately.

Unfortunately, I think Cinnamon's Twin's Twin is deceased.  I saw her boyfriend and "Spot" the Welsh Harlequin without her.  They seemed very sad.  And, another Pekin is gone, too, so there's now 12 there.  I am still hoping to see Big Daddy again as I think he went off on his own somewhere and will show up again.   Oreo is still alive and well.

Louie just loves Jill.  I wonder if they're mating now.

I think the male on the left might be one of Snowie's sons from last year.  The other wasn't too far away.  She seems to not mind this other male at all and the Dad tolerates him well, too.  Mom is very picky and just doesn't accept every duck to be near her.  She's been with the male on the right for years.