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

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Surprise December Ducklings

Nothing much has been going on at Lake Murray for the last few weeks except for a surprise batch of December ducklings. The mother was first spotted with four, but by the time I saw them, there were only three left. Within a few days, it appears that the gulls got all of them or they were stolen by people. A gull was spotted with one a couple of days after I took these photos. There were also reports of them running up to people. When the mother saw me one day, she acted like she thought I had one of them, so I think one or two may have been kidnapped.

At first, I thought the mother was an elderly duck with a hormone problem. However, when I look at this next picture, I notice she looks a lot like Miss Friendly, a five month old female. Miss Friendly was the super-friendly duckling that loved to follow people around. It appears to be a genetic trait as these ducklings had the same personality.

Also this month, four runner ducks were dumped, one of which has a broken wing. They are two males and two females, it appears.

They found their way over to Sissy and Pumpkin who have adopted them. They are now bonded to the two older buff ducks and hate to be too far away from them.

The killdeer have been super friendly. I've seen Firecracker hanging out in her old hangout where she was raised. Her brother, Killer and his mate, Dee have also been seen hanging out in the same spot. All of these killdeer, including Killer and Dee in the next photo, are now considered nearly elderly for killdeer who usually live about nine or ten years at the most. They are about 5.5 years old.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Shorebird counting

I had the opportunity to go out and do two different walks and counts. I did a Salt Work's tour on November 22nd and I counted shorebirds for Point Blue Bird Observatory on December 1st. Both are on the San Diego Bay.

Salt Works Tour:

Semi-Palmated Plover with a bunch of brine flies all around.

Dunlin and dowitchers:

Dunlin and western sandpipers:

Eared grebes:

Why did the godwits cross the road? To look at all the birders who walked by:

Lots of long-billed curlews all around. Here are two of them:

American avocets:

Short-eared owl (looking away):

I also saw killdeer and one of the peregrine falcons in the area snagged one of the tiny sandpipers right in front of me. Poor little sandpiper. The owl was also eating one of the grebes.

Point Blue Bird Observatory Coronado Bay Survey:

I counted in my usual area around the ferry landing all the way up to near the naval base entrance. Most of these were closer to the ferry landing area.

Black-bellied plover:

Marbled godwit:

Sleepy shorebirds (godwits and willets):

 Brown pelican:


The sanderling woke up and freaked out some of the sleeping birds:

Lots and lots of willets:

This next one was OK, he was just sleeping. I was worried he was sick, but when I walked away, he and a marbled godwit followed me up to the walkway:

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Return of Some of Snowie's Ducklings?

Before I start with the possible return of three of Snowie's March ducklings, I'm sorry to say that one of the Pekins went missing at Lake Murray during the last month. I'm not 100% sure which one it was, but it could be Mr. Squeaky or one of the older ones. There's no sign of him anywhere.

Now to the strange news. These two buff-hybrids showed up about a month ago, and they were the right age to be Snowie's ducklings from way back in March. They appeared to be rouen and buff and I thought maybe Pumpkin or Sissy laid eggs in Snowie's nest. However, I am starting to notice some appleyard traits in them.

What's really odd is that these two ducks, whom are obviously domestic ducks, behave just like the wild ducks. This is unusual for dumped ducks and even ducks raised by wildlife rescues. It's possible that someone raised and returned them, but it's also possible that they were stolen by another female duck and raised in another location at the lake. I'm betting someone took them as they disappeared right before Easter and during a time there were a lot of people at the lake due to a major news story in the area. Either that or they're just regular dumped ducks.

Another duck that may have returned is "Uno" the last of Snowie's ducklings. He looks like a twin of Snowie's mate and was actually at the lake for a couple of weeks before I noticed that he was something new. What's even weirder is that he remembers his name and will sometimes come when I call him. He seems to have some recognition of Snowie and her mate Snowy, too, though they definitely show no signs of recognizing him. His head and bill shape is also the same as Uno, also. So, regardless of where he came from, he is going to be known as Uno from now on.

The two new geese are less afraid and will come up to me now. They are very well mannered. They seem to think they belong to the flock of "Sissy, Pumpkin and Runner Duck" and are always nearby. I think Pumpkin likes them and calls for them when they're not around. I'm not so sure that Sissy and the boys like them. I've caught them nipping at Runner Duck, but not really hard.

There is a resident female killdeer in George's territory. I think it's Little Miracle. There is a male killdeer in Junior's territory and when these two get together, there's a lot of vocalizations. Little Miracle will greet me, but, of course, doesn't let me get too close.

Some other fun pictures include this green heron that I saw this morning:

 A common yellowthroat:

And I did a shorebird count at the San Diego river mouth later in the day, but this picture of a long-billed curlew was the best that I got.

Other than Miss Friendly, it looks like the other three ducklings have appeared again. I don't have any good pictures. There were two boys and two girls overall. The two boys are really scruffy and one of them is extremely friendly. I call that extremely friendly one "Goofball". His brother is not as friendly.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Coyote Day and Lots of Thrashers

I got to see the coyotes today. They were very far away, but my friends pointed out this family of three hunting. I think they ended up catching a large rabbit. They're pretty small in the pictures, but you may be able to make them out.

In the first picture, there are actually two, but one is very hidden:

There's two in this next photo, too, one in the middle, one off to the upper left:

There are usually only two California thrashers at the lake, but today there were at least a dozen. These two, on the fence, were chasing each other:

This one didn't care about what the other two were doing. Also in the area was a very loud Costa's hummingbird:

It poured down rain a couple days ago. It rained so hard that I don't think even the ducks liked it. Here is Miss Angel and Mr. Squeaky trying to get out of the rain:

Pouring down rain in this photo. The coots are beginning to arrive. The ruddy ducks are already at the lake as are some teal and eared grebes:

The female goose has a companion. Someone dumped that male that's in the background of this next photo. I'm betting they were from the same owner as they've been best friends since day one.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Final Duckling Update and the Temecula Duck Pond

With the end of the season, this will probably be the last duckling update for this year in San Diego and at Lake Murray. 

I didn't see much of the last remaining ducklings in the morning after my last post. Sometimes, I saw them in the afternoon, especially Miss Friendly. Miss Friendly is the one who liked to follow me around. I didn't visit the lake very much in the afternoon, but I did get this picture of Miss Friendly when she was almost a month old.

For weeks, I didn't see any sign of the ducklings until I found this one whom I also think is Miss Friendly at about seven weeks old. She still has fuzz around her legs. She still did her baby talk when I approached.
I think I may have seen the "foster duckling" earlier this week, but it's hard to tell. Project Wildlife releases the ducklings around the same age as those ducklings are now, so it would be hard to tell them apart. I may never know if those other three ducklings made it.

Miss Una is fully grown and is a silly girl. I saw her chasing down flies one time. She's usually by herself.

Sometimes she likes to hang out with the male ducks that Project Wildlife released a couple weeks ago.

Sad news about Skeeter. She has fishing line wrapped around and cutting through her leg. She's been dealing with this for a few weeks. Problem is that the girl is super smart and no one can catch her! The other ducks in the flock are also protecting her, the little buggers. She's unraveled part of it herself, but not all of it. Last I saw, her foot was still "alive" and she's wiggling her toes, but it is swollen up.

In more sad news. someone dumped this female Chinese goose. She is very confused and is wandering around screaming her lungs out and coming up to people. It's clear she wants to go home. I'm hoping she will settle with the other geese, soon, before the coyotes get her.

I went to the Temecula duck pond last week. It's a very nice park and pond. What's neat is that ducks have the right of way on the busy road out there. However, I don't feel the pond is really ideal for ducks with it's raised sidewalks and bumpy rocky haul-out area.

Here is a sample of some of the domestic ducks there that people have dropped off. That runner duck is in charge.

These next two are mallard-domestic hybrids. I'm betting the runner duck is the father of this first one:

The little black-and-white female is in severe need of rescue. Her keel bone sticks way out. I'm not sure if it's a deformity or due to starvation. Some ducks can't really get any nutrition from bread which is the only thing to eat at this pond.

Temecula has a city law outlawing the feeding of ducks, yet I saw at least 6 people who fed them while I was there. All of them fed the ducks bread. This is a photo of their pamphlet discouraging feeding. I don't know if anyone ever reads it. I wish, too, they would also mention something about abandoning domestic pet ducks, too. The ones that seem to be extra hungry are the domestics and they must be fed or rescued.