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, April 29, 2015

Baby season continues

While there aren't any new ducklings to speak of, other birds, such as the geese, continue with their babies:

A mother pied-billed grebe brings up a crayfish breakfast for her five babies:

Hey, where did mom go?

There are still two young goslings:

The older goslings were also near the younger ones. Mom was not too happy about it:

Dad with three goslings:

In this photo, one gosling had just returned to the group after chasing off a squirrel. They are mouthing each other. I guess it's a greeting:

The young ones are starting to look like they're growing:


Meanwhile, Blue and his friend are laying next to a pair of cute gadwalls:

Mr. Squeaky seems to have won the favor of this new blonde duck with angel wing:

Monday, April 27, 2015

Down to 2 tiny baby geese and RIP Orea the duck

Unfortunately, the new goose family is down to two goslings and they haven't grown much since last week. All four of them were seen yesterday, doing fine. This morning, there were only two.

I think these parents are the inexperienced ones. Dad is extremely nervous and seemed to be even more nervous today. I'm wondering if someone stole the other two babies yesterday. I was thinking the egret might have gotten them because he's been eating everything in sight. But, he seemed to be going out of his way to avoid the geese, so I'm thinking he's already been thrashed enough by the parents to know better than to try to get their babies.

These two chicks were extremely hungry and nibbling on everything. I think this thing is some kind of cover or tarp used in maintaining the reservoir. It's been there for years and I don't think it's harmful. I'm thinking they're trying to eat the algae growing on it.  The grass has been extremely dry and I think there's not enough nutrition for the little guys. Mom and dad don't seem to know where to take them to find more food and I think they are hoping the humans will feed them.

The other baby geese are about a month old now and getting pretty big.

The baby osprey in the osprey nest are also nearly full grown.

And, finally, Oreo (AKA Tux) the duck went missing two weeks ago, just after his four year dump anniversary. Last time I saw him, he was pretty thin, but seemed to be glad to see me. Usually, he seems annoyed at me and doesn't want his picture taken. Then, he disappeared. I found a pile of his feathers across the lake from where I last saw him in the same spot his best friend, Aflac was killed a few years ago. It looks like he was turned into coyote food.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New baby geese and 2 new geese marriages

For those of you who have been trying to do some fishing on the north side of Lake Murray, San Diego, your wait is over. The goslings have hatched and the parents introduced them to the other family today far away from the nesting site. Right now, the two geese families are not mingling, but are keeping an eye on each other. When the two families met, both parents had a long discussion about something. I think they were telling each other which way they were going. The geese parents of the older goslings seemed a bit more demanding about the right of way. It's probably because they have more goslings, which makes them the more dominant family.

The new family has four bitties who possibly hatched yesterday or Monday:

One gosling was having a bit of a problem like it wasn't feeling well and sometimes lagged behind:

The older gosling parents were watching the younger ones as they walked away:

It looks like we have two new geese marriages or engagements. I think this is Squeaker and her older husband or fiance:

I couldn't get a photo of the other couple which seemed to include Grumpy, the sulking teenage gander which someone grabbed last weekend. Today, he seemed happy and was flying around with another, older goose. I think he was showing her his favorite spot near the dam. The other four are still milling around, begging for food. I'm hoping some of these guys will move to another area as the grass here is drying up with the drought.

By the way, I call them marriages because once geese pair up, they stay together for life and almost never cheat on each other.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Killdeer shocked at egret's breakfast and baby updates

The killdeer above, at Lake Murray, was extremely upset after he flew up to check me out yesterday. He didn't notice the great egret when he first arrived, but after a few seconds, I could hear an angry trill. I don't know if he was trilling at me or at the heron who was noshing on a squirrel it had just drowned. Later, the egret had a live squirrel and swallowed it whole before the squirrel was dead. Then, the egret had that look that one gets when they've eaten too much. I hope those two squirrels meant that he was done eating for the day.

Even though those two squirrels died a horrible death and will never experience life again, it doesn't mean that there will be a squirrel shortage. For those who like the squirrels, you can rest assured that plenty of babies are growing up to replace those adults. And, these babies are super quick, too.

There are at least two baby osprey in the osprey nest and they're almost ready to go. I think this is mom waiting for dad to get home with breakfast in the morning:

This California quail is one of at least three quails making a lot of noise. I love to hear the sounds of quail. Most of the quail live in Coyoteland. Even though coyote do eat quail, they also eat a lot of the things that eat quail and quail babies. So, I guess the quail feel it's worth the risk living with the canines:

Pied-billed grebe babies making lots of noise, demanding to be fed:

Even though Peaches and the other mother lost all their babies, Miss Whiteear was seen across the lake with three bitties of her own. She was being harassed by the males, but seemed attentive to her youngins. A heron was over there looking for them, but she was keeping her babies moving and hidden under the cover.

The baby geese are doing well despite the brown grass:

This female domestic duck was dumped about a month ago. She's in poor condition, probably from not being cared for properly. I couldn't get a photo of her until now. She looks a lot like Ducky Ducky who passed away a few months ago:

Mr. Squeaky is still having trouble with his eyes. Otherwise, all the male Pekins are looking very healthy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

RIP Disappearing Ducklings

Sadly, one of the black crowned night herons found the ducklings and even grabbed one right in front of me. He just wouldn't go away. So, ducklings have been disappearing all morning. Soon, there will be none. That's why I like to get out there as much as possible to photograph them.

Peaches had abandoned her ducklings for over 20 minutes and I was watching them when I saw the heron. I couldn't get him to leave.

The last photo of all four together taken about five minutes before the heron got one of them.

This is the heron actually stalking the ducklings before he grabbed one right in front of me:

The final three. Squinty Eye is the one on the right:

The last 2:

One of the last ducklings:

The smallest duckling:

The final 2 after they were, again, abandoned for over 20 minutes:

The six from the other mother this morning:

There were five when I saw them later, but then they were going around the reeds and disappeared. I saw a cormorant in the area, but I didn't see him do anything. When the ducklings reappeared, there were only four left.

The heron stalking the final five ducklings of the other mother:

The four remaining after I left. This mother, however, has been more attentive and has even been fighting off the heron:

Also seen at the lake were these doves who were watching the last five ducklings with me:

Squeaky's mallard boyfriend still hangs out with the other male Pekins even though Squeaky is gone:

The goslings:

Monday, April 13, 2015

More changes for ducklings

I decided to visit the lake again, last night and found that Peaches had already lost 3 ducklings. However, the other mother, somehow, had gained 3 ducklings. Since the two ducks are closely related and their ducklings in that critical first 3 day phase, it appears that those 3 ducklings have decided to go with Peaches's mother while Peaches keeps 5 of them.

There was also a duckling hatching from the other mother's nest when I left last night, but this morning, I found he had died. He was being hatched backward and his head was in the wrong position. Peaches also had a dead duckling in her nest that appeared to have died soon after hatching.

This morning, I came up to find the heron standing over Peaches's mother with his head down near where all the ducklings were hiding under her. He flew off when I arrived and I found out that she was already missing one duckling. The mother did very well staying absolutely still, but I think one of the ducklings that was on the outside of the others might have gotten snatched.

Here are the "other ducklings" (with 3 of Peaches's ducklings, I think, still around):

And, here's Peaches's ducklings beginning with the Squinty Eye duckling:

Yesterday, a mallard-y duckling tried to steal food out of the black duckling's mouth. Today, the black duckling was doing the same thing to the mallard-y duckling while Squinty Eye looks on, again:

This little one is the smallest and sweetest:

I think Uno is gone for good.  Aww.