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

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Baby Season 2017

Duckling season seems to be peaking now. What's been nice is that a lot of the ducklings are surviving a lot longer than they used to. The blue herons have all fledged from their nests and I haven't seen the black-crowned herons all season. The gulls are behaving themselves so far, but I think they may be afraid of being injured by the mama ducks. One of the gulls was so injured, possibly by a mama duck, that it could no longer fly.

I compiled a lot of the photos and videos of the ducklings for this month since the time I last posted.

We have a new set of four goslings at Lake Murray. I think we are not really going to get anymore goslings as it's becoming late in the season.

Miss Butterscotch's ducklings are all grown up and almost ready to fly. Butterscotch is getting her groove back with her male duck friends. Her ducklings are the older ones in the video.

Here are a couple more duckling photos I just took today:

The Two

The single duckling below is being watched closely by the duckling-eating gull. But the mama duck is very experienced and successful, so I don't think she would let him get eaten without a fight.

The Single Duckling

Dumped Ducks:

It's that time of year again where people dump their Easter ducklings to get eaten by coyotes at the lake.  These three nearly died of dehydration until someone threw them into the lake. They're still having a hard time getting adjusted to living at the lake, but at least they're not thirsty anymore. I have a feeling they were kept in a cage or in a home and have no clue what to do.

These two were dropped off yesterday and seem to have a handle on things. Runner Duck wants to rape the female, though, but he hasn't figured out how to get past the big male Pekin.


The coyotes have been very active and we've lost several ducks in the last few weeks:

The droopy-winged brown and white female had been missing for a week and a half before I found her body, so she may have been already dead when the coyotes found her. The gray one was doing well and getting grayer, but I didn't see her as well today. But, she may be OK.

The female Chinese swan goose, dropped off almost two years ago, was killed shortly after the droopy-winged duck. Her mate is now spending time trying to stay close to some of the older geese.  I think he's pretty scared. Her egg was still in her nest when I saw the feather pile.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Ah, Spring is for Ducklings

Though I haven't been at Lake Murray the last few days, when I last saw them, these three ducklings were still plugging along. Each day their mama was taking them on longer and longer distances, even going beyond the fence line. They were constantly moving. On the last day I saw them, I believe she had taken them out of the area. This was her same pattern the last two years. If you haven't seen them, it's possible they are no longer visiting the parking lot area regularly. You may go a while without seeing them and depending on the time of day you visit, you may not see them again until they're fully feathered.

Meanwhile, Miss Una has done what was expected and moved her ducklings down to the other end of the lake. She managed to keep two of them so far. Last time I saw her, she was being hassled by the drakes. I only could truly see one duckling, but I think I saw the other one duck in the reeds.

Miss Una's mother was last seen with three ducklings. The next day, I saw two all by themselves without their mother. However, as I was watching them, they completely disappeared. There were no predators in the area. I saw a woman bending down at the water's edge, but I think the ducklings were not nearby, and even if they were, they would not be easy to catch.

Sadly, after my last post with the gosling photos, Squeaker's little baby disappeared.

Other birds are still hanging around and should be migrating soon. This is an eared grebe in breeding plumage.

Least sandpipers visiting:

There is a female spotted sandpiper being rather co-operative. A male is hanging out nearby and they may be bonded mates or a new mate for her to travel back to the breeding areas with.

Duck Rescue:

Last Sunday, I came across these two Cayuga ducks hiding in the brush near the front entrance. They were dehydrated and very hungry. The female was in distress as well. I was going to introduce them to the water, but decided that, since there was a female and they tend to die real fast here, I would catch both and take them with me to see if I could find a home for them. 

The male is extremely gorgeous with a LOT of green. This photo does no justice to his gorgeous colors. He was quite the gentleman to his girlfriend and his personality was mellow as is common for the breed. The female duck was a diva and made lots of demands with me. She would scream unless you made her happy. Then, she would be very quiet. Because I live in an apartment with a strict no pets policy, and I have allergies, I couldn't keep them. So, I took them to the animal shelter. After a five-day hold (for health and to give the owner a chance to come get them), they were put up for adoption. They were adopted within hours of being listed.

They left me an egg as a present.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

More and More Ducklings at Lake Murray

Right now, there are so many ducklings being hatched that they are pretty much everywhere.

The seven from last week were down to three yesterday. These had made it to ten days old, which is rare in this spot. I doubt I will see them again after these photos because of too many predators. However, it's nice to get some photos of them at this age as it's been a long time since I've been able to do so. They were eating bread from the ground in some of the photos. I didn't feed them that, though, so don't tell me how bad bread is for them as I already know.

Lovely Miss Una was seen with ducklings about the same time. I saw her twice and she had four ducklings when I last saw her. Then, she disappeared. This was her pattern last year when she kept the ducklings in one place until their numbers started going down and then took them somewhere else where they can stay hidden, so they may still be around.

I saw this gull near the ducklings. It looks like he had the stuffing beat out of him. His wing might be broken. I don't know if Miss Una or one of the geese beat him up. I watched him for a few days and he's not doing good. I don't think he's going to make it. I can't catch him because he swims away. I hate seeing gulls get this old only to die shortly afterwards. It's very hard for a gull to reach breeding age.

I think Miss Una's Mother had these ducklings, yesterday. There were tons of gulls around, so I don't know how they fared. Miss Una's Mother is a very competent mother, so I hope all is good.

Lots of babies in the canals. I'm not sure who this mama duck is:

This female, also in the canal, looks a lot like "Mama's Little Weakling" from a few years ago. She was raised in the canal, so it makes sense that her ducklings are being raised there as well.

And, of course, Mr. and Mrs. Squeaker and their one adorable baby:

Still no signs of any other goslings, yet. I suspect there's at least three other nests going on.

Grumpy (or Larry) update:

I can't remember if I've mentioned it in my other posts, but the parking lot goose which I called Grumpy (also known as "Larry" by one other person) was taken to Project Wildlife to be rehabilitated and, perhaps, released somewhere where she won't get into trouble. She was the one who liked to stare at her reflection in the cars in the parking lot. She was causing a lot of problem as she had started to go out to street and local businesses, so she could have caused an accident or got hurt.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A New Contender for First Duckling

I went back to Lake Murray today and found this cute little guy who may actually be older than the ducklings I saw yesterday.

I suspect all his siblings were eaten by predators. He's the only one I saw for that one particular female.

In the meantime, these seven guys have made it through their first day out. Many of the predators don't begin to pick them off until they're at least three or four days old.

Here's the mom with one of these cuties:

Snowie had her ducklings today, but they were not out of the nest, so I couldn't really get a picture of them. They were terrified of me and hid under mama's feathers to hide.

This one has a little mask.

Unfortunately, that will probably be all the pictures I'm going to get of Snowie's ducklings as I can't be there for almost a week. Since she's not the best protector and she's only got two, they are unlikely to last very long. So if you want to see them, they should be out this afternoon and you can take pictures of them.

No signs of goslings, yet.

Monday, April 10, 2017

First Ducklings of 2017!

The first ducklings I've seen for this year at Lake Murray have just arrived. There's a chance that others may have hatched earlier, but are hidden in areas away from people. So far, no signs of goslings and only a couple pairs appear to be nesting so far.

I think the mother is either Butterscotch, the last of the Fish Food ducklings, or Ducky's mate (Ducky died a few months ago). There was vegetation in front of me, so that's why there's a beige streak in the middle of the photo.

Meanwhile, Snowy, the Appleyard duck, is still sitting on her nest. It almost looks like someone took some of her duck eggs and replaced them with chicken eggs as many of them are small. Snowy has been sitting for at least a month.

The white swan goose has also been laying eggs, but someone has been taking them and throwing them at other people or on the rocks.

Sissy, who has been at the lake for at least three years, has gone missing. She was healthy the last time I saw her. I'm hoping she's nesting. I thought I heard a clucking coming from the reeds and all the male ducks, especially Runner Duck, have been poking their heads in there now and then.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Famosa Slough and Killdeer Land

Famosa Slough is a great place to see a variety of birds and even a few uncommon or rare birds. It's right there in the middle of Point Loma, so you don't have to drive far to see them.

First, a bunch of dowitchers flying away. There's always dowitchers flying around there. I believe these are short-billed dowitchers. However, your eBird list will be flagged if you identify them as such as they're very hard to tell apart from the long-billed dowitchers in winter.

A pair of mourning doves on a branch. The dove at the top eventually walked down and stroked the back of the other dove before pecking him to move.

Stilts, avocets, willets and yellowlegs:

One of the stilts:

Blue-winged teal:

American wigeon:

Famosa Slough is basically killdeer land in winter. There were probably a few hundred of them in there, watching me.