Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Squirrel Head Caught In Yoplait Cup

Poor squirrel! But oh so funny.

Update: Chickadee Feeding

Some of you might remember my First Day post where I asked whether the feeding behavior was that of parent to fledgling or mating behavior that I read about online.

Pamela Llewellyn of the Golden Gate Audubon Society took a look at the post and had this to say.
You have multiple photos of fledgling chickadees. These individuals can be identified by their bright yellow "gape" - you can look up that word in any bird book but it is essentially the flesh along the sides of their beak. This is a visual aid and stimulus for the parents to help in the feeding process - both of whom are bringing back food (protein such as worms etc.) to the young.

The buzzing sound and the fluttering of the wings are both fledgling behavior. Fledglings in general make really crazy call sounds.

During the courtship phase of breeding season the female will (also) use the fluttering wing behavior to solicit mating from the male.

Feel free to share this information with your blog friends.

Thanks! I will!

Mystery solved.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Golden Gate Audubon Bird Walk

I went on my first bird walk with the Golden Gate Audubon Society last week. Pamela Lewellyn led us through some of the restricted access breeding areas at the Hayward Regional Shoreline. She was decked out with her Leica spotting scope on a Gitzo tripod. Mmmm... gear. Not exactly my flavor, but it's still gear.

It was cool getting to go beyond the locked gates. There were quite a few birds I'd never seen before, like a Ruddy Duck (who knew?), Killdeer and Black Skimmers. There were also lots of shorebirds. I think we saw Avocets, Godwits, Curlews and Dowitchers.

Female Red-winged Blackbirds

Marsh Wren nest

Female Great-Tailed Grackle

American White Pelican

Most of the birds' nests were on these islands.

Colony of Forster's Terns
There were lots of Tern and Avocet chicks on these islands.

Forster's Tern in flight

Black Skimmer flying with terns Black Skimmers are supposed to be rare in the San Francisco area, so this was a real treat.

2 Black Skimmers in flight - The most we saw.

Black Skimmer

Killdeer Parent & Chick

I had a photo of one from the trip, but I can't seem to get it into the blog post for some reason. I didn't get any shots of American Avocet chicks, so here are some from another time.

Snowy Egret

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bleached Baby Ducks

We had some baby ducks and their parents visit our pool for a little swimming lesson.

Six chicks in all, not doing so well at getting out of the pool. Only two could get out consistently.

Mom had to keep jumping in to show them how it's done, and every time she jumped in, any chicks that made it out followed her back in the water.

They finally all got out.

Then there was trouble getting out of the gate.

Mom and Dad took them back home, across the street.

We went to visit them a couple of days after their swimming lesson, and only two had survived. The lady that lives in front of their pond told us that she saw raccoons get 2, 1 just disappeared and she found one badly injured that she was trying to rehabilitate on her own.

Only these little guys survived.

They had gotten to be really fast little swimmers, but they liked to run off on their own. Needless to say, they were gone a couple of days later, too. On the plus side, the other mallard mother that shares the pond had all 12 in her clutch survive. They were fledging and getting ready to leave the nest, according to the woman in the house.