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Friday, May 9, 2014

Rushed trip to CMO

I knew I was overdue to go fill feeders and water. Good thing I did too. For the first time in years every single feeders was bone dry. Birders were right in front of me. I was horrified they'd come to photograph Lucifers and as they were setting up their tripods I discovered the empty feeders. I rushed around filling them, turning down offers of help. They said I needn't rush for their sakes. I assured them it was all for the hummers. The birders said there were about 8-10 present, which was about the same number as before the ocotillo bloomed, so I guess those are my nesting numbers, more or less.

But as soon as feeders were filled and I watered sparsely (rationing and all), I rushed back to Alpine to monitor the ducks. There were (and still are) four ducklings. My husband called me around 2 PM and said all four were in the water but the mother duck was still setting. By the time I got to town, she was in the water with the ducklings, so I waded out and removed the rest of the eggs from the nest. There were about a dozen, all rotten.

Mom sees male approaching
Mom warns male to stay away
Male comes and checks briefly on babies before retreating.. Mom found it easier last year to keep males away. She seems a bit overwhelmed at the moment, but this is just day one in the water. 
The male above (Mexican Mallard) mated with the momma, as did the domestic male, so either, or both, could be the father. Last year, the single duckling stuck real close to momma duck for the first week or more. This batch is obviously difficult to control. It probably won't get easier either.

Notice two of the ducklings back in the reeds.
Earlier at the oasis, I saw that my kumquat tree is full of blooms. It's still in a pot. Too afraid it might freeze in the winter. I lost my new Woolly Butterfly bush. Gonna plant another, I think.

And, as I expected, the migrant flycatchers are all over the oasis. I couldn't ID all, but I'm sure one is a Western Wood-pewee. A visitor got good pics of an empidinax. Hopefully, he's send me a copy so we can get it ID'd.

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