May 2013 at Lake Murray, San Diego, was a month of continuing transition for birds as they continue their migration. Most of the wintering birds have left the area and a few summer-only species have arrived. In early May, a lone male lesser scaup was seen at the lake. He was attracted to people on shore and frequently took handouts. It appeared that he could neither walk nor fly, but was recovering and able to groom himself normally. Unfortunately, he did not survive and in the middle of the month was found dead. His body was practically wasted away with no signs of injury. It’s entirely possible he didn’t gain enough weight before he left for migration or he was sick.
By the end of May, 2013, most of the ducks left on the lake were mallards. But, one gadwall, a couple of cinnamon teals, and a couple of ruddy ducks were still in the area. Several of the mallards have had ducklings, many of which are almost mature. Most of the ones hatched in Alvarado Bay, the area near the Kiowa Drive entrance, have not survived past their first week due to predation. Ducklings hatched in other areas of the lake, away from the main parking lot, have fared better. So far, only a few baby coots have been seen, but several pairs are nesting. Several visiting Canada geese have mixed with the existing flock of geese at the lake and seem to be settling in.
While the yellow-rumped warbler has disappeared, the yellow warbler is making his presence known. There were several of these birds around the lake in various trees singing “sweet sweet sweet, I’m so sweet!” Hooded and Bullock’s orioles are also more noticeable. Strangely, though, lesser goldfinches are fewer than normal. The Pacific slope flycatcher was also numerous during this month. There were several black-headed grosbeaks throughout the month and a surprise greater yellowlegs at the end of the month.
The great blue heron chicks fledged in late May and the osprey chicks are ready to begin flying. The ravens are hatching their chicks as well. No sign of killdeer, bushtit, gnatcatcher or hawk breeding. There are also no signs of young phoebes, song sparrows, or blackbirds. Hummingbird, dove, grackle, and manikin nests are scattered throughout the area.
In June, look for more goldfinches and tanagers in the area as well as black-chinned, Costa’s and Allen hummingbirds as the month goes on. Ducklings should still be appearing all throughout June and the number of coot chicks should increase. Number of young birds should increase as June continues.