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Spring Fling

The happy couple

Spring has sprung and the ducks have shown up at our pond. I call it a pond, but it’s really more of a reedy, mucky puddle. No matter, they like the early vegetation that sprouts from the bottom. Being a shallow pond, they can easily reach whatever grows and I suspect they like the water that warms so quickly in the early April sun.

Follow the leader

I get a kick out of seeing them. This year they showed up as an attached pair, whereas in years prior I’ve watched the female get chased hither and yon across the water by several pursuing drakes intent on having her as a mate. Once they’re paired, they stick together like glue, but sometimes the drake has to spend a lot of time chasing off other suitors. Oddly, this year things seem very quiet and it’s been just the two of them.

Bright and showy
Understated and less obvious

His job is to keep tabs on her and protect his future progeny.

He’s watching me

Her job is more complex, as usual. 😉

The soon to be busy Mom

To my surprise, they hung around all day. Usually I only see these ducks once or twice before they leave to raise their young in a safer location, but then they showed up again a few days later and spent the better part of another day eating the black oil seed that has dropped from my feeders and snoozing on a small island of grass in the pond. At the end of the day they left, and I haven’t seen them since. A nearby neighbor has a beautiful, huge, clear pond, so I feel quite honored that this couple even chooses to visit my little puddle when they could have much nicer digs right down the road.

Catching some Zzzz’s

Time to go!

4 responses

  1. That’s wonderful, and your light for photography was just right!! Something that many people don’t know about mallards…the males are rapists. They’ll have their own mate, and if they have a chance, will mate with someone else’s, and it doesn’t have to be a mallard…they’ll mate with just about any female that’s a duck. There are at least five different known hybrids, where a mallard has mated with a Northern Shoveler, an eider, believe it or not, and other species of duck. Birders who know their ducks say, don’t dare let your labrador retriever bitch go swimming with the ducks…a mallard drake might just rape her!!

    April 13, 2021 at 1:47 PM

    • Oh yes, you are 100% right. And I would say they’re gang rapists too. I’ve watched three, even four of them practically drown a female trying to mate with her, one after another. Yikes! The first six photos were taken in the morning, as soon as we saw they were there and I could get myself and my gear out the door. Our pond has tricky light in the AM, with patches of light and dark, but mostly dark. Needless to say, as the ducks started to acclimate to me I was able to circle the pond a bit and “herd” them into better light for a few shots. I thought they would take off, but they didn’t. The female stayed particularly leery, but the male wasn’t too concerned. However, if she got too far from him he was quick to follow. We tend think of “couples” as cute, but I don’t buy into that one bit. And FWIW, that Lab bitch might not mind too much, cause dogs aren’t whole lot better. 😉

      April 13, 2021 at 2:04 PM

      • Ohhhhh, my god, you are so right about dogs….LOL!!!

        April 17, 2021 at 5:41 PM

  2. Fabulous photos. It’s a pity we don’t have pond big enough for wildfowl. We are excited to have a pair of kestrels nesting in a hole in the stonework, but neither of us has the photographic skill to grab a photo!

    April 14, 2021 at 6:38 AM

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