Sunday 2 June 2013

Mallard Ducklings

    I always had to laugh at our dog Mac, whenever we would take him for a walk at Koeneman Park.  One time he saw a ground squirrel by the parking barriers.  Ever since that encounter, as he got close to that spot, he would get down in the hunting posture and slowly slink up to the barriers, hoping to see the ground squirrel again.
    I have been feeling a lot like Mac over the last week.  One morning during our walk on the trail, when we walked close to a swampy pool of water in the woods, we were suddenly surprised by a group of frightened ducklings, scurrying across the water to escape from us.  Because it was so unexpected, I didn’t have my camera ready, and missed taking a really memorable photo.
    Like Mac, all the days following the encounter with the ducklings, as we approached the swamp, I would get my camera out and ready to capture that photo of the ducklings, and I would quietly sneak up to the pool of water.  Of course, the ducklings were never there.  That didn’t stop me from repeating that behavior every time we passed the slough.  I did it again this morning with the same negative result.
      As we continued on along our trail this morning, we eventually ended up walking along the dam of my pond.  There are generally some ducks out in the water, swimming around, and when they see us, they either swim or fly to the far end  of the pond for safety.
    This morning, a female mallard start swimming to the far end as we approached, but instead of quietly doing so, she was splashing the water with her wings and making a lot of noise doing it.  Right away we realized she was trying to distract us, and we figured she had some ducklings hiding near by.
    Sure enough we spotted a small group of young mallards swimming out from the cattails, or bullrushes, as they call them here.  I am pretty sure it was the same group we had come upon in the woods.  This morning, I was able to get my camera out and did finally get a photo of them.
    Every year it seems that I might get to see a mother duck with ducklings one time, then never again.  They always seem to disappear, going off somewhere to be in a place that is a little more private.  Usually, I see them in the pond one day, then they vanish.  I now wonder if they have been going to the swamp to hide in years past.  This is the first year we are walking close to the slough, so they may have returned back to the pond, after being discovered in the swamp.

My paintings can be viewed at:

No comments:

Post a Comment