Event #213: Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Saturday morning I had to be at a meeting for a number of hours. I was gone all morning. We were also expecting a big truck-load of soil for the new vegetable garden. I hurried home around noon from my meeting, and the truck was just arriving, so Bob and I were momentarily distracted by this. After the truck left, Bob told me to go in and look at an email he sent me. It was this:

A picture of "Ima-the-Duck". Is she (he) from Nuttah's era??

“Ima Duck dropped off here by THE White Merganser. Went to get phone to take picture. Whoosh,Nuttah and the puppies came by and by the time I came back, in less than a minute, all were gone except Ima. Looked upstream and saw nothing. Whole episode was less than a minute I would bet. Dukey and Waffles were going nuts, Stupey noticed NOTHING. Did get prodded about planting, but didn’t go to see the field I helped clear. I expected to though.”

Then attached to this email of Bob’s was a phone-picture that he had taken of this duck that had been “dropped off”. Or so we think. This is a real duck. A real live being. It is a rather large one; larger than the normal wild ducks that we see here all the time, such as the mergansers and mallards. Not quite as big as a domestic duck, but somewhere in between. Its color patterns generally resemble a male mallard, but I started calling it the “Sepia Mallard”; it is like a male mallard without the intense color.

Another view of the "sepia-mallard"

The email Bob wrote required, for me, a little more explanation.
“Did the white merganser BRING the new duck in?” I asked Bob.
“It appeared to be that… only because right after these two ducks arrived, so did the rest of the crew: the ‘Whoosh’, Nuttah and the puppies (tëme). But then all of them disappeared as quickly as they appeared, and the only one left was this duck.” I’ve included above here two pictures of this new duck, unlike any duck we’ve seen in the creek in 10 years.

The new duck with a wild male mallard

I asked Bob what he thought the whole significance of this ‘event’ was. He didn’t have an answer. Then later, just musing on the whole incident, we sat in our creek-chair drinking a beer, and we suddenly noticed that the new duck was swimming under the bridge with a regular male mallard. I’ve pictured them together here. Suddenly, in flies the female and lands roughly right in front of us. This whole little scene is being played out in the creek right in front of us as if we are an audience and they are performers on the “creek-stage”. The female casually came within  feet of us, climbed up onto a rock, and promptly tucked her head under her wing and took a nap.

The female mallard climbs atop a rock and rests.

Here is a picture of the female, and about 10 feet beyond them swam the new duck with the female’s male partner. You can see that the new duck is somewhat larger than the wild mallard, but roughly has the same, or a similar coloring pattern. We sat and watched the three of them interact for a bit. Sometimes the wild male mallard would charge at the larger duck and try to peck at him. Mainly, we marveled at their seeming oblivion to the humans sitting on a bench at the edge of the creek. It is so easy to spook these wild ducks, and they don’t tolerate human activity this directly in their midst very well. At one point, the (formerly rabid) cat OIN!, who had been annoying us and trying to knock over our beers got interested in them. He stalked right up to the edge of the creek, and when that didn’t even spook them, he lost interest. We watched this whole scene for quite some time. We wanted to see how the new duck would interact. The wild pair clearly flew in, but it was unclear to us if this large new duck could fly at all. In the next post, I will place a picture of a later discovery in the bedroom that had to do with… the ducks of course.


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