Sunday: Duck report

August 4, 2019 • 2:30 pm

I am WAY behind in duck reports due to the press of other stuff, so these photos and a video were taken on July 25. But I have more recent photos still in the camera. All will be revealed.

All the ducks are well, and all are lively and eating vigorously: I’ve never seen ducks eat like Daphne’s brood (now fully feathered) did today. Below is one of her ducklings only 10 days ago, still sporting duckling down as it looks for food ashore. Today (August 4) there is no more down—only feathers and tiny wings.

Katie is still here, with her primary feathers growing back in after her molt. One of her brood remains. Anna is starting to molt since her brood of eight has started to fly, though only short hops. And Daphne and her nine are omnipresent, coming up on land to beg for food at my feet. In other words, we have 21 mallards in the pond. I’m going through duck food like there’s no tomorrow.

Note that this foraging specimen of Daphne’s kids, which to me looks like a tiny dinosaur, puts its head down and charges when it sees an insect (0:23 and 0:44). It missed both times, but it’s cute. And by all means do not miss the flapping of tiny wing-stubs at the end!

This is a dinosaur!

As of today, all the down is gone; they now look like miniature ducks. Note the feather “cape”, as the feathers grow backwards from the neck and down onto the breast, but also forward from the tail.

Those feathery bits of the cape are actually its tiny wings:

Eight of the nine importuning me for food. Daphne is top left.

Daphne guarding the brood, with turtles around. The turtles and ducks don’t interact, though occasionally a duck will nibble some algae off the back of a turtle. I like to think of this as a mutualism, as the ducks get a snack and the turtles get streamlined.

And the lovely Daphne. Check out that blue and purple speculum:

One of Anna’s—the middle brood—resting on the bank. Note that its wing feathers are almost grown in, and the eye is open.

Eye closed with the nictitating membrane:

Another one of Anna’s kids. It looks like a freshly-minted duck, all clean and feathery. The primary feathers on the wing are long, but don’t yet cross. At this stage they weren’t able to fly, but they were able to by August 1.

Mallards are cryptic when resting on the leaves. There are at least five ducks in this photograph, though you can’t see them all (I counted them before I took the photo). Note how their feathers match the sun-dappled leaves.

Yes, I know I’m no Bruce Lyon, but these are my waterfowl, which are mine.


9 thoughts on “Sunday: Duck report

  1. I just love these photos! Especially the last photo with duck feathers and leaves matching.
    I love all the closeups and the duck certainly looks like a dinosaur.

  2. As we all strive to deal with the insanity that currently belches forth from the White House and the disordered mind of Trump, it might be helpful to look back at an historical moment when Republicans and Democrats joined together to attempt to promote the public good.

    It was not that long ago, 1970, if memory serves, when Senator Hiram Leong Fong (R-Hawaii) joined together with Senator Russell Long (D-Louisiana), son of Huey Long, to promote an important bill dealing with ping pong in Hong Kong.

    The two statesmen believed that the ping pong balls used in the Hong Kong international ping pong competition should be made in the United States. Not to do so, they believed would be wrong

    They submitted a bill to accomplish that end.

    The bill was introduced in the Senate and it came to be known as the Fong Long Hong Kong Ping Pong Ball Bill.

    I am not sure what happened to this legislation, but it might be worthwhile to ask modern Republicans and Democrats where they stand on the Fong Long Hong Kong Ping Pong Ball Bill. Few of them have ever heard of it.

    Comments invited.

    John J. Fitzgerald

  3. Seeing the young duck hunt bugs reminds me they must work hard to get enough protean for growing those new feathers, not to mention the bones and muscle. It’s serious work.

  4. Daphne always seems to have a great big smile on her beak. Maybe it’s just the coloring, or maybe she knows how good she and the kids have it and she *is* that happy!

  5. I haven’t checked in on all of your “grand-ducklings” in a long time, and was thrilled to see how well everyone is doing! I LOVED the little wing flap at the end. Thanks for all you do for them Jerry.


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