I have confirmed that the dead duck I saw earlier this week is, indeed, Caramel, one of the best duck mamas on the lake. Above is her most recent living photo. I didn't want to think it was Caramel because the body was found in an area where she hasn't been in for a long time. Also, I know she was on a nest and just figured that she went back to her nest. Her death appears to be natural, perhaps she was egg-bound, but could have been over-mated, though there was no signs of her being so. Those three males that hurt the buff duck do live in that area and they are rough on some of the girls. No signs of fishing equipment injury, either. She leaves behind two natural daughters, one natural son, and one adopted son (from her sister, Butterscotch). No sign as to what happened to her boyfriend in the photo.
She was one of the three "Fish Food Ducklings" from about two years ago. Here is a photo of her with her two sisters taken in June 2010:
Here is a photo of her and her brood last year. The small duckling is one of her sister's:
Here is a photo of her and her brood a little older:
I checked and doubled-check the photos of the dead duck and recent photos of her and all markings line up perfectly, including a small orange mark near her nostril and her cheek patches. I believe all her offspring is still alive. I hate to lose any female ducks there because there are so many males, but to lose a good mama as Caramel is even worse. She raised four ducklings last year, which is pretty good. I am sure she would have raised even more if she had lived.
Her two sisters, so far, are doing great.