The one little duckling was still hanging on when I saw him today. But, his mom was being harassed by the males and actually flew off and left him alone with the heron and cormorants!
But, he heard her quacks and they were soon reunited. She is not a very attentive mother and I fear that, soon, this duckling is no more. So far, he's made it to about 18-19 days old. Here he is getting ready to lay down and go to sleep. I walked away, but when I tried to see him from across the lake, I couldn't. I could see the mom, but not him. I didn't see any predators in the area, so I am just hoping that he was hard to see because of his small size and the fact that he wasn't moving around:
I saw another new mama with a yellow duckling! It's the brown female (I call her brown because her head is really dark brown and has very little markings) and I think that's Big Daddy's baby. That would make him 1/4 saxony, 1/4 pekin and half mallard. I sure hope he makes it. His mom was very attentive and watchful of her ducklings.
I disturbed her from her hiding spot:
She was heading right for mama heron who was following a cormorant around. She was hoping to steal the cormorant's catch or take advantage of the cormorant's ability to herd and ball fish. Mama heron didn't seem interested in the ducklings right now:
One time, the cormorant popped up near the duck family and began staring at the ducklings. Brown mama got furious and attacked him with all her might. I have never seen a cormorant kill a duckling or chick, they seem so focused on catching fish. Doesn't mean they won't if they had the opportunity arose:
After a short time, she disappeared like a good mama duck should.
This is a photo of the mom with the five ducklings, but she only has two in this photo. She still has five. It's entirely possible that the dead duckling the raven got a couple days ago wasn't from her brood as she came from a different area of the lake. I have a feeling that the duckling that the raven got was the single duckling I had seen last week. His mom was seen a couple days ago without a duckling and was trying to steal one of these. The duckling may have died naturally.
Pepper's wing is actually doing better. I saw him stretch it all the way out today. It looked pretty good. I think, though, his shoulder might be mis-aligned, but it could just be sore. It doesn't appear to be broken and he seems to have full movement.
Big Daddy, the Saxony-Pekin hybrid was missing today. I'm a little worried, but it's not the first time he's disappeared. He can't fly, but does wander a lot.