I got to the lake early in the morning and, at first, I didn't see Peaches at all and that's a good sign. The fact that she wasn't there meant that, maybe, her last duckling is still alive. An hour later, I saw, from far away, Peaches and her last duckling. They had survived the night. The gulls were circling, but it looked like Peaches was heading to a safer area. However, she seemed really reluctant and hesitant and kept turning around to go back.
But, alas, an hour and a half after that, the last duckling was gone. Peaches was walking around, doing "follow me" calls very loudly. She was even chasing drakes and ducks away like she was protecting something. She wasn't searching for the ducklings and seemed to know she didn't have any, but her broody hormones are still telling her to act like she does.
Here she is giving her younger sister a dirty look. A little coot, abandoned by his parents, seemed to want to get her attention and called for her. Too bad she didn't notice because, at this time, I think she would mother any small duckling or baby waterfowl that came her way.
I think she was really lonely and wanted to be with her family. Her best sister friend, Caramel, died early in the nesting season. Butterscotch had her ducklings over a month ago and I think she lost all of hers, too, but she may have managed to keep one of them. So, she didn't have any support and really wanted to be with her mom, siblings, and offspring from last year.
However, Peaches's mother, Fish Food Mama, was seen without any of her older ducklings this morning. But, that's fairly normal as they are 2.5 months old and are pretty independent. They all get together to nap, but then do their own thing when awake. Fish Food Mama was the only mother duck who managed to keep all or most of her babies this year and raise them to flying age. I believe it is because of her timing and the fact that she's one of the oldest successful breeding hens at the lake with at least three broods, that I know of, under her belt.
I think this might be Indy, he was hanging out with Neo:
Here is one of Indy's three brothers, he looks a lot like his mom:
He was hanging out near Neo who is extremely friendly with people. He will stand at your feet and wait, patiently, for you to feed him. He's also a pretty good flier, too.
Here is a duck that always makes me feel good when I see her, Hurt Wing. Now, she's got a hurt foot and hip, too, but she still keeps plugging along. I am extremely surprised that she has lived as long as she has with all of her issues. She was hanging amongst the big drakes that would probably kill her if they tried to mate with her, but they weren't bothering her at the time. Hopefully, she got away from them if they decided to do something.
I saw her run with her hurt foot and hip and she's very zippy. She's amazing.
Another happy sight: Baby quail, half grown! I found a whole bunch of them today with their dad (plus a dove).
And, of course, I had to go see baby Miracle who always makes me feel good. But, today's visit was marred by a Cooper's hawk attack soon after I took these photos. Mom and dad really did a great job mobbing and attacking the hawk. So, she was OK, but as I was taking pictures of the baby quail, I could hear the parents screaming again and I hope it wasn't another attack. It didn't last long which makes me think that it was just something they saw briefly.
Baby Miracle is over two weeks old now and actually getting her feathers in. She's grown quite a bit, too. And, she's learned a little bit about being wary of predators because she will hide when she first sees something that makes her nervous.
Yesterday, a man released a female mallard and her brood of 8 ducklings at the lake whom, he said, had wandered into his yard. They all seem to be in good shape and are about Neo and Fish Food Mama's ducklings' age. I think Fish Food Mama's family might intermix with them. Yesterday, they all scattered, so I couldn't tell who's who. But, they like to rest together in the place they were first released. I will try to get a photo of them.