Friday, April 19, 2013
Mama duck and a pacific slope flycatcher
Not many pictures today. But, I did get a picture of a pacific slope flycatcher, listed above.
Below, is a picture of the mother duck that I saw earlier with the ten ducklings. She has been "stashing" her ducklings in various places and, then, taking off. I saw her fly over to the reeds where her ducklings were and gave a special call as she landed. All 10 of them (I think there's still 10) immediately swam out to her. Then, she herded them right past the heron hunting nearby and they disappeared. The heron watched them the entire time, but didn't do anything. One duckling looked like it was trying to go off on its own, but I think it was OK. After a couple of minutes, the heron acted like it was either chasing something or being chased off and went the opposite direction. Then, I saw a cormorant get near and the mother duck seemed to be fighting something, but I think she scared it away.
I went to where I saw the mother and found her without any ducklings and very nervous. She did warning quacks while I was there, but went back into the reeds, presumably to check on her ducklings. Then, came back out and quacked some more. The males were starting to surround her when I left, but she flew off. The heron was still standing by the reeds, but not too close to the ducklings. If she still has 10 (or even 8 or 9) after this long, then she might be doing something right. I still think the mother might be Butterscotch, but she could also be the one who had the first 10 ducklings last year and nearly lost all of them. Perhaps she's learned her lesson and that's why she's so far away from where the gulls and people are.
And, sadly, I think the tortuous life of this little female duck might be over. She was desperate to get away from the males and did everything to keep them away from her (except one whom she liked). She was pretty beat up all the time. I took this photo of her a couple of weeks ago. She would hide under thorny brush and everything trying to get away from the males. Now, she's gone. That makes three females from that big flock that are gone now. But, this one was actually acting broody. I would hope she's on a nest except she was not very healthy when I last saw her.