Tag Archives: Duck

Three Wood Duck Ducklings

A mother Wood Duck usually stays with her ducklings until they are grown to near adult size, the “teen age” stage. The males are sometimes around but don’t seem to supervise the young the way I’ve seen the females herd their charges around.

Three Wood Duck Ducklings
Three Wood Duck Ducklings

No adult was in sight for these three ducklings and I suspect the mother became lunch for a predator. The survival rate for the ducklings is low and the adults can fall victim to alligators, hawks, or eagles. These three were sticking together, swimming around the pond to various perches.  As plant eaters these ducklings don’t rely on the parent bringing food, they just eat what is around them.

Three Wood Duck Ducklings
Three Wood Duck Ducklings

This board they are settled on is an Alligator ramp that has been slowly sinking into the pond over the last year.

Three Wood Duck Ducklings
Three Wood Duck Ducklings

The surface of the pond is covered with a mixture of green Duck Weed  and some variation of Mosquito Fern, the red plant. Zoom in on the closer image of the dragonfly perched on the surface to see the plants in more detail.

Dragonfly on Duck Weed and Mosquito Fern
Dragonfly on Duck Weed and Mosquito Fern

Wood Duck Family

The oldest Wood Duck chicks on the pond right now are almost indistinguishable from their mothers.

Wood Duck Family
Wood Duck Family

This old alligator platform gets smaller every week, either sinking or rotting into the pond. This small family squeezes together on it to groom and soak up the afternoon sun.

Wood Duck Family
Wood Duck Family

From the end of the pond you get a view of the platform with the sun glaring off the duckweed. In silhouette you can see mother duck standing a little taller and with more head feathers than her four youngsters. She had turned just a bit to see which way I was headed.

Wood Duck Family
Wood Duck Family

Wood Ducks in Cypress Swamp

Perched on a log a group of male Wood Ducks were just hanging around, doing some stretching.

Wood Duck
Wood Duck Stretching

At least three were lined up on this log and a few more were in the water behind this clump of trees.

Wood Duck
Wood Ducks

Time for a swim, one by one they took to the water.

Wood Duck
Wood Duck

There is an open pond at the edge of the cypress swamp and this fellow was going off on his own.

Wood Duck
Wood Duck on Pond

Taking the Leap

Undecided, this Wood Duck drake paced on top of the nesting box. Were there hatchlings inside about to pop out? Was he waiting for a mate? Questions I never got the answers to.

Wood Duck Diving
Wood Duck Diving

Eventually he took a plunge off the side.

Wood Duck Diving
Wood Duck Diving

Splash down!

Wood Duck Splash Down
Wood Duck Splash Down

A short paddle took him back to the box. He spent some time contemplating his next move under the protection of some overhanging branches.

Wood Duck Splash Down
Wood Duck Splash Down

Wood Duck With Chicks

Mama Wood Duck and her brood posed for a family portrait on one of the new alligator ramps installed around the rice field. I counted fourteen chicks while they were sitting still, but some were snoozing with their heads down so there may have been more. All About Birds says their clutch can have up to sixteen eggs.

Female Wood Duck with Chicks
Wood Duck with Chicks

A Common Gallinule was doing his best to photo bomb the portrait, paddling along behind them. I waited, hoping he would move along.

Female Wood Duck with Chicks
Wood Duck with Chicks

He did, but Mama felt it was time to move on, too, and they all bailed off in one fluid motion off the side of the ramp away from me.

Female Wood Duck with Chicks
Wood Duck with Chicks

Back and Forth

Well, what else do they have to do? When they aren’t eating ducks often swim around, and perhaps the female was testing to see if the male would follow. He did.

Wood Duck Pair
Wood Duck Pair

This Wood Duck pair went back and forth in front of me several times, never quite making it into the sun patch closer to me before they disappeared with the Teals around the corner.

Wood Duck Pair
Wood Duck Pair

 

Splish Splash Mallards

Mallards doing the Mallard bath in a pond, as can be seen throughout most of the United Sates and Canada. We rarely see Mallards in the other ponds we visit, but Magnolia Cemetery is more of an urban location where you would expect them to congregate.

Male Mallard Bathing
Male Mallard Bathing

The sun was perfect on this early February afternoon and the Mallards were enjoying an unseasonably warm day.

Female Mallard Bathing
Female Mallard bathing flanked by two males

After bathing they had a dead tree trunk to perch on, out of the water and with a good view of potential hazards. This pond does host a few Alligators, I have seen fox on the cemetery grounds, and a few Red-shouldered Hawks could be heard nearby.

Mallard Trio on Log
Mallard Trio on Log

Click any image for larger view.

Hooded Merganser Pair

The same pair of Hooded Mergansers as yesterday’s post had places to go as they were out for a swim around one of Magnolia Cemetery’s ponds. The male gradually caught up to the female as they passed this group of Mallards on the edge of a small island.

Hooded Merganser Pair
Hooded Merganser Pair

The Mergansers weren’t in such a hurry that they chose to fly, but they didn’t divert even as the Mallards  went about their preening and flapping.

Hooded Merganser Pair
Hooded Merganser Pair

The Mergansers continued on their way, the female in the lead, headed out into the middle of the pond.

Hooded Merganser Pair
Hooded Merganser Pair

Hooded Mergansers

The Hooded Mergansers tend to be shy and I usually see them retreating shortly after I spot them. I happened to be sitting on a low wall watching a pond when these two swam by me, close enough to get a shot.

Hooded Merganser Female
Hooded Merganser Female – click image for larger view

The brown reeds and grasses of late winter made a golden glow on the water, a nice complement to these gorgeous ducks. The male is certainly flashier, especially when he has his hood up, but the female is an understated beauty.

Hooded Merganser Male
Hooded Merganser Male – click image for larger view

2/5/2018