Saturday, June 10, 2017

Holy Duck!

     Nope, this time it's not an autocorrect, that is supposed to read duck-- although, not gonna lie, in typing, my finger went to another letter first-- because, well if you know me, I don't need to explain my mouth...
     ANYWAY, I walked in Prospect Park this morning while my husband ran 18 miles (he is training for the NYC Marathon). The park is pretty un-birdy, just the usual faces- catbirds, robin, common grackles, and mourning doves were abundant, with a few sprinkles of Baltimore Orioles in there too. But then, in a heart melting moment of "squees" I sighted.... well, you'll see...
A male cardinal goes a foraging just below the Maryland Monument.

Spotted this bull frog on the lower pool, just chillin'.

A robin nest along the ravine. It is fledgling season, found a few freshly fledged robins in the park.

Also found a lot of off-leash dogs, this one completely ignoring every repeat of "no," from its owner. Dogs are only permitted off leash during certain hours in certain areas of the park. It was after 9am and this area is NOT an off leash area.
I personally do not like off leash dogs because when they stray far from their owner, I do not know their temperament and I have been jumped on and threatened with bites by off leash dogs in parks.
Oh yeah, and they are NOT good for wildlife. Dogs harass birds and other animals while they are feeding and dogs can cause injury and death to turtles, small animals they grab with their mouths. Not to mention how all this is dangerous for a poorly trained dog, such as this one.

Up the lullwater, I then sighted 4 male wood ducks, feeding on the duck weed.

The green on the surface of the water is not algae, it is duckweed, each little piece a small individual plant with roots that reach down an inch or so into the water. They float on the surface where they are a popular food for ducks-- hence, "duck weed."
Algae is the furry green stuff that grows below the surface and chokes the waterways of oxygen when they bloom, making the water qualities poor.

I was stoked about seeing these 4 males, I love seeing wood ducks, but then....

BUT THEN!!!!

Mom and behbeh wood duck, synchronized preening!!!! (Have I lost my $#!t by now? Yes.)

And pause.

Gotta get the other side!!!! (So much squee'ing)

Then baby decided to venture into the water, mom kept up to keep watchful eye. One can only assume there were other chicks as there can be up to 16 eggs in a clutch (holy cow)... but this might be the last, so mom better keep on top of it.

Wood ducks are perching ducks- meaning they can and do perch in trees. They also nest in trees, using cavities as a nest. When the eggs hatch, mom leaves the nest and calls to the babies who one by one take a literal leap of faith to get to their mom. Thankfully baby wood ducks bounce.
Once out of the nest, babies can eat on their own, walk/swim on their own, but they cannot fly so it helps to stay near mom. Unfortunately, snapping turtles gotta eat too, and baby ducks are nice little bite-size snacks.


Mom vocalizing to her chick, she kept and eye on anything near the shore and would follow not terribly far behind the baby.




A mourning dove landed near me at the shoreline to get a little drink...

Doves and pigeons are one of the few birds who can drink continuously without having to lift their heads for every time their beak touches the water to swallow it down.

Mom and baby casually ventured along the lullwater.


What a cute little nugget <3

Then mom, perked up into alert mode, vocalizing softly. I saw what she spotted... a dog on the shore. Off leash. Of course.

Mom gently corralled him away from that side of the lullwater.

What a good mama! Hope this little one makes it, life in the wild isn't so easy. This little family made my walk a good one, I wasn't expecting anything special, but this was!