Sunday, May 25, 2008

Goose, goose, duck

The Canada geese parents and their goslings have left our pond and not returned. I saw them the day after Mother's Day, all of them swimming in a row in the pond. The mom was in front, then all 6 babies following following her, with dad bringing up the rear. I found out that this formation, goose, goslings & gander in a row, is called a crèche (which is how I know for sure it was the mom in the front).

I tried to get a good photograph of the crèche, but this is what I ended up with...

I was hurrying and didn't have my glasses on... *sigh* They crossed the pond quickly and went up onto the far bank.

I love our pond. It's brought in a lot of wildlife to us that we wouldn't otherwise get to see. With all the critters, there's been some interesting scenarios played out for our enjoyment. Like the other morning, when Kev noticed a lone duck on the pond. It was at the shallow end, near our sandy drive. It was a type of duck I couldn't identify. So of course, I grabbed my camera. I was afraid to go outside and take a photo for fear it'd fly off, so I took some photos through our windows. Photos through our house windows usually don't turn out well...

The duck was swimming back and forth and towards the bank. Then Kev and I both noticed N.C. sitting in the middle of the drive, just watching the duck...

The duck didn't appear at all concerned about N.C., in fact, it seemed like the duck was trying to get N.C.'s attention. Then N.C. stood, stretched and walked a little further up the drive... and the duck followed him, swimming along with him to the edge of the pond! N.C. dug a little hole in the drive and did his morning business. (Kev was so happy about that... He's spent so much time and effort making that drive out to the back little barn, then N.C. craps in it. Nice.)

Then N.C. casually walks down to the edge of the pond, more towards the middle of this shallow end where there's a gentle slope into the water. And again, the duck follows him! N.C. stays there drinking for a while and the whole time, the duck is swimming back and forth a short distance in front of N.C. It was like the duck was saying Hi! Hi! Hi! Hey, Hi! Hi!

N.C. walks off, and a while later, the duck flew away.

N.C. is quite the hunter, and we appreciate his efforts in keeping the chipmunks away from the house. Also, the occasional mole or mouse. And yes, sometimes, rarely, a bird. But N.C. is no dummy... no way could he get a duck for dinner. This he knows.

So, anyway... back to the duck. This is the best photo close-up I got of her...

My trusty "The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds Eastern Region" wasn't really that much help in definitively identifying the duck, though it led me in the right direction. Some Google image searching revealed the duck to be a female Hooded Merganser. Which is a new one on me; I've never heard of them. I sure hope there is a male around, and that the pair of them arrive at our pond because I'd like to see him... he's a beaut. Good information and photos about Hooded Mergansers can be found at this site.


  1. Anonymous6:45 AM

    I've just discovered your blog and have enjoyed your stories (I've read backwards to this one.) I live relatively close to you in NE Indiana. Also, we live on a large pond/small lake and have really come to enjoy watching the wildlife too. We have a second duck sitting on eggs outside our front door right now. The first had three babies, but I'm told one of them was eaten by a hawk in our neighbors back yard a few days ago. That's the part I DON'T like about nature -- that survival of the fittest stuff!

    I'll be back.

  2. Welcome, ahaf! I recognized you from comments on "Simple Words I Understand" (isn't she a great writer!). I know what you mean about nature... if you read further back on my blog, you'll read about a fox with pups at my folks' place, and I haven't had the heart to update on them. Because my folks noticed they had left their den in the wood pile, and then discovered the few remains left of one of the 3 pups, right near the opening to the den. We are hoping the mama fox took her remaining 2 kits with her to a safer den. But it is what it is, and that's what nature is about. Eating to live. Sunday I watched a swallow swoop down and, well, swallow a small butterfly I was trying to identify. *sigh* Love swallows, though. And they gotta eat, too.