It’s a banner day on the pond, boys and girls, so let’s get right to the main event!
That’s right! Mrs. Wood Duck has a duckling, and it appeared quite energetic this morning. I read that “they usually nest in cavities in trees close to water, although they will take advantage of nesting boxes,” and I would be fascinated to know just where she managed to pulled this off right under our noses. That makes our third hatching, if you’ve been counting: first the goslings at the end of April, then the mallards at the beginning of June, and now wood ducks in July.
But wait. There’s more!
Yup, Mrs. Wood Duck also eats frogs, a behavior that I have not witnessed until this morning. In fact, she was heading for cover with her duckling when she stopped to grab this little bite, and it took her quite a while to choke the hapless critter down. The duckling occupied itself by tasting everything in sight while mom was busy.
Will wonders never cease? Just when you think you know somebody, they go and surprise the heck out of you, right?
Meanwhile, down on the oxbow pond by the river, the mallard ducklings have gotten so used to me that when I startled them from their nap by accident, they merely paddled about 10 feet away and fell right back to sleep!
I’m beginning to think that looking harmless may be my superpower, and man-o-man, I sure felt like I needed a superpower yesterday afternoon. I was just walking along the river trail when I encountered another giant ichneumon wasp (Megarhyssa atrata), and this one was quite alive! After I chased down my skin and climbed back inside, I tried to get a picture, I really did, but there’s something about a wasp that looks like it’s sporting a cardiac needle that dissuaded me from getting close enough.
Another thrilling aerial performance was going on over the falls when I arrived: a squadron of cedar waxwings was flying sorties out over the water catching bugs. At first I thought they were swallows, of whom I’d love to get a picture, but that was not the case. These meager images don’t do the scene justice, of course, but you can just make out the bright yellow band at the tip of their tail feathers, and their display was much more brilliant when in flight.
Finally, in keeping with this morning’s bird theme, this little house wren was belting out his tune by the wren house at the south end of the pond. If this were a Disney movie, he’d be announcing the debut of the heir to the throne of the pond.
And there you have it. Wonders simply will not cease.