I promised to show you some of the waterfowl that stay and breed, including Wood Ducks and mergansers,
The most dramatic are the Wood Ducks. They are very shy, but this pair flew in over my head without noticing me, and settled down.
The males in breeding plumage are extremely handsome, bedecked in an almost military outfit:
The females are much more discreet:
I don’t think they are breeding on my pond this year, but last year they did.
We have Canada Geese (yes, you probably hate them but this is their home territory, and I find them rather impressive.) About 8 of them arrived, paired off, then fought for territory,
As far as I can tell only one pair has stayed put. This pair have chosen an old beaver lodge to raise their young.
Feeding on the roots of water plants while they wait for everything to green up again.
Finally, ten ducklings, now confirmed by Cornell’s eBird moderators as a female Hooded Merganser and her ducklings, with a Black Duck behind them.
I am actually very worried about them because we have had no rain, and they have chosen an old beaver pond whose dam is no longer being maintained. It is drying out fast, and I don’t know how they will manage. Perhaps she will have to move them, like the mother in Make Way for Ducklings, a Boston children’s classic by Robert McCloskey.
PS An earlier version of this post expressed bewilderment at the identity of the ducklings, now thankfully sorted out for me by the Cornell experts!