All right all you northern hemisphere folks — while you guys are winding down on the long slump towards winter, spring has been in gear for a while and by now we are solidly into summer. It’s 84 F and sunny outside, the smell of cut grass is in the air, and the ducklings are growing up quick to become ducks.
A couple of weeks ago Em and I took a walk around the wetlands area near where we live. There are usually plenty of ducks in this area.
This time, we spotted a whole family of ducks, a couple with six fluffy little ducklings. They cheeped and shivered and squeezed in under mama duck for warmth and protection. It was Cute Overload except not (yet) on the internet. I stood there cooing at them for like at least ten minutes on end with the binoculars while Em patiently obliged me.
Since then we have gone on Duckling Patrol whenever we’ve both been in town. I got these photos around, geez, Nov. 8 and just haven’t posted them yet; they are much bigger now and not quite as fluffy as they were to begin with, but still cute. Also there are only four of them left. Em pointed out that wood ducks kind of suck as parents, at least until a couple of offspring get eaten by cats and foxes. Still, with nature being red in tooth and claw and all that, two out of three may not be such bad odds for reaching adulthood.
Then just this week while I was riding past ANU on my way to work, I ran across another duck family. I don’t think they’re the same ducklings, but they’re more or less the same vintage. The duck parents were much more protective this time. I regret only that I left my good camera back in the States on my last tour, so this iPhone camera is all I’ve got till I get it back…
For those of you who read this for the science, I’m thinking about breaking out my research into a separate WordPress blog. The entries would be shorter, and aimed more for my colleagues instead of the general public, so they can see what I’m doing (i.e., more similar to David Hogg’s thing which I wrote about here).