Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Just Ducky

I threw on my hooded, army green jean jacket and headed to Reservoir Park to the quaint pond that I've visited time and time again. Brown and red oak leaves lay flat on the surface, like a thin blanket. The crisp October air has shifted them to one side of the pond, and the ponds resident waterfowl are quick to take advantage of it.

King Quack

I watched closely as one of the ponds flightless domestics traced the outside of each oak leaf with its bill, in search of insects and other food.

Last year at this time, there were only three ducks that resided on the pond, two of which were chunky white farm ducks, and one was a wild female mallard.

Here it is, a year later, and more additions have been made. So, I thought I'd introduce you to the newbies.

The Trio + 2

As previously stated, it used to be two white ducks, and a wild female mallard. But in the spring, a few more domestic ducks were dropped off at the pond. Loud, obnoxious, and appearantly stupid, all but ONE from the additional group have been killed in one way or another. (I believe two were killed on the road.)

That single duck, a white breasted female, can be seen in the above photograph along with yet another wild female mallard. I've named her Miss Mocha, for whatever queer-ass reason.

Here is a better photo of Miss Mocha:

Ms. Mocha

The eye-stripe tells me she is a female, probably a direct result of a big fat white duck breeding with a wild mallard. She has many qualities of the female mallards (as you can see), but overall, is the most quiet girl in the group.

For a good while, this is all the group consisted of. Five ducks. I started visiting them again regularly, in hopes of catching a glimpse of some rarer wild species along their migration route.

But one day, I approached the pond and heard a loud abnoxious series of quacks. They were higher in pitch and squeakier than the fat farmies, and the mallards.

In short, it was an unfamiliar quack that set me off.

I trotted up to the pond, and examined the group. Sure enough, another domestic addition had been released to the pond. But this one had me stunned.

It was a midget!


Sure, it was white and had an orange bill like the other farm ducks, but it was dainty, and dwarfed, even beside the wild ducks.


A closer look revealed a small bill, and tiny but chunky body.

I'm no pro when it comes to domestic breeds, but it looks to me to be a British Call Duck. A show breed of duck that heralds from England, and is raised on farms occassionally for their cuteness value I assume.

If it turns out to be a Call Duck, they have another unique attribute that the other domestics don't have on the pond. They can fly.

It'll be interesting to see if this girl can fly. I've named her snowflake. She has a big mouth for her little size, and being that she isn't really all that bulky, I don't think flight is out of the question.

I've never seen a call duck in person. It's kind of bizarre little treat for me.