Friday, May 05, 2006

Ducks

Lynn made a post on her blog, Sprigs, that mentioned seeing a dead duck, which set me thinking about ducks. (If you follow that link, scroll down to Wednesday's post, Puffs of Thought). And then I came home from work with a headache. A walk to the river to feed the ducks and get some fresh air seemed like a good idea.

Here is the river which is one of two that wind through our city and suburbs. This one is the Heathcote, it is about half a dozen houses down the block from my home. Quiet and peaceful with only one or two ducks in sight.

Until they see that I have bread. Then they start swimming rapidly towards me, making soft quacking noises. More ducks hear them at a distance, and fly in, making waterski landings in front of me. The quacking gets louder as they jockey for position. The bolder ducks climb up on the bank and stand behind me, looking for the crumbs I drop while throwing the bulk of the bread.

I start throwing some of the bread onto the grass. These three were fighting over a piece of it. I missed getting a photograph of the most remarkable fight, where one duck was holding another down by the neck. I was on my own, and it's hard to throw bread and get photos at the same time.

This fellow was standing at my feet when all the bread was gone, looking up at me as if to say "Hey! Any more?" He gave up eventually.
It's been a while since I fed the ducks. We did it regularly when the children were small. Even now though, it's a good way to dispose of the old crusts. I figure a bit of mould won't hurt them either - it's only penicillin. The ducks don't seem to mind. They are mostly mallard/grey duck crossbreeds. The mallard is introduced and the grey duck is native to New Zealand. There were two big white ducks, probably mucovies that someone tired of keeping as pets and let go. Then there are the small native scaup, almost black with a bright yellow ring around the eye. They are harder to photograph as they didn't come in close, and they have a habit of disappearing beneath the water.

5 comments:

margalit said...

Quack. We have a place here in my town where you can go to the river and feed the ducks on a large wooden landing. There are also canada geese there, and they can be pretty demanding birds. The ducks will just about climb up on you to get the breadcrumbs. Still it's better than the gulls at the beach that buzz your head when you are cleaning fish off the back of the boat.

Here via michele

Claire said...

Oh that's so funny! I haven't seen any ducks in years!!

here from Michele's!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh I LOVE this...I wish I had a little river or pond or whatever where the ducks gathered..I would LOVE to feed the ducks...Considering you were trying to feed and photograph, I think you did GREAT! Here from Michele this earky evening. Where are you, btw? I mean what country?

Catherine said...

I'm in New Zealand - in Christchurch in the South Island. I have of course also answered this in my next post.

Carmi said...

Hi Catherine. I popped by from Michele's, and I'm so glad I did.

Going to the duck pond is one of my strongest childhood memories. Every time we went to visit my aunt, we'd load up with tons of bread and head over to the pond near her house.

Today, we take our kids to the river near our home, and it all comes flooding back. You're inspired me to head to the water's edge tomorrow. I'll bring my camera.