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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Big little duckling surprise

I went outside to the ponds in Alpine today to see if there were still 5 ducklings left. Yup, all 5 still there although I can't get them all upright at the same time, much less all in the same frame.

While trying to photograph the babies I suddenly noticed that a couple of them were following a different adult. Whoa! No, those were 3 newly hatched from the other survivor of last year's brood. While I was busy counting, one of the newly-hatched got snatched up and shaken by the mother of the 5 slightly older babies. I wish I had photographed it, but my instincts took over and I ran towards her shouting. She let the baby go, and I hoped thereafter the new mother would keep her babies away from the other brood. 

Later I went back out and witnessed the horrifying scene repeatedly. I snapped a few photos before intervening but I think if I stay away until things settle down it'll be better. The ducklings tend to know their mother, but not their siblings, and mingle with the older ducklings. When I go out there everything swims toward the opposite side of the pond and I think that creates part of the problem.

Here's the new mother (note orange-ier bill) getting between one of her chicks and the mean momma.

Too fast for my eyes to follow, the mean momma snatches the baby...

And seems to be trying to drown it.

There's nothing I can do so I'm going to stay away and check again in the morning.

BTW, I had the mechanic check out my pickup and everything is fine with it. The only problem I have with it is no cruise control. My knee starts hurting after an hour of holding the accelerator down. If it gets too bad I may have a cruise control installed.

And my granddaughter is recovering, slowly but surely. Because I know her well, I can see the pain and tiredness in her eyes, but other people probably can't notice. She's showing off her 20 lb weight loss.

UPDATE: When I saw the mean momma in the one pond and the new momma in the other I walked way around so neither of them could see me. I saw the new momma through my binoculars with 2 ducklings right up next to her. I was watching for quite a while to see if the third duckling was there too, when suddenly the mean momma appeared and started harrassing the babies. This time I knew it had nothing to do with my presence. Nothing even knew I was there or had moved in a direction away from me. Just gotta let it go and let nature take its course. 

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