Sports teams do it.
CEOs and THEIR teams do it.
And the mallards at Heritage Park do it as well.
But, unlike athletes and businessmen and women, the ducks don’t huddle together for strategic purposes, but merely to stay warm.
It was a frigid morning last Saturday when I stopped off at Heritage Park after visiting the Southgate Nature Center.
You might recall that the last time I was at this venue, the ducks were lined up in front of the covered bridge. This over-sized pond, a/k/a Coan Lake, is varying depths, so the deeper parts do not freeze through, and the shallower areas are frozen. The mallards alternate between huddling together on the ice, or paddling around in this man-made lake.
I walked up the path, and wended my way through the historical village, past the old church, the clock that stopped permanently at 7:40 and the wishing well. Soon I was at Coan Lake. It wasn’t as if it was difficult to locate these water fowl – most of them had migrated over by the Little Red Schoolhouse or they had congregated in front of the wooden overlook.
The Little Red Schoolhouse.
My favorite historical building in the village at Heritage Park was so picturesque with the ducks lined along the half ice, half water in the pond. And, despite the gray day, the bright-red reflection on the water was stunning.
It was about 10:30 and after a quick glance around I discovered I was the only one there, but no worries, as it is quite open and airy in this park. I’ll bet there were a hundred ducks scattered around Coan Lake.
At the water pump in front of the schoolhouse, as cold it was, a mallard slumbered on, and as I approached the pump to take a picture, two more ducks scrambled up closer to him, so they could be in a picture too.
How I wished I had something to toss out to them – I am sure with limited areas free from ice, these dabbling ducks weren’t diving into the water for anything to eat anytime soon.
I walked around the perimeter of the schoolhouse. You can look into the windows and see the old-fashioned desks and I did take a picture, intending to include it in this post, but my red coat’s reflection in the window marred that photo, so regrettably I had to leave it out – next time I’ll be smarter and stand off to the side. A child’s boat filled one of the schoolhouse windows.
I also noticed some kind soul had added a suet feeder to the small tree adjacent to that one-room schoolhouse. I stayed there a few minutes, hoping some birds would come along to enjoy a nibble or two, but I think those birds remained hunkered down in their nests with their brethren to stay warm.
The rest of the village.
It seemed there were ducks huddled together at every turn I took, as I made my way around the seawall at Coan Lake, near the gazebo, the old Mill and the covered bridge.
There was a large group of ducks visible beyond the wooden walkway and I hesitated to walk out on that overlook and disturb them, so I stood back and took photos of the ducks through the wooden slats in the railing. But even that close, my presence got the masses a little stirred up and they awoke from their half-frozen slumber and began paddling as far away from me as possible.
I was sorry to see the mass exodus, but they would huddle somewhere else where they would patiently await the sun, or at least some warmer temps – unfortunately Winter’s ravages have returned with a vengeance, so they might want to consider booking a trip to a warmer climate?