So do YOU have your ducks in a row?

I did NOT have my ducks in a row on the morning I saw Mama Mallard and her cute contingent of “mini-me” ducklings marching in a perfect queue behind her. They were the epitome of all that is good in this world, balls of fluff, each hurrying along on tiny legs to keep pace with Mama and their siblings.

Followers of my blog know I’ve long lamented not seeing ducklings at any of the park venues that I frequent. Every Spring I go in quest of duckling sightings and pictures, whether to Coan Lake at Heritage Park, down to the Detroit River, or even to Lake Erie Metropark or Elizabeth Park. All are big duck hangouts, but no ducklings were discovered.

Then this scenario literally fell into my lap.

I was running late last Thursday morning. I really couldn’t blame it on the fireworks that erupt nightly in the ‘hood until 11:00 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but it might have been the wind that continued howling into the wee hours of the night, long after the storm ended. I had agonized over that pending severe weather all day Wednesday. Grateful we were spared that bullet of possible tornadic action, hail and 70 mph/113 kph winds, after an angst-ridden day, I happily drifted off to sleep, only to be awakened several times through the night by the wind whooshing around in the trees, making an eerie noise.

The alarm rang, more obnoxious than usual after just a few hours’ sleep and I didn’t put enough speed into my routine and decided to just drive to the Park. There I saw fellow walker Janet and we visited a few minutes, then decided to walk together. I was doling out peanuts to the squirrels when Janet said “look over there!” My head swirled around to see a female Mallard marching in the fenced-in soccer field with a passel of ducklings behind her. We watched as Mama and her charges stayed close to the fence. I grumbled that “any other day I’d have my camera with me, but I haven’t seen much here lately, so I left it at home!”

Well, we had time to walk Loop #1, then Loop #2, then back to the first loop, where Mama and her minions continued their relentless march along the fence line. Before Janet and I parted, I told her since I had the car, I was going home for the camera and hopefully they’d still be there when I returned.

Hey everyone – this is no time to be camera-shy!

Yes, I went back, a little breathlessly, as it was getting later and I didn’t want to be late for work. In my haste, oops … I forgot to bring the peanuts back with me – hopefully no squirrels were there to beg and/or complain. I headed straight to the fence and there they were, still marching in place. Query: were they exercising?

To be honest, I found it odd to see ducks roaming on land to begin with. At larger water venues, sure they flock around the water, sleeping in huddles with a sentry duck keeping watch over them, but they are always close enough to fly or waddle over to the water should they feel endangered by a predator, human or otherwise. At Council Point Park, sometimes the Mallards wander onto the Creek banks or bask in the sun on the cement ledge, but those instances are few and far between.

I admired them and took a few shots, then a woman walker saw me standing there and came over to see what had piqued my interest. “Aw, how cute, look how little” were the delighted words that tumbled out of her mouth right away. I said they’d been walking the fence line almost two hours by now, then explained I had time to drive home/back and they were still at it. A worried look crossed her face and she turned to me and said “maybe Mom doesn’t remember where she went in – should we help? Do something? Is this all fenced in here?” We tried to figure out where there was an unfenced area, but couldn’t tell. The woman said “don’t they need to be in the water by now?” I said “I dunno” – I was feeling helpless for their welfare, plus a tad guilty that my principal concern had been returning to take that long-coveted “ducklings in a row” photo.

Together we quietly approached the family, both of us taking baby steps – perhaps we scared her, because in a heartbeat she ducked her head, dipped under the fence and the ducklings streamed behind her never missing a beat. 🙂

That picture of the regrouped family is featured up top, but then when I got home and looked at the photos on the screen, I realized in this photo, there were ten, not nine, little ducklings as originally thought. Yes, they all blend together, don’t they?

The other walker said “well now I can sleep better tonight.” I laughed and said “me too!”

I got this next photo as they crossed the walking path – Mama appeared anxious to get to the Creek. Perhaps these two gawking humans made her nervous. Check out the last duckling and the big strides it was taking to keep up with its siblings.

Through the tall grass and down to the Creek bank they went …

… then one-by-one I watched them plop into the water, never more than a few inches away from Mama’s body and her watchful eye. It was a beautiful sight to see as they clamored around her, then headed down the far side of the Creek.

I ran down to the cement ledge figuring I had lots of time before their arrival. Boy, was I wrong! They paddled so quickly that they had arrived there less than five minutes later. I took the last photos and soon they had disappeared out of sight.

What a treat that was to see and, as I walked to the car, I knew I could put a check mark next to Mallard Ducklings on the Photo Birdie Bucket List for 2020.

P.S. – I went to Heritage Park yesterday, always a haven for ducks. Unbelievably, as stated above, I’ve been there in late Spring scoping out ducklings many times, but if I didn’t see two different sets in Coan Lake. One set was around the same size as these and the other ducklings were much bigger, but they still stayed close to Mama Mallard nevertheless. I’ll feature those little cutie pies in an upcoming post.

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
This entry was posted in nature, walk, walking and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to So do YOU have your ducks in a row?

  1. I love this post – the ducks are so cute!

    Like

    • Linda Schaub says:

      They sure were sweet Coffeeandcream. I think the fact they were in that line, rarely straying more than an inch from Mama made it extra cute. She was very attentive to them, guiding them to the water, and after they got into the Creek she looked around, I assume counting beaks. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You caught all the action! Great!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Eliza says:

    This is gorgeous!!! Really makes me smile.
    I’m glad you got back in time. I love the pictures…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eliza says:

      And I’m glad you got to see your ducklings!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Eliza says:

        I like these ones better. They’re cuter than goslings. Though I have to check on my 5 goslings with their 4 geese patents. They’ve been growing up and I haven’t seen them in some time. I posted a very british video on instagram that you’d like.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        They are cuter than goslings, although goslings are cute when they are very young, but then they get into their “teenage years” and look like boats with short legs and big feet. 🙂 I will take a look now Ellie.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Me too Ellie – I figured that surely in that amount of time they would have moved on, but no, they were still marching along. They were so sweet in that queue behind their Mama, even more so than the goslings … they stayed close to Mom AND Dad, but these ducklings, and the sets of ducklings I saw yesterday were strictly with their mom, no male Mallard to be seen. In retrospect, I was luckier I didn’t have the camera, because she might have just stayed behind the fence and not moved on and the pictures were not so clear behind the fence. Whether she was scared or it was time for a swim and bite to eat, I’m not sure.:)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Babies, any sort of babies, are the best. So sweet and obedient!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Joni says:

    “They were the epitome of all that is good in this world, balls of fluff….” I like that sentence Linda. That was priceless. Maybe it was exercise day, like gym time? So lucky you’ve had so many sightings this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Joni … as I was watching them, I just thought how cute they were, no cares, just marching along behind their mother, not straying more than an inch away from her and their siblings. It was heartwarming to see. All the bad that is in the world right now, it sure was refreshing to see these cute ducklings. I’d like to know how old they were? I looked at some videos of just-hatched ducklings and they look about the same size. I know they can swim within a day or two of hatching. I was lucky this year after all these years of going to look for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sandra J says:

    Your words Linda, this is so much like reading a short story. It should really be a book. I just love how you write. Have a good day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you for saying that Sandra. With these cute ducklings, it was easy to write about them as they made me feel good watching them in the little line behind their Mom or running to keep up with her and their siblings – just made me feel good. I did not know until today it was nature photography day or I would have mentioned that in the post. Thank you again for this nice comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Laurie says:

    Isn’t it amazing how much difference getting a good night’s sleep makes in our outlook? I didn’t get good sleep last night and I was cranky all day.

    Wow! I am glad those ducks cooperated for you after you drove the whole way home to get your camera. You got lots of good pictures of them. So you DID help them get to the water after all! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, I find the longer I stay up at night, the more difficult it is to get up in the morning now, even though I can remember waitressing on weekends/school breaks and I had to be on the floor by 6:45 a.m. before shift change. My friends that I hung out with were on the school newspaper and they all worked jobs that were 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. some weekdays and noon to 5:00 weekends. We’d get together every Friday or Saturday night and I’d be coming home late from an event or get-together thinking I have to be at work in just a few hours. How did I do it? Youth!

      I was happy that family was still there – I think the two of us watching them prompted Mama to finally move and take those little darlings to the Creek for a swim. 🙂

      Like

  8. ten little duckings walking in a row
    one fell down and had to go
    ……….now you add

    Liked by 1 person

  9. bekitschig says:

    Wonderful little fluff balls!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh my, how very cool! 🙂

    There was a video on YouTube about Firemen who rescued baby ducks out of a sewer while Momma watched nearby. Then the mother duck got so involved that she walked right up to the sewer and stared down into it as they were trying to get more of the babies out. Quite intelligent and motherly!
    People who hunt ducks, like my brother-in-law, are heartless.

    Great pics, Linda!!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Tom and on Friday I’ll have a post about swan parents and how they treated their cygnet … interestingly, the opposite of this Mama Mallard and your video you saw. I think the Mama Duck was more protective than the goose or gander of thier young – it just touched my heart to see this Tom. I ran into someone at the Park last week.
      When I mentioned the pair of American Black Ducks that were walking around near the Creek after never seeing them out of the water on ever occasion they dropped by (they are not common around here), he pretended like he was shooting a gun and says “this is how I like my ducks.” In the same category as your brother-in-law.

      Like

  11. ruthsoaper says:

    Maybe the word is out amongst the wildlife that the lady with the camera brings treats so mama duck was waiting for you to come back with some. What kind of treats would ducks like? I’m glad you got to check baby ducks off your list. I briefly saw an eagle fly over head yesterday and thought of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Well, I didn’t have anything with me this time Ruth, but a fellow blogger takes her two young children to the park and they take dried oatmeal and scatter it on the ground and on the water surface – it floats. I took some to Heritage Park on Sunday … none of the ducks were interested and either slept or swam in the water. They might have been skittish. I used to take oyster crackers and they floated on the water, but thought this was healthier. They like corn like you feed chickens. There’s a man who feeds them daily and brings about a five-pound bag of corn he gets at the feed store. He tosses it out and they all come waddling over or out of the water to get it. I still hope to get a close-up of an eagle one day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ruthsoaper says:

        I was pruning the forsythia’s yesterday and there is a huge maple tree, probably40-50 feet tall, just beyond where I was working. I was looking up while taking some branches off the top of the bush when I saw the eagle fly over the top of that maple. It was close enough that I could clearly make out the white head and white on the tips of it’s wings. I only saw it for a few seconds because it turned around and disappeared behind the maple tree again. It was a real treat to see because usually the large birds are too high up for me to identify what type of bird the are.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Ruth – lucky you! Eagles are still on my bucket list as the ones at the River were really too small to tell if they were a hawk or an eagle … I do see lots of turkey vultures when I go to Lake Erie Metropark as it is a more rural area. It’s nice you can see them there with no buildings in the way, so a better vantage point for you. I see lots of skunk and raccoons road kill out that way, so you’d think I’d see a live one but no luck. At Lake Erie Metropark last Saturday I was driving out of the park and a deer started to cross a nearby path, but I could not take a picture as you can’t stop there. Too bad, but it was nice to see it.

        Like

  12. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………………………I’m so glad that you got to see and take those 10 little “minions” pictures following Mama duck……………………………I was excited too to see so many tiny ducklings……………..at our pond………I just named our pond The Duck Pond………………….there have been so many ducks swimming in the pond lately…………………I always find them docile and they don’t poop on the walkway like their cousins: The geese!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      You have such a nice collection of birds at your pond Ann Marie … heron(s), geese, now ducks and ducklings … and I think you said you had a swan one time too. Duck Pond sounds like the perfect name! The geese and goslings have been gone from Council Point Park for two weeks now – a little early for that and those 17 goslings I saw on May 1st were half-grown, had not fledged, so I guess they floated down to the Detroit River and are at a bigger park, maybe Bishop Park or BASF Park now. There is no room for them to go at Council Point Park if there was a predator, especially such a large flock of them if there were multiple families, The goose poop at Council Point Park, after being shut down for one month and no grass cutting either, was just out of control. Usually the geese/goslings are sharing the path with humans, but this time they had the run of the Park … it was high steppin’ everywhere for the first week.

      Like

  13. J P says:

    Love it! There are a couple of nearby apartment complexes with ponds where geese frequent, but I can’t recall the last time I saw baby ducks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked it JP and I was so happy to see them after years of scoping them out unsuccessfully. Over the weekend I saw some more ducklings and a cygnet … I had been looking for swans/cygnets too, but my sighting was quite unusual as you’ll see in this Friday’s post. My friend lives in an apartment complex and in the center they have a man-made pond, just the like the one you reference, She sees all kinds of waterfowl there and just e-mailed me the other day to say she also saw ten ducklings the same day I did. In a world that is turned upside down, right now, seeing these cute and fuzzy ducklings just made me smile and forget the world events swirling around us.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. That is just the most precious thing to see isn’t it!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s