Easter egg surprise

I didn’t set out to hunt eggs this Easter, but happily, Mom Nature made it happen anyway.

We are having a very avian spring it seems. First there was the ill-placed and then abandoned nuthatch nest. Then a few days ago, I was in my office and heard a loud “thump” that usually means a bird hit one of the windows. I looked out and saw nothing. Later, I was walking up the driveway after retrieving the mail and there it was — a beautiful red-bellied woodpecker lying dead on the asphalt, just under the living room windows. Not a mark on it, so I imagine its neck was broken. I don’t know how I walked past it on the way down without seeing it, but as I’ve demonstrated numerous times (see snake incident), Ms. Observant I’m not. So sad to see such a pretty bird meet such an untimely death. And sadder still to think there might have been a Mr. or Mrs. or little ones waiting and wondering at home.

Damn.

Fortunately, the circle of life goes on.

It was great to get a reprieve from all the rain and not have a totally washed-out Easter weekend. Mike and I were outside last night doing a little garden clean-up, picking up twigs out front.

Suddenly, something flapped up at me from the first of the small cypress shrubs.

My gosh! A rather large duck!

[This would be a picture of the duck, but my trespassing
and a string of cars scared her away temporarily.]

A tentative peek revealed this surprising sight.

A full dozen ducklings to be!

Mama couldn’t have picked a worse spot — a foot from the road, way too accessible to the neighbor’s annoying (and often loose) dog, barely enough cover from passing cars and walkers, and no large body of water nearby (just a creek and some marshy spots at the log cabin with all the rain).

But seriously. What a camouflage artist. I just went out to check on her. Can you tell there’s a duck in here?

Well there is! See her red eye (from my flash — it’s almost 8:00 p.m. and getting dark).

Here’s a sideways view. I’m sure my flash ruffled her feathers a bit.

I read that duck eggs normally take 24 to 28 days to hatch, and mama only leaves the nest for a short while while incubating. No telling how long she’s been at it already.

I’ll keep good thoughts for her — here’s hoping we’ll need to construct a “Caution — Duck crossing!” sign before too long, and I’ll have some cute pictures to share.

There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way
in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before.
~ Robert Lynd

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4 Comments

  1. loverofchrissy'scakes&scones said,

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    hhhmmmm. Do not know why but I am hankering for some scrambled eggs right about now..or perhaps duck l’orange in a couple of months?

  2. WritingbyEar said,

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Oh, you talk a good game, lover, but I can’t see you scooting mama out of the way to snatch her eggs or, heaven forbid, turning one of them into a fricassee one day. I won’t be the only one all “Ahhhh! Wook at the cute wittle duckies waddle behind mama…”

  3. facie said,

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Aw. Hope those babies hatch safely and get on their way.

  4. mel said,

    Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    oooh! oooh! if you get cute pics of ducklings, may I possibly paint one?! maybe? try for close-ups!!!!

    very sad, though, about poor woodpecker. and the hard-working nuthatches. yes, damn.


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