First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Sunrise 6:27 am: Many avians, awaiting ducklings


"They're everywhere," said the male Dawn Jogger when the female DJ pointed to a pair of mallard ducks in the marsh just as he was photographing another pair. It had already been an avian banner morning. A blue heron and an egret were spotted sitting on the Lake Lagunita shoreline about 10 feet apart.

Given the amount of water in the lake this year (the marker shows eight feet), the lush vegetation and the abundant surrounding marshland, the DJs anticipate a bumper crop of ducklings. Mallards are monogamous (at least for the breeding season) and the DJs had already witnessed the scuffling between males while the courted female was making up her mind on a mate. Wonder what the selection criteria is: Ability to ward off foxes? Just the right plumage? Good sounding "kwek-kwek-kwek?" (Males "kwek" while females "quack.") Incubation period is about a month. Every lake jog brings renewed anticipation for the first duckling sighting of the season.

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