Actually, we have a video today—from Tara Tanaka. Some of my favorite videos of hers are ones showing baby ducks plopping down into the water from high nesting boxes. In this case, it’s black-bellied whistling ducks (Dendrocygna autumnalis). You can find Tara’s main video page here.
Beginning in mid-August of 2015, I was in my tiny blind, set up with 3 cameras and tripods before sunrise for 24 days in a row. I had completely misjudged the beginning of the pair’s approximately 32-day incubation period!
This video is a bit overdue, but I was inspired to edit and share it as I’ve been going out every morning for the last two weeks waiting for the baby Whistling ducks in another box to jump. I am especially excited to see “who” jumps out of this box, as there was a Hooded Merganser and at least one Wood Duck that appeared to also lay eggs in the box, but the Whistling Ducks ended up with possession.
Last summer was hot and steamy, and I was shooting almost directly into the sun. As the sun would come up and reach the vegetation in our nearly 100% humidity, there would be a 30-minute period that a haze would almost completely obscure the entrance to the box. On the day they jumped, it started to rain just as I got all of my gear in the blind. I was disappointed that “the day” might be ruined by rain, but as it turned out, the light had never been better.
We were in a severe drought by the time this late brood hatched, and the parents had to lead the babies across the dry swamp bottom to water, but they had some good cover provided by vegetation that had grown as the swamp dried. I lost them in the brush, but hopefully they were able to get the babies to water and keep them safe. I wish they were easier to tell apart – when we had over 30 arrive in April, I wondered if any of them had hatched here last year.
Tara added that her 4K videos on Vimeo can now be viewed in 4K, not just 1080 (HD).