Tuesday: Duck report

Anna sent two sets of photos documenting what’s happening in Botany Pond, which is mainly that Honey and James are still there, happily married in the Peaceable Kingdom.

Here is “ducks being ducks”:

And then “all the animals”. Look how much larger James is than Honey.  They’re still hanging around two weeks after Honey left last year, but she didn’t have a swain with her then. At some point, if they’re going to migrate south, they’ll have to join other ducks at a “staging area”, since they migrate in flocks of 12-35 individuals. Staging areas are often in cornfields and other fields of grain on the Mississippi Flyway, and I trust the pair will leave when the weather turns a bit cold. If not, we with withhold food to urge them along.

But I think they’ll leave on their own, and I fervently hope that they leave together.


  1. W.T. Effingham
    Posted September 11, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    It’s likely they are discussing routing strategy. “Sure thing dear, if the weather conditions and larger flocks of waterfowl landings allow it, we can stay east of Peoria. Also, we can try to time it so we can be in Carbondale on a weekend evening, I suppose.”

    • rickflick
      Posted September 11, 2018 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      You may be channeling James Thurber.

      • W.T. Effingham
        Posted September 12, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        I resemble that remark.(I wish.) Thurberian humor could be useful these days.😃

  2. Don Mackay
    Posted September 11, 2018 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    I have just noticed that the tree in the centre(?) of the pond has buttress roots. Do we know its name and natural habitat? In NZ the classic root-buttress tree is the Kahikatea(Podocarpus dacrydioides), or white pine which lives in and around swampy areas. As a ‘podocarp’, Kahikatea’s female ‘cone’ is reduced to a single structure containing the seed to which is attached a fruit for bird dissemination. Several NZ cone bearing plants have this characteristic, rare among conifers generally. Kahikatea is the maori name for this species, and in New Zealand it is ‘maori language’ week, where our indigenous language is given a big push for wider acceptance and use. It is one of three official languages in New Zealand.

    • Achrachno
      Posted September 11, 2018 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      bald cypress, Taxodium distichum

      Note that it’s also forming its characteristic “knees” around the walls of the island.

      Native in swamps and along rivers in the SE US, north to maybe S Illinois. Present only as an introduced species in the Chicago area.

      • Don Mackay
        Posted September 13, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        Thankyou! Much appreciated.

  3. Posted September 11, 2018 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Do ducks mate for life?

    • George
      Posted September 12, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      They mate for a year. And the males are pretty useless once the eggs hatch.

  4. Jenny Haniver
    Posted September 11, 2018 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    They are a very handsome pair indeed. Honey chose well — James’s bill is bright yellow indicating that he has “killer” sperm and will pass on great genes to his progeny https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DALbwI7m1vM.

  5. Diane G
    Posted September 12, 2018 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Anna for keeping the pictures coming! 🙂

  6. Mike
    Posted September 12, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    That is a very well stocked Pond.

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