Stephen Barnard has mallards, too

I guess Spring has come to Idaho, for Stephen Barnard, on his big plot of land on Silver Creek, reports an influx of mallards. He sent some lovely photos, and his notes are indented:

Some photos of your favorite duck species: Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos)

A small flock flew into the creek in pretty good light (for a change). There were seven ducks: six drakes and one hen. The hen was obviously paired with a single drake. I name them Bubba and Sheila. (first photo)

The other five drakes were obviously jealous of Bubba and up to no good. Bubba was having none of it, keeping between them and Sheila, even while Sheila was acting up, apparently egging on the other drakes. (Apologies  for my anthropomorphism.) I expected fireworks any moment, but they swam off peacefully feeding, for the time being.

Sheila will very likely nest here. She’d better watch out for the mink.

I hope that mink minds his business! Here are the photos:


  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 10, 2019 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Sheila would probably be dialing 911 if it were available for ducks. We have our share of mallards here in the city, Wichita,but the Canada geese kind of crowds them out.

  2. Posted April 10, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    “I hope that mink minds his business!”

    Somehow I believe that the mink thinks that feasting on duck eggs *is* his business.

  3. Posted April 10, 2019 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Some of those photos need a caption!

  4. Posted April 10, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    They are beautiful, but the male-female ratio is worrying. I fear that Sheila is not safe.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted April 10, 2019 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      She seemed to enjoy being courted.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 10, 2019 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        It’s all courting and sparking, I s’poze, until somebody’s head gets dragged underwater.

        • Stephen Barnard
          Posted April 10, 2019 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

          If these weren’t ducks, but humans in the MeToo era, it would be inappropriate, intolerable, and prosecutable.

      • BJ
        Posted April 10, 2019 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

        Fantastic photos! Sounds like you live in the kind of place I’d like to some day.

  5. Posted April 10, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    It’s nice to have photos of lots of mallards, in light of our annual discussion about the identity of the residents of Botany Pond. Every male mallard in these photos has a brown chest. As that sample size increases (and a search of mallard photos on the internet can increases it further), we should be more and more certain that the light-breasted mallard in Botany Pond this year probably is/was Frank.

  6. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted April 10, 2019 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    What gorgeous birds! I recall reading some time ago that female (Australian) native Anas superciliosa (Pacific Black Duck)prefer male mallards (there are a few introduced mallards) to males of their own species. One can see why! The down side is that many Pacific Black Duck are now hybrids.

  7. BJ
    Posted April 10, 2019 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    At first I thought from the title that you had named a duck Stephen Barnard and then found out he was leading a group of other ducks. I’m slightly disappointed.

  8. rickflick
    Posted April 10, 2019 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    Interesting to see, in that last picture especially, how the female beak is marked while the males are all clean yellow. Part of her obscuration regime I assume.

  9. Andrea Kenner
    Posted April 14, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Lord love a duck!

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