Friday, January 25, 2008

Everyday Life 30 :: 19

Real, live ducks, and plenty of them. This pond isn't too far from the house... I'm sorry: I have seen real ponds, and I know this is a sad, sad excuse for a body of water of any size. After 20 or 30 minutes of happily feeding very eager ducks our assorted stale, whole grain bread pieces, we walked around the pond and were confronted with the very big "Do Not Feed the Wild Life" sign. Good grief.

Living one year in Minnesota instilled in me two new interests that, while rarely put to use in So Cal, I enjoy very much, and they are: Watching weather and watching birds. Pre-1990 I was barely aware that either activity existed. Weather had either been wet or dry, and hot or cold. I never bothered with anticipating either possible outcome, or learning to predict and detect the subtle changes that would indicate a weather change. Now I do. And I think happily of my father-in-law every time I watch a weather forecast.

As for birds, well, I like watching them too, and pulling out their names, recognizing when I am seeing something rare. Cedar Waxwing is not just a pretty bird. It's a fun name to know and say, and it gives me an extra beat to look in branches in hopes of seeing one. I love Red-winged Blackbirds. I especially like seeing them dart from cattail to cattail and then suddenly catching a flash of their red bar of feathers.

I know mallards, and lady mallards, and they are a handsome duck, but it was a treat to see and recognize the slate blue bill of the American Wigeon. I liked knowing the name of these gregarious ducks that we so daringly fed. It was interesting to note that after our feast, they parted from the mallards and went together, grazing in the grass.

Pigeons, crows, seagulls, sparrows, finches, even an occasional parrot... we see any of these around here. We see egrets and heron too. But this duck.

This dapper dude with the slicked-back do, and the bright red eyes... I knew I was privilege to something special when I saw him at the duck pond.

And I knew he was a Wood Duck. A Wood Duck!

So cool.

Knowing that we are, once again, between storms, we made haste and added a little hike to our outing. The impending storm front was coming from a southwesterly direction, so it would not lose momentum crossing the Channel Islands... we could expect it to be a cold storm, since it originated in the Gulf of Alaska, and earlier forecasts had predicted record rainfalls for Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties... I love weather.

I love duck ponds. I love mild winter hikes and outdoor excursions. I love forecasts and signs of the season and knowing a Wood Duck from a goose.

And I love these children, and sharing everyday with them.


nikkipolani said...

Natalie, I loved this post and your beautiful detailed ducky photos! (of course, the kids are adorable) Your wood duck is very very cool looking. So many different designs and colors and patterns!

Julie said...

We love ducks too!!! Go look up Muscovy Ducks. Those were the last ones we saw at a pond here. They are fierce, lol.

Natalie said...

The Muscovy Duck:
That is a serious looking duck!
My adorable kids... tee hee... I took about 50 duck pictures and 4 children pictures!

Janece said...

Ducky post, Natalie! Love it! ;) I'm looking forward to meeting the birds at our new pond.

(Psst- are you getting my emails?)

village mama said...

Wonderful, breathtaking photos.

We too love ducks, currently enjoying Canada geese.

Mama Spark said...

Maria's boots are just too cute!