30.01.2012 Flying lessons

Running on water and diving deep
This was the most incredible duck study day! Many things were happening that I have
never seen before: paradise ducks diving and swimming under water like dolphins, trying
to take off from the water, the parents allowing other duck species to invade their territory
in droves, the mother feeding like crazy. I gave this interested young man in the photo
some bread to feed the ducks, so I could take some pictures of this surprising behaviour.
 
 The ducklings are now three months old and come and go at any time. It is impossible
to tell their number. I just suppose that it remains at eleven when I last saw them all together,
or perhaps only ten as last week when I left and mother duck had picked up stray ducklings in
various locations.
 
It is still possible that a duck gets killed by a dog or a car, like the mallard
that lay sqashed on the centre line of Park Terrace today. Today only up to seven ducklings
and the parents were together at any one time.
 
Meddling up with mallards and grey ducks (they interbreed a lot) does not mean the paradise ducks do not chase them away at times. But they now tolerate them nearby.
 
The females' heads have changed dramatically since I have seen them last week.
 
Standing proud and presenting the new look and the beautiful colours of the females.
 
After feeding, there suddenly was action on the water. Mum showed them how to do it, and then the ducklings were trying to take off from the water - but did not fully succeed yet. Instead they went diving under the surface for several metres before they showed up again.
 
One big splishing and splashing...
 
The ducklings chased each other, perhaps to encourage the action.
 
Back on land...
 
Father and son.
 
And let's not forget Smallie...
 
The bad news of the day: the dead mallard on the road...
Mum and Smallie after father duck had chased away the "wrong" duck species. Mum was as greedy and hungry as never before. Gone the days when she left all the food to the ducklings.
 
They are now white down to the neck, only a few dark patches left.
 
Mother and daughter on the water. (Sorry for the unavoidable overexposure of the heads, there was too much reflection.)
 
These photos are the intro shots from the videos I have taken, therefore the lower quality. I have uploaded one of the films, here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a5Mk1W_SrM. Even my husband who thinks I am obsessive with the ducks was impressed...
 
... was going on.
 
The other duck species offered the same display just a few metres from the paradise ducks. But they did not dive.
 
... the great cleaning and drying process started.
 
Brother and sister.
 
He still has to catch up with the others.
 

... and one of their favourite trees had to be felled.

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