My yard is a certified wildlife habitat. Most of our wildlife is common – squirrels, finches, cardinals, goldfinches, the occasional blue jays, and rabbits. We enjoy sharing our living space with them.
I was surprised on Monday when I encountered a female mallard walking up the sidewalk when I came home from dropping Little Bit off at school. She paused at the bottom of the driveway, so I pulled it. Imagine my surprise when she turned and started walking up the driveway. By the time I’d parked my car in the garage and looked out, she was no longer in sight. I was curious, so I went out to look. She had proceeded up the driveway and made her way into the bed at the front of the house, picking her way between the hanging branches of the weeping redbud and the hydrangea, and disappearing beneath an evergreen shrub that sits up against the house.
I couldn’t see her at all and if I hadn’t seen her go in there I would never have known. That bush, however, sits right outside the windows in our dining room, so I went inside, raised the shade, and took a peek. A well situated gap in the branches gave me a nice little view down beneath the shrub, and there was the duck. A little later, I peeked again and she wasn’t there but I could see several eggs.
I was a little concerned that she wasn’t still there and I hoped that my spying her secret hadn’t spooked her. I did a little research on the nesting habits of mallards and learned that they will lay eggs for a while until there are 10-12 accumulated before they begin to incubate the eggs. It appears that all is going as planned with the nest, then.
Yesterday I noticed that she sat on the nest most of the day. The same today. I’m guessing that she may have started the incubation process. This evening when she was gone from the nest, I snuck around with my long lens to capture a shot of the nest.
It will be fun keeping an eye on the progress through the dining room window and hopefully catching a glimpse of some ducklings after they hatch.