After 4 days of high winds and rain, this morning was nice and sunny. It’s been great weather for ducks, if ducks indeed like miserable, rainy weather. The mallard brood as of yesterday, had 9 ducklings, which is what I thought it was from the start, but when I looked closely at my photographs, she had 10 to begin with. A loss of one in over two weeks isn’t bad.
There are a number (3 or 4) hooded mergansers on the pond, but no sign of ducklings. From what I’ve read, there should be young by now. As hoodies are early nesters, the long cold winter, which made for a very late spring, might have been a big negative for the hoodies. All the mergansers appear to be females, and as it’s known that the males leave breeding grounds early (they’ve been gone for a while now), that greatly limits the opportunity for mating (for obvious reasons) if initial nesting attempts are futile.
I have some hope for the pair of ring-necked ducks still on the pond. They have stayed together as a pair, which is a good sign. And although, like the hoodies, there are no ducklings as yet, there’s a good chance that eggs (if the nest is still there) will hatch over the next few days. My biggest concern is that the rising water levels in the pond in front of the house – courtesy of heavy rains and hard-working beavers – flooded out the nest. Time will tell.
No sign of the goose family, who left several days after the goslings hatched.
I have also seen a ruffed grouse with a brood twice, so it could be the same brood or there are two. Lots of insects for the poults to eat, but the wet and, over the past few days the cold (it was only plus 4 C this morning), could wreak havoc.
I have never seen the mosquitoes as bad in this area as they are this year. In dry years, they are almost non-existent. Some mornings this year I think I’m going to get carried away by them. I suspect it will be a bad year for the West Nile virus. Yay.