Since early this spring, we've had a pair of wild Mallard ducks staying on our small pond. We think they're the same pair that have returned for several years now. When we throw scratch feed on the ground, they come right up into the poultry yard to get their share. They're more tame than wild, and they've even been seen helping themselves at the covered outside feeder containing laying mash.
For the past few weeks, the female of the pair has been a no-show with just the single male puttering around all by himself. We had a feeling that the female was possibly sitting on a nest nearby.
We were working outside today when I happened to glance over to our the pond. First I noticed a duck paddling around in the water, and thought, "Oh, the female duck's back!" Then I saw all these itty-bitty things in the water darting around the her. It took a couple of seconds before it dawned on me what I was seeing.
We had had another hatch on the homestead! There were ten of the little fuzzballs happily swimming circles around their mom with a speed that you wouldn't believe would be possible for such tiny ducklings.
This is the very first year we've ever had a wild duck hatch out a batch of ducklings here. It will be really interesting to see how long they'll stay with us.