The neighbors were the bearers of interesting news this week. Mr. Neighbor hailed me from his front stoop as I was coming home from my walk the other night.
"I think you've got a duck nesting in your hostas."
No kidding? This was news to me.
The funny thing is, every year I see a pair of mallards trutzing through
the yard for a couple weeks in April. The drake follows the hen wherever she feels like going.
I took a couple photos from my
kitchen window when I saw them this year, but I didn't post anything
because I'd done that before (here, here, here, and here). I'd come to believe our yard was just sort of an annual honeymoon stopover for these feathered friends.
The north side of our attached garage is lined with a variety of hosta. I tend to ignore that side of the house, gardening-ly speaking, because it's just a strip between our house and the neighbors' and nobody can really see it, anyway. Well, except the neighbors whose south-facing windows have a front row seat to any excitement or lack thereof happening on that side of our house. It's mostly grass that won't grow well and the hosta doing their thing, as well as some astilbe and a smattering of lily of the valley that won't give up the ghost—a pretty uneventful view most of the time.
Mr. Neighbor padded over in his sock feet to show me where they had seen Mama Mallard scuttling between the bushes recently. He parted the leaves in several places, but there was nothing there. Hunh.
"Well, keep an eye on it and let me know if you keep seeing her," I said.
Today Norm mowed the lawn and nothing stirred. The big, loud, scary mower would come within inches of Mama Mallard if she was, in fact, sitting on a nest in there.
He decided to poke around a little more closely when he got done mowing to see if anything could be seen. As he dug into a covering of what looked like leaf mulch, Mama scooted out!
She high-tailed it off somewhere to safety, while he came in the house with the news. I went out to see for myself, since she was gone for the moment.
Sure enough, she has about 9 or 10 eggs in there!
We'll leave it alone until they're hatched, which may be a few weeks yet, according to this site. The neighbors will have the best vantage point for whatever happens during that time. I just hope I'm around to see her lead the little ducklings off to her favorite watering hole when it's time.
It's not like we live directly on a lake or anything, so wherever she goes, it's going to be a bit of a hike. It could be to the ponds at the park (4 blocks away), the drainage swale near Walgreens (1 block) or the creek over the hill (3 blocks). Only Mama knows for sure.
Pretty cool, though, huh?
Now if I can just figure out what's been digging holes in every single flower pot I've planted this year. That mystery continues, though I've got a few furry suspects in mind!