They're called Muscovy ducks and are apparently wild and spreading in the south, just like Canadian geese. They're wonderful domesticated, though - friendly, and practically eating their weight in mosquitoes and flies every day! And the ducklings...
...pretty cute. We also saw black ducks.
Feeding time was highly anticipated.
A nice group of ducks!
Meanwhile, our goz at home are growing and growing. Their parents are taking them out of the water more, ranging far into the yard for tender greens.
Our youngest group has gone from six to four, but the older ones have stayed steady at three. They're starting to get their first feathers, right at the tips of their wings.
Another exciting discovery in the pond this week:
I watched this aquatic bird bob and dive for fish for quite a while.
Anyone who read Island of the Blue Dolphins as avidly as I did as a kid would understand how delighted I was to discover that this was a cormorant! I loved reading about Karana and her skirt of cormorant feathers (incidentally, that book was based on a real-life woman who was found alone on an island off the California coast, Juana Maria). Apparently there's been quite a scandal about cormorants here in South Carolina. They are so adept at out-fishing local fishermen that a federal law was passed, allowing hunters to slaughter tens of thousands a year. In 2014 - 2015, over 25,000 were killed. Thankfully, enough of an outcry ensued to gain attention, and the law was suspended until further research can be done.
I'm still seeing lots of familiar birds...
...included a very persistent pair of house finches, who daily try to build nests in my hanging ferns. We have nesting boxes all over and plenty of small shrubs and trees, so they have endless places to make their nests. We have so much activity through the front door that it is just too disruptive for them, so I take out their nest foundations. They're quick. They can build a nest in an afternoon, and I have to catch them before the female lays eggs. If she does, we have to leave the nest alone. So I'm trying to keep an eye on it!
Something else we're watching out for...Clotilde! She has shown up for breakfast and supper daily for months. She's not one to miss a meal...
...but I haven't seen her for several days. The perils of an outdoor cat are many - stray dogs, coyotes, foxes, cars. I just have to hope that she's all right and is spending time at someone else's house right now.
Have a great week!