Saturday, April 13, 2013

School Birds: Meet the Mallards

Watching ducks from outside the computer lab window early today (4/12/13).
After a full 36 hours of traditional spring weather earlier this week, upstate New York once again returned to some semblance weather normalcy--for early/late winter, that is. From what could be observed in the school's courtyard, 36°F and rain is certainly ideal "duck weather." (I type this knowing full well that these birds are in fact the specific type of duck, Mallards, but "Mallard Weather" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.)

It had been quite a while since any noticeable duck Mallard activity in the tiny artificial "pond" outside my classroom window, but, as I was reminded by our school librarian when looking for a window to hang out, "Those ducks come back every year." She was correct...

A small part of the world outside my classroom window (4/11/12).
Over the past three days, beginning Wednesday, one female and one male Mallard have been spending progressively more time in the courtyard. They always seem to be walking together; at no time is there more than four feet between them. Being one prone to personification, I imagine that this young couple are house hunting or leisurely spending the day together.

Muddy, a little flooded, but passable for the web-footed (4/11/12).
The past two mornings, however, as luck would have it, I did have my camera handy. This gave me the opportunity to take advantage of the hubbub and to snap pics a couple of ducks tooling around the courtyard. On Thursday (the day on which the less vibrant images in this post were shot), the two spent much of the mid-morning in the area of the courtyard directly outside my classroom window. It was a grey day and they seemed content to pad back and forth between the shrubs and the artificial pond. Eventually, just as they had done the previous morning, the two took flight together for parts unknown by late morning.

The male Mallard patrolling the flood walkways (4/12/13).
Friday was the rainier, and therefore more lush (as evidenced in the pics) of the two days and the Mallards more time at play in the fields of the courtyard. The majority of their day consisted of walking the perimeter of the courtyard, stopping for long periods of time to splash in the puddles and inspect the surroundings. Eventually they left, or--more likely--I simply could not visually find them from my classroom window.

Nice shot of purple feathers beneath prominent brown coat (4/12/13).
With any luck, the weather will continue to improve over the weekend and perhaps, as activity in the courtyard increases with the doors being opened for student and staff traffic between wings, the Mallards will decide to stay. My camera will be at the ready as I look out the window from time to time just in case they return again.

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