Saturday, May 14, 2011

This Is No Mallard

I was passing by the vernal pond in the nature park the other day when I saw what appeared to be a mallard duck thrashing around in the water. Through the trees it appeared that the duck was hunting some of the thousands of frogs that live in this swamp.

It made a big splash and then I heard some high pitched squealing coming from that direction. It sounded as if the duck had captured something. This caught my interest so I took a few pictures through the trees. I didn't really get a good look at this bird though. I assumed the whole time that it was just another mallard, which I've seen here before.

But then when I got home I got a huge surprise. This wasn't a mallard at all! This duck had fancy white stripes, a cool Darth Vader helmet, and red eyes! I thought maybe it was someone's exotic pet that had escaped. But then after some quick research with one of the listed nature guides at Nature Center Magazine I found out this was a Wood Duck.

Frogs aren't listed on the diet of these ducks, but it had indeed caught a frog. I'm still wondering why. This is the first time I've ever seen a wood duck and it was the only one in the vernal pond that day. I've never seen it again. I have trouble describing how exciting this has been for me to find this creature.

This wood duck may amaze some of you and to some of you it is old news, and today it is amazing to me. I've seen some amazing things these past several years that nobody else can even imagine, and I'm still just a beginner at some very ordinary things. All still hold my fascination.

Nature never ceases to amaze me with the new and different creatures that it presents to me. Always when I think I've seen everything I'm going to see something like this comes along. I don't think I've ever gotten bored exploring nature. Every other thing I've done has eventually resulted in boredom at some point, but not nature.

I'm glad I discovered this. I can go to the smallest nature park, or even go behind my house, and find some new wonder to marvel at. And today I even discovered a new small nature park! I'll have pictures as soon as I can, and for now I'm just enjoying my latest discovery, this cool wood duck!

Is there a sighting that you've had over the years that still holds your fascination? I really want to know about it.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!


  1. Must be called a wood duck because it looks like it has been carved out of wood! Is this the duck which nests in trees?
    What is a vernal pond?

  2. What a beautiful duck you've captured! So very colorful and the markings are fantastic.

  3. OMG Ratty...this is one of nature's most gorgeous ducks...Wood ducks have such beautiful were truly blessed to see one and to photograph one!!

  4. The screech you heard was probably the duck.Lovely creatures to see, but hard to get very close.At a park nearby one has joined all the other domestic geese and ducks who live there year round.

  5. That's a cool looking duck for sure Ratty!

  6. Wood duck sightings are pretty special. I've seen a couple of males in the wild. No pix.

  7. Even though Blogger lost some posts and all the comments from this post, I still kept a backup copy. I know many of you were caught in the same loss of content. I got this post back, but the comments are gone. I still read them and I can still answer a couple questions. Thank you all for your comments.

    @Don't unplug your hub
    Yeah, this is the duck that nests in trees. I'm not sure if there are others though because I haven't really thought of it until now. A vernal pond is just a pond that exists only in the spring. It is usually created by the melting winter snow. The pond in my pictures looks like a swamp more than anything else.

  8. she looks very elegant, i am not sure if I have seen one, maybe no :(

  9. It really is a beautiful duck...I have never seen one before so i am glad you have taken the time to share it with us. I wonder if it was quite young and 'playing' when it caught the frog if they aren't on their natural diet list?? Or maybe some of it's natural diet isn't very abundant this year and so it's adapting to what is on offer?!?!

  10. This is another small victory of the day.

    I am amazed too! to have follow this.

  11. Wood Ducks are my favorite water bird. That they are so shy and you were able to get some wonderful photos is a great accomplishment. Wow!