Duck Depot continues


D. J. Sweetenham

Columnist


It’s an eerily quiet afternoon on Swan Lake and only 11 ducks gathered at the sea wall to collect their afternoon treats. There’s a hurricane brewing over Mexico and Texas but that is so far away it’s hard to believe that it could affect the normal feeding frenzy of the wildlife on the lake. But they really were unusually well behaved, except of course, for the black and white Mother Duck who pulled off her usual trick of charging at me at about head height from behind, causing me to “duck” down to avoid a collision. If I wasn’t concerned about her welfare, I think I would like to try just letting her hit me but then, she might well hurt herself more than me so I’ll just allow her the pleasure of thinking that she has me licked. I call her Mother Duck because I’m pretty sure she has somehow been involved with several of the duck families raised on this side of the lake this year. I know for sure of two families for which she performed egg-sitting duties when the egg laying parent was unavoidably absent, such as at meal times and for bathroom breaks and after the hatchings, I’ve seen her leading a squad of babies around the property introducing them to all the places where they can find insects small enough for them to gobble down. She did have one batch of her own and I used to feel sorry for her when I found that she didn’t have a friend to “egg sit” for her. I made a point of putting food down within easy reach so she wouldn’t go hungry. I left her to solve the bathroom breaks problem for herself. Anyway, since then, my reward seems to be a daily near-miss attack from the rear, which, on the first occasion, came close to making me fall into the lake. Just think of it, I would have been the victim of a ducking administered by a duck.

Anyway, I escaped the ducking once more although she came close enough that her wing tip touched my shoulder as she passed. We really do have a fun time at Duck Depot!

Some old-time friends have re-appeared today. That’s the Coots and no, I’m not talking about my friends at the Breakfast Club! I am referring to those small, black ducks with white beaks. They must have some healthy lungs on them as they seem to spend a lot of time under water. Quite a bit of the dog food that I feed to the Muscovies doesn’t float for very long and I suppose the Coots and catfish sort it out between them, in the murky depths.

We have certainly been fortunate with our weather so far this fall. Personally, I prefer to be warm and dry rather than wet and cold and I know Sammy and Dee, my two buddies, prefer it that way. Speaking of my buddies reminds me of a joke told by one of them at the Breakfast Club last week, which I thought you might like. I know it’s a bit childish but I’m well into my second, or even third, childhood so I have an excuse! - Did you hear about the cowboy who bought a Weiner dog, you know, a Dachsund, when he heard the words in the song “Git a long little doggie.” There were also several other jokes told at that meeting but I promised I wouldn’t repeat them here.

Well, that’s about it for this time. But I am going to completely change gears in my next column.


D.J. Sweetenham, originally from England, is the author of Bumps in the Road and Bumps in the Road - Part Two, highlights of his interesting and far-flung life. D.J., his wife, and two small dogs, live in Stockbridge.