Tuesday, July 05, 2016

June 30


There are lots and lots of ducks in the park.  I am sure of at least three families, with youngsters of different ages.

If I didn't have other things I wanted to do, and if I had a prayer of being able to tell one duck from others of its age, I would be interested in studying duck behavior.  Because all ducks do not behave in the same ways.........

Some mama ducks will take food intended for their babies (if you toss bread, Mama is getting it).  Other mama ducks won't take food if any of their babies even look at that food from 5' away.  Some mama ducks let other grownup ducks take food from their babies (and even let those ducks bite their babies, if the babies get the food first).

This mama duck don't have no truck with that nonsense.

She makes sure NO other ducks come near, when her babies are eating, and she won't take any food unless none of her babies are even looking at that food from a distance.  She is standing on a rock, which gives her a height advantage, and none of the dozen or so other ducks just outside this pic would get closer, because they know she will chase them off (I've seen her do it).

Her babies are big enough, now, that *they* will chase off other ducks who come near "their" food.

I don't know if this is about status, or plain meanness.  Or if plain meanness translates into status???

I think of these youngsters as "kid ducks."  No longer babies, but still noticeably smaller than their mom.

"Hey, monkey!  Got any snacks???"   Note that these kid ducks are working hard on making grownup feathers.  They look mostly feathery, rather than fuzzy, but they've got nothing in the way of serious wing feathers.  Yet.

(Pleased with the phone for getting this much detail -- this is a close crop of a hard-to-properly-expose subject, taken from 6-8' away.) 

Mama, on guard.  I am sure it's no coincidence that she still has 9 youngsters (though only 8 were ever in one of these shots at the same time).  I wonder if she's the same duck who raised this many last year, too.  Or one of that one's daughters?

Dreadfully overexposed, alas.  This mama, with her much-younger babies, will take food from her babies, and doesn't stop other ducks from taking it, either.  Lower status?  Lower self-esteem?  Believes in laissez-faire, even if it shortens the lives of her offspring?  Just can't be bothered?  Paddles to the beat of her own drum, never mind Mother Nature's plans?   I wonder..............

I believe some of these are the oldest of this year's babies.  "Teenager" ducks.  Not able to fly yet, but almost as big as the adults.  They were pretty respectful of the younger ones.  Especially the kid ones, who chased them away if they got too close.

I haven't seen any male ducks here in a couple of weeks.  I don't suppose anyone misses them.  I certainly don't.  Nothing (but a large and annoyed monkey) would stop them from taking food from babies, nor from biting babies.  I felt I needed to bring a hockey stick.  Not to hit anyone, but just to push them away, and make my point clear that, on my watch, they had to stay back and not bite the babies, even when babies got food they wanted................  Not that I *have* a hockey stick.  A broom, maybe....

Part of West Park is "community garden."  Somehow you get your name on a list, and then you have the option of having garden space you plant and tend, within a larger fenced piece of ground.  There is water, and there are hoses, and otherwise I suspect you are on your own.

Look at the size of the tomatoes in the lower right!  The only tomatoes at the market, so far, are hot-house ones.

Cabbages and tomatoes.

Looking south.  The community garden is very near the ball field.  (Just a bit to the left of this image.)

(Note to previous Ann Arborites -- this ball field is where the ice rink was, in olden times.)

See the thin yellow line against the darkness below the trees?  That is the top of the fence around the ball field.  See the white line, just below the yellow line, near the right side of the pic?  That is the edge of the board-walk/bridge over the pond.

Queen Anne's lace.

Closer crop of the above.

This is my bouquet from the June 29 farmers' market.  I like the seller's choices of colors and textures.

I hadn't see this before, so I asked the person who grew the flowers -- this is an Armenian basket flower.  The part under the yellow fizz is dry and tan, and really does look very basket-like.  (I haven't gotten a very good pic of the basket.  I'll see if I can do better....)

This is a pretty clear look at the ends of the anthers, though.....


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