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Egrets, Geese & Ducks and Old Man Winter

Category: Gardening Remembrances | Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:19 am

Egrets, Geese and Ducks; we have them all on our small bass lake. At my end of the lake on any given day we have a Blue Heron and one Egret that call this place home. Canada Geese will come down during their migratory seasons in the fall and spring but fortunately they do not stick around too long. I remember how messy they were in NJ where they got used to everyone feeding them and set up permanent residence in pools and fountains of suburban office buildings. Those areas soon became wall to wall goose feces.

We move here in April, 2005 and were quickly introduced to Big Blue and his egret buddy. One morning in late August we awoke and the entire edge of our lake was filled with egrets. They stood wing to wing as far as the eye could see. We did not realize it at the time but they were nature's weathermen. Katrina was bearing down on The Big Easy and every bird in its path had headed to safety. Shortly after the storm passed they headed home but, now we know that a lot of egrets on our shoreline mean someone is in for bad weather.

Today there were at least 30 egrets on the far side of the lake. I can only assume that a storm front is moving through LA and MS from Texas. While we are in a deep freeze we have no precipitation. Before I could get my camera out they all took off, flew over and around the lake and off to the south. A few did alight in the trees across the lake and I did get some pictures of them before they took off to join the rest of the flock.

Egrets in the tree tops ( photo / image / picture from Accidental Gardener's Garden )

Within an hour after the egrets departure a flock of Canada geese came down for a short stay. These beautiful birds have always amazed me. Did you know that unlike humans, they actually mate for life? If their mate dies they will find another mate but while they both are alive they are together. This picture shows them walking around the top of the dam. Obviously they too were avoiding a far off storm.

Geese on the dam ( photo / image / picture from Accidental Gardener's Garden )

Geese on the shoreline ( photo / image / picture from Accidental Gardener's Garden )

And lastly, our new neighbors! I received an email from the HOA letting us know that a family was releasing a pair of ducks on the lake and if we see them, they eat dry cat food. I was expecting a pair of white ducks that someone's kids got last Easter so I was pleasantly surprised when a pair of mallards were foraging just on the other side of my fence. Naturally, I went into my garage and filled a quart container with dry cat food. If there were 'the' ducks they would eat this type of food. Low and behold, they did not just eat it they devoured it. The female was very possessive of this cache of food but the male did manage to get his share.

On Tuesday morning the lake had a crust of ice stretching from our shore to the middle of the lake. I heard a duck making a lot of noise and investigated. The male was frozen into the ice just off the shore line and the female was quacking her head off in distress. I was able to free him using an oar from my neighbors boat to crack the ice around him. He took off like the preverbal Duck out of hell and his mate was right behind him. Once again I did not have my camera but I did get pictures of them from our earlier meeting. People down here in Alabama cannot drive on snow or ice so why would a southern raised mallard know how to sleep on an icy lake?

New Neighbors ( photo / image / picture from Accidental Gardener's Garden )

Last edited: Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:47 am

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gfreiherr wrote on Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:34 pm:

Thanks for sharing your water birds and ducks. Congratulations on rescuing the mallard. This artic freeze has been hard on the wildlife. We had mallards & canada geese on the golf course pond but they have disappeared with the cold.


eileen wrote on Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:50 pm:

The last time I saw lots of white (cattle) egrets was on a trip to Holland. We stood watching them for ages as we don't often see them here in Scotland.

We do, however, have Canada Geese and Mallards on our lakes and ponds. I'm so glad you are feeding the ducks as they have a hard time of it in icy weather.


daisybeans wrote on Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:59 pm:

Enjoyed your blog about the life of ducks and geese on your lake. I hope you'll write more. When I lived in Illinois, the geese stopped over at a pond near my house and many had their babies there. I always got a kick out of watching the awkward adolescents.... Here in my part of MD, they just fly over on their way South. they do stop over on the Eastern shore of the Chesapeake (I'm on the Western shore). So glad you could help out that mallard. Maybe he should have spent the rest of the winter with his people??

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