Three ducks have made themselves quite comfortable in the small river behind my apartment. Every morning for the past few weeks I have seen them sitting on the rocks that are not totally submerged. Often I only see two staying dry above the surface of the water; the third is always floating nearby or is just surfacing from below.
And already my first paragraph is incorrect, as two more ducks fly by my windows and then land in a gliding fashion on the water. Two mallards – the only species of duck I am able to identify by sight (that jewel toned green head is hard to miss) – set up on a different rock than the other three. I hear quite a bit of quacking; it has a tone that feels a little too antagonistic for 8:00 AM.
As far as identifying those three regulars of the river, I had to turn to Google. One of them is most certainly a common merganser because of its rusty red head and its diving behavior. The other two are American black ducks, I believe, unless they are at a common merganser life stage I am not aware of.
What are these ducks up to when they are not in view of my windows? The simple and most general answer, of course, is “duck things” – and it’s likely they are doing those things nearby. This particular small river leads to one of our large Maine rivers from a small lake just a few miles from my apartment, and this corridor is made up of mostly farms and woods. In a 21st century American sense, it’s an alright place for ducks to live.
By now it is 8:30 AM, and the ducks have finished their business here and moved on, which I’m taking as an indication that I too should get my day started. My coffee isn’t quite gone yet though, so I think a few more minutes of looking out the window and absorbing as much serenity as the natural world outside will allow me during these early hours is in order.