(On a web page the pictures above scroll sideways.)
First picture: A hooded merganser female was in the west nest box this morning. It would be fun to have merganser ducklings again! Hooded mergansers will lay eggs in wood duck nests, and vice versa. Here’s more information about that. Also both the 2017 and 2018 logs have pictures and stories about the hooded merganser adults and ducklings (scroll down on those pages to find them).
Second picture: Sleepy duck, such good colors.
Third picture: There are now 2 eggs in the West nest. They are wood duck eggs, the merganser didn’t leave any yet.
Ducks are visiting each morning but only for a few minutes. One did spend an hour in West nest box today, but no eggs. So who’s Arabelle? She’s a duck that nested here last year. Others have returned too, I’m sure, but it’s hard to tell them apart. She’s easy to recognize so we got to “know” her. We called her “arrow” or “arrow bill” for a while – see the picture – and the latter evolved into Arabelle.
There were two hens in the West nest at 10:00 today. They squabbled a bit at first but then settled down quietly and even seemed kind of affectionate. Below one is gently nibbling the other. After a couple of minutes the second one left again. The first remained in the nest box for an hour resting, often closing her eyes. I checked the nest after she left: no eggs yet. Her mate stayed on the roof of the nest box during most of this time.
If you watch the live cameras it’s very hard to see anything interesting right now. This early in the season it’s normal for the hens to drop in for just a few minutes, rummage around a bit to check things out, and then leave. But the cameras use motion to trigger a recording and it’s easy for me to find the those few minutes, so I’ve created a short video of what was happening yesterday. Today was similar, although yesterday there was an extra visitor! …
On Saturday we had not seen any wood ducks, but suddenly on Sunday there were 7 in the back yard: 4 males and 3 females.