Friday, December 28, 2007

Sam Does Central Park for Me in the Rain

As I haven't been around for awhile, and I usually make a point of visiting the park on Christmas Day just to make sure all is in order, my daughter Sam went out to take a look around for me.
Looking at the photographs from such a gray day, I get the feeling of dormancy even more than usual from the park this winter.
No hawks in residence today Everything is just waiting a few more weeks before shaking off the slumber and getting the juices going.
Not quite everything. As usual there aren't enough Mallard Hens to go around and this Mallard is making sure the others don't get close to his mate. He got her early and he's keeping her.
Off they go to a different and more private part of the Model Boat Pond.
Not a soul at the Hawk Bench. It's early and wet.

At first I thought, "Oh no! The antenna is missing from the Oreo Building." But no it's there and before too very long, Lola will be waiting for Pale Male to bring those tasty courting gifts.

Speaking of Lola's favorite tasty courting gift, here's one now. He'd better watch out though he may be close enough to the hawk nest to be in the safety zone.

And how many hours have we all sat and looked at this view? There's Woody on the left, 927 center, Fisher to the right and even farther right, the Linda building.

As there are no hens to harass, the boys float over for a snack check.

A full view of all the little rails on Linda, and not a Red-tail in sight.

Now here's a change and a good one. At least with the sign we won't have to argue with the Mallard molesters about their motored boats being illegal on the Pond. Yes, as you see the real name of the Model Boat Pond is the Conservatory Water. The only problem is, they never got around to building the Conservatory though they did get around to floating model boats.

Who can resist Bow Bridge, even in the rain. Though today with the droplets pattering on the Lake making a mirage of its reflection, who can resist it, especially in the rain.
One of my favorite trees, there is something so animated about it.
Aha! It's one of the tiny hunters and he's looking extremely serious. What does the White-throated Sparrow, leg slightly lifted and ready to go, see?

Whatever it is, he knows dormancy doesn't get a bird anywhere, and rushes over and seizes the day and the prey. Soon Pale Male and Lola will be doing the same.
Donegal Browne


Karen Anne said...

Really gorgeous.

Why not enough mallard hens?

Donegal Browne said...

As to a possible dearth of Mallard hens, you've heard the expression "sitting duck" correct? The females sitting on their ground nests are extremely vulnerable to predators and unleashed dogs if they are "good" mothers and attempt to sit tight on their eggs or protect their young. Therefore more hens die in a year than males. It's also possible enough females didn't over winter for the number resident males and females who'd gone farther south haven't come back as yet.

Later in the year, females may only seem to be among the missing because they may be out looking for suitable nest sites or sitting nests.

Beyond that even if some Mallard male are mated for the season, if his female is off sitting the nest, it's a relatively common habit to attempt copulation by force if necessary with any unguarded-for-a-moment female that happens by. Therefore drakes have to be very vigilant about their chosen female.