It’s certainly been lovely weather for ducks lately. I’ve never seen a year with so much rain, but ducks seem to be in short supply. I’ve been searching for ducks for my mother to paint, but they’re also such fun creatures to watch, with their waddles and dives, and their graceful swimming.
On a warm September day, we visited a waterfront park, where we found this lone duck swimming in the blue water of the bay…
While his brethren were all down at the end of the parking lot enjoying the pop-up pool from the last torrential rainstorm.
Maybe the eats were better?
There were warning signs not to feed the ducks, especially bread which is the equivalent to duck junk food, but we met an old man who came to the park every day to do just that. I suppose if you’re 95 you’re allowed to break the rules. He buys five dollars worth of french fries, and potatoes are vegetables so they might qualify as vegetarian fare, but my research shows they’re not recommended either.
After a short swim, they congregated on the grass to dry off and take a nap.
I like the mallards with the green heads the best, but I wonder if that one with the blue stripe isn’t a bit of a rebel, like you see with people who have a single stripe of purple in their hair.
The black and gray ones are striking too.
While we were chatting with the old man, the ducks suddenly all rose up together, as if on some secret signal, and flew over the bay. Too bad I didn’t have my camera ready as I was standing in the middle of a flurry of duck wings and it would have been a great shot. I wondered who, what, and why they had made for the water.
As a tribute to the popularity of ducks there are more duck idioms than you can count….as easy as duck soup, a lame duck, like water off a ducks back, to take to something like a duck to water, to be a sitting duck, to be a lucky duck, to have all your ducks in a row ….another thing I have not been lucky enough to photograph.
And who can forget that scene in the Chinese restaurant from The Christmas Story, where the waiter chops the head off the duck because it was smiling. Duck a la orange may be popular and people may rave about it’s crispness, but no, just no. I’ve had it once, at a dinner party, only to be polite, but also because there was nothing else to eat, and found it very greasy. Besides, how can you eat Donald Duck?
Ducks Unlimited is an organization committed to the preservation of wetlands. It’s been around forever and there’s a Canadian chapter, and I always thought it was a noble cause, but after reading on their website that the majority of members are hunters, I may have to rethink that. It does seem somewhat hypocritical, maybe just as bad as eating duck at a dinner party?
I did however enter mom in their art contest a couple of times. It’s not that the prize was great or anything, the winning entry was put on a postage stamp or something, but I though it would be good exposure. They weren’t interested in folk-art paintings however, as the winners were always so technically perfect they could have been photographs.
When we visited the small pond at the children’s animal farm, a few years ago, it was overrun with ducks and geese, hence this painting…
but all of a sudden most of them disappeared – relocated somewhere else for population control.
Last year the pond water was so thick with green algae scum that it looked like grass, and I could only find these two.
This year when we visited, on a late October day, they were irrigating the water.
These may be the same pair, but at least they have cleaner water.
I’m not sure how they decide which ones are penned up?
Last stop, was a small inland lake, but as you can see no ducks in sight…..
…..although there were plenty of Canadian geese. There’s never any shortage of them.
This lake was the inspiration for an older oil painting of my mother’s, one of my fall favorites.
Can you believe these duck sweatshirts were all the rage here in the eighties? There was an entire store devoted to them, in a whole range of colors, for men, women and children. I had an aqua green one which I think I wore once. Not sure if that is a duck or a loon on the logo, but it’s close enough, although loons are a whole other post – the call of the loon being a much more haunting sound than quack quack!