There must be a shoe, somewhere near Oxen Pond in the Botanical Gardens. There certainly is a woman with so many children, she doesn’t know what to do. We counted seventeen or eighteen ducklings for this mother duck, which is pretty large, considering Black Ducks usually have 6-12 eggs (Wikipedia says 6-14, my bird books say 6-12).
It was rather difficult to get a handle on the numbers, as they kept diving for food, as in the picture below. See the disturbance in the water at right, with a little thingy sticking up?
That’s a duckling’s tail.
We stayed and watched them for a while.
Once they got used to us and the constantly clicking camera, they went back to their usual routine.
It was quite enchanting. The mother duck would start to groom herself and then suddenly, the pond was replete with tiny critters, arranging their feathers, splashing themselves with water and generally sprucing themselves up.
They were incredibly cute, in the manner of all wee young things.
Their mother seemed either untroubled by humans or completely exhausted. When she moved from one spot to another, it was like watching a swarm and she really didn’t coax them along at all. There was one who always seemed to bring up the rear, not through any inability to keep up, but because he was constantly distracted and exploring nearby bushes.
They were cute, funny and a pleasure to watch.
I doubt that all eighteen will survive the osprey that also lives on the pond, especially given how poorly some of them mind their mother, but here’s hoping most of them make it.