Saturday, May 26, 2007

Macho, Macho Duck

Got off my rear this evening and went on a bike ride. Scared into it by an e-mail from Rise, titled Imminent Alien Landing, with details of her arrival time tomorrow. That woman is fit. And I am not - as. So I gritted my teeth and pedalled doggedly into the wind. Set no land speed records, but went the whole, hour-long route, mulling things over in my head. All the gobbledygook with which it is usually filled. And then some.

Stopped before home at the little lake nearby. Except that, with our lack of rain this spring, it has shrunk to a mere puddle. The whole area is a bird sanctuary, and there are signs to that effect, lest you get too trigger-happy with your shotgun.

After propping my bike against a tree, I walked along the little wooden pier. The light was fading, but I could make out the dark shape of a largish duck against the light of the water. He was busy, ducking his head under, for food, I presumed. As I watched I thought "That fish, or whatever, is putting up quite a fight."

Mr. Duck, a muscovy [homely looking critter], was doing some heavy-duty wiggling. But then he apparently gave up the fight. Lo, and behold! A female duck materialised from under him! He strutted [yeah! I'm the man!] from the water, and she waddled after him, both of them spreading their wings and shaking out their feathers, folding their wings back in place, then stretching upwards and giving the tailfeathers a vigorous waggling. Aha. Not dinner time after all. Eine kleine Nachtmusik. Just a little early.

They seemed very satisfied with themselves, and unconcerned that a pair of mallards nearby might have been traumatised for life.

An egret was darting around the water's edge. Usually when I see egrets they are playing statue. With their necks folded into exaggerated esses,they stalk their prey stealthily and almost motionlessly in preparation for the lightening strike at some hapless fish, minding his own business under the water. But this little fellow was hungry, darting to left and right in the muddy shallows. He looked kind of ungainly and as if he might have been glad of a good pair of wellies.

Suddenly the peace was shattered by the loud honking, nearby, of a sandhill crane. Such elegant fowl! Such obnoxious noise! Like those noisemakers people like to take to sports events. The ones that whirl around and make a clacking sound. And make you want to choke the owner.

There appeared to be some kind of domestic dispute going on between two cranes. They mate for life you know. Not to be confused with living happily ever after. I felt for them. Why can't we all just be nice to each other and quit honking?

Got back on the bike in the gathering gloom. Wobbled, lost my balance and fell off, hitting the grass, with a bone jarring thump. Lay where I'd fallen, wallowing in the humiliation, gingerly feeling my bones, and wishing I were a duck. Not a sex-crazed muscovey, but a nice, civilised little mallard. A less than auspicious ending to a so-so day.

Things will definitely look up tomorrow, as my beloved sister is arriving, and having her here will make all my owwees better.

17 comments:

Ali Honey said...

When I was 6 we learnt this little poem.....I still remember it.
Duck's Ditty.
All along the backwater through the rushes tall ducks are a dabbling, up tails all. Duck's tails, drake's tails, yellow feet a quiver, yellow bills all out of sight busy in the river!

( and that's just the 1st verse) So you don't want to be sex crazed? Oops, sorry.

Tanya Brown said...

I don't understand male ducks. Evidently their idea of a madly passionate roll between the satin sheets looks a great deal like an attempt to drown the poor females. Perverts. Evidently it's effective, though, since baby ducks appear each spring like clockwork.

I particularly loved this line regarding the cranes: "They mate for life you know. Not to be confused with living happily ever after."

Have a lovely visit with your sister! I can almost hear the giggles from here, and I'm clear across the continent.

All Blog Spots said...

nice blog

Gail said...

The title of this post caught my eye as 'Macho Duck' was a track on my son's first CD (Micky Mouse Disco). My God, what a terrible Disney offerring. But heh, disco was king (despite my friend's T-shirt sporting Disco Sucks!). Alas, I digress. I feel like a stranger in a house full of loving friends. Thanks for letting me stop by.

http://www.gailanderson.org

meggie said...

Oh Lucky you! To have your sister to stay will be just wonderful for you both.
Your picture of the ducks was lovely! (apart from the near drowning, haha)
Hope your bones are not aching!

Tracey Petersen said...

Well when you're a duck there may not be a lot of entertainment, so I guess you make your own!

Hope that you girls have a ball together, I can just imagine the wicked laughter that you will enjoy.

sMC said...

ditto to tanya....... ave a great visit.... how about a photo of your two....... aubirdwoman

Little Miss Moi said...

Dear molly. I hope you're OK and have a great time with your sister. Interesting bird watching stories - I really thought you'd say that there wasn't enough water for them and they'd all flown away. I hope it rains soon!

sMC said...

now Molly, just you tell that little blister of yours that if you don't feed her to let me know and I will send over some cyber cookies to keep her going...Have fun girls... keep us informed.. and don't forget the photo.....birdy

Stomper Girl said...

Hope your bruises and your pride recover soon and that you and Rise have a lovely time together. Maybe you should seek to corrupt her intimidating fitness levels with long fireside chats and copious tea and biscuits rather than busting a boiler to improve yourself?

mjd said...

I know that you and Rise will have a wonderful time, and making the owwees better is a bonus.

My parents used to live in Naples, FL in a condominium on a golf course near a wooded area. One of the joys of this location was the variety of birds that visited the folks at the condominium. There were quails and ducks as well as occasional egret. The residents enjoyed the birds so they showed this appreciation by feeding the avian visitors. The feeding made for healthy reproducing birds. Originally, there were a couple of Muscovy ducks. Within a few years, the population of the ugly ducks grew to 50. In attempt to keep the golf course clear of duck excretion and to keep the ducks from getting hit with golf balls, the management had the ducks removed. Maybe they moved the birds to your sanctuary. In any event, after this, the residents stopped feeding the birds.

My float said...

Gosh, does EVERYTHING have sex in public these days??

Have a lovely trip with your sister. It must be lovely to spend time with someone you've known for always.

Princess Banter said...

I'm sorry about your unfortunate incident :( How are you feeling now? Bar from that, it sounded like a very lovely bike ride. Hope you enjoy your time with your sister :) I also look forward to times when I can spend time with my sister...

Liz said...

Dearest Molly. I believe it would be much safer just to try to fatten your sister up and slow her down than to risk breaking a hip in a fall from the bike. I will come to help.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I always enjoy your posts about your bike trips. Sounds like a great place to live.

Isabelle said...

Hope the bruises have now faded and you're having a lovely time with Rise. You are so lucky to have a sister.

Loved the duck stories and the ironic little comment about crane marriage made me smile.

jkhenson said...

I absolutely loved the description! :) Hope you're feeling better!