While I was out walking yesterday I took the opportunity of visiting my favourite pair of ducks which live on a pond not too far from where we're parked at my parent's house.
This pair of Plumed Whistling Ducks are very rare visitors to New Zealand (only 2 or 3 sightings have ever been recorded) and they have made a suburban pond their home for the last four years.
I've visited them each time we've been in Napier; there were three ducks until a year or so ago when, sadly, one disappeared. These two seem to be doing very well and are a lot more confiding then they have been in the past. They live on a very busy pond with a lot of people passing by so they're obviously getting used to all the activity. Although they are still fairly shy and unless you know where to look or stop for awhile, most people passing wouldn't know of their existence.
It is not known where they have come from but it is thought they are either storm blown vagrants or perhaps illegally imported eggs that have hatched and then been dumped at the pond. Their natural habitat is in tropical northern Australia & Indonesia so they are a very long way from home.
Of course I couldn't miss the chance of shooting(with my camera) some of the other waterfowl at the pond, especially with all the spring babies about.
A family of Black Swan signets resting beside the path....
With Mum and Dad quick to move close to them when I stopped for a chat.
Another family of teenagers resting under the trees....
While Mum keeps a watchful eye on them from her sunny spot nearby.
Another juvenile Black Swan sits down on the job, grazing as far as its neck can stretch in a wide arc around it's front.
On the other side of the pond a newly hatched Mallard family are out for a quick and wary walk.
They head for the safety of the water as soon as I approach. Many dangers lurk at the ponds; dogs on the loose, wandering cats from the nearby houses, aggressive geese & swans, shags, eels, rats, pukeko, other male ducks, even other larger ducklings. It's a wonder any babies survive.
Another mother shepherds her ducklings quickly across the grass between ponds. With their longer bills, these look like they're a NZ Shoveler hybrid.
And lucky the ambulance wasn't on a call out. Talk about take their time, they even stopped for a break on the median strip. In the end I crossed behind them and shooed them up onto the grass. I hate to think how they made it back later in the day when there would have been many more cars. Someone needs to tell them the grass isn't always greener on the other side!