The river flowed freely in spite of the sub zero temperature as the pair swam five meters from the bridge. People, gathered to watch the avians, did not disturb their reverie.
The drake had an iridescent green head with a white choker-like circle around his neck. He had a flat yellow bill, gray back, black rear and brown breast. His legs were bright orange.
Mottled brown, the hen had a larger, mainly brown feather on her sides. Below that feather, one can see a hint of the blue visible when she is in flight. Her bill is a drab green colour while her legs are bright orange. She is a large bird and the brown outline on the feathers of her back and sides looks to have been painted by a brush.
Mallards are dabbling ducks, dipping their heads underwater to feed. The female was the only one feeding on this occasion, dipping below the surface occasionally as she swam with her mate.
This pair probably found each other last autumn and recently returned from warmer climes where they migrate annually. The female will incubate the eggs and care for the ducklings herself.
The male makes a quiet rasping sound while the female makes the traditional duck call. He was communicating with her for a time. She let him talk, without comment.
Sometimes you don't need to say anything. Wise bird!
We took the following photos a week later. The sun made a huge difference to the scene and some of the snow had melted. The pair swam closer to the bridge on this occasion.
The mark in the center of the hen's beak was obvious.
The drake had the same mark.
My favourite photo shows the sky reflected in the water and the hen in all her glory.