Over the last several years, I have come to enjoy bird watching. The variety of niches they inhabit, colour, patterns and song I find fascinating. To sit on a rock by the bay and quietly blend into the environment so the shorebirds land there is exciting yet calming to my spirit. This time of year, with the shorebirds gone south, American Black Ducks in the salt marsh are interesting to watch.
Much of the time these birds look like they are smiling.
However, recently none of the birds had reason to smile since a bully was ruling the roost, or rather…marsh. One day we watched, the same male chased several birds across the water in the marsh, making an aggressive quacking sound as he went.
The speed with which the birds could scuttle across the water almost made flight unnecessary.
However, most of the pursued birds eventually took to wing and the bully did too. Both quickly returned to the water though.
He pursued one bird into the bulrushes where it stayed for a few minutes.
Others decided to hang out amid the bulrushes and eventually the bully left them alone.
Meanwhile two birds were oblivious to the bully’s antics. They kept their heads in the marsh and left the other to his vices. He ignored them.
The next day, it was quieter in the marsh when we visited.
However more recently, on a day when the marsh was flooded by gale force winds at high tide, one of the ducks, again a male, wasn’t playing nicely!
We always wonder, as we approach the gazebo, what the ducks are doing that day. As the marsh and later the bay freeze, the ducks will disappear from the area until spring break-up. Open water at the head of the bay will be their home for a few months. Meanwhile, we will enjoy their presence in the ever changing salt marsh.