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Last March I watched a solitary Pekin duck

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make close friends with a mallard

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before matting a bed of grass on the rocky banks of Ridley Park Lake.

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The Pekin, I’ve read, is a domesticated mallard,
bred in China for thousands of years before it was brought to New York in the 187os.

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Paddling through the winter lake,

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some stick close together,

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especially this group of five,

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 which includes one duck curiously colored …
any ideas why?

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Update:  A reader’s close observations of these lake ducks lead me to agree that the the curious-looking gray one is, as she points out, an Indian Runner.  For more, see the comments by brookeduffy. Thanks, Brooke!

100_4006edcrop100_4265edcropFor a few years now, the Mallards have been returning near the end of March to meet, feed, and mate.

This April, sometimes six or more green-topped males have gathered in their colorful breeding plumage. Fewer females are mottled white on brown.  Often only one is visible.

The frequent commotion of quacking, snapping, and chasing to flight has mostly settled now to an atmosphere of waiting.  Even expectation.

Are some little Mallards on the way?

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