Monday, April 27, 2009

Ed and Zelda Return

Ed and Zelda are back for the first time this spring! Zelda still looks about the same, but Ed - oh my how he's grown! You can't really tell how big he is from a photo, but he was by far the biggest mallard I've ever seen. I wondered if he was half goose, or some other breed of duck that looks just like a mallard but is much larger.


They like to hang out in the swale and eat whatever swims or floats around in there.

Since our neighbor's weeping willow came down in January 2008, parts of the swale are wet all year, while part of it fills only after a heavy rain, and sometimes it looks more like a creek - even has a current.


I enjoy watching the suburban wildlife who visit our backyard 'water feature,' sustaining themselves with the constant supply of food and water. With water there year 'round, I'm surprised we don't have more mosquitoes than we do in the summer. The bats seem to do a pretty good job keeping the mosquito population down, and I suspect the larvae also become food for some of the creatures who lunch at the swale.




21 comments:

  1. Linda .. how are you girl ?
    I love their names .. and maybe some where down the line , while Ed's parents were snacking on all sorts of things .. the gene pool was tweaked ? and Ed became "Big Ed" .. but Zelda is a cute little version of her parents ? LOL
    Watching all the birds we have in our neighborhood is really interesting.. nothing quite like these two though : )

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  2. Good morning Joy, I'm good, but a little too busy lately! Getting ready for spring fling is a big job!

    He's definitely Big Ed - biggest mallard I've ever seen. Zelda's a lucky girl having him as her protecter. Ed looks like Duck on Steroids! It was so cute watching him while she was eating. He was standing over her vigilantly watching out for danger (and George!)

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  3. Hi Linda, This one sentence "Since our neighbor's weeping willow came down in January 2008, parts of the swale are wet all year" surely tells how water hungry a willow tree can be!
    Never plant them near pipes!

    Ed is humongous! Do you remember Baby Huey the giant baby duck cartoon character? They must be cousins!

    Gail

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  4. Hi Ed, hi Zelda! The vernal pond in the woods behind my house is so deep this year, the mallards to swim in it. AND American toads are in it, calling to mate. I LOVE their loud sounds. Also, I'm so envious you have bats! They're often misunderstood but a great creature! Do you know what type they are (big or little brown at, perhaps?) Noogie!

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  5. Good morning Gail, I suspect the willow was planted when the subdivision was being developed, and probably placed just behind the swale to suck up all that water. I'm gradually adding shrubs to the edge of the swale - stuff that likes to be wet! The red-twigged dogwood is happy, and pussy willows like it too. Hopefully the winterberries I just added will be happy too. I hope the new shrubs will help dry out the swale somewhat as they grow larger.

    Yep, I remember Baby Huey - I'm sure Ed is related!

    Hey Monica, I suspect the swale is contributing to the appearance of toads in the garden the last couple of years. As the willow was deterioriting, we noticed the swale staying wet for longer periods. I do enjoy the new wildlife we have enjoying the natural water feature!

    I think we have two kinds of bats - they're so fast it's hard to identify them, but it's obvious there are bats of at least two different sizes. We see them all spring, summer, and fall dipping and diving after the bugs at dusk.

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  6. Wildlife is so entertaining. Ed is probably a robust specimen.

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  7. I agree with MNGarden, wildlife is so entertaining....

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  8. You're so lucky to have them in your backyard! I'm watching the birds in my backyard right now but would love to have some more "substantial" birds like Ed and Zelda to watch too. :-)

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  9. Just calling a duck (or mallard) Ed and Zelda makes me chuckle!

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  10. MN Garden, he's quite robust!

    K&V, they are fun to watch. The most entertainment we've had here recently from our wildlife was last year when a toad somehow got into the house. We found him hanging out in front of the dishwasher one evening after we came home from dinner!

    Hi Jean, Ed and Zelda are fun to watch. Ed's very protective of Zelda. After they're finished with their lunch and swim, they usually settle into the lawn for a little nap. They hang around for quite a while before taking off for who-knows-where. Later in the summer, after the babies are hatched Zelda comes back on her own. I don't think Ed even sticks around to help with the kids. But they always show up together again in the spring.

    Good morning Beth, I can't take credit for naming them - every duck 'couple' who visits the nursery where I work is automatically named "Ed & Zelda" - makes me chuckle every time I hear it, and now ducks that show up here are Ed & Zelda too!

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  11. Glad to see Ed and Zelda have returned. I think you should rename him "Big Ed," though:)

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  12. So much construction is going on in my neighborhood, that I bet I will see all sorts of creatures who've been shoved from their homes. I hope to give them a haven.
    Brenda

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  13. Rose, I think you're right! He's definitely Big Ed!

    Brenda, I'm sure the neighborhood wildlife will appreciate having a peaceful refuge in your garden!

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  14. I like your customer service series. I have been reading back over them and am amused and impressed. I love the hat and ergonomic tool.

    So the ducks are back and how fun. They seem content and happy to see you too.

    I just planted a willow to help soak up my wayback yard as Gail calls it. I have a couple of natural springs back there and the weeper should be very happy to drink up.

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  15. I love that you named these ducks, Linda! Makes them more like family and always happy to see them return. I do the same with nuisance deer..but my names are not as nice...haha!

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  16. Ed's a particularly handsome boy. Looks like he likes his gal little and lean. Funny how the boys seem to buzz off once the ducklings have hatched - my buddy nicknamed her female Murphy Duck after she was left in the lurch by Pop. She and her husband had a whale of a time trying to get them out of the pool - the ducklings couldn't make it up the step ...flutter boards, wooden props, and 4 hours later - the ducks were saved - they walked out of the yard, and never returned. How's that for greatful!

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  17. Thanks Anna, yep, the ducks are back! They're surprisingly unafraid too. They let us get pretty close to them. I think they're pretty used to people.

    Our neighbor's willow was in the 'wayback' yard too - good spot for it near the swale and away from the plumbing!

    They're such pretty, graceful trees, and very good for wet areas.

    Thanks Lynn! I know what you mean about naming the deer - their names are probably similar to the names I give the rabbits and squirrels around here! ;O

    Hi Barbara, aw, poor little ducks! I'm sure they were grateful, even if they forgot to say so. (reminds me of the time when I was a kid and rescued a big, fat bumblebee from the pool. . . he thanked me by stinging my hand!)

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  18. Hi Linda, hooray for the return of Ed and Zelda, and congrats for Ed growing up to be such a strapping fellow. He does look quite large in the photo too. Sorry about the neighbors weeping willow tree though, or is it a good thing? Sometimes things work out for the best. :-)
    Frances

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  19. Good morning Frances! I do miss that willow. It was huge, and when it came down it pulled out a couple of mature shrubs along with it. I'm still working on planting in that area to get some of our backyard privacy back. We were all lucky when it came down it didn't take out a roof or our spruces, and lucky it came down in the middle of the night and not when kids were playing outside. I could see it was deteriorating badly, and worried about the damage it might cause if wasn't taken out before it fell. It came down between two houses, and other than the shrubs it uprooted, nothing else was damaged and no one was injured or worse.

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  20. We can watch the geese flying over head, in season, and even though we have the Frog Pond where ducks might visit, I have never seen any there. To be fair, we can't see the Pond from the house so maybe we have shy mallards. You are lucky!

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  21. We have an Ed & Zelda too! I call them Fred & Ethel. They love to bathe in the neighbor's pool or in a pool of water on the side of the road - they're not picky.

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