Tag Archives: Ducks

Wordless Wednesday: Female Mallards

Female mallards

Return to the Riparian Preserve


“Have you seen the spoonbill who lives here?” asked a man with a camera.

“No, I’ve never seen the spoonbill, but I see you’ve brought the big gun,” I said, pointing to the huge telephoto lens on his camera.

The Gilbert Riparian Preserve is a popular local venue for nature photographers. I posted about it in 2016 and 2017, but I hadn’t been back there since, so the other day I drove to the 110 acre park that boasts a lake, seven ponds, hiking trails, a playground, and an observatory. I wasn’t expecting it to be so busy on a weekday; I was lucky to get a parking spot. The park was full of senior citizens and parents with young children. And also lots of ducks.

Water Ranch Lake
Water Ranch Lake
lotsa ducks
Lots of mallards.
feeding the ducks

When I was a little girl, we’d go to the local pond with a bag of stale bread and tear it up to feed the ducks. Bread is no longer a recommended duck cuisine. At the Preserve, only at the lake (not at the ponds) are you allowed to feed the ducks, and only birdseed, corn, and whole-grain cereal are permitted. (Most people, like the kids above, bring baggies of Cheerios.)

House sparrow
I think this little house sparrow wants in on the Cheerio action.
ring-necked ducks
Ring-necked ducks. See the white markings on their bills?
turtle sunning
A turtle sunning himself

As I wandered around from pond to pond, I found lots of things to look at and wonder about.

Cactus garden
A garden of saguaro cactus
memorial placard
No blossoms in this garden in January, but as I read the dedication, I realized it was planted in honor of a baby who died the day she was born.

Benches appear throughout the preserve. This one had a placard that particularly touched me:


In one of the ponds I noticed some wading birds fishing for food.

American avocet
An American avocet. See the curved-upward beak?
Black-necked stilt
A black-necked stilt

And further on, another turtle:


I noticed a painted rock nestled in the V of a tree trunk:

painted rock

A gambrel’s quail sprinted across the trail in front of me, and I was barely able to snap a shot before it disappeared into the brush:

Gambrel's quail

I won’t let another four-and-a-half years pass before I make another trip to the Preserve. Maybe I’ll see you there. . .

Wordless Wednesday: Ducks in the Shade


Wordless Wednesday: Trespassers


Ducks in pool

Wordless Wednesday: Mallards


Kammie’s Oddball Challenge: Caution, Duck Crossing



More Oddballs.

Junior Duck Stamp Conservation Program

Junior Duck Stamp Conservation Program

If you are the parent or teacher of students in K-12 (in the United States; also homeschooled students), your child or students might be interested in participating in the annual junior duck stamp competition put on by the Fish and Wildlife Service. The art contest is part of efforts to increase interest in wildlife and awareness of habitat challenges.


2016-2017 Junior Duck Stamp, featuring a pair of Ross’s geese by Stacy Shen, 16, of Fremont, Calif. Credit: USFWS

The FWS produced a cross-disciplinary curriculum that meets national standards for science, visual arts, and environmental education. Teacher guides and student handbooks (geared toward grades 5-8) are available as a free download.

The culminating activity is an artwork for possible entry into the contest, depicting any of several specified species of waterfowl. Realism counts, and competition is fierce. Look at the 2016 “Best of Show” winners for each state. (Oh, my. I wish I could draw half as well as these kids.) Copying (even freehand copying) is prohibited, and the contest brochure shows how to use a picture for reference without copying it.


Entries must be postmarked by March 15, except: South Carolina (sorry; entries postmarked by January 10), Massachusetts and New Jersey (entries postmarked by February 15), Maryland, Missouri, Ohio and Virginia (entries postmarked by March 1).

Scholarship prizes for the top three winners range from $200-$1000. General rules are available here. For the complete rules, click here.


Photo by Simply CVR

So, what do you think? Do you know a young person who might want to enter the contest? Do you know teachers who might want to include conservation activities in their instruction? Why not send them a link to this article.


Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Duck Duck Goose

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Duck Duck Goose

I’m participating in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. The theme has been children’s games, and this week’s prompt is Duck, Duck, Goose.

So, here are some ducklings swimming in the canal near my home.


And some mallards in nearby Kiwanis Park.


And some coots. They’re almost ducks.


Oops! Not ducks or geese. Sorry.


Photos © by ARHuelsenbeck.featured-on-cee