AUSTRALIAN WOOD DUCK (Chenonetta jubata)

Just after I uploaded the previous post, I came across these images from the 25th September 2013 and back came the memories of the day of shooting.

This was back in the day of long Nature walks and hundreds of photos taken in the one afternoon – in the local parks and gardens around Melbourne city, down the beach, at the Zoo, in Nature Reserves, or just plain setting off with no particular destination in mind.

This particular day I’d caught a bus to the Fitzroy Gardens to the beautiful old Conservatory and then, crossed the road to the Treasury Gardens with its lovely pond and rows of enormous old trees either side of the main walking path.  Office workers from nearby tall office buildings come to this pond in the warm weather to eat their lunch or meet up with friends for an hour.

The Treasury Gardens in Melbourne are located on the eastern rim of the city’s CBD (Central Business District) below.

I spotted a number of little Australian Wood Ducklings and spent quite a while kneeling down about 8-10 feet away capturing these little bundles of joy.   It seems I’ve lost a few of the series, but still retained enough to share online.

There were 10 little Ducklings on the 25th September visit.

Mother Duck herding her offspring into line for the (long) waddle to a different area of the pond.
Easy to see what she was ‘quacking’ in this photo.

Then back again a few days later on the 30th revealed 4 more (to make 14 ducklings).

Only 2 adults that I could see, so where did the 4 extra ducklings come from?

Were the 2 adults baby-sitting?   Do ducks have more than one set of offspring in a season?   Or worse, had the 4 new ducklings lost their parents?

I never found out.

They all jumped off the pond edge and swam away. Check out the duckling on the right side of the frame who was practising her ‘walking on water’ skills.
Looks like they had fun exploring the water plants.
Then Mama demonstrated how to clean and realign their feathers.
Can you see the difference in the size of the ducklings? The seated ones are much smaller than the others. Going by my observations of birds in general, I’d say the smallest were about 5-8 days old.
None of them seemed bothered by my proximity.

When I knelt down close, Papa Australian Wood Duck started to get very annoyed and confronted me with a stern warning to back off.

Since I was almost eye to eye with Papa at this stage, I hurriedly got up and walked away.

On the other side of the pond, I came across a few ‘teenagers’ and managed to get a shot of this young male.

Alas, all the rest of the duck images taken that week have disappeared with the rest of the missing images in the Mists of Time, but I was so glad to come across these few again tonight in my image Library.

Note the males have brown heads and the females have a stripe above and below the eye. I’ve never ever seen a young duckling with a brown head, so, do they all have striped heads when they’re born and the males acquire the all-brown heads as adults OR what?

Who knows.   It’s after midnight so I won’t be surfing the net to find out.   My Australian Bird Guide book doesn’t reveal the answer.

Hope you enjoyed the viewing.

AUSTRALIAN WOOD DUCK (Chenonetta jubata) – female juvenile

This young Australian Wood Duck caught my eye as I’m gradually re-creating my whole Photo Library and filing system (before exporting it to my new iMac desktop computer).

These medium-large ducks, with their long necks, are very common in the urban landscape, whether it be public parks and gardens, or near my local nature reserve (just behind my apartment building).    While I’ve shared this image before, never hurts to have another look.

The male has a brown head with substantial drooping crest, chestnut-speckled grey breast, grey body and black rump and a relatively small beak.

The female has distinctive white stripes above and below the eye as you can see in the juvenile’s head above.

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This blog is taking a break until I have either reviewed every image in my old photo library, deleted the worst and then transferred everything across to my new computer, OR I get outdoors to take some new images (not likely as I’ve been too busy).

I’m currently working on the photo library on my spare hard drive – which is in no particular order – date, location or image number.

They’re all mixed up.  Last month’s photo is next to a 2018 images and so on.

After various attempts and 3 different methods, I have found no easy, quick way to move my images from the old laptop to the new desktop without losing precious photos (or the old filing system with its various folder names).

Some of you may think reviewing thousands of images, one at a time is a ghastly laborious task, but once I made the decision to stop worrying about blogging and blog reading and just concentrate on the task, it’s become a rather strange, but relaxing meditation in Mindfulness.

I just concentrate on the image I’m looking at, make the decision to either keep or delete and neither worry about how many images I’ve done so far, nor how many I have to do in the future. Ten images or ten thousand images.  Makes no difference.

Just concentrating on one image makes everything doable.

The breeze is lovely and cool wafting in my open balcony door and the bird song fills the background (despite the construction crew on the building site across the road).

The Sparrows and Fairy-wrens continue to explore my potted plants which I find rather strange as there’s no bird seed scattered about and no fresh shoots to graze on.

Do they start each day thinking about past food offerings and visit my garden in Hope, or have they short-term memory problems like me and forget what they did, or didn’t find, yesterday?

The Autumn weather is absolutely glorious in Melbourne at the moment, but life has been busy with tradesmen arriving to make window alterations, so I have furniture moved and books piled high (out of their shelving) and health issues taking a dive downhill and 2 seperate visits to the local hospital in the last 10 days.   

Despite these interruptions, I have to say the warm sun, minimal traffic noise and soft Autumn breeze, makes every day a good day at the moment.

AUSTRALIAN WOOD DUCK (Chenonetta jubata)

GOING BY THE DATE OF THE SHOT, THIS JUVENILE FEMALE AUSTRALIAN WOOD DUCK MUST HAVE BEEN ON THE MARIBYRNONG RIVER
A YOUNG MALE AUSTRALIAN WOOD DUCK – RINGWOOD LAKE, RINGWOOD (AN OUTER EASTERN SUBURB OF MELBOURNE WHERE I WAS BORN……ehrr IN A SMALL PRIVATE HOSPITAL (now demolished and replaced with a massive shopping centre), NOT IN THE LAKE.

The long neck and upright posture gives the duck the appearance of a small goose.  The male has a brown head with substantial drooping crest, chestnut-speckled grey breast, grey body and black rump, tail and under tail coverts.

ORNAMENTAL LAKE, ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, MELBOURNE
JUVENILE FEMALE AUSTRALIAN WOOD DUCK – TREASURY GARDENS, MELBOURNE

The female has distinctive stripes above and below the eye on a brown head.

NOT MUCH WATER LEFT IN THE MARIBYRNONG WETLANDS AT THE END OF SUMMER, 2017.
THIS FEMALE WAS CLEARLY INTENT ON SCARING ME OFF WHEN I GOT TOO CLOSE TO HER LARGE BROOD OF DUCKLINGS.
THIS SHOT FROM THE TREASURY GARDENS IN MELBOURNE CLEARLY SHOWS THE DUCKLINGS HAVE THE STRIPE ABOVE AND BELOW THE EYE,  DENOTING FEMALES.

I haven’t followed this up, but every tiny duckling I’ve ever seen, (and I’ve seen and/or photographed many), seems to have the stripe up and below the eye.   So I’m not sure whether all ducklings have this and the males head feathers change to all-brown as they grow OR, I’ve only ever seen female ducklings 🙂

I ASSUME THIS IS A TEENAGER ABOUT TO SHED ALL ITS SOFT DOWNY FEATHERS. THIS IS ONE VERY UGLY DUCKLING.
MORE TEENAGERS IN THE ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, MELBOURNE