Duck Drama

At the Four Mile Beach Lagoon.

Katherine and I were walking on the Wilder Ranch Coastal Bluffs trail recently. It was an overcast day and we weren’t seeing too many birds. I suggested we walk to the lagoon at Four Mile Beach. “Maybe we’ll see some herons,” I said.

We arrived at the beach and saw gulls sitting and flying and swimming.

Gulls at the beach. No surprise there.

While Katherine walked on ahead, I paused to take pictures of the Mallards. Several of the males had grown bright new feathers while a few were still in that embarrassing in-between phase between eclipse and breeding plumages.

The Mallards were surprisingly active. I watched one in particular as he jumped up to display over and over again.

(Click on an image to see a larger view.)

I watched this Mallard for several minutes until some splashing out of my viewfinder caught my attention. I turned and saw…Duck Drama!

It started with a “hard look” between two Mallards.

“What you looking at?”

Some shoving ensues. Nothing serious. Just testing each other’s resolve.

“Back off!” “No, you back off!”

Then one of two things happens. Either both parties back off and say, “Next time, bring friends!” or….


“You!” “No, you!”

It may stop after just a few punches…just enough for each to “save face.” Or…


“Yeah, take that!”

By this time, we soon find out who’s been doing their cardio as one…


“And don’t come ’round here no more! (To paraphrase Tom Petty)”

Wow! I would have thought that after breeding season, things would calm down.

I would have been wrong!

(Did you notice the Mallard couple trying not to watch as they swam by? They couldn’t take their eyes away, though.)

I realized I’d been hanging with the Mallards for quite a while. I looked around and saw Katherine near the main part of the lagoon. She saw me and put her fingers to her lips. Shhhhh.

Katherine must see something fun and exciting. I hurried over to her as quietly as possible.

To be continued…

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
I would love to hear what you think; add a comment!x