Monday, May 6, 2013

Mallards in Our Yard

This isn't much of a picture. I would have liked to take a picture last week of all those lovely eggs sitting so prettily in the nest I accidentally uncovered when I was cleaning up the debris under the spreading juniper in our back garden. But Mama Mallard didn't much like me poking around, so I quickly covered it all back up and hoped for the best.

I saw Mama sitting on the eggs yesterday but today when I went out to check the excitement was all over. Only empty shells were left.

Maybe she'll be back. Sometimes mallard females lay more than one clutch of eggs in a season and often they will come back to the same place year after year.

The nest was very soft and the eggs were covered with a mix of leaves and duck down. I counted 11 eggs last week but there may have been one or two out of sight. I hope all the ducklings made it safely to a suitable pond. There are lots to choose from around here, but the geese are often very vocal and prickly about who they are sharing with.

slug with pack photo: Slug with pack slugwithpack.jpg
Since we're in the garden, let's talk for a moment about hostas. Above is Hobo Slug. He travels around and sets up house near hostas. Last year I read that watering emergent hostas, before the leaves start to unfurl, with a 10% solution of ammonia in water would reduce the population of snails and slugs by killing their eggs. 1 part ammonia to 9 parts water. It worked - we had no observable slug damage in the garden last year, so I'll try it again this year. That's the tip of the day!