As previously reported, the male-to-female ratio at the Brighton millpond is way out of whack. SweetPea has paid the price but, being the trooper she is, she’s doing fine although these pictures don’t suggest it.
In mid-March, one of the two surviving Indian Runners dumped at the pond last May was making a serious attempt to join the Dam Tribe after wooing SweetPea and being allowed to mate with her by the tribal drakes (left). He appears to have settled in and now his sibling is no longer actively chased away by the other drakes. You can see how the two runners sometimes declare SweetPea as theirs (bottom) to the exclusion of her normal suitors. The situation remains quite fluid and might change as the mating season continues.
Meanwhile, back at SweetPea’s nest, her clutch has grown from seven eggs two days ago to nine now. You can see how she’s done some interior decorating with the addition of an Auto One flyer and cloth of unknown origin (left). Seems she has a penchant for blue.
Whether any of these eggs are viable is iffy. Whether she will actively sit on them once her full clutch is ready for incubation is also iffy. Ideal temperatures for eggs waiting for incubation to begin is 55 degrees. It can be below freezing at night here, but the nest is in a protected corner and might remain warmer. She is taking care to cover them when she leaves.
Her track record is filled with failure, but don’t hold that against her. Mothering instincts are bred out of domestic ducks. She doesn’t comprehend what comes naturally for wild ducks and apparently cannot learn by seeing good examples. Of the seven known nests she’s had in the past three summers, she’s managed to hatch only four ducklings from the 43 known eggs. Only one of them lived longer than a week. You can read her entire saga here. It started in June, 2010. (Note to new blog readers: The most recent posts are at the top of the page. Scroll to the bottom and click the “Older Entries” link to reach posts going back to June, 2010.)