Recently, and for the first time since we built the ponds, something like ten years ago, I saw mallard ducks on the largest pond.

We’ve had wood ducks in our large but almost fully shaded pond, with trees along three of the sides. Wood ducks can handle closed-in water like ours.

Not mallards, generally. Nor geese — both of which require long take-off “runways” and gradual-rise escapes.

I was strolling toward the “low road” through the forest that starts just beyond the biggest pond, as I often do when taking a break from work or to give the doggies a bit of a run-about, when Chase startled them (and me) by coming close while they were in a small, shallow and very protected inlet. But they didn’t just fly away. They swam toward me, and when they saw me, they took off for about ten yards, but landed again.

I went along to the dock and lay down in the sun to watch.

They were as far away from me as they could get and stay on the water. After a short interval of preening, and seeking the edge bottoms for the non-existent water grasses to eat, the male tucked his head and had a snooze. The female walked up the steep bank, a little way into the clethra shrubs, and she too, tucked her head for a bit of rest.

The dogs were paying them no mind, yet they were busy investigating the woods etc. So this pair must have come a long way, and set down in the first place that looked promising during their migration. They appeared to be so tired that nothing — not even me on the dock or the dogs rooting around in the woods — would keep them from staying put and getting the rest they knew they needed.

I was just sorry our sanctuary did not offer any foodstuffs for their energy replenishment.

I was unable to get a good photo of the two (who were gone the next day when I returned to the pond), so I found a picture on the internet and drew them into something that looks close to our habitat.

So nice to have such visitors to our homestead; and that we could provide a small time of respite for them.