Here is why the pair of adult Black Bellies would not leave my pond. Somehow, unseen by anyone here, they had nested and raised 8 ducklings to "almost adulthood" without any of us noticing.
Not even Hermine, a category 1 hurricane, could run them off from the cover rich, duckweed coated , tiny pond of mine.
I am so glad.
They are very alert, but laid back about my presence when I sneak around for a few pics.
I don't go down each day, and the dogs and I take a different route when we walk now.
I know they'll go eventually, but this is even more awesome than the brown pelican who showed up years ago.
He was apparently ill and only lasted a few days, but it was odd.
This is the whole family starting to get a little nervous about my presence. They have clumped together, a parent at each end, and are just starting to glide slowly towards cover on the opposite side of the pond.
This was the last shot before I turned and let them be.
They had reached the flooded willowy, cypressy, swampy side and were comfortable enough to park it for a while.
As you can guess, I'm feeling pretty protective.
More than once, I've walked down at night when I heard duck chatter... actually, a few days ago I dropped two armfuls of groceries on the way to the house over these ducks.
I had just loaded up for the "bag walk" to the house when a whistle duck racket broke out down at the pond.
I dropped the groceries and ran down there, but either the threat had left or my presence changed their focus.
Whatever the case, they seemed fine and were back to their usual awesomeness, so I trudged back up the slope.
Maybe a hawk or owl had cruised over, I don't know.
My research on Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks shows that they "take readily to nest boxes".
Already got that plan printed and will be making a nest box happen in the near future.
I am so curious as to where they actually nested, but will leave that exploration for a time after everybody has fledged and ... probably left.
Loving it while they are here though.