poetry and prose about place

‘Ducks’ Ditty’

with 11 comments

On Saturday we took a drive along the St. John River, to see if any waterfowl were braving the cold windy day.  The water is slowly receeding but still above summer levels.  On a miserable day, the ducks retreat to the shallows, away from the exposure of the open water.

There were a few birds on the water.  We stopped for a while to watch five male Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) paddling about.  They stuck together as a group, feeding in the shallows and occasionally ‘standing’ on the water to flap their wings.   This time of year, the female Mallards are on the nest, hatching their young, and the males typically hang out in groups with other males until moulting begins.

I am not good at duck identification, but the Mallard is easy to spot, with its bright green head and the white ring around its neck.  I enjoyed watching them through the binoculars, especially their orange legs and feet maneouvering in the muddy water.

The Mallard is a member of the marsh duck family and a ‘dabbler’.  Dabblers obtain their food by skimming it from the surface or tipping up to submerge their heads so they can feed underwater.

I can never watch dabblers on the water without thinking of Kenneth Grahame’s famous poem ‘Ducks’ Ditty’, from the book The Wind in the Willows.  If you don’t have a copy of the book, have a look at the poem at

©  Jane Tims 2012

11 Responses

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  1. The Ducks Ditty fits them well indeed 🙂


    Watching Seasons

    April 26, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    • Hi Tracy. ‘up-tails all’ is my favorite phrase in that poem. It shows you what a skilled poet can do with rhyme. ‘Wind in the Willows’ is a favorite book. Jane


      jane tims

      April 27, 2012 at 6:26 am

  2. Aww they are so lovely!


    Eve Redwater

    April 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm

  3. Beautiful post once more Jane!



    April 26, 2012 at 3:38 am

  4. another sweet drawing, Jane. Love those ducks!!



    April 26, 2012 at 12:24 am

  5. I love your, fresh off the press drawings Jane!



    April 26, 2012 at 12:11 am

    • Hi. Thanks! I think I love to draw almost as much as I love to write. Lots this time of year to use as subject matter. Jane


      jane tims

      April 27, 2012 at 6:32 am

  6. “Heads down, tails up…” It’s fun to watch ducks! Your drawing is beautiful…


    Barbara Rodgers

    April 25, 2012 at 11:04 am

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