After the storm

The Black-bellied Whistling Duck (BBWD) above was the designated sentinel of the day, keeping a close watch over the 15 or more fluffy, black and yellow ducklings swimming about nearby with their ‘guardians’.IMG_2994It had been raining all day, and the worst of a severe thunderstorm had just passed. We surmised later that it may have been a precursor to Hurricane Florence, which was then brewing in the Caribbean and heading toward the southeast U.S.

 

The Black-bellied Whistling ducklings are barely perceptible in the above video, as they were at quite a distance from the trail. Watched over by caregivers, they were scooting about very close to the marshy vegetation, where they could flee in a hurry in case of danger.

IMG_2983This sign above, typical of the sort of cautionary signs we see everywhere in Florida wetlands and marshy areas, was undoubtedly meant for humans, in every season. IMG_2989But Black-bellied Whistling Duck parents would do well to heed the warning, too. We spotted lots of ‘low-lying’, well camouflaged ‘gators lurking nearby. The very protective American Alligator moms are also watching over their own nests and hatchlings at this time of year.  IMG_3061Some research maintains that there is “no real evidence that alligators are an important predator” of the Whistling Ducks. However, I trust this reminder from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission:

“Alligators are opportunistic feeders. Their diets include prey species that are abundant and easily accessible. . . . Adult alligators eat rough fish, snakes, turtles, small mammals, and birds.”

In other words, when asked, “What do Alligators eat?”, the most accurate response is probably, “Whatever they want!!”

9 thoughts on “After the storm

  1. Such adorable ducklings! I’ve only seen BBWD’s once on a Florida trip couple years ago, you cannot imagine how excited I was to sight them around a pond and hear them I flight! Definitely a beautiful, unique duck!

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