Nahant Marsh has been full of many wood ducks this season. All through the late spring and on into the summer, moms and their ducklings have been everywhere at the marsh. Although wood ducks are born every year here, this summer they’ve been especially abundant.
Each time I’ve visited I’ve noticed multiple wood duck moms out with their broods. Some are small and downy, others, longer out of the shell, are larger. All know just what to do, and busily pick morsels of food from the surface of the water as they paddle about.
Sometimes Mom follows watchfully along with them, other times she leads the way. Occasionally a dawdling duckling will run across the water to catch up when the distance gets a little too great for comfort. They are fun to watch, and it is a treat to have seen so many this summer.
Always the little ones grow with surprising speed, eating voraciously and becoming near adult sized in short order. This usually means the window of opportunity to see them while still small is short. But, this summer, additional groups of new hatchlings keep gliding into view.
The green and growing time is not only full of wood ducks. Hooded merganser moms are also out on the water, enjoying the abundance of summer with their little ones—and trying to avoid having the hatchlings eaten before they have a chance to grow.
The babies that have survived the bountiful and perilous time of high summer are no doubt quite large by now. I have been out wandering away from the marsh for a time. I don’t expect any more little ones to cross my path. It has been, and still is, a remarkable, beautiful summer at Nahant Marsh, and you never know what might wander into view.