Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Pine-cone fish and a manky mallard

Beside the pond in Boundary Park, a half-dozen small children, mostly preschoolers, were watching ducklings in a shallow mini-bay. I was carrying a bag of bread crumbs, so I joined the group and added to the fun.

"Mmmm ... ! Multi-grain bread, my fave!"

These were half-grown ducklings, out on their own with parents supervising from a distance. They were obviously accustomed to being fed in this spot, and came out of the water, right up to the kids feet, to pick up stray crumbs. So ... great excitement all around; laughing, squealing, (the kids) splashing, gobbling, sometimes fighting (the ducklings).

And then the fish turned up, as excited as all the rest.

The water is shallow; the carp is scraping his belly in the mud to get at the bread.

The setting sun catches the carp's fan tail, turning it a neon orange.

There is a school of these at Reifel Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary; they feed in the shadow of a steep bank, where the sun rarely shines. Even there, the pattern of their scales stands out. Here, half out of water, and in sunlight, it is even more striking.

And don't they look like evergreen cones? Look:

A pine cone, maybe, in wet weather?

Adults, on the fringes of the feeding horde, not hungry enough to challenge the fish.

The splotchy white duck is another hybrid, a "manky mallard".

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