|An adult female mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchus, with three immatures. Mother duck is at the top of the photo. Click to enlarge.|
I went to the other end of that patch of plants, thinking the ducks might come out, but no. They had quietly slipped into a spot where they could not be seen. There in the middle of metropolis, with hundreds of walkers, joggers, and bikers passing every day, the ducks have a secret spot. I wonder if they've been there since February and March when I saw ducks mating on the pond?
Mallard duck eggs take about a month to hatch. The chicks stay with their mother for about eight weeks until they are able to fly, or fledge. So, yes, one of the ducks I saw mating at the end of winter may have built a nest deep in the reeds, laid eggs, hatched chicks, and discretely mothered her flock in the area all that time, eluding me on my frequent prying walks in the park.
Well played, mother duck!