VIDEO - Newly fledged Wood Ducklings came by to say hello
On a sweltering June evening, around 8pm a batch of Wood Ducklings spontaneously ejected from their nest cavity high up in a tree on West Rock mountain. Chirping loudly, looking for their mother, they scampered to the clearing where I had been set up photographing a pair of nesting Peregrin Falcons and their young, every day for the past two weeks.
Minutes earlier, I had snapped a photo of the Peregrin mama flying onto her nest, “ scrape” a precariously small ledge perched 200 feet up from the talus base of the mountain —a monolithic landmark with its distinctive 70º tilted basalt columnar formations.
The Peregrin had arrived to feed her two fuzzy chicks with what appeared to be a small bird with web feet, so when the Wood Ducklings sought me out for shelter under the legs of my tripod, it all began to make sense.
As the steady stream of fledglings arrived and circled around my base camp, I could barely keep track of the ten or so babies—barely visible in the shadows as they scurried through the blades of grass twice their size.
In an instant I grabbed the 600mm lens that been aiming almost straight up the cliff face, and swapped it to a 300mm, while simultaenteouly struggling to shorten the legs of the tripod to shoot down toward the ground.
With sunlight, disappearing fast behind the ridge, changing, shutter speed, ISO, flash+, and AWB compensation adjustments were executed in the blink of an eye and yielded some precious memories.
I have never experienced such an emotional moment in nature — being centrally positioned in the midst of a tiny drama unfolding all around me. Afterwards, I realized that I had witness something, that might otherwise have gone unnoticed or appear seemingly insignificant to some, but to these beautiful creatures, locked in their life-or-death battle, it was no less an epic struggle to survive.
F.Y.I. The next day I went looking for the ducklings and found them reunited with their mom happily swimming in a nearby pond.