ON a recent walk at a nearby lake, we sat watching the ducks and geese for quite a while. They came up really close begging for food, but as we didn't give them any and just sat down and stayed still, gradually they went about their business. We noticed that our bedtime book is correct:
How does a duck go to sleep, tell me how, how does a duck go to sleep?
It tucks its bill right under its wing, and doesn't worry about a thing.
That's how a duck goes to sleep, quack quack, that's how a duck goes to sleep.
(Going to Sleep on the Farm, by Wendy Cheyette Lewison)
Some of them were sleeping, with their bills tucked under their wings, while balancing on one leg! We decided we wouldn't find that very restful. They were mallards, and were very loyal to their mates, sleeping or swimming in pairs. Emma was also intrigued to notice that geese have tongues, which I have to admit was news to me too. Ok, maybe this is common knowledge, but now I know that most birds have tongues, though different from ours. The goose tongue is a delicacy in some eastern lands, and was considered by the Roman poet Ovid to be an aphrodisiac. We didn't test that.
After walking around to the other side of the lake, we took a 'secret path' to a piece of water off the beaten track. Here we again sat quietly, observing the sights and sounds around us. We first thought it was ducks making such a racket, but then I realised it was a frog croakathon. Spring is in the air! This chorus was punctuated by the loud peck peck pecking of several Downy Woodpeckers, which we could see quite easily as they scoured the trees for tasty grubs. Why isn't the noisy woodpecker in our garden so easy to find?