Monday, August 13, 2007

Where Art Thou, Small Duck?


About a month ago, my other half and I began noticing a extra-small duck -- probably a Common Pochard (Tafelente in German) -- in Zugerlakeside, Cham. The tail was curtailed, so to speak, and its neck very short and curved. Its bill though was longish and slightly upturned.

Being very energetic and resourceful -- to make up for its size perhaps -- Small Duck caught our attention and charmed us with the way it caught bread pieces and avoided Eurasian coots and mallards by diving under them or hopping over them.

We singled out Small Duck and a sole Carolina Wood duck (yes, that sweet timid fellow) to feed our few leftover bread pieces to. Some people came by with a biggish bag of bread and in the feeding frenzy, Small Duck seldom got a crumb because it was a bit wary of joining the quite violent fray among the swans, coots, mallards and lake gulls.

Small Duck would charm us by paddling furiously towards us whenever we stood by the shore to hurl bread chunks to it. With its relatively big webbed feet, it could manoeuvre its small body very artfully and make sudden turns to gain some space around it. Small Duck knew it needed that advantage to beat the coots and mallards to the bread.


(Right) Small Duck (possibly a Ferruginous) surrounded by Eurasian coots.

In the past few days, after it rained a lot for almost the whole day and night, the lake overflowed at certain places and poured strongly into the river in our small town. We no longer saw Small Duck in the evenings when we took our walks there. This morning, neither did I see it on the lake. I'm worried Small Duck might have been swept upstream into the river.


(Right) The Carolina Wood Duck in spring. It has now a shorter, snazzier 'haircut'.

Wherever Small Duck is, I hope Mother Nature is looking out for it -- in that it is safe and healthy and has enough to eat. Small Duck has stolen our hearts and it is sad not to see him or her anymore.



Below are some portraits I took of my favourite teenage Mute swans. Swan yoga, anyone?




(Above) Can you see light passing through the 'nostrils'?


(Above) This teen pen (female swan) gives a comical front view of her mug -- does it somehow remind you of the front view of an aeroplane?
:

Update (Aug 19, evening): We were throwing a few pieces of stale bread to the Carolina Wood Duck and the 'Dazy' swans (the three young pens often seem to be in a daze, or 'blur') when I spotted a familiar silhouette backlighted by the evening sun -- curved bill and small body with a short tail. Yes! Small Duck is back on the lake at Villette Park in Cham. Yahoo! She is safe and slightly bigger, at one point raising her small brown body and flapping her tiny wings. We are overjoyed to see her again.

:

42 comments:

Tunku Halim said...

Aiyah Argus - such lovely siew gnarp! (I hope I pronounced it properly this time) What delicious succulent meat! Pls warn these lovely ducks that I'm coming!!!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

I hope Small Duck is fine. Isn't human nature a wonderful thing? To be able to feel emotion and attachment to something "others" (re: above. hehe) would call food. :-P

Manisha said...

Argus, is it possible that little duckie took flight and found another pond? I hope so! Your pictures are lovely!

Oh, and I thought I'd let you know that you have an award you should pick up. Have fun with it!

Argus Lou said...

Aiyah, TH, it's siew ngarp (gnarp is like genap, heh heh! 'Exactly' enough red poultry for your dinner?) and the live ones are flappin' their wings in protest and alarm. ^_^

Thanks, Lyrical. I hope so too. Well, I love my food -- whatever 'shape' it comes in. ;-) Well, Small Duck is like a cross between a duck and a chihuahua.

Manisha, thanks for the thoughtful award. Glad you enjoyed the pictures. If Small Duck found another part of the lake to inhabit, that'd be wonderful, too. Hope I see him again one day somewhere...

wonda said...

Argus, Argus,
Sorry to say, but all I can think of is Peking Duck! We cannot buy a whole duck in the supermarket, only thin slices for shabu-shabu, esp. in winter and that meat too is probably imported ones (from China, perhaps)

Argus Lou said...

Wonda, Wonda, ^_^
Perhaps Japan needs to import some of the live Mallards -- there are so many on the lake here, armadas of them. While you're at it, take some coots too -- already too many here.

Big Boys Oven said...

Ain't they lovely!

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, Oven! And welcome to Argus World where food and animals mix with travelling, photography, reading and writing.

Tunku Halim said...

Argus - I think I'll just stick to Quack, quack, quack!

indramalar said...

Phew. having mostly read through recipes and food related postings, I was afraid ... so afaid that teh duck piece would conclude with a recipe... thanks goodness it did not... :)

Argus Lou said...

TH, it's ngap, ngarp, ngap! Just open your bill. ;-D

Indramalar, cannot-lah give a duck recipe when I'm feeling sad over the missing Small Duck. However, curry coot, anyone?

wonda said...

Argus,
Thanks for the new version of Apple pie. If only I have apples in my fridge now...... I used to top the pancakes with sliced bananas and mixed cheese. Maybe the small duck ducked to avoid the big duck?

Argus Lou said...

You're welcome, Wonda. Banana pancake I can understand - like roti pisang, but with cheese? You're just like my other half then - cheese with everything!

wonda said...

"Banana pizza?"

Padma said...

I hope the small duck is doing fine and learning new art with each day passing by...I loved those pictures and your comments as well. Did u read the story of The Ugly Ducking?

BTW congrats on the well deserving award

Argus Lou said...

Wonda, banana pizza sounds doable and edible... I used to love eating toast bread with slices of ripe banana.

Padma, thanks for your heartfelt thoughts and encouragement. Hope one day I'll run into Small Duck again at another lake or another part of this huge Zugersee (Zug Lake).

Argus Lou said...

Padma, yes, my mother read to me the story of the Ugly Duckling when I was small -- it made me cry.

I have since read the original (or quite original) version -- it's about finding your community and your niche in this world. Your soul-mates that help feed a certain hunger in your soul. That it's OK not to fit in at the beginning, but one can later search for like-minded friends when one is surer of one's own identity.

Padma said...

Very well said Argus...even I love the story we had it in our 4th class in school. It was sad reading the story about that u-duckling....
neways came here to say that you received an award, check my blog!

Argus Lou said...

Wow, Padma, thanks very much for the Rockin' Blogger Award. Much appreciate it. Would I need to write about rocks now as well as missing ducks? ;-)

(I love the young swans here; they're still slightly ungainly and scruffy but very cute.)

Kenny Mah said...

Swan yoga? Well, we actually do have a swan pose in yoga... very elegant.

Your small duck probably found a partner and off they flew into the sunset... awww... :)

Argus Lou said...

A swan pose in yoga, Kenny. Of course it'd be graceful. In tai-chi there's a rooster-standing-on-one-leg-bearing-gifts pose. (Every time I did that, I couldn't help giggling, and then I fall over.) ^_^

Yours would be a nice ending for Small Duck, thanks. Thing is, we don't know whether it's male or female. My other half says, "It should be male because it's so energetic and acrobatic." Mmm...

Argus Lou said...

Small Duck has been spotted again, folks! Please see addendum at the bottom of the story. ^_^
Now here's exactly a happy ending -- after more than a week of a feeling of uncertainty and concern.

wonda said...

Just as you have grown attached to Small Duck, my son and I were fond of a crayfish which I found on the ground. Kept it for a month or so and it molted twice and ate back its own shell. Had to let it go back to where it belonged last year because my hubby refused to have anything to do with that creature when my son and I went back to Malaysia for summer vacation. We called the crayfish, "Wilmo" ("Free Willy" + "Nemo"). Oh, I've blogged about it.

Argus Lou said...

Wonda, that's creative naming of a crayfish - Wilmo!

Yes, it's a special feeling for a creature in the wild (or at least free to come and go) that one has a bit of interaction with. It's nice to observe Small Duck and get used to its movements and responses.

Kenny Mah said...

Yay! We should always have a happy ending! :D

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, Kenny. Small Duck is as sprightly and resourceful as ever.
See you next week -- with Lyrical.

wonda said...

Argus,
You got some German translation test from Csaba on my Langos post.

Argus Lou said...

Wonda, aiyoh... that's terrible. I don't know anything. OK, will go see. ^_^

SteamyKitchen said...

so beautiful....I haven't seen a swan in a while....prob 5 months or more. will have to take another trip to the small zoo in town

WokandSpoon said...

Hehe - good to see the ducks are still there. I keep expecting to see them in one of your dishes! hehe!
;-)

Argus Lou said...

Hi, Mrs Steamy. Yeah, swans are lovely creatures (but can be dazey if still youngish). And ducks are cute and funny. Have fun watching them with your family!


Hey, WokandSpoon, how's your holiday going? I just arrived today in KL. I try not to put up recipes of meat dishes -- don't want to offend vegetarians. ^_^

WokandSpoon said...

Hey Argus, lucky you! Your holiday is just beginning! Mine finished last week :-(
Make sure you enjoy your time in M'sia!! Ooo, and you're there for Merdeka day - when we were in KL last week, it looked like there were a lot of preparations going on!

Argus Lou said...

Hi again, W&Spoon. Had an Indonesia-made Tim-Tams yesterday - the Aussie one should be better/milkier.
I'll be in my hometown Taiping, up north, around Merdeka day, plus a few days.

Puskas Csaba said...

Hallo, Argus! Dein Blog ist stark! Hast so viele Enten!
Magst du Entenfleisch...? :)

Argus Lou said...

Hallo, Csaba! Wilkommen!
Danke vielmals. Ja, ich mag Entebrust gebraten essen. ;-)

wonda said...

Ok, translation for a new student enrolling for German class.
Csaba says, "Hello, your blog is cool!......" (just guessing work, sorry the rest is German to me!)
Argus says,"Hello Csaba! Welcome! (ah... can cheat or not to search up in the internet dictionary?)
Hey, my eldest sis. also lives in Taiping - she lives in Taman Bukit Emas. She used to live in Pokok Assam when she was transfered there before she bought the house in Taman Bukit Emas. You must learn the art of making roti tissue next.

WokandSpoon said...

Indonesian-made TimTams!! I didn't even know they made TimTams in Indonesia!

Argus Lou said...

Wonda, are you Csaba's latest student? 'Stark' is strong. 'Danke' is thank-you. 'Essen' is to eat. 'Ente' is duck.
Pity I don't have the flat big pan for roti tisu.

Wok&Spoon, it was either Indonesia or Thailand, can't quite remember. I'm looking forward to my Aussie sis's Tim-Tams in October.

wonda said...

Uh-oh, must study harder. I failed. :( Do enjoy yourself and Happy Merdeka Day to you.

Argus Lou said...

No lah, Wonda. Considering you haven't studied Deutsch, you did pretty well guessing.
Thanks. I'm relaxing nowadays; sisters cook or we get hawker food. The other night we had tender frogs' legs steamed in ginger and soy sauce in a restaurant in Kamunting, near Taiping.

Padma said...

Argus, hope all is well at your end, its been long time and I am missing your posts, are you on a vacation?

Argus Lou said...

Hey, Padma. It's gratifying to know you're missing my posts.
Yes, I'm on vacation, in Malaysia for a few weeks. Scheduled to be back in Switzerland on Sept 14.

My old living-room

My old living-room
In Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

A cherished dream

A cherished dream
To live on a pale beach by a crystal clear sea. (This was taken on the east coast of Johor state, Malaysia.)

slideshowtime