Around suppertime last night, I became fascinated by a pair of common mergansers who were hanging out by the shore near the cabin. These two ducks have been spending a lot of time on these rocks this spring. Sometimes they go fishing in the clear, shallow waters. Other times, they simply sit on the rocks, preening or sunning themselves. I'm harboring a not so secret hope that they're spending so much time here because they're going to nest around these parts.
This evening, Mrs. Merganser was taking a nap on the rock, while Mr. kept watch.
Mrs. Merganser has taken to, how shall I say, relieving herself on the rocks, so when she crouched down, her derriere pointed right at me, I was expecting another lovely splattering of guano. So imagine my surprise when something round, beige and hard looking popped out. It took me a second to realize what I'd just seen. Could it really be an . . . egg?
Binoculars confirmed my suspicions. It totally was an egg!
I was a little surprised she'd just laid an egg for a couple reasons. For one, she was standing on a not so flat rock that the egg could easily roll off of. The rock, which is out in the wide open, and could also soon be submerged if we have some more rainfall. Wouldn't she want to lay her egg in a slightly more secure spot, you know, like on shore . . . in a nest?
Still, I couldn't help but feel a little excited. Was I really going to get to watch the pair incubating their eggs (mergansers lay up to 13 eggs!) for the next month or so? Mrs. Merganser kind of perched over the egg for a while, but she didn't seem too into it. She nudged it about with her beak a little, but when she shifted on the rock, she bumped the egg with her foot and just as I'd feared, the egg slowly rolled down the slopped rock and plopped gently into the lake. Mrs. or Mr. appears completely and utterly nonplussed by the fact. They continued to go about their business as though nothing had happened.
I however was slightly horrified. That's no way to treat your baby!!
When the pair flew off down the lake, I had to go look at the egg, which was resting in about a foot of water.
I was surprised by both how large and how heavy it was. It was probably a third again as big as the "large eggs" we're used to baking and cooking with. I'm guessing it's unfertilized and that's why Mama Duck was so uninterested in it, but then again, are ducks really smart enough to know if the egg is fertilized or not?
Chickens certainly sit on their eggs regardless of whether or not the eggs will ever hatch and I remember when my grandmother had a small pet bird that she had to remove the egg the bird laid every single day or else the bird would get broody. Granted, that's the extent of my bird breeding knowledge, but based on that, I see no reason why Mrs. Merganser would be so uninterested in her egg. Who knows, eh?
I discovered another little wonder on Wednesday, when I was walking to the mailbox and snapping pictures of early season wildflowers. I was looking for a violet to photograph when a little bit of blue caught my eye on the far side of the road. I know my wildflowers pretty well, but I had never seen it before and couldn't find it any of the many wildflower guidebooks in the cabin.
scilla and could have come in with the road gravel.
Oh heck, it's probably invasive, but it sure is a pretty little thing.
It's only about 4 inches tall!
Have you seen any little wonders lately?