Tuesday, March 17, 2009


What do keepsakes of the heart and Mallard Ducks have in common?...my father. Not only did Dad have a lot of Irish in his blood, Patrick was his middle name and he was born on St. Paddy's Day. This past week, as every spring, the Mallards have returned. Whenever I see them, I think of him.

When my children were young and Dad was still alive, he had a weekend ritual with his grandchildren. We lived right next to what is referred to the Emerald Necklace, a stretch of the Metroparks that extends for miles. There are several areas to enjoy the wildlife, picnic areas, ball fields, bike/walking trails, playgrounds, nature centers, toboggan chutes and the list goes on.

He would take them there to feed the ducks. After a couple of years a sign was posted asking visitors not to feed the wildlife. That didn't stop Dad and the kids from their visits, though. I truly believe he had even more fun than the children. He came back with just as many stories as them!

My father loved being in nature, we went camping almost every weekend. Many vacations were spent traveling state to state for 2 and 3 weeks at a time. I feel he played a large part in how I appreciate nature now. It's really something how seeing a simple image as the ducks swimming on our pond, or anywhere for that matter, calls on certain fond memories... the keepsakes of my heart.

I chose to share my images of the Mallards on this day, his birthday, as I remember my father...who I miss very much. He's passed on to a better place, but he's still alive where it counts. I have lots of fond memories.

Now on to the Mallards! I took these photographs from inside the cabin, I just opened the window and went for it. Now what I'm going to tell you...you may not believe, but in my fathers' name...I speak the truth. I was going into the kitchen and thought to myself...hmmm?...I should start looking out the window for the ducks, usually they fly in around now. I walked over to the large window facing the pond, and there they were! My radar was in fine tune that day!

The sky ranged from slight sun to overcast. The male got most of my attention due to his brilliant coloring. It's too bad that I couldn't get this shot from a different angle, that's the railing around the top portion of our dock in view. I like their reflection on the water, too.
The couple were quite lovey-dovey the entire time... playing around, searching for food, and they seemed to enjoy each other's company immensely.
Last year, I think I witnessed a turf battle as two pairs of Mallards showed up around the same time. One pair stayed on one side the majority of the time and visa-versa. When the two males both swam towards the center of the pond, there was alot of noise and flapping going on! Eventually, both pairs just flew off.
I often think too bad Dad isn't around, he would've loved it here in our woods! My husband and I didn't know it when we first met, but quickly found out that his father was my fathers' supervisor at their mutual workplace. Both of our fathers were deceased when we met. My husbands' father loved the outdoors, too, and was into fishing. I wonder if they're both up there, looking down and smiling?!

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T and S said...

That's nice post on your Dad. Your emotions flow through your post and it touched me as well.

The images of the Mallards are beautiful and like I said in one of my first posts on your blog, you like in a amazing place and I envy you for that.

Since the Mallards are coming to you rather than you having to go after them, the next time around try taking these pictures with a -2.0 EV setting on the camera assuming you are going to photograph at similar lighting conditions. You will be surprised to see what you get. Do keep me posted on your findings.

Anonymous said...

That's a wonderful story about the ducks and your father. Perhaps he whispered in your ear that the ducks were here, since he too was probably excited for himself and for you. But maybe you are just psychic with wonderful intuitive skills.

camellia said...

Beautiful story of dads and mallards, they do seem to flow side by side in that pond. Have a great day!

spookydragonfly said...

Hello Thomas...When the Mallards show up again, I will attempt what you suggested. I saw them two days in a row, I haven't seen them again. I'm sure they'll be back, though! Thanks for the tip!

Hello Bernie...It is nice to think that perhaps my father whispered in my ear! I can't leave comments on either of your blogs. I tried to e-mail you through the link on your profile page, with no success. Your last couple of posts on Walking in Stillness particularly touched me. I'm sure you can figure out why.

KaHolly said...

A very touching, thoughtful post today. You have an amazing link with your dad to keep his memory fresh and free.

fishing guy said...

SD: What a fun post with all the Mallards. This seems the only duck that use our flyway. I love your reflection shots.
I had a stint put in my heart three weeks ago so haven't been visiting as much. I am feeling fairly well.

Anne said...

What a lovely post. I'm sure that both of your father's are smiling down on both of you. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

May you have:
A world of wishes at your command
God and his angels close at hand
Friends and family their love impart,
And Irish blessings in you heart.

What a wonderful memory,
Your pictures are so beautiful of the Mallards. Don't you just love their shiny emerald green heads.

JGH said...

I love how you've woven memories of your father into this post. Truly special. Interesting tidbit about your fathers working together, too. You must wonder if they were friendly, ever talked about their kids together, etc.

I think that photo of the male taken from behind is just stunning - the contrast and lines of the feathers - nice work!

Gallicissa said...

Wonderful post.
It is nice how nature is closely linked to your life in so many ways. That male Mallard is really pretty. No wonder you concentrated a lot on him!

Changing topics, my pond is getting a lot of attention from dragonflies and damselflies these days. I was quite pleased to find 4exuviae upon returning home after being out on tours. It is such a good feeling!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim, If you ever feel like striking up a conversation about a post you can always email me at:


Happy Birthday to your Dad.

The Early Birder said...

Mallard is so common that it is often overlooked but just look at the vibrant shimmering colour on the males head.
I can fully understand the connection with your Dad - Lovely post which touched me to.
Lol Frank

spookydragonfly said...

???????...My blogger dashboard lists 31 followers, but doesn't show who they are, neither does my blog. I see that I have a couple of new followers, I don't know who you are, but...Thank you!!

spookydragonfly said...

Hello KaHolly...I think of Dad everyday, St. Paddy's day being his birthday is a bit sentimental, though. One year, the ducks first showed up on his birthday. I didn't see them on his birthday this year, all I saw were floating feathers from their last visit!

Hi Fishing Guy...I love watching the Mallards, so graceful on the pond. I breathe a little slower when I watch them. I hope your recovery is speedy, please take care of yourself and rest up.

Hi Anne...You know, I'll bet they are! Hope you're having this warmer weather like we have here this past couple of days! It hit 70 degrees!

Hi Lona....Well, thank you for the Irish Blessing! I need all the help I can get, right about now! Did you see the blue blending with the green on the males' head? Beautiful! Loving the weather you and I had these past two days!

Hi JGH...Yes, they did know eachother and discuss family. His family lived just a couple of blocks away from us. My Mom had met his father and remembers my father talking of my hubbys' father often. She remembers my husbands' father had his hands full because his wife had Alzhiemers for years. My mother said that my dad would visit my hubbys' dad at times. My husband said that he remembered me from high school!

Hello Gallicissa...I can just imagine your excitement! I'm looking forward to more of your fantastic dragonfly captures! Nothing going on here that I can see yet.

Hi Bernie...I appreciate that, I just may do that one day! I have a couple of questions that I may pose to you.

Hello Frank...I agree, when you really look closely at them, wow...they are beautiful. They deserve a second look! I love the blue blending with the green on the head of the male.
Regarding Dad...love never dies, does it?

spookydragonfly said...

Hi Camellia...Thank you! Talk about peaceful... I could watch them for hours. You have a great day, too!

Nutty Gnome said...

What a lovely post.I can feel the love for your dad and can almost hear him saying "go look out the window" at you! The photos of the mallards are great too - what a wonderful place you live in.

I swear my mum is lurking in my garden whenever I'm planting things - I find myself wanting to put a plant in one place, then being 'steered' to put it somewhere else where it looks better!

MyMaracas said...

Oh yes, I do believe they're watching and smiling.

This post strikes such a chord with me. My own Dad loved the outdoors, and he passed away about this time of year, as did my Mom. So often I wish with all my heart that they could be here with us. Dad, especially, would have been in heaven out here. We're both lucky to have had parents who imparted a love of nature.

The mallards are beautiful, and so are your photos of them -- as always. Thanks for sharing them!

BTW, I've (finally) passed along the award you gave me. Sorry it took so long.

Q said...

I enjoyed your tribute to your Dad. Thank you for opening your heart...I shall remember, "Keepsakes of the heart."
It says it all.
Lovely photographs of the Mallards.
You and your father are one.
Happy St. Pat's Day.
Happy Spring,

spookydragonfly said...

Hi Nutty Gnome...I do feel that many times Dad is around me. As far as the Mallards...they come around a few times in March and April, then here and there throughout the warmer season. They never stay. I don't think they like the dogs and all the cats hanging around. I'm hoping to see another Loon on the pond, only once have I spotted a Loon here!

Hi Vicki...I can't tell you how many times my husband and I would reminisce about our dads and how they would've enjoyed the whole process of helping build our dream here. When I was young, we went canoeing alot. Dad built a canoe himself...how I wish we had that canoe still..it would be on our pond right now! No worries about the award...glad you found someone to pass it on to!

Hello Sherry...Our memories do have a sacred place. It's amazing to me how much emotion can be attached to a memory...no matter how aged the memory is. I hope you have a wonderful spring, Sherry!

Patsi said...

Treasured memories like yours always make me sad. I have to stop feeling that way.

spookydragonfly said...

Hello Patsi...I'm sorry if my post made you sad. My memories of my father are good, whenever I remember him, I smile. I do miss him and wonder how life would be if he were still here in the physical sense...but I know we'll be together again...someday! I'm off to see if I can get to your blog yet.

spookydragonfly said...

Hello again, Patsi...I still can't get to your blog either! It partially loads, then shows error. If you haven't read my previous post, could you please take a moment to read the last few paragraphs? I saw some of your photos from your bird count...love that Grackle capture...his colors really showed and a great pose!

joey said...

I can't seem to find the comment section on the top but can see you've been creating some lovely notes and photos, Kim. On this glorious day, wishing you a Happy Spring! (I'm off to the lake and Wa-gi-daa-king Woods :)

spookydragonfly said...

Hi Joey...Thanks for leaving a comment here, somehow my comments on my Hints of Spring post reverted back to Don't Allow?! A couple others notified me, too, so I went back and changed the setting. I was able to see your followers and joined. I still am having problems with alot of the blogs. Blogger must've read my last e-mail to them because I can see my followers now. Hey...I hope you have a great, relaxing time at the lake and (wait...let me go check that spelling!)Wa-gi-daa-king Woods! Happy Spring to you as well!!

joey said...

Hi dear Kim ... posting here at 'Wa-gi-daa-king' (Ojibwe for on top of a hill), our cottage and enchanting woods that are so like yours. Here are deep seated roots and memories of my father that gave me the moon, my greatest gift that I share with all :) Please know on this beautiful equinox evening (note my today's my post), I'll be thinking of you :)

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Oh Kim, this is a beautiful tribute to your dad! He would be touched by it, as I am. In fact, I felt emotional the whole way through, and memories of my own dad were with me every step of the way. He died the day after his birthday in 2005.

Your duck photos are magnificent...I love the motion shot of the mallard flapping his wings...he looks like he is dancing on top of the water!

spookydragonfly said...

Hi Jan...Thank you. It's interesting as I age, I reflect back on how memories are interwoven so intricately in the present. You know, I really enjoy that same photo as you, even though it isn't the best capture. So far, I've only seen the ducks once more since this post.