Someduck must have called for a convention in the cove end of Kittatinny Lake for Labor Day weekend, because all the water fowl of the lake seem to be congregating down this end.
Usually we see a group of six to nine mallard ducks. They like to sun on the dock across from us, come up on land at our neighbor’s beach. Other ducks frequent places further down the lake. I haven’t seen more than a dozen together all summer.
The swan couple lives at the shallow south end, by the dense patches of water lilies. They rarely sail up to the cove, although two summers ago, one of the pair regularly came up to beg for handouts of bread. Neighbors at the south end tell me that the swans lay eggs each summer and attempt to raise their cygnets to adulthood. Apparently predators often deplete their brood. I suppose those that survive then relocate to their own lake, because we have only one couple in residence.
This weekend is different. The swans and 23 mallard ducks—only females and young adults, no mature males—are all hanging out in the cove. No bird produced a barbeque grill nor did any uncover a bowl of potato salad, so I can’t imagine what brought them all down here. We offered crackers to the swans but they were not interested. Obviously they had somehow gotten plenty to eat at this party.
Could it be the current? There is usually a mild current from south to north. This weekend a steady wind has blown across the lake from the south making the current stronger than usual. But there have been stronger currents –days when I’ve tried to canoe out of the cove and have been continually turned back –and the birds have not been there.