After rebuilding the duck nesting tube, we spent time on Monday hammering in the supporting pole and stuffing the completed nest with more straw. The ducks had gone on a day trip but they were back at the pond the next morning, however seemingly oblivious to the nesting tube.
Feeling hopeful that Quakie would get to use the nesting tube this year, we went out in the afternoon to run some errands, but when we got home, the ducks were gone. They did not come back that evening, nor the next day. The reason for this seemed obvious – an ugly, fat black pipe was sticking out of the pond and the filter pump was no longer running.
Evidently in the pump’s death throes, the flexible piping between the skimmer and pump came loose from the pond bottom and popped up on the surface of the water, most likely scaring the ducks half to death. They probably thought it was the Loch Ness monster with all those curves and ridges sticking out of the surface of the pond! We think that Frankie and Quakie may have dislodged too much plant matter while rooting around near the pond edge, and that the skimmer got choked, in the process somehow sucking in air which entered the piping and caused it to rise. We tried to push the pipe down with a long pole to dislodge the air but could not make much progress. We pulled the string-algae encrusted pump unit out of the water but couldn’t see a way to disconnect it from all the water tubing connected to the filter and skimmer units so we left it sitting on the deck, meaning to deal with it later.
In the evening, a group of four mallard ducks flew low and close over our house, and one of them quacked a series of really loud quacks before they disappeared. At that distance it is hard to say if it was Quakie or not. If it was, she might have been trying to tell us something. Could it be “Watch out for the monster in the pond, don’t let it eat you”, or possibly “It’s still too cold. We’re going back south for a while. See you later!”
We got a cold front today and there is snow everywhere in the yard again. Quakie and her friends may have known this was going to happen, and left days earlier to go some place south. Perhaps. There is no way of telling where, or why, she is gone or when she will be back. We are leaving on a 2 week trip in a few days, and perhaps we will see her when we are back at the beginning of March.