Spring 2017: Changing partners?

A few days ago, I noticed something strange about Frankie. If this drake were indeed Frankie!

Quakie’s current beau – who has been with her since she returned two weeks ago, looks different from the one that came with her in early February.

Their white “collars” look distinctly different. At first, I thought I was mistaken, but photos surely do not lie: one drake has a very noticeable white collar, the other has scarcely any collar to speak of, just tiny white patches on either side of his neck where his beautiful glossy green head meets his grey and chestnut body. (Click on photos to see a larger version)

Top: February 3rd, Bottom: March 9th and 13th

The following photos are of Quakie’s partner from last year. He has a thin, but quite even white collar.

Photos of Quakie’s drake Frankie from 2016

Has Quakie switched her February partner for a different one in March? Is either of them Frankie from last year? I’ll let you judge.

I can imagine Quakie taking a new partner for 2017 (Mallards are not famous for monogamy!) but to change partners from one month to the next? Why would she do that? Was it the reason she was gone for almost a month before we saw her again this spring? Did she decide to find a different partner because the first one wouldn’t let her nest in our garden? If we could speak a common language we would have plenty of questions for Quakie!

In any case, she seems very contented. Secret observation from our window confirms she is indeed using the nesting tube, although we have not been able to examine the nest to count the number of eggs, since Quakie guards it all day.

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