It's a gray, chilly, rainy, wonderful day. Fred and Ethel just made their first appearance of the season in our pond! This makes nineteen years that the Mallard pair have shown up in our garden to take advantage of our pond. Last year they came on March 29. I've been keeping track of their arrival date as the main phenological note-taking that I do.
Mallard pairs are monogamous and they live to about 20 years. Of course, we can't be sure these are our original pair but every year at this time one pair show up and we like to believe it is the same couple. This early in the season they are pretty skittish about humans so we just watched them — and took this photo — through our double-glazed windows. Once they saw us moving about, they flew off. They'll be coming and going from now until about the end of June. They've never nested in our garden but they have brought their ducklings for a swim a couple of times over the years.