Friday, June 3, 2011

Stop and Watch the Ducks

by Anita Mae Draper

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. Genesis 1:20-23 (NIV)

You've all heard of the phrase, 'Stop and smell the roses' haven't you? Well, today we're going to stop and look at ducks. This post is all about relaxation. You don't have to do anything but scroll down through the photos. There's even a video at the end.

Why? Because ducks are calming. And they were accessible. You see, I received a new camera for Mother's Day. Oh, please... I can hear your groans from here... no, I'm not going to show off family photos - I want to show you some ducks and I guess I'll add some other birds, too.

American Coot - It was sweet watching this male bring twigs and reeds to his mate who built the nest while sitting in it. I have a video of it, but it's very shaky.

Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors)

Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)

Canvasback (Aythya valisineria)

Horned Grebes (Podiceps auritus) Punk Rocker Ducks

Lesser Scaup (Aythy affinis)

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)

 Northern Shovelers (Anas clypeata)

Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)

You'll see the following birds in action if you click on the video at the bottom of the post.

American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana)

Stilt Sandpiper (Calidris himantopus)

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis)

Here's that video I promised you:

So, it's the end of my post and what I really want to know is... did you sit for few minutes and relax while looking at these photos? Or were you multi-tasking, and if you were, what were you doing?

Free Book Draw: And for a little something extra, I need your opinion and I'm giving away a new copy of Marilyn Meberg's Love Me Never Leave Me (non-fiction) for helping me decide.

If you wish to be entered for this draw, please leave your email address in your comment. Draw closes midnight, Sunday, June 5th, 2011.

I'm trying to decide the default puzzle program for my blog and new website. The choice is between these two although the size here is not indicative of the finished puzzle as they're both the same as you see above.

- Jigsaw Planet where you click to the puzzle, make it, then click back to the site:

- Jigzone where you make it right on the spot, but also have the ability to change the number and shape of the pieces:


Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and 2 of their 4 kids. In 2005, Anita Mae decided to return to writing and make it a priority in her life. She writes old west stories set on the prairies of Saskatchewan, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Her characters are strong because the land demands it. Anita Mae likes to write characters who sit up and notice when that special person God’s chosen just for them walks by. The story is all about the courtship between the two main characters. But it won’t be an easy path. And if they don’t know about God at the beginning of the book, they will by the end. Anita Mae has semi-finaled in the Historical Romance category of the ACFW's 2011 Genesis contest and finaled in the Inspirational category of the 2011 Daphne du Maurier, the 2011 Fool for Love, the 2011 Duel on the Delta and 2009 Linda Howard Award of Excellence contests. She’s currently waiting to hear the phone ring and have someone say they want to buy Emma’s Outlaw. Meanwhile, she’s working on another story and trying to keep her imagination in check. A pathological picture taker, she usually has a photo or two of her western world on her blog at


  1. There might be something even more compelling about waterfowl for us because of the way they ride the waves...or appear calm and unmoving even when they are paddling like crazy underneath.

    While I was reading this, I could hear loons on the lake. I probably see more than half the birds on your list.
    To prove their fascination, my2.5 yo granddaughter watches our winter visitors, including trumpeter swans, with binoculars for extended periods.

    Warning: the peace that comes with watching my Great Blue Heron fishing from my dock ends when it ... well lets just say it looks like someone spilled a pint of white paint where it was standing...

    ANd no, I was not multitasking. Reading the Inkwell is a morning priority.

  2. Well, I was relaxing and enjoying the pictures until my husband walked in the door talking on his phone about mortgages. Not really a relaxing topic.

  3. I'm afraid I was eating and checking a message on my phone while I was reading.


    I'll work on it, Anita. I'll be back later to find out about the surprise, and that time I will stop and smell the--I mean, look at the ducks.

  4. Anita, I was feeling all intimidated because I used to teach science, but my classification skill ends at "Duck." ;)

    And multitasking, because my daughter is pacing the house, getting ready for a job interview this morning.

  5. I was not multitasking. Yay! I just relaxed and scrolled through. I will show this to hubby later. He used to raise ducks and geese. Beautiful. Thanks, Anita.

  6. The video is up! Got it posted this morning.

    Deb, I'm jealous! Such inspiring sights. No wonder you love living there.

    Most of these photos were taken on my travels away from home - either en route to/from church or my retreat/research trip.

    About your heron - good description by the way - I know. I discarded some photos because they brought images of violence or activity to mind.

    Thanks Deb. Someday you'll have to do a post about your birds. I'd love to see the ones you've listed.

    And thank you for taking time out of your busy day and making this blog a priority. :)

    Anita Mae.

  7. Oh Dina, it's so easy for others to disturb our equilibrium, isn't it. Those 'outside' forces play such a huge role in how we think and act each day. Boo, I say, Boo.

    Perhaps I should have suggested noise-reducing headphones or ear defenders should be worn while reading today's post?

    Anita Mae.

  8. Lisa, you made me laugh. I can just see you as you were at conference... such a hive of activity around and you all dressed up, cradling your cell phone in both hands and tweeting about the food... the winners... all the details... to the Inkies who weren't there.

    And does eating count as multi-tasking? It probably should, but I have to do something while I eat. Otherwise it's just plain boring.

    Anita Mae.

  9. Well, I wasn't multitasking, but I have to admit, anytime I hear the word "duck" I think hockey.

    Anita, I'd think you of all people should understand.

  10. Please don't feel intimidated, Barb. I have 2 iphone apps that give me all the info on birds, mammals, trees and wildflowers. It's just a matter of picking the family (ie ducks) and then matching the app photos with my own. If you've noticed, I don't give the scientific name for American coot because the free bird app doesn't include it and I couldn't find this bird on the expensive Audubon app. Go figure.

    Prayers going up for your daughter's job interview.

    Anita Mae.

  11. Hey Suzie, what types of ducks and geese did he raise? Wild or tame?

    We still have some large muskovy ducks around the farmyard although we used to have Appleyards and Rouen as well. We had guinea fowl, heritage chickens and turkeys, too. And Jessie raised quail and pigeons.

    Glad you relaxed a bit before heading off to your busy job. For some reason, I expected you to say you listened to the ocean while scrolling. LOL

    Anita Mae.

  12. Oh yeah, CJ. It doesn't take long to react to that word up here. It's probably why they yell, 'Fore!' on a golf course, too. LOL

    It reminds me of my sister and her husband while they were driving one day...

    Bonnie saw a deer on the side of the road and said, "Deer".
    Her hubby kept driving and said, "Yes?" (probably thinking about his next sermon)
    Bonnie said, "No, deer!" just seconds before it missed them.
    Now she's supposed to yell, 'wild animal!' if she spots something.


    Anita Mae.

  13. I did not multitask! I sat and enjoyed the photos--I was going to ask where you took the pics but I see you've answered that already. I'm impressed by the variety of waterfowl near you.

    I'm not generally a birdwatcher, but I confess I've been one this spring. The nesting hummingbird has charmed me. I love watching the kildeers. I'm still discouraging doves from nesting on my fan. And lately, I've noted an owl who enjoys hanging out on a chain link fence by the middle school. I need to find out what kind of owl s/he is.

    We have a lot of Canadian geese near my house, Anita. They're no longer considered migratory because so many stay all year round.

    Thank you for the minute of relaxation!

  14. Susie, I'd sure like to see some photos of your birds - especially the hummingbirds. (You can keep the Canada Geese ones, LOL)

    If you could send me the pics, I could identify them for you. I love a mystery because it involves research.

    Ah, I can imagine you sitting on your patio, watching the hummingbirds and enjoying your tea. Now that's relaxation. :D

    Anita Mae.

  15. All right my pretties, I've posted the surprise...

    I need your opinion on picking a default puzzle program for my blog and new website and am giving away a free book in return for your consideration.

    And if you're not a jigsaw puzzle-maker, well, maybe you oughta be. LOL

    Anita Mae.

  16. Anita--

    The first puzzle, definitely. It's much clearer, with a variety of puzzle piece shapes. One odd thing, a couple of my pieces actually had negative space, where two adjoining pieces overlapped--very odd.

    But the second didn't have the same resolution, and when it exploded, a number of pieces went off the screen.

  17. I agree with Barbara. When I tried the second puzzle, most of the pieces disappeared and I had no idea how to find them.
    I enjoyed doing the first one!


  18. Keith's ducks were all wild. He had to get a special license from the state to have them. He had mallards, Canadian geese and Canadian Cackers (like miniature geese only louder), hooded merganzers, cinnamon teal, green wing teal, gadwalls, and I don't remember what else.

    It was fun, but a lot of work.

  19. I'm going to be scholomarm with a ruler.It's Canada geese or a Canada goose. Not Canadian. I learned my lesson years ago and now that they are here year round, I hear this discussion often. There. I feel better.

    I heard Marilyn Meberg at a Women of Faith conference. I bet it's a great book.

  20. Ouch! (Picture Suzie blowing on the back of her reddened hands.) Your a tough one, Marmie Deb. I'm sure you're 100% correct. However, on my side of the country we call them Canadian Geese or Canadian Honkers. I'm not sure I can change, but I promise if I ever use them in a book I will call them Canada Geese. What about the cacklers? Do you call them Canada Cacklers? I'm sure cacklers aren't really the proper name, anyway. Love ya!

  21. Yay me! It took me awhile because I had to get up a couple times, but I took the time to do the whole puzzle! (the first one, I had the same issue as the other with #1)

    Thanks, Anita!

  22. I came back to and tried the 2nd puzzle in a new window and it worked better. The first puzzle pieces went together better, I thought.

  23. I like puzzle #1, too, Anita Mae. Much sharper for me. Oh, and a pic of the hummingbird is up on my blog right now. I can't get one of her in the new nest--the shelter of the leaves is good for her, sad for me and my camera. I'll try to get a pic of the owl tomorrow.

    Sorry about the misnomer, Deb! We call them "Canadian" geese around here, but I've got it straight now. They seem pretty content here, so far from home.

    Your waterfowl sound so exotic to me, Anita Mae. I grew up with roadrunners and seagulls (which aren't really called seagulls, I know, but that's what we call them).

  24. On our walk today, Pearl and I saw some ducks... Pearl wanted to retrieve them... I love ducks too.

    Not multi-tasking; but it's bed time so... Good night ducks!

  25. Okay, I'm back from the city. Sorry I was gone so long, but Nelson took me to The Keg for a lovely supper. :D

    Barb and Elaine, I don't get what you mean because the first puzzle (Jigsaw Planet) doesn't give you a variety of shapes - the 2nd one does.

    As for the pieces 'exploding off the screen', I've been doing Jigzone for years and have never had that problem. I'm wondering if that's due to a different browser? I use IE 8. What do you use?

    Anita Mae. (waving at Elaine)

  26. Suzie, Keith's work with the wild ducks sounds fascinating. Nelson brought home some wild duck eggs once while I had the incubator going but the ducklings took off at the first opportunity. Usually, many nests are ruined at this time of year because the ducks make their nests beside the sloughs (slews) that are formed in low spots from the spring run-off. As the water drains and the land dries, the nests are left high and dry. Along comes the farmer in his humongous dually tractor and can't see the nests until it's too late. That's how Nelson rescued the ones he brought home.

    But this year with all the rain - it rained again this week and our basement is still flooding - the land is too wet for the farmers. We've already seen Canada geese goslings out and about.

    Anita Mae.

  27. Umm Deb, if it's Canada Goose and not Canadian, then why is it an American Coot instead of an America Coot, huh? ;D

    Marilyn's books sounds great from the back blurb although I haven't read it myself. It's a hardcover Women of Faith book with the subtitle: Discovering the Inseparable Bond That Our Hearts Crave. It's endorsed by Max Lucado.

    I order the special paks from which is an assortment of books for 9.99 or something and then give them away on my blog or to the church. The kids paks for the same price have at least a dozen wonderful books suitable for the church nursery. :) It's a nice surprise to see what's in the box.

    Anita Mae.

  28. Lisa, 2 questions for you:

    - did you find the puzzle too many pieces? If you did the first one, that's 99 pieces, but I could have set the default for much less.

    - you said, (the first one, I had the same issue as the other with #1)
    Okay, I'm confused. I thought you did puzzle #1. ?

    Anita Mae.

  29. Elaine, I've noted about the pieces going together better. Now, I'll ask you the same question I asked Lisa:

    Was 99 pieces too many?

    Thanks, for trying it again. I'm tickled that you're helping me with this. :)

    Anita Mae.

  30. Psst Susie ... we call them Canadian Geese, too sometimes. But don't tell Deb, okay? She's serious about stuff like that. Haha

    Nice shot of the hummingbird. I haven't caught one yet. But most people around here use the red sweet hummingbird liquid in those clear feeding tubes to draw the hummingbirds in close and then take the picture. Do you use those feeders in CA?

    Anita Mae.

  31. Hey Cheryl, I appreciate you stopping in even if it is on your way to bed.

    So you got a bird dog, huh? Or is it just a regular dog that likes to chase ducks?

    Our farm dog likes to chase the ducks, chickens and cats, too. Except she doesn't do it all the time. Sometimes she lies there and ignores them as they walk closer and closer to within a few feet of her. Then they forget teasing her and turn their backs and she pounces - they fly up, wings flapping or fur flying and then Anna lands with a smug look on her face and goes back to her spot.

    Hey, we make our own entertainment around here. LOL

    Anita Mae.

  32. Okay, Anita, I did the puzzle. The first one. Not the second one. When I opened the second one, pieces disappeared off the screen. There were only a few and I couldn't retrieve them. I'm using google chrome. I did enjoy the first puzzle. I'm a puzzle addict, and kind of have to stay away from them for my own well being. Thanks for spoiling that, Anita. When Keith finds me doing nothing but puzzles all weekend, I'm going to blame you. LOL. It was fun.

    I've never eaten at the Keg. Back in 1980, a place I used to work at played a Canadian station. (The same station where I first learned about Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles...I think I mentioned that it a post before) Anyway, they used to always have commercials for The Keg, and I thought it sounded like a good place to eat, but every time I've been to Canada, I can't find one. Oh well.

  33. Suzie, thank you so much for the input. So Google Chrome doesn't like Jigzone. Good to know.

    About the addiction... I know what you mean. For awhile - about 2 yrs - I was receiving the Jigzone Daily puzzles in my inbox. But I wasn't content with just doing one, over time I made every single one on the site! When I ran out, I changed the size and shape of the pieces until finally the puzzles were taking so long to do. Then I went back to writing and couldn't afford the puzzle time. Now, I can go and do a puzzle, but my writing draws me back from the brink. :D

    The thing is, I want to have a fun page on my website and this is an area I know and like.

    re The Keg... it's expensive - to us. We went last year for the 1st time with a $50 gift card Nelson rec'd. We had to wait an hour just for a table. Then the prices were $20-35 a plate! We ended up paying a lot out of our own pocket and the food was average. But this year, Nelson rec'd a $100 gift card from work. We planned ahead and went within mins of the doors opening at 4:30. No waiting. Prices were about $5 a plate higher. His prime rib combo was $30 and my sirloin tip with scallops and shrimp was $27. We shared an $8 salad. We shared an escargot appetizer. We shared a chocolate brownie sundae for dessert. Total bill incl'g coffee was $92. Perfect! And the food was excellent this time. And we were stuffed!!!

    btw - Canada's $ is the same as the US one right one.

    Anita Mae.

  34. Ouch on The Keg! That's worse than The Outback (probably the most expensive place we go - once a year. Lol.) I'm not surprised at the exchange rate.

    I actually can't do puzzles on the computer because I get "mouse shouler". So I would build 1500 piece puzzles on the table. After doing your puzzle last night, I really have an itching to do one today. But I won't. I'll be strong and fight the urge, otherwise I'll end up building puzzles all summer and I have a book to finish writing.

    Fun idea for your blog!

  35. I've never heard of The Keg. I'm hungry so it sounds pretty good right now. Then Suzie had to mention Outback. Yummo.

    Speaking of eating, but hummingbird-style, yes Anita Mae, people do use those feeders. We don't have one, however. We have several flowering plants which appeal to the birds. I need to look up the name of one that's a big hit with them now, and I'll get back to you. Oh, no owl today, so I can't send you that pic...

    Hope you're having a good weekend.

  36. Sorry, Anita. I had trouble with puzzle 2, not 1. I did puzzle 1. No problem with the number of pieces.

  37. talking about me behind my back, huh?

    Anita, you can call them whatever you want, if you'll just promise to come and get them, okay?
    Yup they're really beautiful, but they make a real mess where they hang out.

    I didn't try either of the puzzles because My Old Computer is struggling just with the graphics on our blog page. sigh.

    Have fun with your new page, Anita!


    Anita- try this link. I hope you can HEAR it. then multiply it by 1000 and this it what I hear outside my door at night in the winter...

  39. Lisa - thank you for coming back and saying #1 was the better one. I appreciate it.

    From all the results, it looks like #1 - Jigsaw Planet works with more browsers than #2 - Jigzone.

    Thank you everyone for helping me with this. I couldn't have figured it out - literally - without y'all.

    Anita Mae. :)

  40. Deb - thanks for that resource url. I'll keep it handy. That way I can use it the next time I find a duck without the scientic name like that American coot. :)

    The racket must be deafening! Too bad they're not trainable or you could teach them to sing praises. :D

    Anita Mae.


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