Yesterday morning when I stopped by the pond to feed the ducks,
I did my usual head count.
Twelve ducks were paddling around in their little circular pool of water...
kept from freezing by an aerator.
For seven or eight years, that head count has included one duck amongst many others.
That one duck who has been here since the beginning
Methuselah was the last of our first flock of khaki Campbell ducks.
They were the first flock of ducks that we raised when we started our farm.
Before I added the present ducks, Methuselah had lived alone on the pond for a year or two...
with several mallards that would join him for occasional visits.
A very smart duck...(top duck in above photo)
with a great instinct for avoiding predators,
he helped to raise our present flock of ducks from ducklings to full grown.
For years he has been the head of our flock...
a constant in the ever changing life of our pond.
Yesterday when I counted ducks there were still 12.
Only this time Methuselah was gone.
In his place was one lone mallard male.
But no Methuselah.
It's a mystery how he disappeared.
I fear a predator might have finally caught him.
Perhaps because he was old he was slower.
We'll never know.
We'll miss seeing this old fellow.
He was the only resident of the farm who has been here since the beginning.
So long ago...seen here with our first flock, right after our garden fence was erected...
This spring I hope to raise another group of ducklings.
We'll allow a female to nest on her eggs.
What fun...watching ducklings learn to swim!
Sadly, there will be no Methuselah to teach them the ways of the pond.