Rafting the river, Mallard style…

The house where I work is right on a river ~ the building  itself sits on  a sweeping turn~ the turn itself  has a two rocky gravel bars in it ~ they offset one another, one on each side~ and the river channels itself around them.

The main channel (current) goes down the near side of the first bar, and then the far side (opposite side) of the next ~ making the current speed up as it goes through the constriction…

There are a lot of small ducks out front, two in particular that hang about all the time. One resembles a Mallard, but only its head and neck.  The rest of him is white, like a domestic duck ~ his partner though, is a full on Mallard, right down to the pin feathers…quintessential odd couple.

I first noticed them when I got to work yesterday, they were in the eddy down at the bottom of the sweep.

Just above that eddy there is a small ripple where the bank on the far side fell in ~ they would ride the ripple down,  swim up the slow side of the eddy then ride the little ripple down again ~ every once in a while, they’d turn upstream in the middle of the ride down and swim as fast as their legs would go, then dive under water, and pop up at the bottom of the ride…

I  lost track of them for a bit ~ figured they’d gone to do duck stuff somewhere.

Not half an hour later, I took a chance look upriver, and here they come around the top corner of the sweep ~ diving and splashing, and having a real ducky hoot…

Top of the first gravel bar is where the river must crunch between “my” bank and the gravel bar… as they approached that spot, they both turned tail down river and started paddling for all they were worth. They held their own until one goobered ~ then they crashed into one another and went rushing down through the gauntlet, playing bumper ducks all the way to the bottom of that chute ~ the current actually slows down just below the top of the ripple  where the river crunches on the far side of the second gravel bar ~ So as soon as they got organized from the first tumble, they paddled like mad things to hit the top of the second “gauntlet” ~ rode that one out just like the first, holding steady until some slip of the web feet, and down they bumped, splashing and a hollerin’…

That current also slows down below the final “white water” ~ so they then paddled like crazy to get the ripple across the way where they did the tails downriver, dive, and pop up out the water in the middle of the big eddy … right back where they began.

When they hit the bottom of the sweep, they did the “Mallard High Fives” (I swear!) and launched into the air ~ flying straight back up the river, disappearing around the top of the sweep.

Five minutes later, here they came ~ down through the ripples, swimming like crazy, doing bumper ducks through the ripples~ and *high fives* at the bottom.

Rafting the river, Mallard style.

~:-)

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