This morning the weather was stunning, so I picked up the camera and headed to Zealandia. I haven’t been there since November last year, so the visit was certainly over due. The first thing I came across while walking down the main track, was a couple of Zealandia Staff (or volunteers, not sure which) taking notes and photos of a duck with her ducklings.
Not just any duck, a patake/brown teal. New Zealand’s rarest waterfowl. If you read the information on this site http://www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/brown-teal you will see that these ducks usually only have 6 – 9 ducklings in a clutch with their breeding season being from July to October. This mama duck obviously didn’t get the memo.
The Zealandia staff were very excited about the fact that this clutch of thirteen (13) ducklings was probably a record for a captive patake. They were heading off to do some research on the subject to be sure. I stayed with the duck and her babies for a short while as they played in the puddles and then settled for a well earned rest.
Update: The experts believe that mama duck has picked up the extra ducklings from another brood at some point. She is probably unaware that she has more than her own.