When we came home from our very long day at work yesterday, we noticed some unauthorized waterfowl hanging around our poultry yard. To be precise, they were standing on top of the chicken house. I was able to get this picture of them. It's not very good, but it was the only shot I could get before they saw me and took off.
We'd seen them once or twice before, but always down at the pond. We were quite surprised to see them so close to the house like this. Turns out they're black bellied whistling ducks. According to Ducks Unlimited, pairs often partner for life, and they feed at night on...grain. Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, we've been finding our chicken feeder tipped over and empty every morning. They're quite lovely, as you can see here in this much better picture (also from Ducks Unlimited):
I'm always amazed at the wildlife we see here. I'd have never thought that we'd see so much in central Texas, and not so far from major cities - animals I never expected to see around my house. We regularly see blue herons, roadrunners, all sorts of wild ducks, egrets, hawks...it's just amazing to me. Ironically, the one thing we most definitely do NOT have out here are deer, and it's always seemed to me that you can't go five feet out of town - any town -without seeing deer. I'm not complaining, mind you. I know what kind of nuisance they can be. It's just interesting that we're in a sort of deer-void.
As for the whistling ducks, I hope they come back.