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Date: 16 November 2019. Mucket the Mallard Drake.


This mallard duo arrived one day. It was lovely to see a pair of ducks enjoying the water.

Today I'll share with you a vignette about life aboard a boat in the early 1960's. Although Mucket the mallard drake was not my first pet, he was one of the more memorable ones. This is a trip down Memory Lane came about because the Kidlet mentioned seeing mallards when she was up north.

This is my Kidlet aka Baby, and the original Grand.



Kidlet recently traveled to Virginia for her career with Navy Federal Credit Union. While there she and a colleague took a brief trip over to the District of Columbia (Washington, DC) to do a bit of sight-seeing. In one of the concrete ponds they spotted some ducks with dark green heads.

Baby was able to recognize the mallards and shared said information with her coworker.


Washington, DC circa 2019

The Lincoln Memorial
The Capital

In any event, we know ducks in our family. This mallard duo visited Seaweed a few times.


When young (pre-teenagers, so to speak) both males and females look like the hen on the left in the above photograph. They are a mottled brown. The way to identify gender just after the duckling stage is to look at the beak. A drake will have a greenish tinge around the sides of his beak. Hers would be orange.

Later the male's head will turn dark green, with a rusty brown chest and grey sides. He will also grow a curled feather (or two) at his butt. Other drakes will attempt to rip out the curled feathers when they are fighting to  establish dominance.

Here is a better photograph of two fully grown
*drakes. This picture was taken by my friend Cheryl.

You might notice almost invisible in the
grass a mallard *hen facing away from the camera.

** Drakes and Hens: Male mallards are called drakes. The females are known as hens.

Memory Lane:
Mucket the mallard duckling came into my life when he was approximately three days old. I rescued him. He'd been pulled completely under the water by a turtle. As he bobbed to the surface a bird of prey grabbed him! This happened in the early 1960's. I believe it could have been an osprey however due to the sands of time I cannot be certain...

Picture of osprey:

An osprey is sitting atop a channel marker. Photo taken by Irene onboard S/V Katja.

Back to Mucket's story: I was in my dinghy rowing along a shoreline, exploring. As soon as the duckling popped back up to the surface he was  grabbed by the hunting bird. This was not ten feet from me. I screamed at the bird, splashed water with my oars and the duckling was dropped back into the water.

Also know that if you're decent at rowing you can learn to take your oar and aim water within a dozen feet with amazing accuracy. When younger I could have gotten people who annoyed me wet, if I was that sort of boat girl that is.

Algae has an oar visible on the far side of the dinghy. A group of pelicans surround Algae. The
previously published article
Dallas and the Pelican has some great pictures of a friendly pelican.

How to drench your enemy with an oar:
Rotate the oar so the paddle is nearly horizontal. The front facing your intended victim should be slightly (1" or so) higher than the rear. Next move the paddle away from your target. Now bring the paddle down and forward toward the victim. You want to slap the surface of the water, aiming toward the person who annoyed you.

This is the way I might have splashed someone,
accidentally of course, some 50-plus years ago.

Water children have the best times ever!

Hailey Mei is Cap'n Edwin's beautiful grand. She's already a boat girl.

Continuing the tale of Mucket: The duckling fell back into the water. I captured this small creature and took him home. Home was a 40' boat. I told you about that vessel in The Fishing Boat article.

Back then this boat was home. I was born and raised aboard her. It was a good life.

The duckling was named Mucket by a friend of ours, Captain Bob. Bob Skinner lived aboard a 110' Canadian air-sea rescue boat. Actually his boat was along the lines of the Presidential yachts. It was Very nice. Bob even had a full sized cannon on the bow of his boat. He'd shoot grapefruit out of it. That was fun, though the cannon was LOUD!

Have I mentioned boat kids have the best times?!?

This is my duo aboard our tow boat. Daddy ran a towing service
 in the days before TowBoatUS and SeaTow dominated the field.

Initially my duckling was not with his nest mates. I suspect he was sick or injured. In any event, the mom duck had left him behind.

Side Note:
Mallard egg clutches are usually around 12-18 eggs, with at least a 75% hatch rate. Both drakes and hens guard the nest. They are recognizable by their coloration. Although I believed that mallard pairs mated for life, newer research online suggests that is untrue.

Link: https://mentalfloss.com/article/78330/15-unflappable-facts-about-mallards

Mucket the mallard duckling had a limp when first captured. That may have been from the turtle pulling him underwater. The limp eventually disappeared. Mucket became my pet.

Ducks poop, a lot. Mucket lived under an upside down laundry basket. Mostly he followed me around. He would go swimming with me too, diving under the water just like me. He bobbed up quickly. Mallards are buoyant.


If I was off our boat and he was hungry he would quack until Mother turned him loose. Then he would waddle up the dock quacking all the way. Mucket had a distinctive voice. He would use it until he found me. Mucket enjoyed his corn.

My duckling initially ate canned corn, then Mucket was switched to cracked corn as he grew larger. He would follow me up the dock when I was heading ashore. Once he was about half grown he was free to come and go.

Eventually Mucket did fly away. I called and called for him. He never answered. That was a sad period of time for me. Although I wanted him to grow up and be a duck, I also wanted my feathered boy to be My Duck forever too.


A few years later Mucket was flying south. I believe he recognized our boat. He and his mate stopped in for a visit while we were at anchor. We were a long way from where he was initially rescued. Mucket had traveled with us for a few months while he was growing up.

Our boat was distinctive. The hull was light green at that time, while most vessels were either white or light blue. That is one of the reasons why I believe he recognized the boat. I know for certain it was the same duck. The coloration of the head and chest, including his white strip was identical.

Mucket knew me right away. He flew up onto the
back deck of our boat as soon as he heard my voice.

The white back deck is about 10" wide. There is an overhang with storage below for mops and such.

When I was a little girl we had a laundry line strung under there. That is where my bathing suits dried.

Mucket's mate stayed in the water. She received homemade bread.

The mallards that visited Seaweed got Dollar Store bread. They were not impressed.

My Mucket received a can of corn. That was his favorite treat.

This is a picture of the mallard duo that visited Seaweed a few times earlier this year.

That day at anchor the last time I saw Mucket. He was doing well. Alas, there
are no photographs of Mucket although I still see him in my memories on occasion.

And that's the story of Mucket.

Addendum: I started a new category for those who are interested in stories from yesteryear. The page with links to related articles is called Memory Lane. Enjoy!

Thank you for reading.

What is your most favorite pet?
Is there a particular story that always comes to mind when you think of said critter?

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2019, 2023

Categories:  Boats, Characters, Locations, Memory Lane, Pets, Wild Things,


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