This morning, just across from a small viewing platform in Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park, we saw the usual three: two males and a female. We stood high up on one bank of the creek; they hopped up onto rocks on the other side and we all had a good look at each other.
There's a fascinating Species at Risk Study that outlines their use of creeks for breeding - they tend to form long-term bonds and the females will take up to four years to reach reproductive maturity. Having clear, fast-flowing streams seems to be essential to their survival because they feed on the "invertebrates in the substrate" - i.e. all the little creatures wriggling around in creek gravel. Dippers eat from the same table.
If you've read my submission to the Joint Review Panel (see Tuesday, April 24 - Congratulations to our community), you'll know why seeing these ducks this morning, and a dipper two days ago, has such significance.They are markers of the ways in which home is both one specific and familiar place and also connected to the greater world in ways we barely comprehend.