Some mother Muscovy ducks did produce offspring. (Photos were taken between early June and mid-July 2015.)
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At the top of the concrete triangle in that small depression was where one female Muscovy duck created her nest.
The waterways at the base of the hillside are part of the stormwater runoff canal system.
[Several concrete sections cover a corner hillside above the stormwater retention canals. The two sides have rectangular sections while the corner is a triangular section. At the top of the triangle the concrete is lower than the adjoining sides creating an opening which leads under the concrete. There is little water in the canal in this image due to the very dry summer.]

A zoomed in view of the back end of the mother duck and some of her eggs. (July 1st)
I had seen Muscovy ducks, male and female, around that area, but hadn't suspected the reason for their presence was a nest.
[In the opening between the two concrete sections there is a small cavern of sorts. The concrete is several inches thick above the black and white feathers over the eggs seen in the image. It appears there are eggs on either side of the duck.]

Nine days later on July 10th I noticed a broken egg.
[A view from the ground just above the nesting area. One egg with a section of shell missing is visible at the edge of the concrete overhang. The eggshell appears clean and empty.]

I managed to find a stable position on the hillside to get this shot straight into the nesting area. Because there were pieces of shell around the open egg and it seemed 'clean' inside I hoped that it meant the little one had hatched.
[A view looking straight into the area under the concrete. There are eggs in addition to the broken one amongst the downy feathers of the nest.]

The next morning I noticed a female Muscovy duck with one duckling which I believe to have been the one from the nest.
Muscovy ducklings have light colored feet and beaks unlike the dark ones of mallard ducklings.
[A close view of a duckling standing beside its mother. The duckling has brown legs with bright yellow feet. Its body is yellow and brown. It's head is completely brown. The long claws on the mother's pink feet are prominent in the image.]

While most Muscovy ducklings look similar to mallard ducklings, it's not unusual for some of the Muscovy ducklings to have a mostly brown head.
[A close view of the duckling in the water beside its mother.]

About a week later I saw a female Muscovy looking into the nest area. She was alone so possibly the little one didn't make it and she was checking to see if any of the others hatched.

By July 31st (20 days later) most of the eggs are gone. The one on the far left looks as if a duckling had been developing, but this was a cropped image taken at a distance so not clear enough for me to verify that theory.
[A view looking straight into the area under the concrete. There is a partial shell on the right next to overhanging concrete. An egg in the middle looks to be whole. An egg on the right appears to have only shell on half of it with the rest exposing a two-toned lump which looks to have an eye.]

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Early on the morning of June 4th I saw this momma with her 10 ducklings.
This was the first time I had seen her so I don't know where the nest had been and I never saw her again that summer.
[A view of a female muscovy swimming toward the camera with nine ducklings on her right side and one on her left. The ducklings on the right look very similar to mallard ducklings with the brown stripe through eye area on the yellow portion of the head. The lone duckling on her other side has an all-brown head.]

The duckling with the all-brown head which had been on the other side of the mother in the prior photo is more visible in this one.
Mallard ducklings have brown beaks while these ducklings have much lighter ones.
[Nine of the ducklings swim behind the mother. Some have bills which appear pink while others have darker sections on the bills. Two ducklings have just completed a stroke with their feet and the outstretched foot is visible just below the water's surface.]

Another view of the very downy ducklings. The one with its head turned is watching something fly overhead.
[Seven of the ducklings swim behind the mother. The individual hairs of the down are visible all over the ducklings. One duckling has its head turned so it is parallel with the water's surface as it looks overhead.]

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I only saw this family with nine ducklings one day (July 11th). Their coloring is great camoflauge when in the vegetation.
[A female Muscovy duck watches near the water's edge as her little ones forage for food. The yellow and brown of the ones on the dirt and in the water are easily seen in the image. The ones in the green vegetation are harder to distinguish.]
[In this image black circles are around all the ducklings so the ones hidden in the grass are identified.]

Continue to page 4 to see juvenile Muscovy ducks.

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