Sometimes, Nature can be surprising and absorbingly entertaining and on this occasion we were both surprised and entertained by a very odd friendship that we had the pleasure of observing at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve.
A female Mallard had decided a Raccoon, swimming and fresh water clam hunting along the edges of the North Lagoon, was a great companion.
As we watched the unusual pair, they swam along together. Every so often the Raccoon would stop to feel the mud under the water for a fresh water clam and the female Mallard would either wait nearby or swim ahead before back tracking to wait near the Raccoon again.
The Mallard was not at all agitated and did nothing more than swim with the Raccoon, sometimes beside it, sometimes in the lead and sometimes the Raccoon would lead but the Mallard would follow close behind.
This was not just a short journey but one that we witnessed for six minutes before the Raccoon disappeared into the dense underbrush at the edge of the lagoon and the Mallard swam over to a log for a stretch and a nap.
From field notes of Bruce and Joanne Clayton, 2008. Photographs by Butterfly on my Shoulder website, 2008.