On a trip to Central Park on August 13, 2016, I took time to visit the duck pond, studying the ten ducks that were there. During most of the twenty-minute period, at least two ducks stayed on a rock preening themselves, while the others were swimming. In the first minute or two, one of the ducks looked right at me, opening and closing its beak as if it were studying me too. This same duck later went for a dip, leaving only two ducks on the rock. I noted certain characteristics among the ducks-for example, two had purplish feathers on their wings, while another had lighter-colored brown chest feathers than the others.
As I was leaving, I noticed other things in the pond. For example, as I was packing up, I spotted a small turtle swimming close to the ducks’ rock. Later on, I saw other ducks on the shore, almost close enough for visitors to touch. Finally, orange and brown koi fish were swimming happily nearby. It’s such a small thing, but it shows how diverse ecosystems, even small ones, can be. If you’re willing to look long and hard enough, you never know what you can find.