In another few minutes, we had them all! We washed out the duck pool one last time and loaded them in the jeep. Here's Mallory and part of her crew.
We drove them to Dirty Creek. I had been scouting around there for a good spot for them and decided that, in spite of the Cooper's Hawk that favors the area, the pond with the tall grass would provide the safest nest and good hunting for the family.
We hiked them in and opened both carrier doors at the same time. Mallory popped out first and then the babies all followed rather quickly. Here they are enjoying their first taste of freedom since their third day when they left my house.
They immediately jumped in the creek. They started eating vegetation right away and even fishing!
After a snack, Mallory took off exploring and the babies all followed.
They quickly discovered all the tall grasses that line the pond area. The secluded themselves in there. We hiked back to the Eastern edge and looked for them. Not finding them, we hid the carriers and went back to the drop off point where we spied them in the tall grasses. The disappeared in a quick second. We grew tired of waiting for them to return.
When we got back to the carriers, we discovered they were at that end of the creek. But they quickly took off again as soon as they saw us.