If you have driven through the McGrath area on your way to the lake in the past few years, you may have noticed something colorful in the ditch of Highway 65.

Back in 2017, Joanne Ledin and her boyfriend Jeff Sutton were traveling to their cabin, and Joanne kept mistaking a log in a ditch pond for a turtle. Jeff had the idea to paint a duck decoy and tie it to the log so she would remember it wasn't a turtle.

Shortly after doing that, more and more colored ducks started showing up in the pond that is part of Solana State Forest. Birds of a feather flock together.

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By the summer of 2019, the flock numbers had reached the dozens. All those ducks need a keeper, so Joanne and Jeff take them out every winter to mend them and keep them safe until spring.

The "ditch ducks" as they have been aptly named have their own Facebook group as well. Throughout the summer people have been sharing the ducks they have added and the stories behind the paint jobs. Anniversaries, memorial tributes, vacation memories, and just because. Everyone has a different reason for adding a duck to the flock.

The pond itself is what is left of old logging canals created in the 1900's when that area was being heavily logged. The ditch with the ducks can be found on Highway 65 between mile markers 101 and 102. People in the area ask that if you want to see the ducks or toss one into the pond, do not park on the highway for safety reasons. There is a little driveway you can temporarily park in just north of the pond.

Recently an official Google Maps listing has been made for the ducks so they are easier to find. Check out the location on the map here. 

(Story originally published August 19th, 2020)

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