Friday, 30 September 2011

Predators Strike Again !

I was dismayed to see 2 of the new Khaki Campbell ducks disappear from the harbour days after this post. Since then the remaining two moved into the river among the mallards, and up until 3 days ago another one went missing, leaving only one ! I did realise that these domestic type ducks had either been clipped or moulted and were unable to fly - making them especially vulnerable to predators. This morning I could see no sign of the last remaining Khaki duck, so checked the island to see if it was there. Sadly I found a dead Khaki near the top of the island, it had been pretty well stripped of it's flesh and was developing maggots, must have been killed several days ago. It looked like the work of a Mink, but I suppose could also have been an Otters handiwork. The growing number of predators on the river might well be killing other species too, like the Heron. One of the riverside residents told me that last monday night the Swans were hissing and warding off something about 11pm. This would be about the time this duck was killed. I have contacted the Water Bailiff to see if he can re-bait the mink traps before we lose any more ducks! The Mallard drake with the broken wing that I couldn't catch has also disappeared, inability to fly is pretty well a death sentence to any waterbirds.

Local residents overlooking the river have told me of massive duck commotion at night, this indicates predators attacking during the hours of darkness. I am saddened by the loss of these khaki ducks, for they were particularly attractive and added a bit of colour to the river. The mortality rate in the past 10 days is at least 5 ducks that I know of, this is unsustainable and will somehow have to be stopped ! A complete species wiped out, gives you and idea of how deadly mink are to ground nesting birds !

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