Then the morning visit to the river I discovered the newly released ducklings on the swans island happily preening themselves. I counted 11 and knew right away that the Mother was being pounced on by the drakes. I had hoped when she headed up river yesterday that she would take a few days to return to the lower river, however someone told me that the brood was down river last night ! Within a short while this morning the Swans chased the brood and one of them disappeared between the large rocks on the bank, It still has not rejoined the brood. After the tragedy last year I am full of dread for the 7 week old's, especially if the mother is killed and the Blackback gull turns up !
They are on the verge of flight, but will have to stay alive for about another week to improve their chances of permanent survival.
They are pretty well fully grown and are sticking close together as the photos show. I released them before they could fly, in order that the mother would not take off and abandon them, but teach them the dangers of the river environment.