Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Delightful Duck Drama

What an amazing day, and I'm yet again astounded by the wonder of ducks ! Today the sewage pipe contractors arrived to dig out the old leaking pipe along the riverside. I knew there was a ducks nest just a foot away from this pipe and perched 10 feet above the river. I asked the Contractor yesterday to avoid disturbing the duck on her nest since it was due to hatch anytime.

The contractor ignored my request and continued to tear away the old sewer wall, when I went to investigate the condition of the nest, the contractor said the duck was on the nest and some had hatched. What I found was a nest with 5 unhatched eggs in it. I checked the condition of the eggs and they had not pipped, meaning they were not about to hatch and were probably dead.

I anxiously searched the river for the duck and within minutes I spotted her with 7 tiny ducklings in tow ! She had hatched them in the nick of time and got them safely into the water from a 10 foot high wall ! The next part of the drama was her leading them onto the central shingle bed which was full of seagulls, one of which was eyeing up the ducklings. At this point I headed home dreading what might happen later. On my return in the afternoon, I spotted her a bit farther down river being pursued by a gull, she had already lost 2 ducklings and was fending off the gull when I joined in, clapped my hands to chase the gull. She came over to the high wall beside me and I gave her some wheat grain then she headed over to the other side of the river. with the 5 remaining ducklings. This evening I could not resist checking on her again but could not find her or the ducklings. When I called the other Mother duck who had the 4 survivors from last Saturday down from the swans island, I was gobsmacked to see her come down from the nest with NINE DUCKLINGS...I realised right away that she had taken on - or adopted the new ducklings that had hatched earlier in the day. I was overjoyed because this is their best chance of survival, since this mother keeps to the safety of the island and nest, which is only a few feet from the Swans nest...the safest place to be! After a quick feed the mother of 4 led all of them back to island then up to the nest. The Mother of the 5 knew where they were and walked up to the nest to check they were OK. This was the ultimate in Sisterly love that I have ever witnessed between adult ducks ! Sequence of pics throughout the day, starting with the Star adoptive Mother !

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