We’re lucky. Our village has not just one, but three village ponds. It’s home to a variety of geese, to coots and moorhens … and to any number of mallards. Males seem to outnumber females. Most days in the spring and summer the laddish drakes – if they’re not lazing around on the grass – like so many teenage boys, mob the younger females in a rather aimless and half-hearted fashion.
We’re nearly at the time of year when ducklings will hatch and charm us all. The ponds are on both sides of the main-ish road that splices the village in two: the mother ducks march their broods back and forth, confident that traffic – yes even huge and heavy municipal dustbin lorries – will instantly grind to a halt to let the young family cross.
Nevertheless, few broods grow intact to adulthood. Jealous mallards despatch ducklings not their own. Geese kill them. Foxes take them to feed their own young. Herons visit. And despite the care most drivers take, there are traffic accidents. We often wonder what happened to the brood that Malcolm spotted one day on a lane near here: a mother duck leading fourteen – yes fourteen – ducklings along the road.
For Denzil’s Nature Photo Challenge #4 Ducks
… and also for another new challenge: Bird of the week
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