There is an end of season feel at the moment, and I’ve been off to the food store to ensure some treats for the ducks and moorhens on nasty weather days.
The drakes are looking splendid after their moult and they do look healthy. They constantly preen to look their best because soon it’ll be the Dating Game
Meanwhile across the pond, the heron has a rest in the reeds. Surely that’s not a fishing posture?
Sandie’s ducklings are now in their fourth month and fully grown although if any are drakes, they still have a bit to go.
They still go round as a team with their mother not far away, but always off to one side, not in their midst. Remember them from July?
And the moorhens are still a trio. The youngster hasn’t left and shows no
inclination to leave. ‘Why should I? – I’ll starve’
Here are the whole gang – like an end of term photo – well we made it Guys
I am intrigued about their numbers. Our neighbours have said the most they have seen at the pond ever is 52 and I once counted 46. But this year, since I’ve been doing this blog, we have had a steady 26 not including Sandie and her nine offspring. So there is turnover, either from migration to other ponds or from the shotgun pellets we can hear from less than half a mile away.
Last year we had 18 duckling survive; the 6 Herberts – then the 6 mini-Herberts and when 6 arrived in a box we called them the midi-Herberts. You may recall we then had 5 make it from last April and we know they are in the current gang as they peck your ankles so they can be fed by hand. There are few older ducks from previous years too, I guess, so some of last year’s have definitely moved on.
It is important for their survival that the mature ducks breed as the first timers are inexperienced mothers and don’t seem to raise a single duckling. They are learning from the experience but they are mournful for days, calling out in vain. Sandie has been raising young for at least 3 years and she knows the score.
So, as I say, an end of term feel about the place. A period of calm now before the trials of the winter and the turbulent spring