Poor old ducks.
When we first moved into this house a few months ago it was all about the ducks. The ducks were photographed and enjoyed. They were named (Neville, Jemima and Vanessa), they would come right up to the front door to tell us it was meal time and we sent my son out to the island in the middle of the pond, in a dinghy, to fetch the eggs.
Then we got cats. And the ducks didn’t like that. The cats weren’t interested in them, but if a cat approached around the corner the male duck would send up a warning signal and the girls would quack very loudly – more like a honk – and they would waddle off back to the safety of the pond chasing a moorhen if they happened to be in the way.
Then the moorhens laid eggs on duck egg island. Poor old ducks. They’d been turfed out. Yes the ducks chase the moorhens in the pond and on land but as soon as the eggs were laid a feathery courtesy was given. They steered clear and left the moorhens to hatch their chicks in peace. Which they did – three little chicks. An occasional duck egg has been laid on the island but I have a feeling the moorhens have pushed them overboard. Because they don’t stay there long.
Poor old ducks. Here first – before us, the cats, the moorhens, but their bills have been put right out of joint. Lost their pond, too worried to sit in the garden. And I had lost a little interest because they were giving me no eggs. We found the occasional one but mainly nothing. I thought they must be laying them by the pond and the eggs were just rolling down the bank and plopping into the water.
Then we got chickens. Again, the ducks didn’t get a mention. I photographed the chickens, enthralled by their eggs, by their daring, by their no-nonsense approach to the cats (they ignore them). I was delighted. They bring the garden to life, I exclaimed forgetting that the ducks did the same pre cats. Poor old ducks. Ducks that were fed but gave me NO EGGS.
But then, this morning. I went to let the chickens out and feed them as usual. I took a scoop of food with me just in case the ducks were about. Sometimes before the cats are awake they like to root around in the paddock for grubs. There were only two ducks this morning. I gave them some food then went off to search for the other female. Walking down to the pond I heard a noise in a bush, far away from the pond. I went to investigate and out came the other duck, quacking away. I gave her some food and some space. She ate it but still quacked. I backed off further. Then witnessed a wonderful sight. The male duck, away in the paddock, came rushing down to her. He almost flew he went so fast (they are running ducks and can’t fly). He quacked at her and soon the three of them were reunited. Aw, I thought. Plus the cats were about but the ducks didn’t run off. Possibly because the chickens weren’t bothered the ducks were being braver too.
And then I went in the bushes to see what the stray female had been doing. And this is what I found.