The other day, I said I didn’t know very much about ducks so I did a little bit of reading up on them courtesy of the RSPB website.
There is a saying ‘knowing the ins and outs of a duck’s bum’, which by definition means knowing the most intricate details of anything and being very inquisitive.
I would have thought it meant more of knowing which end to stuff, but moving on………….
I like to know a little about lots of different things (a bit like Hubby with his Christmas dinner, he likes a little of a lot of variety rather than a huge pile of one or two things) as I find if you know too much about just one or two subjects, people tend to find you a bore and give you a wide berth (no pun intended bearing in mind our current lifestyle).
I know absolutely NOTHING about a lot , neither do I know EVERYTHING about anything, but I can hold my own in most conversations, and sometimes come up with an interesting little snippet that the experts may have forgotten.
All of the ducks here on the marina appear to be female (there are over 20 on the bank behind us as I type), so my nicknaming one as Rooster Duck may give it an identity crisis, but the name will stick, because it suits her.
How can I tell which one is she?
She’s the one usually on her own quacking all the time.
From what I’ve read, the role of the male is almost over once the clutch is laid, though he remains sexually potent for a while in case the first clutch fails.
Gradually though he loses interest and joins other males to moult.
It is at this time that groups of males with no obvious duties often mate forcibly with females that appear to be unattached. An orderly queue they are not, and it all looks pretty violent actually.
This anti-social phase is short-lived though and ends once moulting is underway (must be a teenage hormonal thing).
Mallards begin to pair up in October and November so the guys will be turning up pretty soon to strut their stuff and impress the ladies. Nesting starts in March.
Eggs are laid between mid-March and the end of July, and is stressful for the female as she lays over half her body weight in eggs over a couple of weeks. This is when she relies on her mate for protection, not just of herself and the nest, but also their feeding areas.
Hopefully, there will be nests along the bank behind us.
Already the ducks are getting used to us and the dog walking by without getting all flustered, panicky and flappingly taking refuge in the water all the time. They swim nonchalantly past our boat all day, some even taking a rest on the pontoons.
Seeing them balance in a ‘racing position off the blocks’ sotospeak to get back on to the water is really funny, and though many dip their heads beneath the surface in search of food, some dive completely, making an almighty splash in the otherwise still marina.
Ducklings are really cute balls of fluff and I am so looking forward to seeing lots of babies next year! Even better is that we will be really close and I should get some good pictures of my own.