Since rescuing the duckling the other evening, we have been watching the marina waterfowl and other wildlife.
Compared to what we’d seen whilst out on the river, not many young have survived in either of the marina basins.
Mrs Boating Duck had 6 babies, but we believe only three have survived. We often see a mother and three older ducklings in the vicinity of where the birthing boat had been.
In the meantime, there have been other births, and there is another mother with 2 large but still downy ducklings and a recent batch of 4 have been seen behind us.
The moor hens that squatted in the engine area of a cruiser have also made a return to their birth place (or tried to). Out of 6 chicks, there are now only 2.
However, there are three gangly adolescents strutting their stuff along the end of the bank from another brood we hadn’t been aware of.
(this is a google image)
The resident swans haven’t fared very well either.
Regrettably, there is only one survivor now, and this is now as big as its parents. I haven’t managed to get a picture of it yet.
Meanwhile on the dog walk, the rabbits are breeding well. There are little kittens rustling everywhere in the undergrowth, and three nights ago I was walking Maggie just before bedtime and about half a dozen made no effort whatsoever to run away. They are looking healthy, so hopefully there will be no myxomatosis this year. The rabbits on the other side of the river are bigger and more skittish than those here. There are also a lot more of them!
We had an environmental team here a few weeks ago testing the water for the density of fish. It appears that there are plenty in our basin, but fewer out on the river. The size of the carp here is phenomenal, and there are hundreds of dace and other smaller fish making their way to the surface or nibbling at the algae on the boat hulls.
I confess I was pleased to see a dead pike floating belly up yesterday. At least that is one less predator of baby chicks, though we have had an onslaught of herring gulls here and they are probably the most guilty for taking the little ones.
Swallows have also been in abundance, though they will be leaving us shortly as they begin to migrate. They are constantly dipping into the water to drink or hovering on the wing around our bow. We’ve had a couple fly inside (we had this in the house too) but they have quickly realised their mistake and flown out again none the worse for their ‘detour’.
I regret though that the kingfishers are still too fast for me to get a photo (google image).
We have recently seen a green woodpecker along the dog walk. We had heard him a few times, but now he has shown himself, and he’s an absolute beauty. Hopefully I can get a picture but for now, thanks again to google for this one.
Perhaps I should also mention the bats. These frequently appear from beneath the trees and swoop over and across the edges of the water. Similar in movement, speed and amazing directional change, I thought at first they were swallows, and we seem to have a fair number making themselves visible on balmy nights.
It was mentioned at the Residents BBQ last week that hedgehogs here are in decline.
I saw a single adult and two youngsters last year, and I am pleased to report that there is evidence (ie. poo) on the dog walk that we should be seeing more. Hubby and I had a family (and their friends) at our first house, and we named most of them!