But not at three o’clock in the morning.
Yes, Rooster Duck is back and making up for lost time driving some of the residents cwackers.
Personally, I don’t mind her or her chums with their chattering chorus (Laughing Duck is here too), but then I like ducks anyway, and both Hubby and I are rather protective of the babies when they arrive.
These are broods from April and July this year
Mummy duck and her sole baby are almost the same size now and visit the bank behind us most days.
There is a new notice up on the board this week asking boat owners NOT to feed the water fowl.
It’s not unusual to see visitors with young children throwing bread for the ducks, though it wasn’t until we were in Stratford Upon Avon this year that I discovered that white bread is bad for ducks and swans anyway. To think of all those loaves of stale bread we used to feed the ducks and geese in Poole Park as a kid!
It makes sense because ducks are creatures of habit and we’ve noticed how they come calling for breakfast at some boats rather than forage for food in the rushes or water. We’ve even seen full slices of white bread floating in the water, so perhaps it could be said that they prefer brown now. We have to remember though that they are wild, and our ‘helping hand’ in the feeding stakes is doing more harm than good as they will become reliant on it rather than fend for themselves as they should.
we hold our hands up too as we have thrown a few scraps into the water before now.
I’ve said before that I talk to the ducks and swans alike. I’m also aware that it amuses some people who probably think I’m quite sad, but I hate the thought of frightening these birds as they are in such close proximity to us and it only takes one to panic for them all to.
We say hello when we see them so that most are used to Maggie now and don’t rush away.
Our Migrant Two are still around and looking as beautiful as ever. The annual moult has finished so their plumage is in excellent condition ready for the colder months to come.
I was coming back from taking Maggie for her final wee late one evening and could hear little cheeps coming from the marina. It took a while for my eyes to adjust, but I could just make out an adult swan, and before I knew it, four large cygnets were making their way towards me on the pontoon.
I would so love to touch them but I value my fingers too much, but by keeping my voice low and quiet, they were quite content in their curiosity.
I took this picture in August. The youngsters are as large as the adult now but still grey.
I don’t know where the other cygnet was that night, but I have seen all five out on the river with both parents since, so it’s good to know this little family is still intact.
A couple of days ago Hubby was working in our bow and could hear me talking to someone.
Well, it wasn’t actually someone, but two ducks who were on the pontoon trying to muster enough courage to jump across to the bank rather than fly. I found it hilarious.
Imagine an olympic diver taking to the board with their toes tight to the edge.
Instead of arms held out in front, replace the human image with a young male and female mallard with necks extended.
Follow this with a confidence fail as they both reversed away from the edge to gather their wits and bravado to try again.
Enter yours truly with gentle words of encouragement.
‘Come on, you can do it. Yes, you can. Gently does it……… you can do it……’
(tittering of Hubby in the background)
Several attempts and this little conversation followed until the female took the plunge and landed safely on the bank to dab her beak along the line of freshly cut grass and its hidden goodies.
The male wasn’t quite so brave.
He thought about it, backed off and moved further along the pontoon.
Realising the narrower bit was behind him, he waddled back to opposite where the female was happily noshing, got his toes tight against the edge, stuck out his neck and his wings and………………… backed off again.
Two attempts later, he joined his partner having landed somewhat inelegantly and unbalanced (but upright) on the grass.