Both of us aren’t sleeping that well just now, and more or less taking it in turns to let the other have a lie in.
As I was ‘coming to’ sotospeak, I heard paw steps and thought Hubby was back early with the dog, but when the boat didn’t dip as he came aboard, I rolled over only to hear a repeat performance.
No-one else on this side has a dog, though our visitors with Woodrow the Parrot are here this weekend, as are our heavy footed academics.
It didn’t take me long to realise that the happy feet dancing a jig were actually running up and down on the roof, so I got up to investigate.
Sure enough, Mr and Mrs Mallard were going great guns starting a nest in our ladder. When I poked my head through the back hatch, they flew off in a frenzy, landing with an inelegant ‘sploosh’ in the water on our bow.
our neighbours’ brood of ducklings which grounded them as Mum had made her nest in a bucket inside their bow in May 2015.
This afternoon, we have washed the boat to dispose of any initial claim and turned our ladder over so there are no little cubby holes or indentations in which to nest and raise a brood of little mallardings.
We have never encouraged them (apart from conversation as we walk by with the dog), and I feel cruel as I would love to be a part of them hatching and growing up, but know I would shed oceans when the natural predators come along and snatch them.
Sadly not many ducklings survive due to gulls, crows, pike and herons.
One mother protected her last baby by shielding it in the water with her tail, taking it up high on the bank out of the water, or hiding it in the rushes. We recognised her because of her tail and were able to follow her progress and dedication.
Mummy duck and baby alongside us July 2016
Proud Momma and baby on the bank behind us, August 2016.