Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Ousted from both nest boxes

There has been another development concerning nest box 2.  The female tufted duck waited until the mandarin duck left her plank the other day and then claimed back her nest box.  Unfortunately, she has now been ousted by a female mallard who has commandeered the box and is laying her eggs in there. We think that the tufted duck laid at least one more egg inside the box while the mallard wasn't there but the mallard's partner is protecting the nest now and the 'tufty' isn't able to use it as far as we can tell. It's very sad for her because this is the second nest she has laid eggs in only to have a mallard take it over.  We're wondering whether the mallard will hatch the tufted duck's eggs.

Our tufted ducks having a break from attempts to nest

The tufted duck sneaked back to her old nest

I haven't noticed whether the tufted duck has been hanging around her old nest any more but the mallard is now sitting for longer and longer periods on seven eggs.  When we looked two days ago there were four small eggs and two slightly larger ones of a different hue. We assume that the mallard's eggs are the slightly larger ones.

Drake guarding the nest 

It was so sad to see the tufted duck hanging around her nest while the drake blocked it.  He regularly stands guard at the entrance to his partner's nest which is untypical.  Although most drakes stay fairly close to their partners' nest sites they don't usually guard the nests so closely.

The nest yesterday

When I looked inside the box yesterday there were seven eggs but one had been rolled into a corner. The day before two eggs had been laid so we presume that both the mallard and the tufted duck had laid an egg each.  Now, with the drake guarding the nest so closely, the tufted duck appears to have given up on her second nest.  

Meanwhile the mandarin ducks still turn up and look in nest box 2 although I haven't seen the female enter either box for several days.

Mr. mandarin on our plank

The swans bring their two cygnets several times a day for some wheat.  They've grown quite a lot since I last photographed them but they're still cute.  While the swans are here even the greedy canada geese stay well clear of the adults.

The cygnets are growing

The weather has been rather lovely for the past few days and we took an evening boat trip as the sun was going down.  The river is deliciously quiet at this time and the beautiful light on the water and some structures is delightful.

Hampton church at sunset

View upstream from under our bridge

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