Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Cygnet and goslings

I think that Flare Tail may have lost her ducklings.  They appeared on their own a couple of days ago and I thought they might be safe as they seemed to be quite happy to lurk in the shallows between our boat and that of our neighbour's.  Flare Tail and her partner, however, spent quite a long time resting in the sunshine on my therapy room's roof the other morning so I'm wondering whether she has either abandoned them or has taken them somewhere safer and heads back to see them after taking a break.

We used to have a mallard duck we called Goldeneye, also with a brown hybrid partner.  She was a disastrous mother, abandoning her ducklings within a day and a half or hatching them as if she got bored and couldn't be bothered with them.  I do have just a smidgeon of hope that Flare Tail has her ducklings safely stowed upstream as she flies in to feed and then heads off again in a hurry. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that she's been clever and taken them somewhere safer than our location.

 Canada geese with goslings

The Canada geese are excellent parents and are fiercely protective of their young.  Even so, this pair now only has two goslings - I'm not sure what happened to the third one.  Of an evening they bring them to our floating platform for the night and I haven't the heart to turn them away though they are not my wildfowl of choice as I've seen them attack ducklings. 

Resident swan with cygnet

Our resident swans were unlucky this year and their nest was regularly raided by magpies and possibly a crow or heron. Hence only one cygnet but they are taking great care of it and it's a joy to watch it sitting proud on mum's back.  They visit the feeding platform three or four times a day and the cygnet seems to enjoy small amounts of wheat as a supplement to its diet  This morning I laughed out loud as the female swan stretched her neck down to retrieve some wheat that had sunk into the riverbed, tipping the cygnet unceremoniously into the water.

Another surprise awaited me this morning. One of the mandarin ducks appeared with 9 or 10 ducklings.  She's very nervous and protective of her newly hatched youngsters but I'm hoping she'll use the spare duck nesting box as a creche for them tonight.  She visited the feeding station several times today with her ducklings but is very wary of humans.

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