Absolute Carnage at the Duck Pond

When I was little my parents used to take me to feed the ducks, and now that I’m a grown up I really enjoy the serenity and calmness of visiting the duck pond. It’s a great chance to get away from it all, and to help the birds out by providing them with a meal in the dead of winter. So this morning I paid a visit to my local duck pond to check in on the regulars and to see if I could spot an exotic new visitor. What I didn’t expect was the “every duck for himself” attitude and unadulterated violence I saw.

Most of the ducks at the pond were mallards, very dapper with their white collars and shiny green heads:

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But their were a couple of interesting characters here and there, like this mallard-pintail hybrid (on the left) and a moorhen:

There’s one thing that never changes at a duck pond – the second you whip out a plastic bag, thousands of ducks appear out of nowhere… and if you chuck a bit in, it’s a feeding frenzy!

7It really was every duck for himself. I’m pretty sure, amongst all the thrashing in the water, one duck has another’s foot in his mouth. Champion.

8Just as I was thinking to myself how I hadn’t seen such a fracas since my student days, I caught sight of someone who made the quarrelling mallards look like a village green tea party. A goose. My blood ran cold. I hadn’t met a greylag goose before, but my long-held fear of swans told me all I needed to know. Beware.

9I kept my eyes on this goose all the time, but little did I know he was just the decoy. His accomplice came at me from the side and bit me on the foot. Classy.

I decided to move to another area of the pond, and it was then that I caught sight of a very graceful new resident, a mandarin duck and his mate:

10And they have been joined by an even more exotic visitor in the last couple of days, a very rare and very beautiful white mandarin:

11So what did I learn from my trip to the duck pond today? Well, let’s just say that people erect fences for a reason. And sometimes a fence by the side of the lake isn’t to stop vandals from going in, but to stop hooligans from getting out!

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