Mallard ducklings on Audlem pond

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Mallard duckling on pond
Mallard brooding
Mallard Nest at Christmas
Mallard Nest by pond
Mallard on nest

Last month, we reported Chris Lewis' story of mallard ducklings in December on his Audlem pond. Today, we bring you more news from Chris of unseasonal arrivals:

I found another Mallard nesting over Christmas. This is a wild one as my pinioned one was on the pond at the time.

The full story is: The first brood appeared on 23rd October swimming on the pond with eight ducklings in all. The pic shows one with a tufty and widgeon as it went to re-join the other seven.

The next day I caught the duck brooding the ducklings. Sadly none survived longer than a week although I spread plentiful amount of starter crumbs in the vicinity of the nest.

My next surprise was the pinioned mallard on a nest with eight eggs. She eventually laid twelve, but sadly a stoat got into the area of the pond and with the help of crows predated the nest.

Christmas day and I was amazed to find yet another wild mallard on a nest within a few feet of the October nest. She must have a huge number of eggs as several can be seem on the edge of the nest and not under her. Again I fear they are unlikely to hatch and if they do the ducklings have little chance of survival.

Rare as it is to find a single autumn nest but to have three seems remarkable. I suppose the very mild, sunny autumn must have triggered the hormones. No such luck with the hens who have resolutely stopped laying.
I attach pics of the three events. The first two show duckling on pond and duck brooding them, third is the predated nest and the fourth is the current duck sitting.

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