Mallard ducklings on Audlem pond

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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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