This is a love story about Deidre and Dandy, whom for many months had been courting in our back yard. We watched as their love blossomed. They were in separable, even despite the fact that she had several suitors. She remained faithful to Dandy and in September 2016 they became the very proud parents of 8 delicate little fluffy down covered ducklings with beautiful lemon highlights.
After eating the nourishment from their birth eggs, these little ducklings are totally in tune with their surroundings. The first 24 hours they will relish in the suns warmth and the guidance of their mother. A little reluctant, they gingerly emerged from the safety and warmth of their nest. They follow Mums every move. With total abandonment they take a leap of faith into the water for the first time, plop, splash and tumble they have instantly adapted to the water. They dart across the surface like little torpedos. They are feather light and at times it appears they are simply running on the water’s surface in a terrified dash to reach the security of Mum’s side. They try to jump aboard for a free ride as they scramble for Mothers back, but she is quick to dismiss this frivolous activity as she knows only to well that in order to survive they must learn early to fend for themselves.
Mum is forever watchful for predatory birds such as Magpie and Crow, notorious for a snatch and grab affair.
Deidre flys off and leaves her clutch, they chirp so loudly longing to have the warmth of their Mum beside them. Not long and she has returned with Dandy. The little ducklings that are bobbing up and down in the water see 2 large objects from the sky heading straight towards them, in a split second they have all “duck dived” to the bottom of the pool for security. The survival instincts are incredible for a new-born. Dandy is excited by their presence, however his children seem a little intimidated by him and stay close to the safety of Mum.
Deidre takes them on shore which is aided by the ramp that we have made for easy access out of the pool. Their tired little bodies scramble up the ramp and spill over one another to gain the warmth of the closest body. The warmth of the sun, sends them into an immediate slumber. For those dosing off to close to the ramps edge, they quickly awake when they have rolled off the ramp into the water, with a splash they dust themselves off and scramble back up on to the ramp to find their siblings giggling at their misfortune.
It’s been a long day filled with watersports, snuggling and sleeping.
The first night arrives and mother envelops her young with her loving wing, providing warmth and security.
Finding your feet.
Today is more adventurous, the youngsters seem to have found some new found strength and Deidre is keen to explore the grounds. Of course I collected some snails as a sacrificial peace-offering, most of them made their escape, but one served as a delicacy for Deidre.
Deidre exposes them to the sights and smells of the garden, the youngsters seem energetic this morning, doing quick laps of the pool and then down the steps they start to explore, curious and excited as mother encourages her clutch to follow.
Sadly for me I realise she is ready to embark on one of the greatest challenges she will endure. That is to see her youngsters make it to adulthood. I know I must bid farewell to this beautiful family as she makes her way to the feeding grounds where her little clutch will grow into strong successful ducks that will in time make their way back to the “Nursery” where new life is created yet again to continue the cycle of life.