Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Growing up

Over the Bank holiday weekend Ebb and Flo's adult plumage has come through, it started just below their wings and then on their shoulders and chests. Then spend ages in the pond ducking underwater - lots of down is floating on the surface. On the bank they spend a lot of time preening and I think they eat the down too. Their undersides seem to have got fully feathered first which makes sense and I think Ebb might be a boy as dark blue feathers are showing through on his head.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015


Discovered how much ducklings like worms, they were fighting over them in the polytunnel. They also had a whale of a time in the pond, they are getting used to being herded into the carrier to be taken out, much harder to get them to go back in though.

Learning to quack

This morning we put the ducklings in the new pen round the pond - they were so happy dabbling in the mud, diving under water and having a general good clean, flicking water over their backs and waggling their stubby little wings and tails. I also put them in the polytunnel for a while where they happily searched for worms and slugs.  They are getting more used to us, they sit quietly on their bit of grass in the bathroom instead of running off - it does make you feel like you are being talked about though as they start contact calling as soon as we are out of sight. They also like to run up and down the long landing and into the office when we are working and come and sit near our feet. Just now one has been trying to quack, it was very subdued and sounded a bit damp and also made the other duckling look confused.

Monday, 18 May 2015


We now have two ducklings living in the bathroom and are busy building a pen for them to go out into. This doesn't seem to surprise anyone. On Wednesday evening I thought the drake seemed to be playing a little rough with the ducklings, when they dived in the pond he dived after and chased them. Then on Thursday evening I realised he was actually attempting to hold them under. He was also mating with their mum.  We were surprised as they had all seemed to be getting on for at least a week. On Friday morning the ducklings turned up on their own and we sat and watched for three hours with no sign of mum and drake, so we rounded them up and brought them in before cats, crows or buzzards noticed them. This sounds a lot easier than it was. They constantly cheep but luckily not overnight and come and sit in the office with us. We put pots of reeds in front of the carrier in an attempt to make them feel more secure as the were hiding in reeds from us when we caught them. The carrier now seems to be their place of safety they run to it if nervous and sleep in it overnight. The grass is there for them to eat along with the grain in the hopper and water in the dish to drink and sit in. We are not handling them unless necessary as hopefully they will be going back into the wild.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Ducks back and Lidl wildflowers

Pleased to say the duck returned with her ducklings the same evening, though sad to say she was down to two by the next day, we do wonder if she had got seperated from them during the bad weather and then buzzards or crows noticed them. Anyway they are visiting twice a day and she now has a drake in tow and all of them are making full use of the pond. The ducklings love to dive and swim under water from one side of the pond to the other, leaving a trail of bubbles on the surface.The Lidl wildflower mix has done really well and we take the fleece off during the day so the seedlings can harden off.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Missing Birds

Really sad today as our lovely duck turned up with no ducklings - to be honest we had been expecting it from past experience but had hoped it least one would make it. Doubly sad as on breakfast news this morning it said that three male hen harriers had gone missing in the Forest of Bowland leading to the abandonment of two nests. On the plus side, the swallows and pied wagtails are all busy making nests.

Friday, 1 May 2015

New pond

A bit of the lawn has always been boggy so we decided to turn it into a pond - as we were digging it was filling up which was motivating. We also had an empty plastic water tank and once we had sealed up the holes in it, sank it into the ground in one of the flower beds. Yesterday started wet and the ducklings all took shelter under their Mum. Today's much warmer and brighter and the garden is full of sunbathing wildlife.

Pond digging

Looks much better by morning

Water tank pond

Sheltering ducklings

Sunbathing pheasants

Sunbathing bunny