Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Big News! Smudge has babies!

'Smudge' and her ducklings
Wildlfie photography by AnnMackieMiller
copyright 2011

Do you remember Smudge?  This was a little white duck with a smudge of black on her head.  She had a brood of duckling and abandoned the last four (they were finally adopted by another female.)  Later, she helped herself to another female's ducklings! For a reminder you can read the story on Squidoo Smudge the Little White Duck

Well, she has a brood of six.  She appeared yesterday (Monday) along the canal with her male in tow.  Every book I read tells me mallard ducks don't form lasting relationships, yet this mallard hybrid has the same mate as last year. He is easy to identify as he doesn't have the usual white neck ring of most mallards.  Also unusually, the male and female are staying together.  Watch this space for more news and duckling pictures.

Male Mallard duck withouth white neck ring
Duck pictures by AnnMackieMiller
copyright 2011
Also in evidence were the two remaining mallard ducklings from the 1st brood that appeared on the canal.  I was a bit worried when I saw them because they were 'hiding' in the goose nest that is abandoned - well not completely abandoned because the silly goose came along and chased them away.  But they did appear to be on their own.  A little later the mother turned up with a male in tow.  I suspect this is a new mate.

Mallard duckling pictures by AnnMackieMiller
copyright 2011

Further down, near the allotments, the goslings there had a poor attempt to climb the banking where their old nest was but it is just too steep. The adults then led them to the Greenhill, where they were brought up.  Interestingly they picked a spot right in the centre, in plain view to brood the goslings.  I wonder if they feel safer when they can see the danger coming toward them.  Certainly there were some who were very vocal in their disgust at the new residents.

White geese and goslings
Wildlife photography by AnnMackieMiller
copyright 2011
The Micklethwaite moorhens appear to have given up on the nest at Greenhill.  It has been repeatedly distroyed by the cattle and now they have a little nest on the other side of the swing bridge, nestled under a bush at the old mill.

Nesting moorhen pciture by AnnMackieMiller
copyright 2011

No sign of any new moorhen chicks from the other two nest, but the adults are still sitting on them.  I am now sure the one at the weir was a non producer.  I suspect the female there mated with one of last years's juveniles from Greenhill.  Doesn't seem to have been a match made in heaven.

Thorn the gosling seemed to be behaving today and I've documented his day on Squidoo - The gosling who lives under the hawthorn tree
I'm pretty sure this wee soul has a twisted beak - maybe all that falling on it he did on his first day but it doesn't seem to hamper him in any way. 

Gosling picture by AnnMackieMiller
copyright 2011

Just about to go back down to see what is happening today!

1 comment:

  1. Adorable! I'm so glad I found your blog! I'm stopping by from the A to Z challenge and I look forward to visiting again soon.