Today, dear reader, I am going to explore two scenarios regarding the population of the breeding ducks in the local park. Specifically it involves the family of Tufted Ducks that I mentioned in this here blog earlier in the month, and a much smaller family of Pochard, which involves a female and single duckling.
The background is this. There were initially eleven Tufted ducklings. The next visit showed only nine. Subsequent to this there are only none. The Pochard is the only child of the only female, and has been doing quite nicely but yesterday it looked orphaned and was kopping much more agro from the Tufties (non-breeding) as it is nearly as big as them now.
The Tufted Duck mother decided that the park was far too much aggro and decided to take the whole brood for a walk through the little woodland to the river/canal where it is much quieter.
The female pochard was wandering about yesterday, looking for another mate or a new area to live in once the duckling could fly.
Death. Yep, combinations of duck scoffing death animals.
The mother tuftie could have been nabbled by a fox, and the semi-resident Heron could have taken a break from rat catching and finished the ducklings off. Or a fox ate all of them. Or the Heron ate all of them (maybe barring the adult Tuftie). But I doubt if the Heron would have been able to take all of the ducklings without the mother being taken first.
The mother pochard could also have been taken by a fox. This means that the young Pochard, who has been doing quite well might not do so well. 'He' can feed ok, but might not be able to make those good overnight decisions on keeping warm and away from predation. Time will tell on that one.
Although I have no proof on the duck murder scenario, my gut feeling is that this is what has happened. The Coots don't seem to have suffered, the Moorhen seem to be doing ok (second brood hatched, first brood chipping in). Interestingly, a Canada Goose was nursing a sore leg last week...........
Rather than have a photo of something that may not exist, have an incredible digimonned Mallard hybrid thingy.
A Mallard doing mutant