Croydon Ducks - 2008 Nest

Latest update: 5th August 2008

Another duck nest this year, eight eggs hatched successfully on 29th May 2008, the first ducklings in 10 years.
They stayed for up to nine weeks before flying away.  This page has photos of duck visits from March to May 2008,
with mum and the two dads, other visiting ducks, and the nest.

Ducklings - 2008 has photos from 29th May when the eggs hatched.  Young Ducks - 2008 has photos of the
ducklings from four weeks old in late June until they left in August 2008.

 

Early visit 19th March 2008, this year's female has two mates.  Initially one mate was dominant and tried to force
the second from the pond, but eventually they agreed to share the female, both trying to mate with her at the same
time.

 

On the new island beach area, a large slab of York stone.

 

The two males trying to dominate each other.

 

All quietly sleeping.  While asleep, duck eyes open about once every two seconds, checking for danger.

 

Wandering around the lawn.

 

Eating the fish floating pond sticks.  The net over this corner of the pond is to make it harder for pigeons to steal
the fish food, but the ducks enjoy it as well.

 

The start of the new nest on 30th April 2008.  Last year she dug a shallow hole from which other ducks and crows
were able to roll her eggs around the island, so they got broken and stolen.  So this year I dug her a deeper bowl with
turf on the bottom so the eggs would be below ground level, and filled it with dried grass and leaves I kept in a sack
during the winter.  Once the duck started laying eggs, I added three bricks around the nest for further protection. She
lays one egg each a day, and only sits on the nest 24/7 once she has a full nest.  She looses up to half her body
weight laying the eggs.

 

The duck sitting on her new nest.

 

Male ducks continue to visit while she is laying, in a session lasting about 45 minutes, he two mates are pursuing
a rogue male around the garden, trying to keep him away from the female.

 

The chase continues around the garden.

 

And past the filter tanks behind the pond.

 

And back into the water.

 

And around the front of the pond again.

 

In and out of the water again. 

 

The duck sitting on her nest on the island, with her two mates keep a watching eye.  Although I've put the nest box
out for the last three years, she has never used, instead nesting under it, but at least it provides some protection.
I suspect only ducks raised in a nesting box will use one.

 

She is still laying, on 3rd May 2008 there are seven eggs, her arrangement, not mine.  The following day she
started incubating, and staying on the nest 24/7.

 

She does leave the nest about twice a day to feed in the pond, usually for about 10 minutes.

 

Back on the nest.

 

On the 15th May 2008, the duck is forced off the nest by the rogue male, giving me the chance to put the plank out the
island and investigate the nest.  She'd laid two more eggs after incubation started, and you can see her fur lining the
nest.  She plucks her own fur from her belly, for better contact with the eggs.

 

The rogue male is back, again. He's chasing her off the nest about once a day, despite my efforts to keep him away,
she always flies away and usually returns with her two mates about 15 minutes later, and gets back on the nest.

 

Asleep with her head on her body. Because I've not put any food on the island, no other ducks have yet ransacked
her nest.  Nor have the crows attacked the nest, yet, last year they stole some of her eggs.

 

At 5am on 21st May 2008, six or seven males forced her off the nest again, twice, and were chasing each other
around the pond for 30 minutes, only four were left when I got the camera out.

 

The female returns with her two mates, and has a feeding session, I put the CJ Duck & Swan food underwater on
a shelf to stop the pigeons eating it first.

 

I've run out of dried leaves, so put some barley straw on the island, which quickly gets build into the nest.  Just two
more weeks of incubation, if I keep the nest safe that long.

 

She got chased off the nest again on 22nd May, so a chance to get out onto the island and tidy up the grass which
was getting very long.

 

Six males are regularly visiting the pond, and chasing the nesting duck off her nest two or three times a day, she
usually returns with her two mates about 15 minutes later, four on the pond in this photo.

 

Five males bored on the lawn.

 

Four males behind the pond.

 

Five marauding males early one morning next to the filter tanks.

 

And waiting on the house roof to swoop down into the pond.

Ducklings - 2008 has photos from 29th May when the eggs hatched. 


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