OUT OF THE ORDINARY.

I could hear rustling in the ferns behind me all evening and when I looked some movement in the vegetation and the occasional squeak, but no clue as to what was in there. I was bouldering on the north facing wall of Sweden Quarry, which gave shade from the hot sun, even so I was sweating profusely, we are just not accustomed to temperatures in the high 20s. The quarry hosts quite a bit of bird life – blackbird, wren, robin, chiffchaff, blackcap, mallard and no doubt many more. Barn owls nested earlier in the season. It is a great place to sit and take in the ambience such as it is with old tyres, fencing and rotting trees cut down in the plantation a few years ago. The pool at the bottom has shrunk greatly in this recent drought.

I was about to leave when I spotted something yellow out of the corner of my eye, in fact, there were two yellow blobs in the grass. The squeaking became louder as Mother Duck led her brood out of hiding down to the drying up pool at the base of the quarry. The other four chicks were brown and well camouflaged, it was the two yellow ones that gave the game away. I grabbed my phone for a quick shot, but then realised they were out to play for a while, so I was able to retrieve my camera and sit down to enjoy their display. Mother floated quietly whilst the chicks darted about exploring, exercising their legs and no doubt eating the odd green morsel. After some time, Mother decided they had had enough and marched them back into the undergrowth to hide away for the night. I hope the ducklings survive but fear for the yellow ones who are all too obvious to any predator. I will report back on further sightings over the next week. (Still six there two days later) So how unusual are yellow ducklings? Mallards, Muscovy and domestic ducks have occasional yellow ducklings, many of these develop into white ducks – so we will see.

The joys of living in the Ribble Valley on an evening like this.

10 thoughts on “OUT OF THE ORDINARY.

  1. conradwalks.blogspot.com

    That is the reward for staying put and quiet in a natural environment. Something similar happens if you are fishing when your presence is not a great threat and you get the opportunity to spot things we don’t see so often when we are tripping through on our walks. Many people don’t have the patience to just to sit and wait doing little else but when you have a compatible pass-time you can achieve a modicum of having and eating your cake.

    Reply
    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      I’ve never really been fishing, but I imagine one would see lots of nature passing by. As you say, when we are moving through the wildlife hides, unless they are bright yellow like my two ducklings.

      Reply
  2. Martin Banfield

    Hopefully they will survive. We had a couple of albino mallards on the canal near Altrincham for a few years, and a mandarin duck that thought it was a mallard.

    Reply
  3. Michael Graeme

    I have an artificial pond in my garden, and a family of ducks took up residence in it one summer. They dabbled the life out of it, but it was worth it to see them up close like that.

    Reply
    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      Ducks sometimes nest in my compost heaps close to my pond, they never seem to succeed – magpies or rats take the eggs.
      Do those ducklings eat only greenery in the pond? It’s amazing how they survive.

      Reply
  4. Michael Graeme

    Yes, they ate all the green. They must have nested elsewhere, just walked up the garden path one day, mother and a line of duckings, and settled in. I thought it might be the start of a seasonal habit, but it was just the one time.

    Reply

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