• Claire Stott

Fight for survival

Sadly it seems that the failure of last year’s mallard ducklings to survive is set to repeat for a second year. Just a day after the ducklings left the safety of their nest before my very eyes (see here), only one duckling remains at it’s mothers side.

The others were most likely predated by the herring gulls to feed their own hungry chicks. The distinctive yellow duckling in particular, was always going to be an easy target.

Tiny and vulnerable…

Here the mother mallard is successfully defending her surviving duckling from this adult Herring Gull but she will face a difficult challenge during the coming weeks if her duckling is to survive.

Keeping the gulls away, for now…

This particular female mallard is very bold and friendly towards people, no doubt as a result of being fed by locals (myself included) over the years. With the gull seen off she was perfectly content to bring her duckling in very close allowing me to capture some delightful images.

Flapping it’s tiny wings

Navigating obstacles

Climbing the muddy bank

Swimming in a sea of green

Feeding on algae

Another wing flap!

Phew! All that flapping is tiring work..

I hardly dared breathe as the brave little duckling wandered in between my feet and settled down for a brief rest as mother fed nearby. Perhaps she and the duckling felt safe and protected as my presence was keeping the gulls at a distance.

I am very much hoping these wont be the last photographs of this tiny little creature.

So close I could have reached out and touched it

Hiding in the grass

Settling down

**Update** Unfortunately just a few days after these photos were taken, this duckling also disappeared.

— All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography 2017 © http://www.greyfeatherphotography.com

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#birdwatching #outdoors #ducklings #aberystwyth #birder #birdphotographer #summer #river #breeding #photography #birds #ornithology #mallard #ducks #riverrheidol

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