The three ducks who spend the summer in our garden aren’t our pets exactly but we feel as if they might be. They are wild enough to fly south every winter (we don’t know where) but at the start of every spring they are back and they’re tame enough to swim beside me in the pond. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been keeping an eye on the female as she sits on her eggs in one of our strawberry houses in the kitchen garden. This is her second attempt to raise a family this year, see Newborn Ducklings at Yewbarrow House Part 2.
After breakfast this morning I went to check on her as usual and as I clambered the steps to the kitchen garden I came upon the sickening sight of a pile of feathers on the steps. It was unmistakably a pile of her feathers. And sure enough the nest was bare and 9 blue duck eggs had been abandoned.
How did our lovely faithful friend meet her fate? There are two prime suspects. The first is one of the badgers from the sett in the fern garden. The reason I’ve put a badger in the frame is that only the other day a friend described how she had seen a badger kill her chickens. The other suspect is the rather evil looking young cat in this photo, which I took not far from the scene of the crime. Which of the two is the culprit? We shall never know, but a clue may be found in the fact that as I moved closer to get a better photo of the cat it fixed its eye on the camera and the shutter jammed, something which has never happened before, and it was only 5 minutes later, after the cat had bolted, that I could get the camera to work again.