Friday, 13 April 2018

"Ducks are a-Dabbling"

Or, in the case of this pair of Mallards," Ducks are a-Waiting".............for small birds to drop bits from the fat balls and seed feeders.
These two appeared last week to nest somewhere near the wide ditch opposite the house, could well be the same pair as last spring who hatched 6 eggs but then ended up a few weeks later with no ducklings. Ducks are such hopeless mothers, they either lose the ducklings when they take them off for long walks or the ducklings get killed by the moorhens who reside here all year round...cruel things.

Sitting and waiting for the sparrows to drop bits from the feeders above
Ducks Ditty is the only poem I remember from primary school

All along the backwater,
Through the rushes tall,
Ducks are a-dabbling,
Up tails all.

Ducks’ tails, drake’s tails,
Yellow feet a-quiver,
Yellow bills all out of sight,
Busy in the river!

Slushy green undergrowth
Where the roach swim--
Here we keep our larder,
Cool and full and dim.

Everyone for what he likes!
We like to be
Heads down, tails up,
Dabbling free!

High in the blue above
Swifts whirl and call--
We are down a-dabbling,
Up tails all.

From The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame .

I'm miffed that Blogger has changed the way dates are written on the dashboard posts page.....from the English way.....Day/Month/Year to the USA way ....Month/Day/Year. I have to look twice to work it out! Seems Blogger likes to change things for no reason.

Thanks for yesterdays comments. I now have blog plans for a few more days and welcome to more followers, hope you enjoy reading.

Back Tomorrow


  1. My dashboard posts page is still English style (DMY). Maybe yours will revert?!

  2. How fun to have some Mallards visiting your garden! We've never had any stop here and we even have a little pond they can float in for a bit. As long as they wouldn't eat our little koi fish! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  3. We had Shelducks in the field behind us last week, we see lots of birds in the field but rarely ducks. I'd read somewhere that Moorhens attack it's true then?

  4. My daughter used to work at a wildlife hospital and she would say ducks are the worst mothers. Love that poem from Wind In The Willows, I always used to say it to my children when we would feed the ducks. Jane xx

  5. We've had them sitting in the field at the back of our house as the fields are so water logged at the moment. They don't stay too long though. They use it like a pit stop en route to somewhere else.


  6. Apologies that this so so long but I love it.

    J x

    From troubles of the world
    I turn to ducks,
    Beautiful comical things
    Sleeping or curled
    Their heads beneath white wings
    By water cool,
    Or finding curious things
    To eat in various mucks
    Beneath the pool,
    Tails uppermost, or waddling
    Sailor-like on the shores
    Of ponds, or paddling
    – Left! Right! – with fanlike feet
    Which are for steady oars
    When they (white galleys) float
    Each bird a boat
    Rippling at will the sweet
    Wide waterway…
    When night is fallen you creep
    Upstairs, but drakes and dillies
    Nest with pale water-stars,
    Moonbeams and shadow bars,
    And water-lilies:
    Fearful too much to sleep
    Since they’ve no locks
    To click against the teeth
    Of weasel and fox.
    And warm beneath
    Are eggs of cloudy green
    Whence hungry rats and lean
    Would stealthily suck
    New life, but for the mien
    The bold ferocious mien
    Of the mother-duck.

    Yes, ducks are valiant things
    On nests of twigs and straws,
    And ducks are soothy things
    And lovely on the lake
    When that the sunlight draws
    Thereon their pictures dim
    In colours cool.
    And when beneath the pool
    They dabble, and when they swim
    And make their rippling rings,
    0 ducks are beautiful things!
    But ducks are comical things:-
    As comical as you.
    They waddle round, they do.
    They eat all sorts of things,
    And then they quack.
    By barn and stable and stack
    They wander at their will,
    But if you go too near
    They look at you through black
    Small topaz-tinted eyes
    And wish you ill.
    Triangular and clear
    They leave their curious track
    In mud at the water’s edge,
    And there amid the sedge
    And slime they gobble and peer
    Saying ‘Quack! quack!’

    When God had finished the stars and whirl of coloured suns
    He turned His mind from big things to fashion little ones;
    Beautiful tiny things (like daisies) He made, and then
    He made the comical ones in case the minds of men
    Should stiffen and become
    Dull, humourless and glum,
    And so forgetful of their Maker be
    As to take even themselves – quite seriously.
    Caterpillars and cats are lively and excellent puns:
    All God’s jokes are good – even the practical ones!
    And as for the duck, 1 think God must have smiled a bit
    Seeing those bright eyes blink on the day He fashioned it.
    And he’s probably laughing still at the sound that came
    out of its bill!

    Ducks (1919)
    F.W. Harvey

  7. Lovely to see the ducks in your garden! I wish! The birds I have waiting for food to fall under the bird feeder are Mourning Doves. They are so funny to watch.

  8. I've got a magpie and pigeons tidying up below the feeder after the starlings lob the meal worms all over the place!

  9. The colouring of Mallards is so vivid. Well at least the males. I hope Mom watches her babies a bit better this this time around.

    God bless.

  10. Let's hope for a more successful hatching and rearing season this year x