Things just didn’t go right early on one recent Monday morning, so I decided to go for a walk round nearby Reffley Spring Wood and to the duck pond.
I was astonished when at the pond, a very small mallard duckling wandered close to my feet – then a second and a third appeared. A very late brood. They came surprisingly close to me.
I went to sit on one of the benches to see if I could get some photographs from a better angle and the little ducklings ran up to me, passing between and around my feet! They were so close I could have reached down and touched them!
I kept still and one of the ducklings quickly leaned in towards my shoe and pecked a piece of grass or something off the sole. Moments later, another duckling aimed a peck or two at my lace! Did it think it was a worm?
As I sat there. delighting in the improvement of my morning, the tiny three-some made several more sorties in my direction. A lot of the time, they appeared to be making peeping noises. I did later on, see one adult female mallard who seemed to be watching the youngsters and quacking instructions at them as they foraged in the grass.
Eventually, they seemed to lose interest in me and ventured further off on the grassy field. I was beginning to feel chillier by then and so set off for home, my spirits feeling much brighter. I hope the spotty little ducklings make it to adulthood; I’ve never had such a close encounter with any before.
The walk had started off very well, too. As I neared the wood, a robin had hopped out from the woodland edge and perched on a wastebin just a few feet from me. And further in, three squirrels provided entertainment.