DUCKLING

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23rd February, and I’ve already seen two lots of ducklings, which means that their parents (in both cases Egyptian geese) must have been sitting on eggs since January. Yes, Egyptian geese aren’t native, and we’re not sure if they might turn into a problem. But they now have a special place in my heart because 1) I found out they can nest in trees 2) the other day I saw two brazenly grazing in the grass outside Westminster Abbey, looking like they owned the place and 3) they’re very diligent parents, and exemplified their skills perfectly last weekend.

We had headed to Regent’s Park in search of their waterfowl collection, and came across a pair of geese as they fought off five herons that were looking hungrily at their duckling. It was all a bit tense, and there was a moment when a heron swooped in over the pond and made an attempt to snatch it out of the water, but I’m glad to say it was valiantly defended. Sadly I was a bit caught up in the excitement and by the time I got round to taking pictures the duckling was stood next to a big goose s**t. But I think we can overlook that and appreciate its fluffiness.

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The waterfowl collection itself is pretty impressive. There were geese, wigeon, teal, smews, eiders, buffleheads… the list goes on. It’s completely free to go see them and lovely to view them up close.

Finally, can we please take a minute to appreciate coot feet? Without a doubt the most impressive of all rails.

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N.B. Egyptian geese are technically a type of duck, which is why I’m referring to their offspring as ducklings. But they can be found in Egypt, so all in all, 1/2 for the name.

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