We had our own very special eco-event (in fact, nine of them!) here on Datchet Green earlier this year.
There is no pond or stream on Datchet Green but, perhaps because it is
so peaceful here, one cold wet day in mid-March four ducks – three boys
and a girl - suddenly moved in and set up a ménage a quatre.
Spending all day walking round the Green, or curled up under shrubbery,
they slept at nights snuggled together in the middle of the Green.
We put out bowls of water as surrogate ponds, and fed our new neighbours
with bread which we floated in the ‘ponds’ so as to make the ducks feel
‘at home’ in scooping it out of the water. Sometimes, the ducks felt
so at home they climbed into the ‘ponds’!
Well, as the weather improved and nature being what it is when a young
man’s springtime fancy turns to thoughts of love, there ensued a number
of monumental male battles for the favours of the young lady duck. The
fiercest, full of sound and fury, took place on the lawn just outside my
kitchen window, and sometimes I feared for the lives of the vanquished.
However, as is the way of these things, eventually everything sorted
itself out – and one Alpha-Duck emerged as having won the hand (so to
speak) of the Lady . And peace reigned. One of the other boys was
constantly chased off, but always returned. And the other just kind of
‘hung out’ with Mr and Mrs, ingratiating himself as a look-out for food –
and when it appeared he would rush off quacking loudly to Mr and Mrs
and lead them back to where we had put out bread! We all assumed that
he was tolerated by Alpha and Mrs because he performed this useful role,
with which he seemed very content, in Duck Society - whereas the other
guy must have been a threat to Mr Alpha’s supremacy, and was treated by
him accordingly as The Outsider.
Well, this continued for about two months – and then suddenly, one
brilliantly sunny, warm spring morning, on 6 May 6, Mr and Mrs Duck
appeared on Datchet Green with their nine new ducklings! With Dad
trailing along behind, Mum led her babies round the Green to the ‘pond’
in front of my house, and then back across the gardens to other houses –
Dad shouting at the other two males if they got too close! (They
weren’t worried about us humans at all!)
“Does this mean we are grandmothers?” one of the ladies from the
StyleAcre houses here asked me. “Yes,” I replied, “ of course!”
That afternoon Mr and Mrs Duck led the Ducklings along Baker’s Lane and
down Bell Lane towards the pond at Sotwell House – and a posse of
Datchet Greener-s (including John Brewerton in his wheelchair) went with
them to ensure their safe arrival in their new home where, we believe,
they are living happily ever after!
We are thinking of renaming ‘Datchet Green’ as ‘Duck Green’ - !