And then there were eight…

This morning, a beautiful moment on the water by the peninsula  was shattered by the harsh reality of life in the wild.

The mallard with six of her ducklings.

A mallard with six of her ducklings.

A mallard and her nine hatchlings were out on the water in an idyllic scene. I watched and took a number of shots until a large carp in the water distracted me. Out of nowhere, a gull swooped down, snatched one of the chicks and dispatched it very quickly. The duck gave chase as the gull flew off with its prize but quickly returned to the rest of her brood and gathered them close for safety. The gull seemed satisfied with just the one.

The guilty party.

The guilty party – with nearby witnesses pretending they haven’t seen a thing.

I had a feeling that the chicks were vulnerable as they seemed to stray quite far from the mother but didn’t expect to witness such a quick end for one of them. I guess that’s why they breed in such large numbers. On the other side of the coin, the gulls have an interest in ducks breeding and providing the occasional tasty snack so a feeding frenzy is not in their best interest either.



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