Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

Breaking the Ice

Wednesday, 21st March, 2007
mallards The mallard pair have stayed overnight; the interloping drake soon lost interest yesterday.

I don’t know whether they spent the night on the pond or whether they tucked their bills under their wings and stood at the edge but this morning there’s a small patch of open water at one end of the pond and the two of them are bobbing about there.

The female is the first to gingerly make her way onto the thin ice. By the time we’ve had breakfast the ice has broken up and it soon melts away.

mallards mallardsWhenever we go out to hang out washing, the ducks retreat to the pond. If we get nearer they’ll climb out onto the raised bed behind the pond. If we don’t go back indoors, they’ll adopt an alert pose; head up, neck stretched, then they’ll start admonishing us with some quiet quacking. Finally they’ll take off.

When Barbara first went out after breakfast they took off directly from the pond, cascading silvery droplets around them which sparkled, backlit by the low morning sun.