16.11.2011 Smallie's arrival

One duckling missing - but one cute addition
 
 
Eleven days after my first head count I went back to the duck family - and counted only 17 ducklings. But the greatest observation was the discovery of a duckling about half the size of the others. Of course, I named it Smallie. No idea (yet) if it was a male or a female.
 
Smallie with one of the much bigger brothers or sisters...
 
After feeding the ducklings always waddle to the water and have a drink, swim a while - always under the attentive watch of their parents.
 
At this early stage of their lives the ducklings stay close together most of the time. If they do not behave in a safe manner, mother ducks starts scolding them and pulling their feathers.
 
No idea if Smallie was a late hatcher of the same clutch or if it was adopted by Mister und Misses Duck, thinking it would not matter if they had to raise one chick more or less. As ducklings immediately feed on their own, it is not a lot more work for the paradise duck parents.
 
... and feeding beside Mum.
 
Mother Duck usually goes swimming with them while Father Duck keep watch on the bank of the river. The parents have a no-nonsense approach to raising chicks.
 
As I cannot say if Smallie was a late hatcher or an adopted cutie, it is possible that two ducklings of the original eighteen have gone missing - at this stage highly likely eaten by the big eels in the Avon.
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