30.11.2011 Only 14 left

The wings start growing - just Smallie stays small
There was no need to count the ducklings on this day to find out if all ducklings had survived the previous two weeks. 
I could see immediately that three more had disappeared, and the number was down to 14.
Of course, my and other people's first concern always was if Smallie was still alive.
And he or she was, easily recognisable at being half the size of his/her siblings.
On the photo above you can see Smallie near the top right hand corner of the picture.
Smallie going for a swim. On the title photo you can see that the wings of the older siblings are now clearly visible and growing while Smallie is still in its baby shape.
After swimming they waddle back to the riverbank and preen their fluff for ages to keep it waterproof. After this work they  take a little nap until they feel hungry again and start feeding on the grass - right to the dangerous roadside, crossing the dangerous footpath where some cyclists do not slow down.
After feeding the ducklings have to go to the water. First they stand by the riverbank and drink some beakfuls of water, then they take a little swim for digestion.
Smallie wants to cuddle with the older ducklings. Sometimes he or she pokes the beak into their sides to make them move and give him/her enough space to squeeze in between them. I have never seen them argue at this stage of their development. They are just the best family unit you can imagine.