31.12.2011 Happy New Year

Smallie has become Mister Cactus Face

What a day! My duck feeding mission began with not finding the ducks at their usual spot when

walking to their favourite tree from Peterborough Street, and I feared the worst for them.

For whatever reason they had shifted up the river, close to the intersection of

Park Terrace with Bealey & Deans Avenues. But at least - they were there and still twelve ducklings

with their parents. So no loss for more than two weeks.

Smallie had gone through such an impressive transformation that I could not identify the baby from a distance

and thought it was lost. But it had just gone from white and brown striped fluffy ball into a big

duckling, slightly smaller than the other ones, and the only one with some white fuzzies left in the face -

looking a bit like a cactus.

As it has no white mark under the eye I gather it is a male duckling.

My husband - who probably rightly thinks that I am a bit obsessive with the ducks - accompanied me

this time, and while feeding the birds a massive magnitude 4.8 earthquake hit Christchurch.

I felt the ground rolling under my feet and the trees were swaying. The ducks were unimpressed.

What a happy New Year's Eve ;-)

Feeding procedures: when the ducklings see me they come running towards me because they know that I have food for them.

I think they also know my voice because I always talk to them. I wonder what they would say if they could talk our language ;-) Quak quak!

After breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner, or whichever meal or snack it was, they run to the water to take a drink.

Supervised swimming. Rarely ever both parents now go swimming with them at the same time. Dad stays outside very frequently.

In the early days Mum goes in first to teach them, when they are older they know what to do and she joins them later.

While swimming the ducklings drink more water to flush down the lot of bread they haven eaten into the stomach.

Two females side by side.

The males can now be hardly distinguished from the father duck.