Our garden is not only home to wild pheasants, geriatric moles and an assortment of smaller birds. The pair of ducks that come to our garden every spring are pedantic about their routine, which is an improvement on our cats, who are pedantic about our routine.
The first time we seem them – the ducks – is between 15 and 17 March. Over the last few years there has been no other variation in their timetable. Perhaps the two day disparity in their arrival date is down to sloppy observation on my part rather than visiting schedules.
I am certain that it is the same couple that has been coming for several years. The female has a very slight limp, the male is extremely attentive and their daily programme is the same: They will first inspect the bird food situation. Mr. Duck will always let Mrs. Duck eat first, whilst he keeps a watchful eye on the milieu.
After her snack, Mrs. Duck will say “I think I’ll go for a swim now, dear. Will you take care of the bill, please?” and head into the garden pond.
“I think I’ll skip that today.”
The next item on the itinerary depends on the weather. If the sun is out, they will have a rest on the banks of the pond. Today was rainy, so they headed for shelter under a nearby dense bush. Contrary to common belief, ducks do not enjoy the rain very much.
After that, it is another sweep of the bird feeding spots and off they take like an overloaded jumbo jet.
Mr. and Mrs. Duck only ever come during the spring. Our theory is that they have a nest somewhere about a mile or two away. When they are expecting, they come for a short respite to our garden, before heading back to their duties. When their eggs have miraculously turned into ducklings, they stop coming for another year.
I feel very privileged that our garden is their chosen spot.