For some reason I associated the disappearance of the seven ducklings with the first sighting of the Swamp Harrier. When I check back through the photographs, I note that the single duckling disappeared on that date. The seven ducklings made their first appearance a week after that date.
As is common, the adult Australian Wood Ducks love to graze on the grass and weeds in front of the house. Following the disappearance of the single duckling, we were overjoyed to see the new family drifting in and out of the long grass which surrounds the dam. Heading out over the short grass, en-route to the strip of green, the family were soon joined by a flock of White Winged Choughs. The Choughs seemed to take an interest in the ducklings, and ran around them, behind them, and in front of them. Perhaps they were curious, or perhaps they had sinister intentions – I don’t know. The male Australian Wood Duck soon tired of this behaviour, charging them one at a time.
We went outside to keep an eye on the Choughs – that was enough to send the ducks back into the long grass and the Choughs into flight.
As soon as we stepped inside the house again, the duck family were back up on the grass, happily feeding. Taking time out to have our own breakfast, we stopped watching the ducks for about half an hour. When we looked for them, they were gone. We assumed back into the long grass for a walk or a rest. They did not make another appearance, so I don’t know what happened to them. We did sight the Swamp Harrier again, and from memory it was at around this time – hence the confusion in the Swamp Harrier post. Unfortunately there are no photographs of the Swamp Harrier from the second sighting to check the date.
Duckling Story 3, coming up next, makes me wonder if the family were disturbed by a predator on that morning… In the meantime here are some photos I took before breakfast on 27th December 2016.