In spring of this year I noticed that there were no ducklings on our local ponds. I mentioned it to a couple of friends in other cities, and they confirmed that there were no ducklings on their ponds either. Eventually I even wrote to the Guardian letters page about the ducklings, asking if anyone could explain their absence.
I didn’t however receive any answers, because in true Guardian letters page style, everyone immediately started making cross-lingual jokes, and suddenly we were all sidetracked onto Proust and Moliere, never to return to the natural world.
Anyway, the no-duckling situation continued. Until this week, that is, when the first brood of ducklings appeared on our local pond (see photo). But surely September is very late for mallard ducks to be producing their families? Other birds had theirs months ago, and the little ones are all grown up now. I’d like to know what it is about this year which has thrown the ducks into such disarray?