Monday, 14 September 2015

A duck's tale.

Our cruise ship.
recently returned from a lovely cruise sailing from Southampton to the Canary Islands. It had been a bit of a stressful year and I was really looking forward to the break. Even the morning that we were due to leave, one of my cats was found to hI've ave an open wound from a burst abscess. Despite being 15 years old, he still insists on defending his territory. An emergency trip to the vet and we were finally able to send him to the cattery and set off.

The cruise was amazing. But for some reason I found it difficult to relax. Normally it's my hubby who takes a few days to unwind, but this time it was me. But eventually the cruise atmosphere worked its magic and I had a lovely time. I had planned to write about it, and I may yet, but for some reason since I've returned from the cruise, I'm been in a bit of a funk and have felt unable to write.

So what's changed? 

Our little visitor
This afternoon I walked into town to do some shopping. My walk into town is particularly idyllic. It involves me walking past the historic buildings of Cogges Manor Farm, where I do my Downton Abbey tours. Then I pass an old church and cross 2 bridges before reaching the town centre. There are ducks, swans and moorhens on the river. The ducks are common old Mallards, but a few months ago, on the first of May in fact, on my way into town I spotted a different type of duck. As soon as I arrived back home, I googled images of ducks and thought that our little visitor was a Ruddy Duck. I also found an article that said that some Ruddy ducks had recently escaped from a wildlife sanctuary and were causing havoc among the local duck population.

I'd taken a photo of him and I posted the image on Facebook and Twitter. A few people begged to differ with my conclusion as to the type of duck he was. Someone said he was a Mallard who's mother hadn't been too fussy in her choice of father, another that he was a Call duck. So we had a bit of a duckgate situation going on. At this time I was sticking to my original thinking that he was a Ruddy duck.

A Ruddy duck
At first always seemed to be on his own. The local Mallards seemed to be either shunning him or at times bullying him. Someone called in to Cogges and asked if we could take him and wanted to get the RSPCA involved. But as it was at the time of year when drakes fight among themselves in order to attract a mate, I didn't think that he was being singled out for bullying. St ill,he wasn't being accepted either.

My first sighting of the 2 Call ducks together,
One day on my way into town, as I crossed the bridge I looked out for him and this time, when I spotted him, he was with a little white female duck. I took a photo of her and shared it on Facebook. A friend responded by saying that this was a female Call duck. My little friend had found a mate and this convinced me that he too was a Call duck.

I was so pleased for him. Now when I walk into town I look to check that they are still together. I'm happy to report that they are. Not only that, but the other ducks seem to have accepted him now. In fact I've seen him on occasions 'hanging out with the lads.'
Still together.

Seeing the pair today really cheered me up and inspired me to tell their story. Call me an old romantic, but I think it's lovely the way that these 2 ducks have found each other. I believe that there is someone for everyone. Nature has shown this to be true.

I don't know if they'll stay with us? I hope so. I also hope that next year we'll see some little Call ducklings. This would be the perfect end to my Duck Tale.

See below a little video of them together, I defy you to watch it and not smile. I know I did.

Photo of Ruddy duck courtesy of:-

Other photos and video:- Isabel's own.

Isabel Johnstone 2015 ©


  1. A lovely tale of love in adversity. I was hoping this was your cruise story, I can't wait to hear about your adventures onboard ship. I keep meaning to go myself and need a bit if encouragement.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I will write about the cruise. As I said in the blog, I've been in a bit of a funk and had been finding it difficult to write. But now I've started again I'll get to work on the cruise blog. I would thoroughly recommend cruising though. I love it.