As part of our continued biological monitoring and biodiversity management system, we are collating information about breeding birds at Stockley Park. Although more elusive and great nest hiders, water birds are great biological indicators of positive habitat condition and being able to actively observe positive and healthy behavioural ecology is always so rewarding.
We have been keeping an eye on our mallard duck family on PC9 Lake and posted on twitter a week or so ago with news of six healthy ducklings. Sadly, in the majority of cases, a successful survival rate for a mallard ducks’ brood is only one to two ducklings per brood. So far our protective parents are doing very well with five healthy ducklings which are clearly growing up fast. The ducklings are showing a lot of confidence in foraging for food and swimming quite far away from their parents, except for one little duckling who is still a bit clingy to mummy duck.
Our mallard family has also been joined by a moorhen clan of a breeding adult pair and 4 loud and talkative chicks. We are extremely pleased to see both these families living peacefully together on the lake and are even sticking close together to minimise any risk of predation or injury/harm to their young. We also are incredibly lucky to have an extremely territorial resident pair of Canada Geese who have a nest within the floating island on PC9. This pair seems to be providing additional bodyguard protection and staying quite close to the young birds. The parents don’t seem too bothered by the geese’ behaviour which suggests they’re not fearful of the adult geese attacking their young. This will need to be monitored closely if the Geese hatch and begin to raise their own brood, but this is usually a little later than ducks and moorhens. For now, however, all is peaceful and civil in our Chick Creche.