The Geese Have Gone and I Am Cheering: Sherwood Arboretum and Wetlands

Sherwood Arboretum Wetlands

Sherwood Arboretum Wetlands

Well, there has been some drama of late. A family member was struck by a car recently while cycling home from work. He was fortunate to survive the incident but now has injuries which will take about six months to heal.   The driver of the car was  at fault according to the police report and unfortunately this is not uncommon where I live. I’m quite disheartened by the car-centric culture in my country although there have been some improvements.

As Michael Reilly recently wrote in an article explaining 18 Reasons Why Registering Bicycles  is a Bad Idea, “Even among people who don’t ride for transport, a survey showed 60% would like to do so – but many say they are too scared.”  Yes, here in the Lucky Country, many of us are too scared to ride a bicycle. After a few close calls I have even curtailed my own cycling activity.

Now  let’s move onto something more cheerful…

As a lover of history, I’m a huge fan of “Then and Now” stories. I thought I’d tackle one myself after revisiting Sherwood Arboretum in Brisbane, a place which evokes many memories for me. However, after searching my albums, I could only find one photograph. How is that possible when I visited this park hundreds of times? How soon we forget  what it was like to use film cameras. Back in “ancient times,” I had to buy film and have it processed. Taking photographs of the park wasn’t a priority on my very low income.

A sign in the park  gives a far more significant “Then and Now” story than has happened in my lifetime.

Sherwood Indigenous Owners

Sherwood Arboretum history

More than twenty years ago I would regularly drag my sleep deprived, unkempt self out of the house to take my first- born child to Sherwood Arboretum. At that time the ponds were unfenced and there were large numbers of domestic ducks and geese.

Quite often people would buy cute ducklings or adult waterfowl, unaware of their requirements. Places like Sherwood Arboretum wetlands were often dumping grounds for these unwanted creatures (or havens for escapees). The result was overpopulation and voraciously hungry birds that bore down on park visitors with evil eyes and snapping bills. Families often took old loaves of bread to feed  them.

The ducks and geese grazed the lawns nearby and it seemed impossible to avoid coating the soles of your shoes with their smelly droppings. My son loved it of course! For me it was an escape from household chores and a chance for some mood-lifting sunshine and fresh air. Here is the only photo I have of the place as it was back then. It’s of my son running off to  swim with the geese and ducks in the pond before I rescued him.

Sherwood Arboretum, 1991

Sherwood Arboretum, 1991

Needing some mind-calming nature therapy, I headed back to Sherwood Arboretum recently.

A cheeky kookaburra greeted me upon arrival.

Cheeky Kookaburra

Cheeky Kookaburra

As well as a rather intense looking magpie.

Australian Magpie

Australian Magpie

The  major change I noticed was that the wetlands are now fenced in some areas and there are  signs warning not to feed the wildlife.

Sherwood Arboretum ponds

Sherwood Arboretum ponds

Do Not Feed the Birds

Do Not Feed the Birds

Sherwood arboretum sign

The domestic ducks and geese have been removed and it is a now a breeding ground for native waterfowl such as cormorants, shags, pacific black ducks, grebes,  ibis, egrets and swamphens. I follow quite a few bloggers who regularly share professional quality bird photographs. My offerings will be much more humble as  1) I couldn’t get very close, 2) I don’t have the right camera equipment, and 3) I don’t have the skills. I hope they   give you some idea of what you can expect if you visit the wetlands though. If I have the names wrong, please feel free to correct me as I am a little challenged in my bird identification skills as well.

Purple Swamp Hen

Purple Swamphen

Little Pied Cormorant

Little Pied Cormorant

Intermediate Egret

Intermediate Egret

Eurasian Coot

Eurasian Coot

Dusky Moorhen

Dusky Moorhen

Pacific Black Duck

Pacific Black Duck

Little Black Cormorant

Little Black Cormorants

Apparently 162 bird species have been sighted here in the last decade so if you are a keen birdwatcher you might like to check it out. Here’s a guide to help you do some spotting.

The ponds are also home to four species of freshwater turtles.

Freshwater Turtle

Freshwater Turtle

There were hundreds of dragonflies swooping by and after a frustrating time trying unsuccessfully to photograph them I was lucky to capture this one. I suspect it was ill. Tom Semple, entomologist from High and Wide blog, recently wrote an informative post about how to distinguish between damselflies and dragonflies. I’m under pressure to get it right now!

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

This one wouldn’t let me get so close.

Red Dragonfly

Red Dragonfly

A few flowers caught my attention. The banksia is native, but I’m not sure about the other two, which were growing prolifically along the banks.

The noise from the ibis nesting areas was rather astounding. My most common experience of ibis  is of them being annoyingly eager for morsels of food from your café table or picnic. Here, however, they showed no interest in me except when I tried to move closer to photograph them. Then they flew off. It’s an example of how animal behaviour is changed by the kind of human contact they have. Ibises are not fed in the park and rubbish bins have a covering that doesn’t allow  easy access to the contents. There is also plenty of natural food for them in the ponds.

Ibis

Ibis

Sherwood Arboretum is  is used for the preservation and study of native trees. Here is the colourful flaking trunk of a fine old eucalyptus specimen.

Flaking bark of a eucaylpt

Flaking bark of a eucalypt

On World Forestry Day, 21st March, 1925,  72 Kauri Pines were planted by members of the community and the names of these people remain on labels affixed to the trees in the “avenue.”

Avenue of Kauri Pines

Avenue of Kauri Pines

When I came to a stand of old strangler and cluster fig trees I remembered my son playing on the branches many years ago. Now they are so huge they require struts for support.

Giant Fig with branches supported.

Giant Fig with branches supported.

Under the trees  were hundreds of fungi, thriving in the moist warm shaded conditions. There were also swarms of mosquitoes so I didn’t hang around.

Brown Fungi

Brown Fungi

As I left, I noticed the activity of noisy miners low in some outer branches.  While the birds were foraging for food I managed to take a very quick photo of their nest, containing three speckled eggs.

Noisy miner nest

Noisy miner nest

I followed a path along  the river and saw more noisy miners active in the mangroves.

Noisy miner adult

Noisy miner adult

And a well camouflaged lizard looking at me oddly.

Can you see me?

Can you see me?

Later on my walk I discovered the moulted skin of one such lizard hanging in a bush.

Lizard outer skin moult

Lizard outer skin moult

Acacia leaf beetles were busy making babies. Here is one of their offspring – a beetle larva. Thanks to Manu Saunders for the identification.

Hidden away in a quiet distant corner where few people seem to venture are the sorry plaques which include an inscription of the official apology made to Indigenous Australians about past injustices, notably the forced removal of children from their parents.

Apology to the Stolen Generation

Apology to the Stolen Generation

Memorial to the Stolen Generation

Memorial to the Stolen Generation

I also found this marker of the historic 1974 Brisbane floods.

1974 Brisbane Flood Marker

1974 Brisbane Flood Marker

A giant bayur tree from India caught my attention. It’s sometimes known as the dinner plate tree because of its  impressively sized leaves.  Its pleasantly perfumed  flowers  remind me of a peeled banana. These open at night which is suggestive of moth pollination. The “fruit’ or seedpods can take up to a year to mature so seedpods and blossoms may  be present at the same time. There are a few traditional and medicinal uses for this tree which are currently being researched.

To finish up, a rather gory scene. While taking a picture of this spider in the car park I accidentally disturbed it and then she proceeded to attack and wrap up the much smaller male nearby. Yes, I have contributed to cannibalism!

Spider cannibalism

Spider cannibalism

And here is another of the many spiders in webs strung between bushes by the wetlands.

Spider 2

Considering it was only a short walk, Sherwood Arboretum with its birds, reptiles, insects, native trees, memorials and  views of the river, was great value for very little effort and certainly helped calm my frayed nerves. I even managed to fall asleep on a park bench which produced this comment from one of my children, “Mum, people probably thought you were homeless! ” I wonder if that was a hint about my usual “relaxed”  mode of attire…

While researching Sherwood Arboretum I was surprised to find it listed in a world guide, which includes some other parks within Brisbane. On the 21st March,  the 90th birthday celebrations for Sherwood Arboretum will be held so if I post this in time and you are in the region you may like to check it out.

Sherwood arboretum 90th birthday

62 thoughts on “The Geese Have Gone and I Am Cheering: Sherwood Arboretum and Wetlands

  1. Jane, I hope your family member has a speedy recovery. The car-centric culture is crazy over here too.
    Great post as always. Thanks for the stroll. Especially loved the flaking bark picture.

    • Thanks John! Yes, I’ve heard you have your own struggles with cars being king too. It can be a little frustrating at times, when cycling is such a healthy, non-polluting mode of transport.
      I love the different colours, patterns and textures of so many of our Australian trees. That one particularly caught my eye.
      I hope you are well. Enjoy the rest of your week, John. 🙂

        • Happy Springtime then! I quite like Autumn too as we get some relief from the heat of summer. Autumn in other countries has the beautiful changing colours of leaves of course.

    • Thank you! I am glad that you enjoyed them. Often when we grow up in particular surroundings we can forget just how unique that may be to our area. Since I’ve started blogging I’ve discovered this. Some things which I think are common over the world are actually only part of everyday life in Australia! Thanks for reading and commenting. Lovely to have your feedback. 🙂

  2. Hello Jane! Another fascinating tour of your neck of the woods. Your photographs always document the unusual and interesting aspects of your region. Last autumn I photographed a female garden orb wrapping up the male… and I suspect it was me who disturbed the web, perhaps instigating the demise of the male. I felt terrible. 😦 I hope that your relative recovers nicely. I think most American’s are too lazy to ride bicycles. There are some who do it for sport, but I rarely see townspeople or families out and about riding. They get a bad rap by those who drive vehicles – as if bicyclists do not belong on the roads. It is a responsibility on both parts to ensure safety. Why can’t people just get along?

    • Hi Lori! Yes, I also felt a little guilty having contributed to the male spider’s demise. 😦
      I was actually quite surprised and delighted to find so many creatures on this short walk,. In particular, it was lovely to see the variety of bird life now living in the wetlands. It was a little strange though wandering through the area. I had been there with my toddler son so many times that I almost expected to turn around and see him. The memories were so very vivid.
      I do wish people would just get along too. I must say I envy the cycling culture in some other countries where it’s still common to see people of all ages using bicycles for ordinary activities such as riding to school/work/shops etc. Unfortunately it is seen more as a sport by some here, rather than as a valid mode of transport. There is so much hatred around the topic. If we have more people out there on bikes, we have less congested traffic, cleaner air and a healthier community so everyone benefits. I can’t even ride the 2km to my local shops without being in fear of my life, even though it’s just a suburban road and not a motorway. A lot of people are working to change this though so there is always hope. Thanks for your lovely comments and wise words as always, Lori. I hope you have a lovely weekend and are enjoying some warmer weather. 🙂

      • Thanks Jane! The weather is warming up nicely and I am hoping for RAIN now. The trees are heavy laden with pollen and allergies are off the charts here. I’ve been quite ill from the pollen this year. I have never suffered like this in my life. Same thing a year ago with poison ivy. Before that time I never had a reaction – then last year I acquired it and suffered for weeks with blisters all over my body. I suspect this has something to do with age more than anything. But it won’t keep me from heading outdoors – no ma’am!! I am determined to have my time outdoors!! 🙂

        • Oh dear, sorry about the allergies. Mine seem to be getting worse as I age too. We have two main flowering plants that get me here. Mock Orange bush has a gorgeous fragrance but gives me terrible headaches. Everyone uses it for hedges in my street. It flowers after decent rain. And then we have acacia flowers – our iconic wattle which gives me asthma like symptoms. Can be frustrating for us outdoor types, hey! Interesting that this last year has been my worst for reactions to pollen as well. I wondered if it was my age or just unusual weather patterns. Your reactions sound much worse than mine though. You poor woman! I hope you get some relief soon!

  3. I do hope the injured cyclist makes a full recovery, car drivers can be very selfish alas. Loved the rest of your post especially the patterned bark of the eucalyptus tree. I read it all with great interest.

    • Thank you, Susan. He’s pretty sore at the moment and will need regular physiotherapy for some time but should eventually make a full recover.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the rest of the post. It was a very pleasant walk with so many things to see. I was delighted to find my first noisy miner nest. I have always had a great fondness for our colourful flaking eucalypt bark. It makes up for not having many deciduous trees to enjoy in autumn. Thanks for reading and commenting. Always lovely to “share” my walks with you. 🙂

    • It could be graffiti, it could be natural discolouration or done for a good reason. I have no idea. All I know is that it was a shire at one stage but then was amalgamated with Brisbane City. Perhaps there is a particular reason…a mystery in Sherwood Forest?
      I found one source that said that the name “Sherwood” was named after Sherwood Forest in Nottingham, associated with tales of Robin Hood. 🙂

  4. I also wish your relative a speedy recovery!

    You have so many interesting birds in this one, many are similar to ours, but are colored differently. Nicely captured by the way, my favorite is the Dusky Moorhen.

    there were probably some people sorry to see the domesticated ducks and geese go, but it will make for a healthier environment, and a place for native species to live and breed.

    • Thanks Jerry!
      Yes, I I’ve noticed similar birds in your region but with different shades or patterns on them. There were many more birds that I was unable to get close enough to photograph. I’m hoping to head back and try again another day.
      Yes, I am sure some will be disappointed to see the domesticated birds go but as you say, it means we have a place for our native species. There was simply not enough food for them all and they also had to compete for nesting areas. I find it amazing that 162 different species have been sighted in the arboretum. Years ago it was much less than that.
      Thanks for reading and for your lovely comments, Jerry. I look forward to following your spring adventures through your beautiful pictures. 🙂

  5. glad the geese have gone, they were a menace! Thanks for the lovely pictures – it’s a beautiful little hidden spot, a lot of Brisbanites don’t even know it exists!

    • Thanks Manu! Yes, they certainly were very intimidating and competed with our native species. I was delighted to find so many native species there now. Much different to when I used to take my young son there so many years ago. I hope to return and identify more species there in the future. Thank you for identifying the beetle species (and larva) for me. Much appreciated! Your ecology blog is always very informative and I learn so much from your posts. 🙂

  6. Oh best wishes for your injured one! Right now I miss my bikes so much, but I have to remember the reality of how nerve-wracking it can be. Lovely photos – and the first couple of the signage made me intensely as homesick as I recognized that familiar font used by Brisbane Councils! And I also love then then-and-Now stories, always fascinating (sometime terrible!) to see what each generation held as important. Thanks!

    • Hi! Great to hear from you again. I am sure I have missed another one of your updates and will check your blog again later today! Are you still on twitter as when I search, you don’t come up, but I may be putting in the wrong thing! Yes, I love my cycling but it’s always a relief to get to a destination in one piece. World Biking couple have been all over the world and when they recently did Australia they commented that Queensland drivers were the worst they have come across! So we aren’t imagining the danger, that’s for sure. So glad you enjoyed the post, even though it made you a bit homesick. I’d been hoping to include great ones of my past trips there from years ago, but I guess I was just too busy and income-challenged as a young mum to take many pictures. How quickly we forget what life was like! I hope all the family are well and school at home is not too demanding for you at the moment. It’s a big job. Have a lovely week. 🙂

      • I left twitter – something had to go. I vaguely the days of tiny-income + film cameras too – having to be so careful and choosy about what to spend your precious film on! I cant imagine that now, just prolifically clicking away as we can now.
        We are doing well and only 3 more weeks til we reach our home state. Keen to find a safe spot to settle. Thank you! 😃

    • Thank you! That is lovely praise coming from someone who takes so many wonderful nature photos. It is amusing to me that it’s often the shorter walks that have provided me with the most number of discoveries. Perhaps it is just that I am searching more to find something to share for the blog, whereas on longer walks I expect to see much more with little effort! Thanks for reading and commenting again. 🙂

  7. Great post Jane. I love how thorough you are about documenting the areas you visit. The dragonfly photos are great. Love the stripy one. It’s interesting that its eyes don’t seem to quite meet in the middle at the top. Thanks for the pingback too. 🙂

    • Thanks Cameron! Yes, I noticed that about the eyes of the dragonfly which is why I wondered if it was old/damaged/deformed. It stayed very still while I got extremely close to it so perhaps its vision was impaired. I had to check all the other features from Tom’s post again to be sure due to the eyes not meeting up properly. Maybe that’s just a feature of the species? The others of the same kind were very hyperactive in comparison though. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Cameron. Hot again in the Brisbane area today but hopefully it will cool down enough for you and Maree and also me to enjoy some long hikes again soon! 🙂

  8. Wishing your loved one a good recovery. Some cities in Oregon (the state where I live) have made some great progress in encouraging more folks to use bikes, with bike lanes and places to park them. In a turnabout, they almost reach the hazard level for motorists (more on a psychic rather than physical level however.) That’s a good thing in my book.

    You need not apologize for your images at all. They are all wonderful and the things I learn about your plants and critters beyond wonderful.

    • Thanks Gunta! You are kind in your comments. I’m glad the state where you live has a better cycling culture. I’ve noticed it varies in different parts of the US. I’ve seen some good videos of cycling in Portland. Round-a-bouts (your turnabouts?) are actually one of the most hazardous places for cyclists here as the road loses its edge that cyclists often ride on or painted bike lanes just end. I really hope our culture changes here and we get more infrastructure to help with safety. There are a lot of people campaigning for it anyway. I don’t think it would harm the world if we all slowed down a little.
      Thanks for the kind support of my blog, Gunta. I always appreciate your lovely comments. Have a beautiful weekend. 🙂

  9. Thank you for a very interesting post, Jane.
    I am pleased to say Castlemaine has a strong cycling culture. There are families cycling for pleasure and people riding to the shops. At the station, there are bikes including the electric variety, filling the bicycle stands. There are a lucky few who pedal along on their decorated tricycles………and Castlemaine is quite hilly!
    Out on the open country roads especially around Mt. Alexander, it is wise, as a motorist, to keep an eye out for the lycra clad ones.
    There are two bike shops in town……so I guess that says something about the number of people who like to cycle in this district.
    I can appreciate it is scary cycling along busy city streets especially when there is news of cyclists being injured or killed. I have admired the nerve of inner city cyclists as they have pedalled past whilst I was sitting in a tram in heavy traffic.
    More bike paths, I say!

    • Oh Margaret, I may have to move to Castlemaine! The cycling culture sounds wonderful! Yes, it does vary across our country. I know that Melbourne is quite popular with cyclists. I don’t think that it’s supported as much with good infrastructure up here in Brisbane. Narrow painted bike lanes between parked cars and the flowing traffic cause dooring accidents here and often painted bike lanes just stop at busy intersections and roundabouts. I would love to see cycling become more a part of our everyday life again, as it was many years again. Thanks so much for sharing the positive bicycle culture in Castlemaine. That is very encouraging! I hope we see improvements here. Thank you for reading and sharing, Margaret. Lovely to have your input! 🙂

  10. Wild Magazine published an article recently exploring the difference between ‘wildness’ and ‘wilderness’ and which one people are actually seeking.
    Your blogs are a perfect example of just how much ‘wildness’ there is to be found when we look – from backyards (though not everyone has a yard like yours, Jane!) to parks within suburbia, we don’t have to travel to far off places to make interesting discoveries about the natural world – and ourselves, too.

    I think the lizard on the branch is a water dragon, but I could be wrong.

    Hope your cycling rellie feel better soon.
    🙂

    • Thanks Dayna! Yes, I’ve actually been thinking how much diversity of wildlife I see in the parks and small reserves in the city. It’s rather incredible. I usually see far more than on my long bush walks. I suppose they are less shy of people and also there are usually permanent water sources for them (such as at Sherwood). I really didn’t spend as much time as I would have liked in the arboretum. There were many more birds to see if I had just sat quietly and waited for a couple of hours with a book to read. It is wonderful that we have these places to go. There are still so many to discover just in the city areas. I feel like I need to have a website just about them.
      I wasn’t sure if the lizard was a water dragon or a bearded dragon. The head sort of looked different. It was about 5 metres from me I think and I was on the boardwalk so couldn’t get closer.
      Yes, the rellie is on the mend. He’s annoyed by all the hoops one must go through to get a replacement bike and helmet though. Photos of every component, quotes, frame testing, original receipts etc. It’s a $1000 bike and helmet so not exactly top of the range to replace. Mind you, it will be a long while before he can ride again!
      Thanks so much for reading and for your comments once again, Dayna. Always great to get your wonderful feedback! 🙂

  11. How wonderful to see such a variety of bird life return after getting rid if the geese. I loved the old photo of your son as a toddler, they really do just take off don’t they? Harry used to pull stunts like that on me all the time, now he’s four he usually stays a bit closer thank goodness. As for that intense looking magpie – yikes! I’d be staying away from him during breeding season!

    • Hi Amanda,
      Yes, trying to search for old photos of the park made me remember just how hard it was to focus on much else besides chasing after a toddler so he wouldn’t drown or get pecked by angry geese! Not much time or energy for me to be setting up an attractive photograph back then. What I don’t understand is how he could have so much energy when he slept so poorly! 🙂
      Yeah, that magpie looked pretty intense and it wasn’t even magpie breeding season. I actually fell asleep on a bench there and woke up to find one at close quarters, staring at me! Not exactly friendly looking.
      It was so great to actually go back to an area and see an improvement in the bird species after all these years. Often it’s the other way around.
      Thanks for your comments, Amanda. Looking forward to your next installment of family hiking adventures! Very entertaining. 🙂

  12. Beautiful collection of photos. I especially like the first dragonfly photo and the one of your son. I won’t ride my bike on anything but a designated trail for fear of being hit by a car. It’s scary. Hope you’re friend has a full recovery.

    • Thanks Ingrid! Glad you liked the pics. I had just about given up on getting a dragonfly shot and then this one just sat there very still for me. I suspect its eyesight was not as good as it should have been. That photo of my son brought back memories for me. He had no fear and would run off to discover the world. I was very skinny in those days from constantly chasing after him!
      I’m afraid I have lost a great deal of confidence cycling after some close calls. Oh to have the cycling culture of some other countries! It’s getting better though, slowly. Thanks for reading and commenting. Great to hear from you. 🙂

  13. I’m so sorry to hear about your family member’s incident with a vehicle! I hope he recovers quickly and fully. And sorry to be late to this post, I often see you’ve made a post and wait until I have a good block of time to enjoy it properly.

    You have a fantastic way of opening our eyes to the wonders of what’s around us. I lived near Sherwood Arboretum … I never visited! Great work on the pics of the dragonflies (such difficult creatures to photograph!) and the noisy miner nest!

    • Thanks Oanh! Don’t worry about commenting late or even commenting. We all lead pretty busy lives and I am struggling to keep up with normal stuff. 🙂 Not sure how long my blog will keep going really, especially since I can’t seem to get out and do any long hikes!
      I probably wouldn’t have thought to go to the arboretum all those years ago except that I had a child that needed entertaining and it was free!
      Thanks for the nice words about the dragonfly pics and the noisy miner nest. The second was certainly a surprise discovery to me. I hear noisy miners all the time but never see their nests. I hope all is well in your part of the world, Oanh. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. 🙂

    • Thank you! They’re not professional quality by any means but they do provide me with great memories and a way to share my walks with others. Lovely to receive your feedback. 🙂

  14. Lovely pics. I especially like your egret. Scary to think that I was living in Brisbane doing my PhD when your now grown son was a toddler. Surely I can’t be that old!! Hope your family member heals well….

    • Thanks Matt! Sounds like we are about the same age. My son’s dad was doing his post-grad studies at the same time and I was also continuing studies. It feels rather weird for me to go back to UQ and these old haunts now. I’ve only returned to the area a few years ago after being in rural/remote places. So many sights, sounds and even smells are bringing back strong memories! Thanks for reading. 🙂

    • Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it. An experienced and patient birder like you will probably see many more species than me! I hope to go back there and just sit quietly by the water for a few hours to see some of the smaller, shyer birds. I don’t have a zoom on my camera so I need to be quite close to capture their images. I can still enjoy them with my binoculars though! 🙂

      • That’s true Jane, my wife is my spotter and she uses binoculars and sees more. My info tip page mentions some of the ways to see birds, but yes, sitting and waiting for them to come to you is a proven birder technique!

  15. I am slowly catching up with your older posts from time to time, and as usual, this one is a special treat.
    By the way, I can certainly believe those geese bore down “with evil eyes and snapping bills” – but domestic ducks? The ones I had as a boy (&, I must admit, even later, as I’ve always had a soft spot for ducks) would always run from me, though I must admit they were kept well fed and had no cause to attack!

    • I don’t expect people to read through my old post but I am delighted you are doing so. Thank you for those kind words of support. 🙂
      Yes, the geese can be quite vicious but the ducks as you say are more friendly. I think they can seem intimidating to some small children though as they launch a hungry attack on the sandwiches they may be eating. 🙂 I am also very fond of ducks and we bred them on the farm. They were very devoted mothers and I loved to watch them take their offspring (often in single file) down to the pond for a swim. It reminded me of a storybook from my youth – “Ping” I think. Lovely to read your thoughts. Sorry I was late in replying – I’m feeling a little ill. Have a wonderful week. 🙂

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