Hungry? Us?

Quietly whiling away the morning while the ship’s quarter-master was out catching trains and moving things between Cropredy Marina, boat and home, there was a gentle but persistent tapping noise from somewhere. Opening the side hatch revealed Mr & Mrs Mallard, paddling gently in the river flow to stay stationary by the hatch. I’m still not sure if they were politely asking if the food bank was opening any time soon or trying to get Biggles to subscribe to The Watchtower.

We were moored on East Street just down stream from Osney Bridge, opposite a fairly run down Victorian brick-built factory, and things had been expectedly quiet from the wildlife point of view; apart from the two cold-callers, a grey wagtail, two feral pigeons and a dog being walked there was nothing anywhere in sight. So I broke out the dwindling supply of duck food to treat Mr and Mrs M, who dug in thankfully while making absolutely no noise or fuss whatsoever.

Within 45 seconds, ten more young male mallards, three large greylag geese and a black-headed gull had appeared from nowhere, and were swarming noisily around noisily demanding food with menaces.

Have they got over-the-horizon radar, or what?

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