I first noticed this group of growing ducklings when then were recently hatched, swimming on the canal near Compton with both parents in the middle of April. At the end of the month I spotted all five, eating grass by the side of Wightwick Mill lock.
I didn’t see any parent birds this time, but thought little of it. I thought the ducklings were too unwary, not retreating when I passed them less than a yard away. I assumed the parents must be somewhere near by, but hurried on as soon as I had taken a few seconds to fire off some pictures.
Roll on another week. The same set of ducklings, on the canal, alone a little nearer Compton. As soon as they spotted me they started swimming powerfully in my direction, evidently expecting to be fed. No signs whatsoever of any parents. They seem to be thriving on their circumstances. The brood is still intact. They look fit and health, growing fast. Feathers are beginning to replace their infant down.