Buster Minds the Hatch on his Patch

There are people in the area well tuned into life as it unfolds on the local river. Since the summer of 2000 their preoccupation has turned all fluffy and brown and yellow. For, it’s then that John Skevena O’Sullivan first got the idea that a brood of Mallard ducks and drakes would live long and prosper on the town stretch. They did – in spite of all they’re up against.
John figured that they’d make a nice focal point in the area and also do their bit for the enhancement of the area in terms of the Tidy Towns effort.
There are people who feed them as a matter of course-of-day habit and they look out for their welfare as best they can.
This morning a hatch of 13 miracles of nature appeared at Herbert Bridge with their caring, guiding mother. She guided them down there as she knows that’s where they, like her, will be fed by neighboring shopkeeper, Philip Horan.
But there’s more: Philip keeps a wary eye out for the predatory Heron or the Crane  as they’re known in these parts. What’s more his dog ‘Buster’ goes ballistic is he see’s one even thinking of landing on his beat of the river.
He’s so used to me hunting the Cranes when they try to land that he has taken a dislike to them and he goes mad when they appear.
The Crane is only one of the many dangers the ducklings face in their efforts to grow into ducks or drakes. There’s an appalling statistic which indicates that as little as two of a clutch of this size will survive the first few days. The scourge of Mink has been largely removed from the river and it had a devastating toll on the hatches over the past decade and a half.
It will be interesting to see how many of this recent hatch will survive. If they stay on Buster’s limited patch of river they’ll be fine. We’ll keep you posted.
For people who care about this kind of life enriching development it mightn’t be any harm to keep an eye on other parts of the river for similar, wonderful happenings.
“Scraps from the table or bits of waste bread or spuds make ideal feeding for them. It’s lovely to see people bringing down children to feed the ducks there during the day and they’ll get well used to having humans around after a while,” John Skevena said as they introduced one of their recent flocks to the river.
“Our biggest fears are of people with loose dogs. We got reports over the years that fellas were letting dogs loose and setting them at the ducks,” he said.