A local man with a very suspicious mind told me a good few years ago that he was of the opinion that ducks were disappearing off the River Maine in proportion to the number of restaurants opening Castleisland.
Those were the days. His opinions were formed at the height of the boom.
He had it all worked out: They were coming down to the banks of the river – heavily disguised in tall, white hats with a pan loaf in one hand and a net in the other. And the unfortunate ducks were falling prey to plan by the flock.
However, the vagaries of nature need no help from a human hand in keeping such a population at a minimum. At that time the river was well over populated with Mink and their voracious appetite for wiping
out all forms of wildlife is legendary.
On Thursday evening the man who put the first Mallard ducks in the water outside the convent wall in 2002 was back on the bank of the river at Barrack Street.
With Joe Herlihy and an entourage of children and adults, John Skevena O’Sullivan released another 40 strong ‘hatch’ of almost reared ducks into the river there.
Having been caged for the previous couple of hours while being transported to the river, the ducks relished their freedom and the feeling of fresh water on their feathers and they took full advantage and really did the ducks-to-water bit to a tee.
In recent years, John has involved local children in the act of releasing the ducks and he feels that this involvement will lead to a greater awareness of the environment at a younger age and ultimately a better future for all life on the river.
While Philip Horan is looking after his own little community at Herbert Bridge on the Killarney Road, he noticed a sudden influx on Friday morning as the new comers made their way down river to where the living is easy and the quack is 90.
As with all such releases of ducks here since 2002, John has appealed to dog owners to keep their charges on a lead when near area where ducks flock.
A group of ducks is referred to as a flock while they are in flight. They are more often referred to as a raft, team or paddling while they are on water.