The mallard ducklings have started to appear on the canal with one female with 10 and another with 14 bundles of fluff. Unfortunately nature can be a cruel mistress and within a week one had only four remaining and the other only nine.
They are taken by mink, herons and pike of which there are a few large ones in this stretch of water. They can also be attacked by other ducks and geese so a large brood increases the chances of at least some surviving.
There also seems to be some creching of young between females. I recently watched one who after having been attacked by a goose struggled to get out of the water and to the safety below the female. Swimming down the bank it found a lower point to get out but as this was occupied by the other female I was expecting it to take more punishment. However the female raised herself up and the duckling disappeared under the wrong parent!