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boris1066

A Dearth of Ducks

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I might be wrong but the duck/wild bird population on the Sankey Canal/Valley seems to be seriously diminished these days ? Is something eating them ?

 

A post on the "Widnes through the Ages" forum refers to a sighting of mink eating fish from the  Canal, local to the Fiddlers Ferry Inn. It wasn't a knife and fork job or with a portion of chips, before the wags get their quills out !! An earlier sighting last year was further up the Sankey Valley at Stanners  Pool /Dallam Anglers where a mink  pulled a duck into a drain.

 

I've never actually seen mink and I regularly walk the dog up that way towards Winwick. Are there any anglers on here who might have seen one ? Perhaps our forum environment poster (GS) might be able to give us WBC's attitude to the spreading mink population.

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A few years back there were two mink with a family of four young that were regular visitors outside my office. Quite often saw them with bloomin big fish and eels in there mouths and one time even a big rat so I dont think a duck would stand much of a chance.

 

Assumed they've been trapped because I havent seen any sign of them latley.

 

 

Bill :)

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I saw what I thought was a dark coloured ferret or stoat running along the lower bank ledge of the Manchester Ship Canal opposite us about 4 weeks ago.  My neighbour said it was probably a mink though.

It has just occurred to me though that I haven't seen many ducks since then and even more worrying I haven't seen any of the 7 swans either which I used to see daily.  There were two adult swans and 5 young ones... although the young were adult size but still had some of their brown feathers so may have been from a different family from last year.  Can mink kill swans ?!?!

'Maybe'  they are just staying in the Walton Lock water area though and not venturing out onto the main canal at the moment for some reason......I will go over to the lock area tomorrow and check to see if they are still there :(

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Always seem to be plnty of ducks up our end of sankey valley, especially if you happen to have a few rounds of bread to feed them. I must say that there does not seem to be as many as last year but then again they do seem to come and go on a daily basis. some days there may be two or three pairs others days there are a few dozen pairs. also i think it depends on what time of day.

 

bit like the geese that suddenly appear in droves and stay for a few days before moving on to another area. as for minks in the area have only ever seen one in the canal and that was quite a while back. what is good news is that ducks are now regularly seen on sankey brook, something that as a child you could walk across it was that polluted, now when the water is low the bottom off the brook can be clearly seen (along with the odd shopping trolley and bike frame) and is reported to have fish in it. never seen fish in it but have seen the heron stalking the bank a few times.

 

will have to have a word with the local "expert" and see if he has sighted any mink recently. (there is always a local expert on every topic available, trust me on this)

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Out of interest, do you have a link to the Widnes forum?

Sorry I don't have a link. Google is probably the best access. You might find it a bit of an anti-climax as the moderator seems to want to claim parts of Warrington as being in Widnes !!  Clock in and you will see what I mean !!

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A few years back there were two mink with a family of four young that were regular visitors outside my office. Quite often saw them with bloomin big fish and eels in there mouths and one time even a big rat so I dont think a duck would stand much of a chance.

 

Assumed they've been trapped because I havent seen any sign of them latley.

 

 

Bill :)

I was hoping to establish if WBC are actively trapping and eliminating them. I thought Geoffrey might have been able to confirm that or not ?

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I'm surprised Geoff hasn't commented too with him being so involved with the Warrington Nature Conservation group. 
I hope he's not been eaten by one while doing his rounds delivering election material :lol::wink:

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I'm surprised Geoff hasn't commented too with him being so involved with the Warrington Nature Conservation group. 

I hope he's not been eaten by one while doing his rounds delivering election material :lol::wink:

Warrington Nature advise that several private land owners are trapping and disposing mink but WBC have no controls on any council owned land in the borough.

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Talking about ducks on the Sankey canal, there are some dark brown ones with a white front that I don't recognise, they're smaller than a Mallard and nothing fancy.

Does anyone know what they are? 

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I've not seen any like that.  Do you have a photo ?

Unfortunately not, that would require one of those new fangled phones boasting a camera and other clever stuff.

Mine isn't completely bargain basement though...it does have a game on it.

Looks like it's back down to the canal later with what Churchill called the Mk 1 Eyeball, and have another look...

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No, I don't even have an abnormal camera.

I think you might be near the mark with those pictures of a Mallard cross, I believe that gentleman Mallards are notoriously free with their attentions.

Imagine a slightly smaller, dark brown Mallard, grey bill, cream breast from it's neck halfway down its front. Bit of a flash on it's wings where a Mallard has them (so they might be some sort of Mallard cross) the two ducklings are just the same.

They seem to keep themselves to themselves and don't knock round with the proper Mallards.

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Are these anything like the ducks you saw Freeborn John ?  I spotted 3 with white chests at Ackers pit today.  A dark brownish black colour and smaller than a mallard bit I didn't notice a flash on their wings.  Not very good quality and I couldn't zoom in as I only had my mobile phone on me.

Click to enlarge.....

 

duckforwww1.jpg

 

duckforwww2.jpg

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I've no idea, I did try to ask them but they seemed more interested in my dog than me :lol:

I've taken lots of photo's of the ducks at Ackers Pit over the years but I don't actually remember seeing any like that there before. Maybe that's becasue I was never looking for them before but then again I've just looked through some of my other older photo's and can't see them on those either.

Inbreds I guess :lol:

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Well had  stroll through the bird books I have and there is nothing there resembling it (well apart from having wings beaks and flippers that is but you know what i mean). Also had a look on the rspb website and nothing there either. Could well be a mallard cross with ?(insert bird of choice) ?.

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I can recommend a YouTube video of Stewart Lee talking about the mating habits of mallards as well as another animation with Isabella Rosselini talking about the same subject. I won't post them here because I've been warned about inappropriateness before, albeit talking about something else than duck sex. :P So don't do it if you're easily offended, especially about duck sex.  

 

It's weird but fascinating and you'll never look at the little buggers in the same light again. 

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