I have written often about the ducks as there are so many of them and they are truly amusing. A few more weeks will bring the mama ducks converging on the back canal within the protected monastery walls. They and their broods will nest in the bushy and protected undergrowth and sun on the grassy sides. I wrote of an early mama with her ten brown fluffy ducklings; I returned to her nest along the canal a few days later in hopes of seeing them again but she was gone and so were all the ducklings. The laws of nature had taken over. It is rough world out there! There are large black birds which swoop down and catch the unsuspecting ducklings for a dinner meal; then the mice I am told as well catch the ducklings for a feast. I shall hope for more broods soon.
There are pairs of mallards, the traditional brownish camouflaged mama and the gorgeous satiny green headed male in the courtyard now at night. Our clocks have just sprung forward and when we return from Compline, it is light out so ducks can be spied amongst the daffodils. I do not know how they know when the tourists are gone and the large Béguinage doors are closed to the world and only the twilight world of the Béguinage and the monastery remain but they DO know. We sisters cross on the cobblestone path and the ducks a few feet away are totally undisturbed. We are not to be feared and they know it. I stop to have a word or two with them, not that they understand but I enjoy the conversation. Our youngest sister is quite an animal lover; she stops to make friends and pet every dog that a tourist or nearby apartment dweller walks in the courtyard, big Australian huskies or little miniature poodles no matter. This night she trilled several `quacks` to the chic foraging pair and much to my amusement, they looked up in response. Not being a duck, I do not know what they thought but perhaps they imagined her a largish black duck with a white head. They certainly cocked their heads before returning to seed foraging in the freshly wet and rain sodden earth. More on the duck sagas as spring approaches.