Saturday the 24th December 2022, Sunday the 25th December and Sunday the 01st January 2023
Three Episodes
The Gallery Directory

Sally June 4th 2022

Sunday 25th December 2022
Mama Duck Two

Music – Energetic Indie

Sally’s story is slightly different to Mavis although similar to Holly’s.

Sally is a pure strain Mallard hen, whilst Mavis and Holly are crosses. 

Mavis lives on the canal on the Ropewalk section of the Ramparts for twelve months of the year. 

Sally only lives on the canal on the Butts for eight months and spends the remainder of the year in a private garden on Harnet Street. 

Holly lives on both the Ropewalk and the Butts canals but disappears for mating to Gazen Salts and then lives in Sandwich on Delf Street till her chicks are hatched.

Sally mates in the private garden of Haven House on Harnet Street Red Cross], and when her chicks hatch, she demands from the gardener that he opens the gate for them all and promptly walks them down Guildcount Lane [Yellow route]. 

From there, she then takes a left and struts down into Bowling Street to the bottom, where it joins Delf Street; where; she then takes a right and walks up to Loop Street then, takes a left and walks down Loop and then proceeds to march her ducklings along the footpath of the Butts until she reaches her favourite rearing patch on the Butts canal near to Woodnesborough Road. 

This year, 2022, was the fifth time she had performed this.

Mallard ducks are known for their rigidity to traditional mating and nesting spots, and in Sandwich, many ducks are known by those who live in the town from either their gardens or parks.

Sally is an experienced mother; the 2022 clutch was her fifth, whilst Mavis and Holly were on their seconds. If they find a suitable location, Mallard ducks will return to the breeding spot to lay their eggs and will usually leave the mating site only if there is no water available. Water is essential for the education of their ducklings.

Sally was recognisable as an established mothering hen due to the naked bit on the nape of her neck you will see in some of the early June photographs. This injury is caused by too many drake mallards breeding with the same female and their beaks gripping the hen’s neck.

It can look odd, or as one watcher commented ‘It looks like she has been hit with a baseball bat!” But it grows back, as you can see in the last photos.

Sally has quite the journey from the Haven house on Harnet Street down to the canal on the Butts. Sally, not her real name, is known as the Haven House duck, and many a tourist and locals have witnessed and photographed the opening of the gate and the proud mother walking out with her ducklings in tow.

This duck is a celebrity during the spring here in Sandwich, but she is not alone. Many ducks live in the back of some houses or gardens here in Sandwich.

I saw Sally on the first of June on the Butts already with her ducklings – they had arrived the day before. Still, strangely enough, the Gazen Salts treasurer and his wife were present when Sally asked for the gate to be opened by the gardener, and they followed her from Haven House down to the canal, astonished at the sight before them.

There is a mystery to Sally that l still am at a loss to understand. When she first arrived on the Butts walk canal, she had seven ducklings; however, she seemingly misplaced three of them

The foxes are not usually found to be hunting on the Butts walk and mostly stay at the Ropewalk or the Mill Wall walk due to their burrow being closer to that side of the tracks than the town centre.

Mallard hens are not known to adopt stragglers, but it isn’t unheard of if they think they are lost and the same age as their clutch. Ducklings can also recognise their mothers – so l don’t know what happened.

What l know is that when Sally saw Holly on the canal, she was attentive to her presence and noisy, which was just strange behaviour. What is equally as confusing is Holly’s story with her own ducklings. She had eight then five then seven ….

Anyway, that aside, here is Sally’s story.

June 01st to July 30th
June 01st – Sally with her chicks underneath her wings.
June 01st – Sally with her chicks after swimming, exercising, foraging and grooming. Sally’s drake stayed with her for a lot of the time helping her to protect the ducklings.

June 02nd – Swimming, foraging, grooming.

Sally also had a ‘flapper duckling’.

You can see the very noticeable patch on her head/nape of the neck.

June 04th – simply chilling with mum but by this time we had shrunk from seven ducklings down to four?

I remember seeing her the previous day in a panic, l took no photographs of her or the chicks that day as they were hidden but knew there was an issue, l didn’t know what it was, but a sneaking suspicion was it was something to do with her clutch.

June 07th – Sally and ducklings at just over a week old since hatching

June 08th snuggles are always fun

Whatever had happened to the three ducklings l have no idea, but she became hyper sensitive to everything afterwards.

July 01st – Sally became a changed mother after the 4th June. She was still trusting of me as l was always quite close to her and the ducklings, but she didn’t trust any of the other waterfowl.

July 03rd – Sally and her four ducklings in the foreground and Holly and her now seven ducklings in the background. Holly arrived on the Butt’s canal up near the cricket ground on June 01st, but she flitted between several locations – however when she first appeared she only had four ducklings – all the same colour as her….
Whenever Holly swum or waddled passed Sally she became hyper sensitive to her presence. The gallery above was shot as Holly swum past on the canal with seven ducklings …

July 04th – Sally and her juvenile ducklings. You can see how the mating injury has almost healed fully.

July 05th – Sally’s drake mate back on the scene

July 06th – Sally, four juveniles and drake mate swimming.

07th July – Strange behaviour – above – Sally and her four ducklings swimming on the Butts canal and yet below on the 08th July Sally, Holly and Mavis all swimming together on the Ropewalk canal near Woodnesborough Road and the Chestnut Tree.

09th July – Sally back in her usual nesting position with her four juveniles who are getting remarkably big and are now aged nearly six weeks.

July 11th – Sally and her family of female hens looking all very healthy.

July 12th – The Sally clan once more over near the chestnut tree all walked out to greet me with my camera received some grain and then walked off once we were done. Sally now the picture of health.

July 30th – Sally and her daughters now aged eight weeks chilling back on the Butts canal . I saw them briefly in August, but by the middle of the month they were all mixed with the main flock.

So there we go folks – Sally – Mama Duck Two and her family.
See you next time and thanks for reading.

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11 thoughts on “Sally

    1. Hey Suzanne 🙂

      Yes l always thought that about Sally, that she seemed to have had a rough deal withher chicks this year. Of all of the ducks l saw, l had a soft spot for both her and Mavis. Holly was a bit more reticent with people.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Rory ☺️
        Mother ducks and their ducklings always get to my heart. There are so many dangers for them. And I hate to think they lose a single duckling in any form or fashion. Sally sounds like a devoted little mother.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Amazing photos as always ❤️👏

    Well life is survival and then nowadays maybe animals also forgetful or don’t bother with the details? lol 🤷‍♀️

    Survival is tough in 2020’s decade

    Some have strong motherly instinct ? won’t matter if not blood 🩸

    Motherly instinct can be quite powerful in some cases ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many of the Gazen Salts ducks didn’t seem to possess the motherly instinct this year and there were many reasons for that.

      I think with Sally, she is a good natured duck, and some ducks are keen to amass ‘numbers’, Holly was like that.

      Holly’s story is out this Sunday.

      Liked by 1 person

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