It was one of the few remaining ducklings on the Memorial Park pond after its siblings were thought to have been scared off or killed by a plague of rats. But, as this defenceless bird was pictured being scooped up by a gull this week, it appears a predator of a different kind may be to blame for the disappearing ducks.
The harrowing photo was taken by Amy Barfoot, 30, as she visited the park with her two young children to feed the ducks. She said:
“I obviously noticed that there were not many ducklings about. The ones we did see wore looking scared. We saw the gulls coming down and they kept knocking them under the water. I tried to scare off the seagulls but they weren’t going anywhere. When we stopped feeding the ducks we left, but turned round and saw that two of the ducklings had completely disappeared.
I looked at one of them and thought it was eating something, but I couldn’t see what. Only when I went up to it could I see it had the duckling in its mouth. It swallowed it whole. It really upset my kids as they were aware of what was going on, especially my eldeat, who has begun to see wildlife on the television. I tried to explain that it was just nature, which he seemed to accept, but he had never seen anything like it, and couldn’t understand how it was a baby being eaten.”
The council has put down rat bait on the lake island since we reported the swell in numbers last week.
Herne Bay Gazette, July 3rd 2014