WILD DUCK, Anas boscas
Resident; common; breeds all over the county in suitable places, on wet moors, by the side of streams and ponds. We had several broods every season below Stone Hall, on the Cleddy, and by the side of tiny streams joining that river.
The Wild Duck must have been far more abundant fifty years ago. In a meadow below Stone Hall the remains of an ambush at a bend of the stream still exist. Concealed within it an old farmer, who lived close at hand, used to shoot the Ducks as the flocks flew up and down the stream just at daybreak, or at dusk, and is reported to have often picked up twenty or more before his breakfast. In snowy weather, accompanied by rough northerly winds, we have ourselves seen great numbers of Duck on the Cleddy, and have had good sport with them. The rougher the wind the greater used to be our success, as the wind both prevented the birds from hearing our approach, and impeded their flight.
We found a brood one summer close to the house, and the old Duck permitting herself to be caught, we carried them all to one of our ponds, but they did not stay there, quickly wandering off again to the river.