The other part of my weekend adventures was building a duck nesting tube. We’ve regularly been disturbing a pair of mallard that seem to be based on the pond, and knowing that there are foxes and badgers wandering through the area it seems a sensible plan to offer any nests some protection.
I don’t have much practical experience making things like this, but with YouTube videos and some advice from a friend, I was determined enough to build something.
Step 1 was to get some hay. Now I know I could have just gone to a nearby pet shop, but that seemed an expensive option, and I had no idea how much I’d actually need. So, heading to Google I found a local farm that sells single bales and headed off to the postcode I was given. Google maps showed the farm in one place, the postcode about a mile and a half away. I tried both, no farm. Trusting to instincts, and going with the postcode I kept going, and eventually ended up another half mile away!
I want a truck!
Step 2 was measuring, cutting, rolling and fixing the wire, and was by far and away the most fun and easiest part of the job (for me).
The bit I wasn’t sure about, and the bit I want to redo next year, was attaching the 3′ board to the post, I decided to use a fence post effectively upside down, and that worked well, I just didn’t attach it to the board particularly nicely.
And now the final part- getting it into the pond! Firstly getting everything there – I’d been asked not to drive over the bluebell shoots that were then coming up strongly, so I got half way and and had to carry everything the last section 3 trips.
I don’t have any waders as mentioned in earlier posts, and it was March, and I knew I needed to get reasonably deep. Not something I was relishing. I knew the bottom is slippery and lumpy from when it dried out last summer, and falling over could not happen; I didn’t have a full change of clothes. An error I realised as I made my first step.
I was carrying a heavy sledgehammer and a 7′ post initially, and had no idea if I was going to be able to hammer it in, with starting at full stretch over my head, but somehow I managed it. The post went in, with hard work and eventually I got it down to about chest height and started fixing the board to the top and the tube on top of that.
Standing in thigh high water was surprisingly ok. It wasn’t as cold as I feared, but the slippery bottom of the pond was worse. I could stand still and work but every time I had to go back to the shore to get the next part I was a blink away from going in.
Eventually it was done. Most of it I’m happy with, I need to change the board after this nesting season, but for a first attempt, I’m happy.