Two readers have written in to tell me that ducks’ eggs have suddenly turned up on their lawns.
Why? Was it an Easter joke? That is when the eggs appeared.
One of the eggs was almost buried out of sight, another had been half covered with rubbish.
Ducks were nowhere to be seen. Foxes are though.
In another couple of months Arctic foxes will be doing the same. They harvest the eggs of Brent geese and wading birds that nest in the tundra.
They try to climb up the cliffs where the guillemots and razorbills nest in the hope of getting one of those enormous treasures, which are over three inches long.
Geese try to beat the living daylights out of the geese and now and then pay the ultimate price though the foxes are not so lucky with the big grey geese such as greylag and whitefront.
This is why some brent will nest near the eyrie of a peregrine falcon in the hope of having aerial surveillance and even protection.
I used to have a labrador bitch called Flighty Girl. Although she did not suffer from anorexia she used to retrieve the eggs or mallard that nested in the garden.
These were tame birds and six or seven ducks made their nests in the hedges and long grass near to a small pond.
Flighty Girl would go round in the morning in April and pick up stray duck eggs that had been laid randomly by silly young mothers. I would place them into a nest.
Then the eggs hatched. Ducklings strayed this way and that into the coppice and would start peeping unhappily when they got lost.
Flighty Girl would soon find them and bring them back in the softest mouth I had ever known.
They were never harmed and there was hardly a dab of saliva to spoil their golden down.
But she knew when it was OK to be naughty. Sometimes she came across an addled pheasant’s egg.
She would wait till I was not apparently watching, pick it up, hurry off out of sight as she thought, and bury it, pushing leaves and earth with her nose to hide it.
Next time we went that way she would vanish and soon come back with a big grin as she licked her lips, then thrust her nose into my unwary hand. Ugh!
Now I come to think of it, what else of a disgusting nature had she found and swallowed? Labs are like that. They will eat absolutely anything.
She once found some starfish washed up on the shore and swallowed three, almost killing herself because they are poisonous.
To return to Littlehampton. Has anyone lost some ducks eggs? We know where they are and who is the culprit. Charles James the fox. Or could it be a labrador?