Gallery: Mystery of missing ducks at Suffolk landmark

WITH its multitude of ducks, quaint waterside setting and beautiful timber-framed cottages, Kersey has been described as “a little piece of heaven” and a “priceless jewel”.

Laurence Cawley

WITH its multitude of ducks, quaint waterside setting and beautiful timber-framed cottages, Kersey has been described as “a little piece of heaven” and a “priceless jewel”.

Its picture postcard tranquillity has attracted thousands of visitors over the years, and the village achieved national fame in 1980 when it was chosen for the filming of the launch of the Mini Metro.

At the heart of its appeal has always been the attractive water splash at the bottom of the village, with, of course, its ubiquitous ducks and their cute ducklings.

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But this year, for reasons unexplained, its once flourishing contingent of ducks has almost completely disappeared.

And the mass exodus of the village's waterfowl has left residents baffled and fearful that some of Kersey's appeal - which for generations has attracted visitors from across the world - could be lost forever.

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Resident Marianne Lash said the best explanation for the disappearance of the village's treasured duck population was old age (in the case of its Muscovy ducks) and predators (in the case of its wild mallards).

Her fellow resident Rachel Wells said the situation was dire. “We've not got any now. The really old Muscovy ducks just died off and the other ones just seem to have gone.

“People used to come with their children to feed the ducks - it is what many people came to Kersey for. It has been a few months now that we've had no ducks at all. Last summer there were not as many and it has been gradually dwindling each year.”

She said visitors to Kersey were beginning to comment on the great duck disappearance. “People do seem to be commenting on it,” Mrs Wells said. “Somebody I was speaking with last week pointed out there were no ducks any more.”

But according to John Maltby, vice-chairman of Kersey Parish Council, hope could be on the horizon in the form of one duck with about 12 ducklings which has been spotted in the area.

It is hoped, he said, that the brood will decide to settle down at the village's Water Splash.

Last night when the East Anglian Daily Times visited the Water Splash with Mr Maltby the lone duck and her brood were at the site and hopes were raised that they could make it their home.

Mr Maltby said: “These are wild animals and we can't bag them up and say 'you live here, instead of there' and nothing can be relied on.

“If they stay, they stay and if they go, they go but we won't be doing anything to make them stay nor do we plan to drive them away.

“It will depend on food and the circumstances around the splash which includes of course, tourists, traffic and other interruptions.

“We would certainly welcome more ducks here.”

John Richards, president of the British Waterfowl Association, said the most likely cause of the decline was predators. “We've had trouble with mink increasingly and the problem is you simply don't see them. Otters and foxes will also take ducks.

“I doubt whether it is to do with the traffic as ducks are very adaptable creatures and they tend to adjust to whatever the conditions are.”

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