Yesterday morning, The female Mallard had her usual boyfriend with her.
And FOUR other males.
As far as I could see (and I am not a voyeur), there was no anatid hanky-panky, but you can't always be sure what they are doing when they are concealed under the lip of the pond's edge....
If she's the same female as last year, we know she is a good mother. But on the way to becoming one, she is "no better than she ought to be", as the old harridans in my natal village used to say.
Whatever the truth, for me she will be known from now on as Irma la Duck.