Is it my imagination, or are there more ducks than is usual for the time of year flying about at the moment? Not significantly more, but noticeably more. Noticeable enough that, if you happened to have a website where you were prone to make observations of such a nature, you would probably mention it on the off-chance that you had actually noticed something rather profound. I admit it seems unlikely, but you never know: perhaps there's a reason why there are noticeably more ducks flying around than is usual for the time of year. Or perhaps it really is just my imagination.
They're mallards mostly, from what I can tell at the sort of distances I'm talking about. Actually, I haven't mentioned distances yet, but I'm just about to: 50 to 100 yards, approximately. They tend to be flying very fast, very low and very determinedly in a straight line, quite often in an easterly direction. I suppose they could be the same ducks going round and round, but this seems unlikely, bearing in mind how very determinedly they are flying in a straight line. Not to say impossible.
Ducks are surprisingly fast fliers. In fact, I'm pretty sure my edition of The Guinness Book of Records from some time in the 1970s said that the fastest horizontal bird flight ever measured was that of a mallard. I forget the speed. Peregrine falcons can reach faster speeds, of course, but only in a vertical stoop.
A surprising thing I've noticed about ducks' flight while I've been observing the noticeably more of them than is usual for the time of year recently is how short their wing-beats are. They're very short indeed, bearing in mind the horizontal speeds they achieve. Ducks take tiny wing-beats, but travel at great speed.
There's a lesson for us all there, I think.