London

Ducklings hatch at London Wetland Centre

Ducklings at London Wetland Centre
Image caption The ducklings have a good chance of survival, says the centre

A mallard duck at a wildlife haven in London has hatched 11 ducklings - six months later than usual.

Ducklings would normally arrive between April and June but have been spotted swimming with their mother at London Wetland Centre in Barnes.

The strange sight is being put down to the warm autumn weather and the fact that the ducks are prolific breeders.

John Arbon, a manager at the wetland centre, said he thought the birds had a good chance of survival.

He said: "She's got them into a reed bed, she's got them into quite a nice warm little bit of habitat that will hold its temperature up and it will provide them with lots of insect food.

"So at the moment, the chances are quite good.

"It is down to the mild weather plus the fact that this is a mallard - mallards are prolific breeders given the opportunity."

The centre said the latest that mallard ducklings would normally hatch was August, but that tended to happen when a clutch had failed and the adults tried for a second brood.

According to the BBC Weather centre, November has been sunnier than usual with temperatures about 3C above average and rainfall about half the average.

The wetland centre, which is run by the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, said it had also seen other strange wildlife behaviour and daffodil shoots have sprung up.

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