I live just around the corner from the Blackheath duck pond, in the beautiful Blue Mountains. I’ve developed a special relationship with the Australian wood ducks who live there. They are so good natured and engaging. It occurred to me that they must get a little bored just swimming about and eating grass in Memorial Park. To make matters worse, there are very few visitors now that we are in lock-down. One positive is that they are losing weight, thanks to the lack of little admirers feeding them bread.
What about a few acrobatics to take their fitness to the next level? We could even open a little circus once people are out and about again. In fact, let’s do it.
My first choice as a pupil was a young male….they always so full of bravado.
OK Daniel, let’s try balancing on one leg. to begin with. I brought him home with me for the initial, dry land lesson. So it’s like this Mate, except at my age balancing is almost impossible.
Back we went to the pond, but dear me, it took a while for him to get the idea. Eyes to the front please ….and concentrate. It’s all to do with the centre of gravity I believe.
Right, let’s ‘up the ante’ and try a triple act.
Another two recruits were brought in and after just a week or two they were performance ready. The newbies were both female (Lucy and Linda) , which might explain their remarkable aptitude.
Let’s have a bit of fun ladies Now set a good example by moving exactly one and a half metres away from Daniel. That’s it…great.
Right, on the count of three, all stand on one leg. ‘One, two three!’
Oh my goodness, it worked! Next trick….
One, two, three…‘Fly away’.
We had someone called Wizard Wonga turn up to audition one day, but he failed at the crucial moment. And well he’s not a damn duck is he? And perhaps past the prime of life, like moi (sigh).
Sorry, off you go Wonga.
OK, let’s try some synchronized movement. You can take a break Daniel, I’m not at all sure you have the talent. Instead, we’ll have three little maids this time; Linda, Lucy and Penelope-Jane. Ready? Standing perfectly still….
Head tuck to the left!
Take a bow;
Wasn’t that something?? Bring on the Tokyo Olympics, if we can ever have them.
The diving was a bit of a disaster considering volunteer Lucy is a duck, but she tried hard;
Daniel….make like a football (surely he can cope with this) Deep head tuck required;
It was some months before we discovered that Daniel actually had a hidden talent. One cold, rainy day we spotted him surfing on a long board. How about that! Well worth incorporating in the performance with a little more practice.
An ethereal finale from Lucy;
Lucy was upset by a nasty, very physical review, possibly left by an individual who did not make the grade as a performer. We suspect a cheesed off Wizard Wonga.
NEW ACT?…..Fellow photographer, Mark Eatwell, took the following image of a wood duck blowing ‘smoke’ rings in frosty air. If only I could incorporate this talented fellow within my circus.
It’s a pity I hadn’t started training performers a bit earlier. We could have performed in the Spiegaltent at the 2019 Sydney Festival. Never mind, let’s look towards the Royal Easter Show in 2021.
Hang on…we have some feisty youngsters on the scene. They look as if they have the right attitude. I foresee a junior troupe; could be a supporting act with a bit of direction!
Poor Daniel may be an exception, but wood ducks do have athletic ability in their genes. When they are barely a day old the babies have to make a flying leap to the ground from their nest hollow high in a tree. To watch them, CLICK HERE.