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Pre-school pupils enjoy morning surprise as ducklings turn up on the doorstep

“Five little ducks went out one day, over the hills and far away,” goes the words of the old nursery rhyme – but a Loughrea pre-school this week saw double that number of ducklings arrive at their door . . . apparently out of nowhere!

Teacher Irene Shiel Leahy could scarcely believe her eyes on Tuesday morning last as she opened the doors of her Loughrea Community Pre-School in preparation for another normal day of class — or so she thought — for the 16 pupils attending.

“I just had the doors open around 9.30am when I looked out and saw a duck in the schoolyard with ten little ducklings trailing behind her.

“The schoolyard is completely enclosed so I couldn’t figure out how they had got in as the ducklings looked as if they had been just hatched,” Irene Shiel Leahy told the Connacht Tribune.

She eventually came to the conclusions that the wild duck — probably a mallard — had nested and hatched out her brood in a small ‘hidden area’ behind a shed in the schoolyard.

The pre-school class of 16 boys and girls — all in the three-to-five-years age bracket — had never seen anything like this before when they arrived for class shortly before 10am.

Along with her pre-school teaching colleague, Catherine Keary, they decided initially to leave out some food and water for their ‘arrivals’ but ‘mama duck’ and her family showed no interest whatsoever in availing of the hospitality.

Given the unusual nature of what was going on, Irene contacted local photographer, Hany Marzouk, to pop down and take a picture of what was happening for posterity.

“Hany came down and took some pictures but also gave us a hand when we decided that the best thing to do was to bring our new family back down to their natural environment of the lake.

“Catherine, Hany and myself brought the ducklings down to the lake in a plastic box and mother followed on. We gently placed them into the water and sure enough the eleven of them went down the lake after their mother,” said Irene.

By the time all the kerfuffle was over it was nearly lunchtime at the pre-school but by then the class had experienced a class about nature that they couldn’t have anticipated.

“Later on in the day, one or two in the class said that they were missing the ducks but they were happy when told that they were all safe and well and were now living where they should be — on the lake,” said Irene.


For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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