I could just make them out in the pre-dawn gloom. They were huddled against the bitter cold. Frankly, I didn’t expect to see them. I thought they’d all have left for warmer climes at the first sign of ice. However, these mallards seemed determined to tough it out. Maybe they know something we don’t: that this is going to be a warmer winter than usual.
As the sun rose, most of them climbed out onto the thin ice, forming a ceremonial ring around the pool of open water, their safety zone, I suppose. Later, they were joined by a few copycat geese, and the scene became more tangled, Brueghel-like.