I was very fortunate to have been at home and looking out of the window when it happened, as the whole process must have taken 3 minutes. It was a wonderful to watch, and I managed to capture it on camera.
Above: Without any hesitation she leaves her nest and parades up and down the pontoon, calling the ducklings to follow her. The first two follow quickly, wobbling across the pontoon on one day old legs. Their ability to walk and do so well, with no practice or training, is wonderful. Within a few steps they are running about confidently.
As she calls to the four ducklings remaining in the nest, the first two are up and off towards the water's edge. The three foot drop from the pontoon to the river bed holds no fear!
Then there were three - the main obstacle appears to be the lip of the pot being slightly too high and too smooth to climb, but after a lot of clambering and peeping, they too manage it.
And off they go into the big deep river, just one day old. Hawks and gulls will try to eat them, the tide might sweep them away and the local swans will try to drown them - such is the cruelty of nature. It's been a great privilege to have a ringside seat.