Born to run
My Mallard chicks were hatching yesterday and have all now departed. Just the one infertile egg and fragments of shell left behind. The only real sign that they were there at all. Waterfowl never hang around in the nest any longer than is necessary. The advantages of having well developed on hatching means they can leave the nest shortly after hatching. This reduces predation in the nest which is a clever strategy but that's not to say that they are not up against the perils of life. Mum will have likely set out with her caravan of offspring at daybreak with the mindset to lead them to a water source she is familiar with, where they will learn to feed.