IT was meant to be a leisurely stroll with the family to Inverleith Park where they could take a dip in the pond to cool off.
But a drain scuppered the plans of a mother duck and her five ducklings after the tiny newborns fell through the gaps in the drain cover.
Louise Maguire, 30, a nurse at the Western General, was on her way to work on Monday morning when she spotted the ducklings tumbling into the drain after crossing the road at the junction between Crewe Road South and Craigleith Hill Avenue.
She contacted the Scottish SPCA and animal rescue officer, Jenni Wright – with the help of council workers – pulled the five ducklings back up to safety.
They are now recovering at the Scottish SPCA’s Wildlife Rescue Centre near Alloa.
Jenni said: “The ducklings were being led across the road by their mum when sadly one fell into the drain and the others followed.
“Thankfully, a lady was walking by and called us for help straight away.
“The ducklings were quite distressed and making lots of noise calling for mum to come back, but unfortunately there was no sign of her.
“Council workers managed to get the drain cover off and, having been trapped inside for 20 minutes, the ducklings were safe and well.
“We’ll now give them the care and attention they need and hopefully we’ll be able to release them back into the wild when they are fully fit.”
Louise, who lives in Granton, believes the duck and ducklings, who were only days old, were trying to make their way to the pond at Inverleith Park.
She said: “I was on my way to work when I heard this duck and I thought, ‘what is going on here?’.
“I looked round and there was a duck with her really small babies. I was starting to panic because they were going on to the road. It was rush hour, and the cars were tooting at them. I thought they were going to get splattered.
“I was trying to get them into a garden but they weren’t paying any attention to me. I thought, ‘I must get up to work and phone somebody’, but just as I was leaving, one of the babies fell down the drain. The gutter was full of water and the duckling was bobbing up and down and swimming. I was absolutely devastated when the baby duck fell down the gutter.
“The mum was quacking away and was really quite distressed. The little duckling was very distressed too.
“I ran up to work and phoned the Scottish SPCA, and they were out within about ten minutes.”
Louise said she was “chuffed” that the ducklings were now in safe hands.
She added: “I love animals so I was really upset. I was really happy that the situation turned out so well. It’s a happy ending.”