To look at, you may be forgiven for thinking that the duck islands created by Scott James are made of wood, when in fact they are made from concrete, yet still manage to float.
“I spend most of my time at shows trying to convince people it will float,” he laughs.
“But they don’t believe me until I fit it without something underneath.”
A carpenter by trade, Scott’s career started working in a family business putting up fences and gates.
“My dad taught me a lot and then when you do other things you learn from other carpenters as well,” he explains.
“I didn’t do any formal qualifications but learnt on the job.”
Scott spent 12 years living in Canada, building homes over there, but when he returned to the UK two and a half years ago he realised he had to diversify.
“They don’t make homes over here like they do in Canada,” he reveals.
“The construction is very much a wooden structure and goes from there, I was able to use a lot more of my skills.
“I am a big animal lover and I have always had animals so I realised that animal homes were basically the same structure as the houses in Canada so I went down that route.”
He started making chicken coops but when chicken flu hit so was the business.
The move into duck islands came when he kept getting requests at shows.
“I always said no as they aren’t always very well made and don’t tend to last that long as it is made of wood and constantly in water,” explains Scott.
However seeing a demand Scott decided to see if it would be possible to create a duck island made from concrete.
After experimenting with other designs, which were unsuccessful, he opted for the current model called the octagon.
“This shape seems to work best,” he says. “It is also really popular with people.”
A family business Scott builds and installs the floating concrete duck islands from start to finish.
The actual labour Scott says can take three days but this doesn’t factor in leaving the concrete to set for three days, and then the finishing touches such as the painting.
Each one is made by hand, something that Scott explains you don’t always find.
“A few years ago you would go to an arts and craft fair and everything would have been made by someone in their shed,” he reveals.
“But now you find more and more people are using lasers. I think for the larger cutting it would be quicker and less messy but I would still prefer to finish it all by hand.”
The islands measure at around six foot and have a large deck area for ducks to roost, but isn’t big enough to allow geese on board.
Each hut has four separate large nesting boxes, there is also a separate concrete floating island just for feed.
Available in three colours (cream, brown or green) the most popular being the green due to its camouflage effect.
“The concrete has a broom finish to give the ducks lots of grip,” he adds.
“The islands are made of concrete with fibre reinforcement and a waterproof closed cell foam float.
“I still get to do the carpentry side which I enjoy as the huts are made from waterproof hardwood plywood and stainless steel fixings.”
It seems as well that not many people are doing what Scott does.
“As far as I am aware I am one of the only person doing concrete duck islands and fitting them myself,” he reveals.
“Many people will buy them get them in the post and put them up themselves.
“I don’t think one of my islands would even fit in the postman’s van as it is six foot and I think weighs about 80-100 kgs.”
For an escape for your feathered friends a duck island could be the perfect getaway.