Monday, 13 August 2018

3 Months Old

From an egg to the size of their parents in three months !  

The cygnets have had a privileged start to life with ideal conditions throughout.

Penny is now encouraging them to exercise their wings by having quick spurts from time to time.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Weeks Events

Duke has lost all his flight feathers and will now have to wait until September before being airborne again. 

Penny has regrown her full plumage and is ready for flight about now. 

The cygnets wings are developing fast and they are virtually the same size as Mum and Dad. 

River is still in drought condition and still no sign of any significant rainfall yet.

Weegie is still in splints, and will have a check up on Monday, I have been giving it antibiotics for the past 5 days and hoping it will get the benefit. 

The Mother and 7 siblings are still surviving and taking advantage of the long summer.

                                        I've had a ringed Racing pigeon arrive in  my garden, and it appears to have joined the Town pigeons, he is a lovely specimen and very tame.  

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Weegie is Back

The injured Duckling was today at the Vets. Prognosis for full recovery is bad. After an X-ray it appears that this is not a slipped tendon, but more likely a developmental issue with bone at the hock joint damaged and not fitting together as it should. Normal usage of the left leg will not be forthcoming, which is a huge disappointment to me. However, having already 2 disabled ducks in care -Disco and Limpy, it looks like there might now be a third. After discussion with the vet we decided to splint the leg in the best position and continue with medication for the next week when it will be checked and renewed to allow for growth. Even if it gets partial use it could still have a life of quality with the Trust. 
This duckling is a livewire and have decided to call it "Weegie",  all Scots will recognise the term, as Slang for Glaswegian - usually implying a real fighter !

Printed out a new photo of it's Mum to watch over it in the brooder box.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Flight Training Soon

Penny and Duke's first brood are thriving and enjoying the exceptional summer weather. 

Having the occasional sea trips and now flexing their growing wings.

Penny has moulted and should be able to fly again by the end of the week, 

Duke has now started his moult and will be flightless for the next 5 weeks. I expect Penny to start the cygnets flight training by the end of the month, with short bursts of running / flapping in a week or two.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Duckling Back in ICU

The brave little duckling released on Friday has been struggling and the injured leg has worsened.
I had hoped being back with the family it would have improved, the opposite has happened because of too much activity on a leg that is still injured.
I had no choice but to catch it this evening and bring it home for further ICU treatment. I will take it to the Vet tomorrow and see what else can be done.
Earlier this evening I watched with another Trust member as it attempted to climb up the wire mesh , only to fall between and struggle to get free - twice ! The strain on the leg was just too much. It is such a little fighter it deserves all the help the Trust can give it.

The Mother and others had taken it back as though it was never away, and the mother is still very protective to it. It needs to double in size and have a better leg to have any real chance of survival. 

Friday, 3 August 2018

Duckling Back Home

After 4 days anti inflammatory treatment and TLC, the injured duckling was returned home to the river today.

Was treated by the brood as if it had never been away. It's still only half the size of the rest of the brood but stands more of a chance with the improvement to the leg injury.

Pics show it getting back into the brood. 

Still not 100% and could take a long time to heal completely. I had to return it quickly to avoid rejection and also to make sure it was oiled by the mother and siblings. 

Ducklings need to be waterproofed by the mother for the first 3 weeks until their own oil gland kicks in. It was touch and go this morning, separated for a time and picked on by other ducks. It's a tough little character and I hope it survives. Short clip below having a bath and preen last night. 

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Duckling Update

What a difference a day makes !  After a good nights rest with plenty of food and medication, the injured duckling was in a lively mood this morning. It appeared to be walking almost normally and the hock joint swelling had reduced. I decided to give it a bath and see how it's swimming ability was with the improved leg. Short movie clip below.

The anti inflammatory has made a big difference, but to be certain I took it to the Vet for assessment.
Claire of Moray Coast vets, seemed to think it may have had ligament damage and that I should continue with the anti inflammatory until further improvement, hopefully it wont need antibiotics unless signs of infection appear. A diet of soft lettuce, mealworm, chick crumbs, porridge oats and a cuddly toy, all help with the recovery. Hopefully back to the river soon !

Duckling Rescue

About 5 days ago I saw a duckling trapped under the wire mesh at Merryton bridge. It had squeezed between the mesh and got stuck. I watched for several minutes as it tried to squeeze through. 

Eventually I decided to wade across the river and free it, by the time I crossed the river it had gotten free. 

However over the last 3 days I have watched one duckling from the same brood struggling to keep up with the others, with difficulty walking. It has been in obvious pain and occasionally being picked on by other adult ducks. 

                         It is smaller than the others and not getting enough food. The mother duck has been looking after it and gave me a merry chase this evening as I attempted for the 3rd time to catch the wee one and get it some treatment. 

Tonight I finally caught it and is now safely in the warmth of the Trust brooder. The hock joint is swollen on the left leg but not broken, I have given it some painkiller anti inflammatory, and will see how it is tomorrow, perhaps a visit to the vet is next.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Good Times Continue

Looks like the Summer weather is set to continue for a while yet. 

The expected heavy rain has not yet materialised in our part of the world. 

This means a bonus for the river wildlife, excluding the poor Fish waiting to return up river to the spawning grounds. The river birds are thriving and the Cygnets are almost the size of Penny and Duke, today having a playful paddle to the delight of onlookers. Short clip below

Penny is growing her new feathers and should be capable of flight in a couple of weeks, meanwhile diligently escorting her brood - while duke harasses the ducks.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Bird Rehydration

Occasionally I have the job of trying to save sick and injured birds. Basic knowledge has been gleaned from conversations with our Avian adviser, the internet, and practical experience. Sick pigeons have common and often fatal illnesses that little can be done with. Birds that are sometimes unable or unwilling to drink or eat, can sometimes be helped on the road to recovery.
Rehydration is the first thing that should be done, before any food is given, as the bird has to be well enough to cope with digesting food. Hydration liquid is easily made up by using 1 litre of warm water, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and I teaspoon of salt. Short movie clip below showing a current situation.

In spite of my efforts, sadly this bird did not survive.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Long Hot Summer

The long hot summer continues, and visitors take advantage of our lovely river walk. 

They come from all corners of the globe and admire our river birds. 

Locals too enjoy the new life to be seen. Today some disabled children from the Leonard Cheshire home in Inverness, stopped for a joyous look at the ducklings and Cygnets.

The natural world never disappoints.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Exceptional Beak

Have observed a Black headed gull recently with a most unusual long beak - 

much longer and more curved than normal.

Thursday, 19 July 2018


                          Idyllic conditions on the river again today. 

Even the Goosander was laid back, enjoying the heat with plentiful small fish available.

Usually doesn't get this close. 

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

New life and Death on the River

With most of the Ducks on the river now moulting, they are highly vulnerable to attacks by predators.

Sadly this was witnessed by one of our Trust members this morning, on seeing a Great black backed Gull taking a fully grown female duck.

Some hours later a new duck brood appeared. With the exceptional summer weather and a delayed nesting by some of the ducks, we stand a good chance of seeing even more broods by summers end.

One cygnet was curious to see these new arrivals.