Sunday, 31 August 2014

Back From The Brink


After another tense two days hatching, the last surviving duckling finally emerged. From the 10 viable eggs in the incubator,  8 eventually made it with two unable to break a hole in the shells.

At one point I thought there would only be 5 survivors as the others also were unable to make a hole in the shell. Having done some research, I decided to immerse the eggs in warm water for a minute or so, being careful to avoid water entering the egg. This has the effect of softening the membrane inside, allowing the ducklings to break through. 

Within a few hours 3 more managed to break out. The last one is a light coloured one similar to the sister of the mother duck.

These little beauties will have to be kept for many weeks since I was unable to catch the mother to rear them. I did try a surrogate mother by catching her sister, but she would not sit on the eggs, 

this would have reduced the time I will have to keep them before returning them safely to the river.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

New Life



A late clutch from an abandoned ducks nest is now under the care of the River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust.
I was aware of this nest ever since it's beginning and had hoped that it would not be discovered since it was in a riverside garden.

However something scared the mother from the nest, to the point she did not return on the coldest night of August last week. The abandoned eggs were cold and wet and I gave little hope that any would survive since they were 3 weeks into their incubation. On candling the eggs no signs of life were detected and some were obviously dead and were discarded. 

The remainder I left in the incubator in the hope that maybe one or two might still be alive. After 3 days I candled the eggs again and was astonished to see the flicker of life in ALL the eggs, this was quite a miracle after being left cold and wet in close to freezing temperatures. At the point of writing, 4 have hatched with one doing so right now, and another 5 chapping at the shells. The will to survive in all of nature is truly amazing ! Although I know who the mother is, trying to catch her to rear these ducklings has so far been unsuccessful.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Curtains For The Pigeon


It's Curtains for the pigeon.......as well as the fireplace and bookcase !


The pigeon with the broken leg is continuing  to improve and now able to put it's weight on it. Looks like it will be able to join it's friends in a few days time.

Meanwhile the cygnets wings are developing well and should be capable of flying lessons in a few weeks time.

The rescued ducklings are nearly 4 weeks old and enjoying life, (short video below ). 
video

Monday, 18 August 2014

Pigeon Patients


Having a flood last week was bad enough for August, but now the temperature has taken a dive, and feels positively Autumnal today. I am currently caring for two injured pigeons, one with a broken leg and the other with a broken wing.


The one with the broken leg is now able to use it with a limp,( Short clip below) this is better than when I found it hopping around on one leg. A course of antibiotics and anti- inflammatory medication, combined with splints seems to be doing the job.

Pardon the pun, but this is the most patient Pigeon I have ever cared for and has been very compliant when receiving treatment, ( as the photos show ). The rescued ducklings are doing fine with ample food supplies to provide warmth, their river cousins are not so lucky with last weeks flood cleaning out all the river weed.

 This years Trust grain bill is likely to be higher than last. All donations will be gratefully received!

video

Friday, 15 August 2014

1000 Post Milestone


Today marks 1000 postings on Simply Superb Swans, something I could never have imagined when I first started Blogging.

Hopefully I have provided some facts and entertainment over the years, but especially an appreciation of the wonderful natural world , something many of us take for granted.

Understanding and taking the time to appreciate other species, can provide a huge amount of spiritual happiness, joy, and a love of life rather than consumption and "things". 

Looking at my blog stats page, I see that I have had 154,000 all time page views, most of them I suspect are locals.

In saying that, I also have viewers around the globe and some of these are members of the River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust. 

My thanks to all of you who have contributed to the welfare of the Nairn wildlife.

No Doubt I have repeated myself over the years, but have tried to give you a variety of photos reflecting the life of the Swans and the beauty of their images.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Island Haven


Having a quick count of surviving ducklings after the flood, it appears we have lost a few - thankfully it was only a few.

High tides during the night is the biggest danger, when any separation from the parents can mean youngsters drifting away in the swift current with no way back. The river level is dropping but the wildlife are still keeping close to the island Haven.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Big Bertha's Mini Flood


As anticipated the remnants of Hurricane Bertha dumped a fair bit of unseasonal weather onto the Moray Firth, resulting in a mini flood....for the moment !

It could have been worse if the wind had been from the north east, pushing the tide more inland. 

The waterfowl had to retreat to the only safe area on the lower river, the Swans island and piece of tidal ground behind the seaman's hall. 

It's pretty certain that the Swans river weed food supply is now gone for this season, since the force of water and dead trees will have scoured the river bed clean. With further rain forecast, the river is likely to stay high for the coming week.

Meanwhile The River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust gives safe sanctuary to the latest duck brood that would have perished in the current conditions.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Flood on the Way ?


With virtually no river spates this year, the latest weather forecasts are about to change all that with warnings of potential flooding for the north of Scotland !

 Stormy weather and heavy rain combined with low pressure and high tides, this week will see a dramatic change in river conditions locally. 

With so many young and vulnerable water birds on the lower river, I hope their parents will guide them safely through the expected flood waters, with no new hatches turning up at this time.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Holiday Wildlife Dangers


Holiday time increases the danger to swans and other wildlife due to people pastimes - like fishing. Discarded or lost fishing tackle is a real threat at this time of year, and many swans and ducks end up dead or injured after swallowing hooks and line.

A timely reminder is on the Scottish SPCA website , their concerns are exactly the same here regarding tackle and out of control dogs. If you take your kids fishing, make sure they dispose of fishing tackle safely, and do not leave lines unattended. There are dozens of vulnerable birds on the river at present, due to moulting and immature birds that cannot fly. 

This makes it even more important that dogs are kept under close control near river wildlife. 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Feeding Time


With the long awaited river in spate, the anglers will be out in force today.

Several hours of heavy rain last night has created a modest rise in the river level, this should help the fish in from the sea. 

Meanwhile with the dirty water conditions I had to adjust the feeding position for the Swans and ducks. 

Their vision in dirty water is poor and unable to see small grains of wheat.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Bird Brain


Observing bird behaviour, I have come to realise like in all species, some are more intelligent than others.

Lately my peanut feeders have been emptying at a phenomenal rate. A few Sparrows have learned how to open the feeder sliding top and have been feeding their offspring with liberal amounts of peanuts.

 So much for the bird brain theory, it might be small but it does function well enough! Sequence tells the story.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Cygnets at 10 Weeks


With the river full of weed there has been plenty of food for the Swans this Summer. 

The Cygnets are now 10 weeks old and growing rapidly, with the wings now being the final phase of their development. 

Penny has moulted and now growing her new flight feathers, she should be able to fly again by mid August. Looks like possible heavy rain by the weekend.