Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Duke Scared Off by Kayaks

On what turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far, several things happened on the river. First of all yesterday morning a duck turned up with 12 ducklings, the first on the lower river this season.

She still had them all in the evening. 

Shortly after taking these pics, the alarm went up and all of the birds started to head away from the island nest site, including Duke who was guarding the site.

                          I looked down stream to see 3 kayaks heading up river and Duke wasted no time in heading away from them up river, he was clearly scared thinking this was an invasion by giant birds, as the flashing paddles looked like wings.

This happened just before 8pm and later I went down river at 11.30pm to check, and found him still up river sitting in the exact same spot, clearly scared to go back down to the island haven. I had to go down to the rivers edge and coax him to come down. Eventually he plucked up the courage to come to me and I led him down to the nest site. 

As I have witnessed many times before, Kayaks, canoes and paddle boards are absolutely terrifying to water wildlife, and should not be in sight of the birds nesting areas especially at peak nesting time. Penny is sitting on eggs and needs the peace and assurance of Duke guarding the island, the sight of 3 kayaks in a row heading towards him was too much for him to tackle so he avoided them by heading up river, leaving Penny unguarded and vulnerable to attack. Any encroachment by watersport activists near this sensitive wildlife area is unacceptable, especially during the nesting season ! There is plenty of unused space north of the bailey bridge, including the entire Moray Firth for boating activity.

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