Friday, 15 December 2017

Cold Bath & Bridge Repair

                         In spite of the sub zero Temperatures, it's amazing that some of our local pigeons still like to bathe in freezing water.

                         I was amused at the flock in my garden making use of the pond, so much so that one actually got into the deep water and swam around, never seen that before! 

                        It floated and paddled towards the side and flapped out of the pond. 

On another riverside topic, I finally managed to get Scottish water to repair the Merryton footbridge. There has been a hole on the walkway for some weeks and as usual plenty of moaners who seem unable or unwilling to do anything about it. I am surprised that the Local River Community Council did not take the matter in hand either. I spoke to the Highland council who said that the bridge belongs to Scottish water and had nothing to do with them. I then spoke to Scottish Water and explained that putting 2 traffic cones and a metal plate laying over the hole was pointless, as all of it would be tossed into the river come the weekend ! This is exactly what happened to the sand filled sacks 2 weeks ago. I also explained that people with disabilities, using mobility scooters and sticks were at risk and unable to use the bridge. In addition that litter in the river was an eyesore and spoiling the environment.

Seems they took my complaints seriously and did what I asked, having a permanent repair done today. Well done Scottish water !  

Monday, 11 December 2017

Could This Have Been The First Swan ?

Was fascinated to read about recent fossil discovery on the BBC and in Nature Journal showing an unusual dinosaur bird, thought to have roamed Mongolia 75 million years ago.

                        It is so Swan like and of similar size, able to walk on land and swim and hunt in water.
I have often thought when dealing with Swans that their skin was so dinosaur like

Humans have only been around such a short space of time, so when I see something like this dated 75 million years. I can easily imagine the evolution of Swans - find it a little mind blowing !

Friday, 8 December 2017

Snowy Scenes

As expected, the stormy winds have decreased and the snow showers have arrived. 

Was pretty chilly overnight and not much warmer today. Snow is the big enemy of the birds and means little access and lean pickings.

The Pied wagtail that often feeds on the garden pond had an easier time, being able to walk onto the ice and pick up the dried Mealworm that I put out for it.

The river birds got their share too, with no fear of ice on fast flowing water, the wind chill from the north still numbs my fingers though !  Short movie clip below after feeding time.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Not So Sweet Caroline !

Storm Caroline arrived as forecast across the North of Scotland today. Gusts up to 90 MPH have been sweeping across the north and on the exposed coasts of the Moray Firth. The riverside did not escape, although had a bit of shelter from the nearby housing.

Penny, Duke and the 200 ducks were hunkering down at the Merryton bridge, patiently waiting on their daily rations. Between the short daylight hours and high tides I am feeding them once a day with about 25 lbs of grain and seeds. 

Penny and duke filled up and got their heads down, getting into the sheltered lee of the bridge supports. Storm Caroline should move away by tomorrow, followed by snow showers and polar winds. After recent mild winters, I think were in for a hard one this time.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Residents Return

After 6 days Penny and Duke flew back together to the river this morning.  This came as quite a surprise to me, as six weeks ago it looked like Penny had got herself a new mate. Six days ago she and the new mate appeared to escort Duke out of the River for good.

This might only be temporary of course, but Duke was grunting and trying to bond with her today. Perhaps the new mate was just too young and unable to show the power required to chase Duke away.

Penny and Duke look absolutely stunning and in really good health. There will be much more happenings before the new season gets under way, as there will be challenges for the nest site in the new year.

Has Penny just decided to retire with Duke, or will she persist and try and get another mate? this space !

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

A December Day

With our resident Swans away, things seem quiet on the river.

However life goes on for all the other wildlife. Yesterday we had a new swan visitor checking out the river and island, looked like a single male.

Today the Seal taking advantage of the Spring tide, for a meander well up river, being closely watched by the mergansers and ducks.

A typical December day.