Sunday, 21 October 2018

Scaup And Scarper !

Seems we have a new visitor in the river today. Thought it was a Tufted duck at first, but now think it may be a Scaup.

Broad bill, and no sign of a tuft on the head, appears to be tagging along with the ducks.

Other news this week, includes one of the big cygnets having been chased off by Penny and Duke. It has tried to come back a few times but gets chased away again.

Was one of the large males, perhaps has been too dominant and Penny decided it was time for him to go. 

This is not the first time she has done this, sometimes the potential pairing within the family causes Penny to take action. This particular male was very dominant.  

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Family Flies In

Very blustery wind this morning, no sign of Swans initially but pleasantly surprised to see them later flying up river. What a sight !

They made a Pass over the Merryton bridge and then swung around the Fishertown, before heading back up river towards me, landing close to the bridge - Just beautiful !

                                        Almost impossible to stay in focus with such fast moving images. 

Sequence of shots tells the story.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Away Day

Our Swan family had an away- day yesterday, returning today amid a spate on the river.

They had the security of the island, along with the ducks enjoying a meal of Wheat, growth pellets, and mixed wild bird seed. 

Quite a few trees washed down the river and likely to sit there for some time, as the high spring tide has passed last week. 

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Departure Looming ?

Nine Swans observed flying over the Dunbar golf course this morning, most likely Penny, Duke and the cygnets. 

There have been signs of Penny distancing herself from the youngsters lately, it looks like she is preparing for the final goodbye to this years brood.

The timing is about right, as this would give her 6 months R and R before the next breeding season.
The cygnets are in great condition, having had an exceptional start to life this year. 

They have been flying for a month now and quite capable of life without Penny and Duke.
With rain forecast for the next 18 hours, the river will be high tomorrow and might suit the departure of the cygnets at this time. In any case, I think they will be gone this Autumn and unlikely to remain until spring. 

Penny is the Matriarch and will dictate the course of events, as she has done for the past 11 seasons - she is one remarkable Swan ! 

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Cygnets Fly !

With a spring tide and favourable south westerly wind, the cygnets had a brief flight up river this morning.

Penny started them off, then sat back to watch their progress. 

Short movie clip below.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Looking Good

Blustery day and leaves turning rapidly, Autumn well under way. 

The Swans are looking good, and cygnets also turning steadily whiter.

Penny and Duke with new plumage looking immaculate. 

No sign of them wanting to chase the cygnets away yet. Previous swans 14 years ago used to offload their cygnets on the 6th of October, regular as clockwork ! 

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Dragon Fly

Surprising visitor on this chilly blustery day, with leaves falling and sudden gusts - a Dragon fly dropped into the garden. 

Have seen this species before, but usually during the Summer weather.

Tried taking some Macro shots as it rested on the side of the aviary. 

The true beauty of these flyers can be seen in the close detail. 

Species may be an Emperor, or Southern hawker, maybe someone can tell me ?

UPDATE: My thanks to Trust Member Isobel, confirming that it is indeed a Southern Hawker.  

Monday, 1 October 2018

Sleeping Beauties

Penny and Duke are currently bonding and biding their time, along with the cygnets. 

After a good feed, a preen, then a quiet slumber the order of the day.  

Friday, 28 September 2018

Swans Ducks

Autumn temperatures have arrived, and the river levels have risen with recent rainfall. The birds are starting to show their new plumage, and some ducks are already eyeing up their mates for next season. 

The cygnets are slowly turning white, and Duke is now ready to fly again after moulting.

This weeks sad news - The pigeon that had been attacked by a cat has died. After 11 days I thought it was recovering well from it's injuries, but it must have had some underlying problem I was unaware of. The fact that it was caught by a cat, was perhaps a clue that it was not well in the first place.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Swans Eye View

Cygnets are fully grown, and much more independent now. Penny and Duke often let them wander.

Today I thought I would take advantage of the brighter day and get a few Swans eye view shots of the cygnets.

Certainly gives a whole new perspective, and the obvious difference between the big male hogging the camera and the females close by.  

                        I think we have 3 males and 4 females which is a nice family mix.  

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

The Story Of Steven Seagull 10K Views

Some years ago I tried my hand at Movie making with Windows movie maker. I had previously taken up photography with a digital camera as a means of recording and observing the local river wildlife.

By chance I was asked by one of the local children if I could do something to help an injured seagull wandering along my street. I am not particularly fond of gulls as they nest on my roof and can be quite a nuisance, but have no choice but to learn to live with them.

Anyhow I thought I would try and help the injured gull but was not all that hopeful, as one wing was broken in two places, and wings are notoriously difficult to fix.
I did some research and got some advice, and had a go at bandaging the wing as best I could.

After 13 months I successfully rehabbed  and released the gull to the wild. Unless you have plenty of time and patience I would not recommend it.
I made a short film which I put on Youtube, and have just learned it has now been viewed over 10,000 times. 

This might be of interest to some locals and might change a few minds about what I do regarding care of the local wildlife.

The film is only 6 minutes long, so have a view and see for yourselves on this link