Thursday, 21 June 2018

Longest Day

The Summer Solstice was the release date for Disco's ducklings. This happened this morning, and due to making a mistake with the camera I did not record the event !  

However, by chance one of our Trust members was on the Merryton bridge with a camera phone and did record the event. Link is HERE

Been a funny sort of day, as Duke stayed in the Moat with one cygnet while Penny took the other six down river. This never happened with Penny and her previous mate Popeye. I heard from another Trust member that Duke spent half an hour chasing some ducks near the Swans Island. It might well have been the ducklings I released this morning - I hope he has not scared them off !

The mother duck with 6 small ducklings is still on the go having had 9 ten days ago. I also noticed another duck with 5 large ducklings arriving at the Merryton bridge this evening, she has been seen up river near the granites pool for some time.

The cygnets are growing at an incredible rate, and show no signs of slowing down. 

Conditions have been perfect for them with river weed and grasses in abundance. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Ducklings Last day

Disco's ducklings will be released from rehab tomorrow. They are keen to get flying and have been practicing around the garden, especially during the windy days. All of them are capable of flight including the 2 rescued ones that were only a week behind. 

Today they were given a treat with a fresh Pond refill. It has been a lot of work caring for them for 2 months, but they stand a good chance of survival even without disco's guidance in the river. 

Her disability would mean certain death if she was released into the wild. She and Limpy will be permanent residents of the Trust. Short movie clip below.

Monday, 18 June 2018


Having been asked several times to produce another Swans Calendar, and with the successful hatching of Penny and Duke's cygnets, I put together some of the best archive photos as well as the recent brood. The manufacturer raised their prices by almost 25 % on last year, so reluctantly I have to pass on some of this increase. The cost to Trust members will be limited to £6, this is way below what it would cost if you were ordering direct from the manufacturers using your own photos !  

Non Members buying direct from the Trust will pay £7-50, even this is below the cost doing one for yourself. Postage will be added.  
Can I remind everyone that every penny raised goes to the care and welfare of the River Nairn Water birds. There will be a limited amount of these beautiful calendars produced, so help the wildlife and order now.
They are also on sale at Strachan's in Nairn.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Young Gulls

Tried the new camera again on the young gulls on the neighbouring property roof.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Coming On

Penny and Dukes brood are coming on, and already bigger than the ducks. 

They've had the best start in years, with conditions having been perfect for the first month of their lives.

Likewise Disco and Limpy's brood, due for release to the river next week.

Our latest river duckling brood has lost two this morning, now down to seven.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Island Duck Hatches 9

The Mallard duck in a previous post nesting on the Swans island, showed up this evening with 9 ducklings. I am particularly happy about this as she was chased off the nest by a Black Spaniel called Bailey !! This happened around the 2nd of June, and was seen by a Trust member who related the story to me. 

Fortunately the Duck did not abandon the nest and has hatched them just before the high spring tide in a couple of days time. I watched her this evening as she came to me for a quick feed then returned to her ducklings on the island, chasing some drakes away in the process ! 

Hopefully her chances are better with heavy growth and plenty of available food now.

On my way home I spotted a gull chick falling from the Macintosh building in the high street, it is being watched by the parent bird and is currently in the hair salon doorway.

This is likely to be a regular occurrence from now on, with gale force winds forecast for Wednesday / Thursday.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Seagull Sandwich

Tried out the new camera again today, able to spend some more time experimenting with the zoom lens. A good subject close by were the 3 gull chicks - chilling on the neighbours roof.

These little ones are following a long line produced from this pair for over 10 years.

On a nearby roof as luck would have it, a pair of Great Black back Gulls stood with a herring gull sandwiched between them. People think a Herring gull swooping down on them is scary, just be thankful it's not the Black back !

This was fortuitous to give all my viewers a scale of size between these birds. Basically the Great black Back is the T Rex of the Gull species, an apex predator, they can easily take a fully grown Mallard duck, so ducklings are easy pickings !

Saturday, 9 June 2018

New Life

The annual burst of new bird life is upon us once again. This includes the new crop of Herring gulls, hated by some and loved by others. There are 3 chicks on the adjoining roof and also some nesting on my own house roof.

Meanwhile on the riverside, the House Martins are very busy gathering mud for nests. 
A few better shots of them today.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Crows Again !

UPDATE: After surviving the night, pigeon has now died.

Morag our Trust secretary brought a wood pigeon squab to me this evening. It had been attacked by a Crow and has much of the skin torn from it's back. Once again one of my favourite birds has fallen victim to the Crows.

Have given it some pain killer anti- inflammatory, and covered the back with anti bacterial cream. This is pretty much all I can do right now. Looks like it has been grabbed from the nest. 

The two river duckling broods have all been taken by the Crows and Black backed gulls, but no young birds are safe from the Hoodie Crows.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

House Martins

Quite a flock of House Martins on the riverside today, more this summer than usual I think. 

They were busy gathering mud and weed for nest building. 

There is an abundance of river weed after this spell of sunny weather, also suits the cygnets who look extremely well fed !

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Cygnets At 3 Weeks

As they always do, the cygnets grow fast and after 3 weeks are the size of Mallard ducks. 

They are enjoying the summer conditions and the weed growth in the river and harbour.

Necks are longer and can reach down for the weed growth on the river bed. 
Short video clip in the harbour below.  

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Disco's Drinkers

Glorious Summer weather brings out the smiles and Tourists, even Penny heads for the beach with the cygnets.  

Disco and her ducklings enjoy a dip in the pool, and a top up of fresh water gets them buzzing.

Another welcome guest is the Wagtail feeding one of her babies.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Reverting Back

Having gone over some of my recent images, I have come to the conclusion that my camera of yesteryear is the most suitable for my needs. 

The Canon Powershot AS 720 IS has served me well in years gone by. 

Although the optical zoom is only 6x and the 8xMP, it does mean limitations - but the size, speed, and ease of use, means I can catch images quickly which is essential when on the riverside with moving wildlife. 

Last years calendar Pics was mostly shots taken with the Canon.

Over the last couple of days I have been pleasantly surprised by some of the action shots taken.
It is all too easy to be seduced by advanced electronics, but as with many things, it can be overdone !