Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Swans Challenge

That time of year again when new pairs start to seek out new partners, and new territories. One of the best Autumn days of the year, blue skies, warm sunshine and no wind.

Two new Swans entered the river, encroaching on Penny and Dukes home territory - a challenge that had to be met. 

Was all very civilised, Penny and duke calmly escorted them back out to Sea, no blows were needed.
Meanwhile the last ducklings are half grown, and I have an Oliver duckling - forever tugging at my trouser leg asking for more at feeding time. It is persistent and adorable, giving me a laugh every time, short clip below.


Friday, 11 October 2019

Angie In The Aviary

Having bandaged Angie the young Woodpigeons wing for a further week, I felt confident enough to remove it and transfer her to the Aviary. 

The Wing is now fused for good or ill, and can only hope it gets used enough to be able to eventually release her into the wild.

She can currently fly enough to take off from the ground and land on a perch. She has several broken feathers and most of her tail feathers still missing, otherwise she is in fine health.

She shares the Aviary with Bluey, a male feral pigeon with a broken wing that I've had for 3 years, he is confined to the ground, but allowed outside to mingle with the pigeon visitors.
Meanwhile Angie enjoys TLC and is partial to black sunflower seeds, served up in an egg cup...short video below.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Injured Duck Family Success

Entering their 7th week, the previously injured duck that was nesting on the swans island, has been one of the most successful breeders on the lower river this year. 

She has managed to save 7 out of the 10 hatched on the 24th of August. All the more amazing, as she could not walk at one stage and was forever sitting down or standing on one leg. Nesting late in the season seems to be catching on with some ducks, and these are often the most successful. 

More cover, more food, less predation and warmer weather, all have a positive effect on their success rate. 

Today she was relaxing after a good feed at the bridge with her 7 ducklings and her mate close by. She and her mate are both moulting, and their new feather growth is timed to coincide with the ducklings full feather growth as well, in another month or so, she will let the ducklings go fend for themselves.

Friday, 4 October 2019

Pigeon Progress

After 2 weeks treatment I decided to remove the wing bandage from the young Woodpigeon to check the condition of the break. It looked reasonable enough, but the joint was thicker than the other wing.
This was to be expected, as the bone heals it forms a callus over the break. The problem is, the break was right at the wing joint where three bones meet, the Ulna , the Radius, and the Carpometacarpus. 
The worst possible place for a wing fracture, as the movement and flexibility of this joint is essential for flight. I could see the wing was drooping slightly, but still clearing the floor at least. As I observed the bird, it suddenly decided to take off from the table, flew about 6 feet and crash landed on the floor!

That was yesterday, today I let it wander around the kitchen and again it decided to take off, this time from the floor and landed on a shelf successfully ! 
I don't want to get too excited about this as the flight was anything but smooth, but nevertheless it was flying. Bearing in mind it has lost almost all it's tail feathers, and these will take a few weeks to grow back, and has probably never flown before in any case, I think I can take a positive from todays events.

Will continue with the anti inflammatory medication to try and reduce the swelling at the joint. I don't want it causing any damage by flying too much too soon, so will keep it indoors for a while yet before putting it in the aviary....still keeping the fingers crossed ! 

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Garden Killer

Once a rare sight in towns years ago, Sparrowhawks are now common throughout urban areas. 

Today one of my regular pigeon visitors was killed and devoured in my garden by a local female Sparrowhawk. It left three times as I tried to film it, eventually staying long enough to get some shots and short movie clip below.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Two's Company

Penny and Duke keeping each other company today. 

This time last year they were teaching the cygnets to fly, with flights around the town. 

Cygnet pics taken this time last year. How time flies !

Friday, 20 September 2019

Pigeon Rescue

UPDATE:   After further observation and examination, it became obvious that the pigeon does have a broken wing !

I have bandaged it into the best position that I can manage, and giving it an anti inflammatory twice a day.
Recovery will take some weeks, and there is no guarantee it will ever be able to fly...fingers crossed !  

Local Dog Warden Angie Taylor, saved a Lucky young wood pigeon this morning. Angie stopped the traffic at Tradespark when she spotted a newly fledged pigeon in the middle of the road, it was a miracle that nobody flattened it, as vehicles and lorries were driving over it. It was injured and Angie did not want to leave it by the woods edge, so brought it round to me, she previously did this a couple of years back with another pigeon. As far as I can tell, it has taken a knock on the right side, lost some tail feathers and right wing ability may be compromised.

Looks like it may have just come out of the nest for first time and possibly landed on the road.

Have given it some TLC and keeping it quiet for the time being, hopefully it will make a full recovery. Wood pigeons are one of my favourite birds, the squabs are so gentle and good natured.  

Sunday, 15 September 2019

High Flyers - Air Travel With No Pollution !

With a distinct chill in the air coming from the North west, I heard the first incoming gaggle  of Geese return to our shores. They were flying very high and I suspect heading to the west coast. 

Checking back photos last year, I found they  arrived on the 15th of September, a year to the day - cant get much more accurate than that! 

I suspect the Swallows will be heading South on the same winds too.

Air travel with no pollution, we have yet to achieve !

Meanwhile our injured duck has gotten together with her mate, both of them moulting together with their ducklings close by, how nice is that.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Fifty Five - Still Alive !

The injured duck has diligently managed to retain 8 of her brood so far.  She has steadfastly kept close to them since hatching 18 days ago. 

They are fast reaching the point of safety from Crows and Herring gulls. In a matter of days they should be able to start consuming poultry pellets and some seeds. 

The other 2 mother ducks have held onto 2 and 4 ducklings, and am hopeful they will also survive to fledging.

We also have another group of 5 that were hatched some time ago, and doing very well. If all current ducklings survive, this will make a total of 55 successfully saved and reared on the lower river this year.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Natural Beauty

Penny and Duke have almost completed the regrowth of new feathers and should be able to fly within days, they are looking good.

Meanwhile the ducklings are little sleeping beauties.

The Heron as always, is on the lookout for anything edible - be it fish or waterfowl.  

Sunday, 1 September 2019

September Spate

Relentless rain yesterday, combined with a High spring tide starts Autumn off, forcing the waterbirds downstream onto the Swans Island. 

My concern was over the recently hatched ducklings possibly being swept away. 

We did have 23, but sadly have lost 6 of these due to someone feeding and  bringing predators onto the scene.

The injured mother who hatched 10, is now down to 8, and we have a further 5 and 4 from the remaining broods. 

Conditions are now against the ducklings with colder wetter weather, but with a little luck and nurturing, most of them could still make it.

The previous broods hatched on the river, 7 now fledged, and 5 are now fairly safe, not to mention the 29 that the Trust has rescued and released, it's been a good year for the ducklings so far.
Short video below of ducklings eating crushed dried Mealworms, the best food protein for newly hatched ducklings. 

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Ducklings Galore

We have yet another Brood of Ducklings on the river, taking the current count surviving so far to 21.
It's early days but I'm hoping the survival rate will be good at this time of year. 

Main advantages of late broods, more cover for them, more food available, less predatory pressures, warmer temperatures and mothers not pounced on by drakes that are moulting. 

Lovely for people to see after the disappointing cygnet failure this year. 

Disco my disabled duck is in full moult right now and having a well deserved break, having reared 12 of her own and 24 fostered ones this season. Short video below of a fresh bath to get rid of some of those old feathers !

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Injured Duck Brood Update

Photo update of the Injured Duck's Brood today, she still has the 10. 

Have also heard some more good news that one of our Trust members, has just escorted another duck with 9 ducklings to the riverside. 

This is good news to coincide with good weather, and should improve their chances of survival..

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Injured Duck Makes My Day !

Regular viewers will recall my recent treatment of an injured duck. 

This evening she made my day by showing up with 10 ducklings hatched on the Swans island this morning !  Last night she came off the nest for her usual feed about 8pm and quickly returned to the nest. Today she turned up alone but then flew up river and not to the nest site, I thought maybe something had happened and she had to abandon the nest. Was only on my way home this evening that I spotted her in the moat with 10 little beauties , I was elated !

All my efforts and treatment over the past month has payed off in great style. A month ago she was almost unable to walk, now she has full mobility and a fabulous brood of ducklings too - I could not be happier !  It was nearly dark when I spotted her tonight and the camera shot is blurred  due to automatic settings, however you can see she has 10 ducklings and I will make a point of posting new pics as soon as I can.