Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Disco Still Laying

Disco the disabled duck is still laying eggs and I see a total of 10 so far. She has had a few hiccups along the way, and laid a very small egg about quarter the normal size last week !

Having spoken to a friend who told me that she was probably lacking calcium, I supplied her with some crushed Cuttle fish shells. She was gobbling them down like there was no tomorrow, and this put her back on track for a full clutch.

She has not started sitting yet, so looks like she is going for the dozen !

Meanwhile Penny and Duke are still waiting on spring weather, but I fear winter is not over yet !

Monday, 19 March 2018

Sunny Respite

After what seems to have been weeks of bitter Siberian easterly winds, we finally get a welcome Sunny respite.

The river birds are frisky and Penny and Duke I'm told were mating yesterday, this is good news as the run up to nesting time is not far away. We have a spring tide at the end of the month, and I expect them to start nest building then.

Trust members and regular River and beach walkers Mr and Mrs Nicol, brought me another Guillemot found on the beach. In spite of my best efforts it died after expelling the same foul smelling inky black fluid as the previous rescued Guillemot. There have been several deaths of these sea birds over the past few weeks.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Back With The Tide

Our Resident Swans Penny and Duke have returned to the River after 15 days away. Have no Idea where they were, but both look in excellent condition.

Penny normally starts nest building around the end of this month, but with such a prolonged winter this might be delayed - unless we get a dramatic improvement in the weather !

They have settled straight back into their normal routine, chilling out close to their island, nice to see them back😀.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

This Time Last Year

With Penny and Duke away for nearly 2 weeks, some people are starting to miss them now. 

Checking back to this time last year, Duke was taken ill on the 11th March for the second time and treated at the Scottish SPCA wildlife rescue centre in Fife.

Since then his health improved but we know he did not fertilise Penny's eggs last season.

My feeling is that she is still trying to get a new mate, and only time will tell if she comes back to nest with a new partner, or a new pair come in and take over the Territory.  Winter is not over yet, but I'm certain she will be back for the next Spring tide. 

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Something In The Water ?

Trust Members have been observing some seabird casualties over the past few days. Maybe it's the result of the strong Siberian wind pushing the birds from East to West last week.

Gerry and Belinda picked up a Guillemot yesterday from the beach near the Golf view hotel. I put it in the brooder under some heat and gave it some re-hydration fluid in the hope of saving it, however it died through the night. 

Today George Berryman another Trust member, witnessed the death of another seabird on the east beach, looks like a Little auk. The Guillemot had no external injuries but passed a black foul smelling inky fluid, makes me wonder if it was something it ate, causing an illness?

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

The Latest Wag

Our resident Swans Duke and Penny have been away since the 1st of the month. With the extended winter weather, who can blame them! Although we missed the Snow , we got the Siberian wind chill and now the leaden skies and rain, very dreich.

                      I refilled the garden pond today, and Disco and Limpy could not wait for a refreshing bath.

So much so they jumped in before it was even inches deep.

Then out of the blue the Pied wagtail turned up, followed by a Yellow wagtail, both hoping for some tasty mealworm.

Pics are poor quality as I took them from indoors and light was so poor. Nice to see we have Yellow Wagtails on the go.

The Pigeons also arrived, with a lovely white visitor as well.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Coldest Winter

My earlier gut feeling about this going to be a bad winter seems to have come to fruition. Must be the coldest winter for at least the past 10 years. The relentless Siberian wind is bone chilling if outdoors for any length of time.

Even with the pond heater, I have to break the ice off the pond every morning to allow Disco and Limpy access.

Ground is frozen solid and Disco is desperate for grass roots and soil, so have to pour hot water on small area to allow her to get at it.

Meanwhile the Pied Wagtail is glad of the dried mealworm sprinkled on the pond every day. This continuing severe weather will be fatal to a lot of birds, so be sure to give them food and water !

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Siberia Hysteria

As is often the case, Nairn missed a lot of the bad far !  However the biting East wind is something else, especially if walking into it, brrrrrr.

Had only a light covering this morning but all water frozen solid, had to break it up and fish it out to allow Disco and Limpy access.
Weather does not seem to be stopping Disco from laying, she has laid another 2 eggs, as far as she is concerned spring is on it's way !!

Fed the river birds 3 times today as they were ravenous and feeling that Siberian wind.

On a lighter note, here is the Man who said he would run towards the gunfire, even without a gun - Somehow I doubt it ! 😀😀

Monday, 26 February 2018

The Day Before Tomorrow

As yet we have not been hit by the Snow - forecast for later this week. It has been so long since we had a normal winter that the media are making a meal out of this late Siberian blast.
Meanwhile life goes on, Penny and Duke are making the most of the spring sunshine chilling out after their morning meal.

Likewise Disco and Limpy catching the rays. I have just had the roof of their Aviary covered, so any snow fall should be kept at bay.

Disco has already laid 2 eggs in the coop nest box where she successfully hatched 6 ducklings last year. I don't know if Limpy has been able to fertilise them as he is not yet fully mature. It's early days and Disco should lay about a dozen before she is finished - watch this space !

Friday, 23 February 2018

Siberian High....Sigh

The long awaited Siberian weather is starting to close in . In many ways I am quite happy, as it will delay the ducks that are keen to nest, probably saving some duckling lives. 

The weather is something that none of us can predict a month in advance, so many young inexperienced ducks get fooled by the longer days and brief mild spells. They stand more of a chance later in the season, when there is warmer days, shorter nights and insect life for the ducklings to eat.

Meanwhile it's just a case of killing time waiting for warmer March weather and keeping yourself in trim. Male Red Breasted Merganser starting to look his best for the up coming season.
Short movie clips below of handsome Duke having a Preen, and Limpy and Disco getting in the mood for mating, although Limpy is barely 8 months old and yet to chance his luck !

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Snow Melt

River high due to rise in temps and snow melt. One of our regulars was not deterred by the cloudy high water - The Dipper.

This is our only truly aquatic songbird, suitably adapted to walk under water in fast flowing rivers.

                      Incredibly robust and amazing to watch them walking underwater if conditions are right.

This one has it's favoured spots for feeding and perching.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Almost Springlike

A couple of days sunny weather, lifts the spirits and almost feels like approaching spring.

Even the birds are getting that way inclined, including Disco and Limpy, digging around the soil in search of worms and roots.

Winter is by no means over, but another month should see us well on the way !

Disco and Limpy are in good health, and showing all the signs of a viable mating pair.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Bridge Open Again

Normality has returned to the Merryton bridge after resurfacing.

Beautiful day with blue sky, but this still shaping up to be the coldest winter for some years. 

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Greenpeace Valentine Blog

As a supporter and member of Greenpeace I received their Valentine Blog today, something I have been asked to share. HERE. Well worth a view.

Looks like the Merryton bridge should be re-opening soon if the progress noted today continues.

Was 15 years ago today that I gave up smoking, one of the best decisions I have ever made, pretty sure I would not be here now if I had continued.  Would recommend it to everyone who smokes !