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       

Monday, 17 September 2018

Duck Count

Had a  quick count of the ducks on the lower river last week. Approximately 172. 

This does not take into account others still up river and some in garden ponds around the town.

 We had about 45 new surviving ducklings this season, and possibly some still to show up from further afield. We certainly lost 6 females and 3 drakes that I know of. Looks like the numbers will settle at around 200.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Cat Bite

Just received a pigeon from a Queenspark resident, it had been caught by a Cat and has severe back injuries.
Have just treated it with antibiotics and anti inflammatory, as  well as antibacterial cream on the wound. 
Cat bites are notoriously bad for birds, they carry a bacteria which can cause Pasteurella septicaemia   which is fatal to birds if untreated.
So far the pigeon is responding well and is eating, time will tell about a full recovery.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Autumn Arrives

Spotted the first flock of Icelandic geese arriving today. 

Weather pattern is such that they probably hitched a ride on favourable low pressure winds. They usually arrive around the 22nd of the month, so a trifle earlier this year. Hoping this does not mean a long hard winter !

Friday, 14 September 2018

4 Months On

The Cygnets were spotted flying out along the coast yesterday. I managed to get a few distance shots as they returned with Penny.

They are now 4 months old and made the transition between balls of fluff, to large elegant flying birds. It was noticeable that one of the big male cygnets was in the lead. 

                       They had a short run / fly up the river channel before heading up river. 

Duke was still in the river re- growing his new flight feathers, he should be able to join the flights next week.

They are very much a complete and beautiful family of Swans.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Curious Close up Cygnets

                    Interaction with wildlife is truly inspiring.

The curiosity of the young cygnets trying to get attention at feeding time is heart warming. 

They try and communicate by high pitched squeaks and head nodding.

Penny is less concerned about their welfare as they are now fully grown, but she is still on hand....just in case.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Weegie Sleeps

After some weeks battling, little Weegie the disabled duckling was put to sleep today. The deformed leg could not be corrected and the position was such it could not survive even under the care of the Trust. It was unable to walk or preen, and could only shuffle on the ground, sadly the vets could do no more and had no choice but to alleviate it's suffering. Letting go is sad, but only ever done as a last resort in the best interests of the bird.  

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Dry River - No Fishing

After 16 weeks of good weather, the River is now the lowest level in living memory. 

This is the culmination of last winter where we missed much of the snowfall, and a dry spring as well.

The local Angling association has finally called a halt to fishing on the lower reaches of the river, in my opinion something they should have done weeks ago. 

The annual Salmon run is in abeyance due to lack of water, and the Salmon are waiting patiently for autumn rain to continue their reproductive spawning journey upstream. Maybe this season will be a write off for the Anglers with only a month of the season left open. However it could be a bonus for future Salmon stocks, and a blessing in disguise !

Meanwhile our Swans and Ducks have enjoyed the best season in years, although the dry river means more walking and less elegant swimming than usual !

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Cygnet Communication

The Cygnets have reached the fledging stage, as well their new found audio communication skills.

This morning I heard a large male using a deep grunting noise, and others virtually squeaking. 

They had a communication session, with head nodding, eyeballing each other, and much audio output.

Afterwards they found something interesting on the riverbed, up-ending for a close look.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Living With Dinosaurs

Yet again another news item today on the BBC confirming the link between Dinosaurs and Birds. 

After 14 years of close contact and study of our river Swans I need no convincing of such a link.
Viewers might want to have a look back at a post I put out back in September 2011

Looking at the long neck of a Swan, their ability to hiss and flare their wings when confronting danger, their skin and general demeanour.

The serrated edges to their bill allowing them to tear vegetation from the river or lake bed, and the massive eggs which produce cygnets that are ready to take to the water, almost from day one.

                              I have no problem associating these birds closely with ancient Dinosaurs. The beauty and diversity of bird species is quite amazing and the constant hybridisation, and evolution is a joy to see. 

Take this pigeon in my garden today, a perfect combination of a rock dove, and another white dove. Such a beautiful mix with the grey blue wings of the rock dove, and the white beak, head and legs of the white dove. Looking at our own predatory species - I like living with Dinosaurs !

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Cygnet Growth

The exceptional summer has provided the cygnets with conditions for rapid growth.

Abundance of river weed has ensured that they are already the size of their parents.

Will be interesting to see if they will chase them away early, or keep them around until new year.

Some pics showing stages of growth over the last 3 months.