Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Dead of Winter

Sadly small birds are now dying due to lack of food and the extreme cold. Could I remind people to clear a spot for the birds and put out some feeding for them, throwing food into the deep snow is hopeless. Use a board, or bird feeders and grease balls hanging from the trees or bushes.
With fresh snowfalls the weather continues to cause misery and death to the wildlife. I was told today that a young Swan was found near the end of the east beach stuffed in a ditch with it's head missing and a wound in it's chest. It looks as though our cowboy shooters may have killed a Swan, perhaps in their eagerness to shoot something ! Can I remind them that it is illegal to kill a swan , and if caught will be prosecuted ! The wildlife have a hard enough time trying to survive without cretins with guns shooting at them.

The Nairn River Swans are still hanging in there, and I feed them twice a day with Carrots and wholemeal bread. The hard nightime frosts are so severe that they actually have ice forming on their backs from time to time. Yesterday after feeding them they decided to have a bath and wash off some ice. (see enclosed video)
You can see the ice on the back of 2 cygnets (photo.)

Sunday, 27 December 2009

TUF on the Wildlife

The severe weather is hitting the wildlife hard just now, and no let up in sight . The forecast for the next week is more of the same ! I notice that even the rabbits and such like, cant get at the grass for ice and snow, let alone the poor birds. We have some new visitors that were here last year, some Tufted ducks that showed up last January as well. They are real daffy duck characters with a drooping crest and they dive for their food. There are also several other species knocking around the river in search of food and water, Stonechat and Goldfinches.

Monday, 21 December 2009


Mid winters day, and Christmas just a few days away looks and feels like it too. The birds are in need of good cheer by way of food and water. With the ground snowed over and nightly frosts it's important to put some feeding out for the birds, this weather is hard on them and the longer it continues the worse it gets. The festive season means plenty of grub for us, and all the uneaten biscuits and sandwiches can be put to good use for the birds. A word of warning though, don't put out soft fats or oil leftovers from the turkey or roasts, this can get onto their feathers and destroy the waterproofing that they need to keep warm. Crumbs that contain fat are good, and proper grease balls with seeds are ideal. Porridge oats is also enjoyed by many species too. It may not occur to folk to put out water for the birds, but when it's freezing they need water as well !

I hope all my readers have a Warm Christmas and Happy New Year !

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Will it be Wonderful Wonderful Copenhagen ?

COPENHAGEN UPDATE: Anti climax as usual and talked to a standstill, this seems to be the outcome of the Climate talks. I suppose it was an achievement just getting 192 countries to attend and at least recognise there is a problem to be solved !
I think the best that can happen is for each country or group of countries to get on with the business of reducing emissions and getting stuck into new technologies towards that end ! I reckon the Chinese and Indians will carry on along the lines of achieving parity with the richer nations. The Brazilians will keep chopping down the rain forest, whilst the US will pin their hopes on new technology solving the problem. At the end of the day the world will be the loser and our children or grandchildren will turn round and say " it was too little and too late ."

Over the past couple of weeks there has been a raft of programs devoted to the world climate talks. Some of these programs have been very convincing with the likes of David Attenborough and others detailing graphically facts and figures etc.

Some people argue that global warming is a natural event anyway and cant see what the fuss is about. I am amazed that anyone can doubt for a second that humans have had a dramatic effect on the planet. Even if we take into account the natural cycle of ice age and thaws over thousands of years, the scientific facts and data gathered over the last couple of hundred years is irrefutable. The sheer number of humans is now staggering about 7 billion, and most of this growth has virtually happened within the last 150 years. All of us need food and shelter, but add to that the over consumption of the west. The rest of the world following suit ie, China and India etc, and who can blame them since we have led the way !

One of the most striking graphs I saw this week shows the growth of human population. If you look at the line at the bottom of the graph you can see that the population stayed roughly the same for tens of thousands of years, until you get to the industrial revolution then it virtually goes vertical ! Our consumption of fossil fuels and advances in science and medicine mean that we live much longer and are stripping the planet bare !

It wont matter to me and Millions of my generation but if the world doesn't put the brakes on, then humanity is in for a big shock in the next 50 years !

I suppose there could be a plus side in all this, there will be a lot more water available for the Swans and ducks !

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Pictorial River Review 2009

This is my 101st posting, The cygnets are also 7 months old today and still in the river.

The weather is a repeat of this
time last year when we had some spectacular frosts. Seems like the right time for an annual review, so I will start with the tragedy of Sonny whom I will never forget !

Christmas eve from the west pier.

Picture postcard frosts !

Island almost flooded on January 12th, the swans inspecting the levels for nesting. I added another few inches to the nest area just in case !

Intruder Cob tries to take over the Pen and territory in January.

After 3 weeks our resident duo managed to get rid of the Intruder !

The Cobs Battle scars.

This young Swan made a visit in March.

Swan Lake, and the start of something big !

The big day, with first cygnets hatching !

Severe harbour pollution after a boat got hung up on the slipway!

My beautiful Jemima shows me her 15 chicks of which only 3 survived, mainly because she stayed within the moat area of the island during the first month of their existence.

Another senseless crime with the catapult killing of another relative of blondie. I dont believe in capital punishment, but the bas***d responsible should be stoned !

Cob and Goosander soaking up the sun !

Just had to take the shot.

Talk about living on the edge !

Sister of blondie killed by a catapult, this was after she lost all 10 of her chicks to hoodie crows ! A real crime !

Blondie with her 16 ducklings which were all killed within 10 days, mainly by hoodie crows !

Dog poo bin being used for litter on the west pier because no litter bin available for tourists !

A watchful Pen supervises the nursery feeding time !

High summer and 2 deer grazing happily close to the river.

One of the few summer days we were all waiting for, and a rather lovely scene in the harbour.

I removed this hook and line from one of the cygnets, was a close call and could have been fatal.

Cats and canoeists....what next !

Canoeists punting their way upstream and chasing all the wildlife. Having crossed swords with them I was charged with breach of the peace. Too bad the wildlife dont have a lawyer ! ...Case was dismissed

I reckon that one is a born leader!

Gulls fast food centre conveniently laid on ! The council did take notice of my advice and have since moved some bins and upgraded others !

Ominous clouds and threatening skies !

Sewage pollution pouring into the river, a repeat of previous years !
Scottish water fixed the problem and warned us all to stop putting fat down the drains.....again !

One of my best shots of a peacock butterfly during a late summer day!

Stormy scene across the firth !

Big Spate of september 4th, Swans Island took a battering but stood up well.

Stunning September sunset over fishertown.

Mink taken up residence at the west pier!

Duck with diseased or damaged bill is still surviving , hopefully the cold frosty weather will not finish it off !

The seal dining on Salmon yet again !

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

A Display of Knots

The good weather continues and allows pleasant walks along the links. Today was lovely with calm seas and a beautiful display of flying Knots around the estuary and along the shoreline.

These birds are mostly Long distance fliers from Arctic Canada that Winter in Britain and Ireland. They often give stunning displays flying in unison.

I managed to get a short bit of video even though they were several hundred yards away.