Saturday, 31 October 2009

Duck Bill Improved

After 2 weeks antibiotic treatment, the diseased duck's bill appears to be stabilised. I dont know whether it will ever get back to normal or if it will stay as is. I will no longer continue with the treatment since the infection spread seems to have ceased. It was a worthwhile exercise and it appears in good health. The photo's show before and after the treatment.

Sonny the Seagull is also improving slightly, but the swollen joint is stubbornly still there. He is happy to lie down much of the time and rest it which is the best thing he can do, I merely provide the a la carte menu and meds. He is very partial to Worms, raw mince and pilchards ! (see vid )

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Bonnie Day

What a Bonnie couple of days we've had, and fair lifts the spirits with a bit of sunshine and blue skies. Yesterday about 4pm I saw the masses of geese that Brian mentioned on his blog.
Was the biggest flock i've ever seen, must have been close to a thousand birds in wave after wave heading for their roosting somewhere in the firth.

Today along the riverside I saw a hive of activity from Butterflies and Bees, hard to believe it's nearly November !

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Wilson st Fly Tipper Foiled ?

Walking up Harbour St about 4pm, I passed what appears to be a sofa being readied for a dumping in the river ! Right at the entrance to Wilson st, I wonder if the pole in the middle stopped the deed being done ?

Fearing it was going to end up in the river tonight, I walked straight to the council office in the High st to report it. The time was exactly 4.15pm and the office staff phoned to see if it could be uplifted. They were told that the crew finished at 3 pm and that it could'nt be done today !

Chances are it will be in the river by the morning !

We know it's not the councils fault for fly tippers in Wilson st, but not being able to uplift a sofa at 4.15pm mid week is a pretty poor show.

No wonder people get the hump about local government/ councils /paying tax etc.

I'm pretty sure if it's in the river by morning, it will cost more time and effort to remove it than it would have from the street today.

Update: Glad to see no sofa in the river today and thanks to whoever got the thing uplifted !

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Scottish Water Video Nasty !

Have just been emailed a link to an interesting video taken by Scottish Water on the perils of disposing of fat down the sink ! I wonder if it was Nairns drains that were the stars ?

I have to say, having dealt with my own septic tank and drainage system for over 25 years. I have some experience in clearing blocked drains due to fat . The interesting thing is that we never ever disposed of fat down the drains but still got blocked drains every few years due to fat ! The reason is quite simply that every time you wash the dishes, or have a bath or take a shower a residue of fat / oil goes down the drain. When this hits the slow colder area of the septic tank inlet, it forms a skin of fat which through time builds up leading to a blockage.
The same thing applies to Scottish waters sewer system except on a much larger scale.
I used to avoid blockages by having an annual rodding session of the drains leading to the septic tank. I would suggest to Scottish water to follow my 25 years experience and do an annual rodding /pressure washing of the drainage system if you want to avoid blockages due to fat !
Nairns fat Problem solved ! (:o)

Staying Over Winter ?

In the last 7 years I have never seen the Nairn cygnets stay with the parents beyond the 6th of October. It looks like this is going to be the first family to over winter in the river. It could be that the 3 week battle with the cob intruder last January, might have some bearing on the family sticking together until this February. It would make very good sense, since any intruder would stand little chance of driving out 10 Swans ! On the other hand maybe they have been too well looked after ! Just to show they do have some level of intelligence , It was interesting to see them walk along the riverside to avoid trying to swim upstream against todays spate! They look in great shape and the cygnets are very attractive in their mottled coats.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Sonny Back in ICU

Having looked carefully at Sonny this morning with the river in Spate and the driech weather forecast, I decided to take him back home for intensive care. With his Swollen leg joint and wet wings unable to get him into the air, it was time to take him home. He put up token resistance but I was able to catch him and carry him back to the garden where he happily relaxed and started to preen his ruffled feathers.

After a nice meal of fresh worms and a bit of haddock laced with cod liver oil, he sat down and watched the pigeons and sparrows pick around the garden.

At 5pm I walked him into the ICU (garage) where he can dry off and get a good nights sleep.

I am hoping to keep him relaxed and well cared for with his regular medicines, until his foot joint returns to somewhere near normal . I cant prevent him flying back if he decides to, but hopefully the 5 star treatment and garden birds will provide enough company to keep him here a while.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Sonny Struggles on

Over the past week the cold damp weather has taken it's toll on Sonny. Today I had to fish him out of the water as he struggled to get onto dry land. His foot joint is badly swollen and looks inflamed or infected or both ! After taking a close up of the joint I emailed it to Clare at the Vets, She suggested another course of antibiotics so have now started treatment yet again.

The short video was 3 days ago, he was much worse today and loathe to put his foot down at all.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Seal Meal ?

With the recent high tides, the Seal has been after the salmon yet again. I took a couple of pics the other day thinking that the seal had bagged a fish. I have to say having put them on the computer I have my doubts. I cant quite make out what it is playing with , The 3 shots I took are just too far away to say exactly what it is ?
Looks like a piece of flat board in the lower pics !

Friday, 16 October 2009

Duck Billed Ugly Pus

Having successfully treated Sonny the Seagull , it looks as though I will try the same treatment on a poor duck which appears to have a very severe infection of it's Bill.

I first noticed the duck a week or two ago, but did not realise that the tip of it's bill was being eaten away with disease until I took a photo and had a close look on the computer. (click on the pic for a close look).

It looks quite shocking, and is affecting the upper and lower parts of it's bill. Considering that the poor duck needs to use it's bill to prod and sift the riverbed for food, I feel compelled to at least have a go and try and arrest the infection. It is a wild duck and otherwise seems healthy enough, how it got such an infection I can only speculate. I know it tends to filter and sift the area close to the merryton bridge, who knows what kind of bacteria it picked up in the process ?

I started it on a course of antibiotics today, so we will see what happens in the coming weeks.

They may be wild creatures but as everyone knows if you had a sick pet bird or animal in the house you would have it treated, I see no difference between wild and domestic in this regard.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Spot the Mink

The Cygnets had another sortie this afternoon. I thought briefly that they were off, but the cob dropped down into the sea and let the pen escort them round the bay. Weather was benign with a light wind when they splashed down and paddled back to the river mouth.
I was standing on the west pier just at the end of the boulder breakwater when the pen started hissing. All the cygnets looked alert when I saw a movement among the boulders below me.

Just 10 feet from the Swans was a Mink staring purposely at the swans, it darted between the boulders but stayed long enough for me to get a pic, hard to see but it is there ! I have seen this mink before when it was almost dark swimming across the river.
It is obviously living among the breakwater boulders, no doubt hunting rats and whatever else it can catch. Mink are real predators and will tackle almost any small animals, fish and birds. The upside is, it probably catches and kills rats in the area , the downside it will kill bird chicks and eat eggs too.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Sonny Sings

Sonny the Seagull is still soldiering on and growing stronger by the day. He is able to fend off attacks and guards his food against other gulls. I am still dispensing his daily dose of metacam, but he still has a slight limp which is likely to be permanent. No matter, the name of the game is to get him mature enough to cope and fend for himself. After a dinner of wafer thin ham and some leftover prawns, he was still singing for more ! (See enclosed vid )

I would ask others not to feed him because we dont want him totally dependent on human handouts. He has to learn to forage around for himself as well !

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Love Lessons.

The Cygnets are 5 months old tomorrow, still here and showing more white plumage every day.
Saw them having a short flight down the river today , winds very blustery and a bit too dodgy for any extended stuff around the town.

I am surprised they are still here, but the parents know best and obviously the time is not yet right, perhaps the weather is not settled enough or maybe one of the cygnets is not ready.

It is not unknown for cygnets to stay with the parents until the spring, but I haven't yet seen it on the Nairn, insufficient food supply I think.

Yesterday the parents were giving them some lessons in Love, with a very loving display of closeness and bonding. The cygnets gathered round cheeping and nodding their approval, just beautiful !

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Flying Solo

The Cygnets are now all flying solo. They have done several sorties around the bay area watched carefully by the parents. There appears to be one very strong male that always seems to take the lead, maybe a future leader of a big flock. With eight as a starter, I can well imagine other smaller families joining the Nairn cygnets over the next couple of years.

I also took a wee bit of video of the Cygnet that had the hook through it's jaw. As usual it was to the fore when the food was about. I am currently giving them about 4 lbs of carrots a day as well as 2 wholemeal loaves. Divided by 10 it's not as much as it sounds, there is absolutely no food in the river just now.
You can see the swollen jaw on the left, -( it's right jaw.) Lets hope it proves attractive to a future mate !

Monday, 5 October 2009

Cobcord !

For those of you who always seem to miss the Swans taking off and flying, here are a few I took earlier in the year . Am pretty sure the guy who designed Concord got the idea from a Swan !
What power, what grace ! What beauty !

These were last years Cygnets with the Mum Training them !
Now what would you rather have, these gracing the river or canoes with overgrown kids in them ?

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Disturbing the peace !

Earlier this evening I had a visit from 2 of our boys in blue. They were very courteous and informed me that I was being cautioned and charged for Breach of the peace on July 23rd !

I had to think quickly what did I do on July the 23rd ? This was apparently for shouting at 4 canoeists on July the 23rd, my response to the constable was, you must be joking!

Apparently no joke, so public enemy No1 has been caught and charged!

Fortunately my memory of the incident came flooding back, and to refresh your memories if you click on this blog entry for July the 23rd you will see why I was shouting !

In addition to that blog entry, here are another few pics that will explain why I was so annoyed at the so called canoeists !

These people were not canoeing, they were in fact punting with long poles over inches of water, rattling the stones and scaring all the wildlife witless ! I felt obliged to shout on behalf of the wildlife, since they have no voice to shout themselves !

The Countryside act requires canoeists /kayaks etc, to act responsibly. These photos clearly show that they were not acting responsibly. They were not canoeing
in the true sense, you can see the leader standing in the middle of the river with a pole ( he I was told is the one who made the complaint to the police).
They had no regard for the upset to the wildlife using the river at the time, and all the ducks etc, fled from the area.

There is an important issue here, is this a wildlife haven/habitat or not ? If so should canoeists be allowed to chase them from it any time they please ? The Swans nesting island is a haven for ducks and other species of birds too, should the canoes be allowed to disturb them or not ?

The 900 people who signed the petition to stop the canoeists from setting up a slalom in this very spot, are now being given some payback methinks.

The hundreds of people who value and watch the River wildlife on a regular basis can be assured that I will continue to defend the rights of the River Nairn Wildlife, regardless of any trivial watersports enthusiasts.

Perhaps it's time to consider making the area from the roadbridge to the Bailey bridge a designated Town wildlife haven, and priority given to the hundreds of birds who inhabit it ?

To my mind this piece of river is non navigable, and craft of any kind should not be allowed to disturb the Wildlife habitat.
It is common knowledge that this is a wildlife area, the canoeists knew this but persisted in disturbing the peace of the wildlife inhabitants.
There are plenty of areas below the Bailey bridge and round the entire country for the canoeists, they do not need a couple of hundred metres of Nairn wildlife habitat to spoil as well !

I might be calling on the local powers that be, to consider passing a bye law designating the area in question as a wildlife haven to the exclusion of all boating activity.

This might require another petition from the good folk of Nairn yet again.