Saturday, 27 February 2010

It's an ill wind...

No good to man or beast the wind from the East or northeast ! It has indeed been an ill wind this past few days and bone chilling on the seafront. Even the Swans have retreated to shelter farther up the river at merryton today, then later in the harbour out of that wind !

The one good thing is the wind blew the litter in the harbour to the southwest corner, so I was able to collect about 80% of it today. I really dislike litter floating around in the harbour, makes a terrible impression and adds to that run down look, besides being bad for the wildlife and environment ! 3 full carrier bags less to worry about, and with the exceptional high tides this coming week I should be able to tidy up along some of the riverside too.
I am hoping spring is soon to be upon us, if the ducks are anything to go by they are already getting frisky and drake fights breaking out all over the place.
I am busy printing out A4 photo's, for next weeks library display which starts on Monday the 8th for one week only. It will cover the past years cygnets, as well as previous wildlife shots which hopefully will please all who see them.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Sleepy Swan

The Swans are enjoying their new freedom with the cygnets gone, and are basically catching up on rest and sleep. I got a couple of close ups of the pen today as she was nodding off, interesting that the eyelids come from the bottom up - makes sense for flying since you wouldn't want them blown shut !

What glorious weather this past few days, beautiful blue skies and a bit of sun offsets the coldness. We have faired better than a big part of the country lately, but I fear were going to get our share soon ! Very high tides next Monday Tuesday Wednesday, potential for flooding if we get a thaw at the weekend.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Bird Humour

Thought I might show a few of the more unusual bird pics I've taken, might inspire some captions ? Here are my pics with captions.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Headless Body on the Beach !

An unusual bit of flotsam landed on Nairn beach the other day, a headless and legless Statue! Legless men are sometimes common in Nairn on a weekend, but this is something new.

As for flotsam, the harbour has it's share of litter as always. I was about to clean it up the other day after it had all gathered in a corner, unfortunately when I went to do it, a boat was turning it's engine and washed it all over the harbour again !

You would think having nice new pontoons and ramps, that they would like the harbour to look clean and tidy !

I note that many litter and poop bins are packed solid, and have not been emptied for weeks, no doubt part of the cuts. Maybe our local councillors should start taking these matters in hand?

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Swan Pen Chills Out

A tranquil calm permeated the riverside today, and the Pen chilled out in the harbour.

She was having a well earned sleep in the middle of the harbour, haven't seen her this relaxed since before the cygnets were hatched.

The cygnets hatched on the 12th of may and left on the 12th of february - nine months old to the day.

It wont be that long before the pen starts nest building again, and I got a short vid of them getting in the mood today. (see below)

No news on the Goose am afraid, I have walked through fishertown several times, using a goose call and had the binoculars today looking along the shore. Mind you several flights of geese have come in near the swimming baths over the last couple of days maybe brought in by the goose calling ! I can only hope it made it safely back to the water.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Job Done !

Again no sign of the cygnets in the river today, they have finally gone. It is possible one or two might return briefly, but as far as the parents are concerned - Job done! What a fantastic job it was too, they cared for them, disciplined them, educated them and ushered them away when the time was right. Interestingly last years brood were also ushered away when the weather was high pressure and settled, this gives them the best flying conditions whatever direction they choose to go. Today the parents were tranquil and relaxed on their island enjoying a well earned rest, within a month or so the whole cycle will begin again. I will also get a break from slicing 6lbs of carrots daily, but i'm sure it helped the cygnets get healthily through the winter.

Can I remind everyone that the resident pair will be somewhat off their food for a while since it's approaching the mating season again. The pen will be very picky about what she eats now, this is natural because of the egg producing cycle, so please dont attempt to feed them any kind of white bread ever. Remember they are long term residents and should only have the best for the benefit of their long term health. With the increased daylight hours the seaweed should become more available and the pair will eat this at low tide off the end of the piers.

My thanks to all who have contributed to the successful season, roll on the next one.

Friday, 12 February 2010

The Great Escape !

Momentous day, the cygnets are exactly 9 months old today and appear to have gone ! This morning one cygnet (the runt) arrived back in the river but no sign of the other seven. The parents had a melancholy aire about them indicating the young might have finally gone.

The spring fever seems to be catching, for the loose goose also made a bid for freedom this afternoon about 4.15pm. It had a quiet and cosy night in the garage on a bed of straw, this morning I let it into the garden and it nibbled on some corn and other veg . Most of the time it inspected the garden gate and strutted around the place sussing it out. In the afternoon it flexed it's wings a few times and continued to inspect both the main gate and side gate. I went into the house to prepare some more corn and a minute later came out and the goose was gone !

It all makes sense - this is probably what it did to the previous owner, the call of the wild is stronger than anything else. It must have flew / jumped the gate, I heard later from a friend that the goose was seen heading down King street, I only hope it makes it back to the sea or river. I was still waiting for a call from the SSPCA who said they would try and find a suitable home for it. Watch this space.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Swan Flight & Goose Update

Been a very eventful day, was lucky enough to be on the river when the cygnets headed down stream into the sea. The reason - to catch the light wind and have a flight around the fishertown again. Nice to see them all together again and flying daily, I managed a short video clip on their approach to the merryton bridge .

The other big event was deciding to take the loose goose home for it's own safety. Getting caught by a dog is a distinct possibility. This afternoon I headed for the west pier and thought I might be too late, for a spaniel was running wild along the beach heading straight for where the goose was standing ! I started running along the pier and got to the end when the goose saw me and started running to the base of the pier. I ran down the steps and threw it some corn which it started to eat, so picked it up and managed to put it in a cardboard box which was barely big enough to accomodate it. So it is now in the garage sitting on a bed of straw and happily eating a wide variety of food. I will have to make further arrangements for it, either in the form of a paddling pool or another location ! At least it's safe for the moment.

Meanwhile, enjoy the cygnet pics and video.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Goose Clipped !

Having paid a visit to my friend the loose goose today, I was pleased to see it was still alive and in the river. It is very vulnerable to attack with the inability to fly. I had a chance to have a close look at the right wing after it had a bath and was preening itself. It has been clipped by someone in order that it cannot fly, and has kept it for breeding or maybe a guard or pet . I made a few honking sounds and it came to me readily , a wild goose would never do this. I will take vets advice tomorrow and see where we go from there. You can clearly see the clipped flight feathers in the close ups I took today, also a bit of video below.

Regarding the Cygnets, they are all back in the river at the merryton bridge. The parents have cut them off, and tolerate them up by the bridge well away from the harbour and island.
They will go at some point in the next few weeks prior to the parents mating again.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Goosed on the Beach !

Today I was anxious to check on the cygnets to see if they had returned after yesterdays flight.

I could only find 6 of them, so it looks as though two have paired up and probably gone for good.

While checking the beach area I noticed a greylag goose pecking around for food , it was in the river last weekend and appears to have been winged by a cowboy shooter.

It looks ok but missing it's two main flight feathers on it's right wing. I was astonished when it approached me when I made a few sounds to get it's attention, I got the impression it was hungry and proceeded to offer it some carrots and bird seeds. I was truly astonished when it came up and took the stuff out of my hand ! For a wild goose this is amazing, they are usually very wary of humans, I can only assume it is so hungry or someone has already been feeding it.

It was pecking at everything, and in the end I had to laugh for it was grabbing my camera strap and trousers etc. (see vids below.) After eating some grain it walked to the waters edge for a drink, sadly flapping it's wings as though trying to take off.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Close Encounters !

This afternoon might be the last day all the Nairn cygnets were together. At around 3.30pm seven of the eight cygnets flew down the river into a bracing northerly wind, they circled around the bay and caravan site and had a near mid air disaster coming back towards the river.

Their inexperience showed when the tail wind brought two of them close enough to strike wings.

I did not notice at the time, but when I put the photos on the computer you can clearly see the lead cygnets outer flight feathers bent and almost broken !

The photos show only six of the seven because the zoom could not get them all into the shot.

I watched as the 7 cygnets circled even wider and headed off towards the west beach, I managed to get a bit of video before they disappeared. (See vid below)

When I walked back up the river I saw the runt of the family alone beside the island, the parents were at the harbour entrance stopping any entries !

It will be interesting to see if they return tomorrow, the seas are rough and the weather is still cold. I feel sorry for the runt, because swans are gregarious creatures and it will be sad if it has been left behind.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Farewell Fishertown -- Not Quite

I thought briefly that the cygnets were leaving , having spotted them flying over fishertown Saturday afternoon. After a couple of circuits over the town they headed back to the river. The dull leaden skies did not help the photo opportunity and there were only 7 of them doing the flight. One of them flew in alone later in the day. If the weather stays mild I think they will be gone fairly soon. The parents are more determined than ever pushing them to leave !

Friday, 5 February 2010

Anyday Now

The Nairn Swans continue to harass and intimidate the cygnets, and are making it clear they are no longer welcome to stay in the river of their birth. It could well be a matter of days before they are forced to leave. The only fly in the ointment is the weather forecast for next week is a return to freezing temperatures - Hope the forecasters are wrong !! I can say with conviction that this is the longest, coldest winter in my lifetime.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Nessie in Nairn !

With the second highest tide of the year, Nessie appears to have taken a short trip into the river Nairn. I managed to get a pic of it before it headed back out to sea, no doubt back to loch ness !

The Pen was curious and swam close to check it out !

The Resident pair of Swans have eased up on chasing their offspring away for the moment, obviously realising the weather is not suitable for departure yet !

They are still shepherding the cygnets and keeping them out of the harbour at every turn.

The cygnets are very wary of the parents and always looking over their shoulders to see where they are !