Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Alien but Nice

The Wet summer has ensured the growth of some riverside plants to enormous heights, in particular the Himalayan Balsam. I have never seen such a variety of bees that seem to love the balsam, I wonder if the schools do nature trips to try and Identify how many species visit these plants ?... They ought to, I reckon kids would enjoy this type of educational outing.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Dead Dolphin... or Porpoise ?

Today a member of the public told me of a dead Dolphin on the beach in front of the Golf view hotel. I went to investigate and take a few photo's. Sure enough there was what appears to be a young Dolphin or Porpoise about 4 foot long. It had a gash on one underside that I could see and possibly a puncture hole on the other side - Surely not shot ? It had one other cut just under it's mouth but this looks like a possible fish bite. If anyone knows the number to call regarding who this should be reported too, please do so - or send me an email.

Gull Frustration

Steven the Seagull is increasingly frustrated at his inability to take off and fly. He hears the calling of other gulls encouraging their young ones to fly, and he wants to do just that !

I have been stretching his repaired right wing daily in the hope that it will help him regain more use of it. Perhaps in time he will eventually take to the skies. You can hear his cry of frustration in the short video clip.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Solar Pen

This week has seen a few nice sunny days and the ability to take a few decent photo's. The Swan cygnets are just about ready for short flying lessons, perhaps in the river when the wind conditions are right. Their flight feathers are almost complete and just have to harden off a little.

I am still anxious to see if the pen has any missing flight feathers, since she is the one who initially teaches the cygnets to fly. Meanwhile, they like the rest of us are just enjoying what little sunny days we get and are soaking up the rays. The webbed feet are used like solar panels and take in the heat from an Autumn Sun.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Lousy Seagull

Yesterday I got a hold of Steven the seagull to check his wing and discovered he was moving with lice ! Fortunately I had some previously prescribed medication for just such a problem, he has now been deloused ...I hope ! Today he got company for a few hours by way of another injured gull which I found close by. It was a young Blackback gull which had obviously been hit by a car again ! Fearing it had internal injuries from the sound of it's breathing, I called the SSPCA and they took it away this afternoon. Steven was quite aggressive initially that some other gull had entered his patch but then settled down later. He was also stimulated into trying to fly away, and spent quite some time running back and forth flapping his wings and looking for an escape route. He fly/jumped onto the window ledge several times, thinking that the window was a hole which he could escape through!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Sparrow for Breakfast......almost !

Steven the Seagull almost had a sparrow for breakfast the other day, the poor sparrow only wanted a drink and it almost cost him his life ! Steven's predatory instincts are undiminished, you can see why I worry about new ducklings being anywhere near seagulls !

Monday, 23 August 2010

Bird Physiotherapy

Having successfully reset Steven the seagulls wing, the challenge now was how to get him to use it enough to get him flying . If it were human it would be getting physiotherapy to get the broken limb working again. Short of catching and stressing him several times a day to stretch his wing, the only answer is to get him to do it himself somehow. He is desperate to fly in any case, so I decided to give him some encouragement by way of things to play with ! Today I could already see an improvement in the injured wing. (see vid below ) He is incredibly curious and will play with almost anything I give him , he even pulled the draught excluder from the front door !

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Simply Superb Pipers

The 133rd Nairn Highland games had a mercifully benign day - weatherwise. The town was buzzing with incomers for the spectacle of massed pipe bands etc. Our local media in the form of The Nairnshire Telegraph Editor Iain Bain was seen as always right in the middle of the action. Even our online gurners Mr and Mrs Scholes -aka - gurnmeister and wife, were following events, and chatting to our River Community Councillor Tommy Hogg at the closing of the games in the High st.

I managed a bit of video of the closing pipes and drums as they entered the high st, stirring stuff indeed ! I wonder if non scots get the lump in the throat and shivers when they hear the skirl o the pipes too ?

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Simply Superb Seagull

After 3 weeks Steven the Seagull had his bandage removed today. My trepidation turned to joy when his wing stayed in position and did not drop down as it did 12 days ago. He was eager to run around the garden flapping his newly freed wing, and spent quite some time preening and washing it. The wing tips appear to be crossing correctly and If it was broken then it has certainly been reset, If nothing else he looks normal when wings are folded. It remains to be seen whether the wing will regain full flexibility, and if he can grow some new main flight feathers. He lost two or three that were crushed by a car wheel. (2 short vids below.)

Birds of a Feather

You might wonder where all the seagulls go at night....here's a clue !

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Pop goes the Weasel

A Young gull tries to come to grips with a dead Weasel in the harbour. I think it realised it was food of some sort, but was unable to pull it apart or swallow it whole !

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Here's Looking at You

What a tonic to get a couple of days sunlight ! Has been a fairly eventful week with the moat clean out, and a near disaster with one of the cygnets getting caught up in fishing line - again !

It was fortunate I was on hand the other evening when some very small kids were fishing off the harbour wall near the smoke shed. One of them had an unattended rod sitting over the wall with the line in the middle of the river with the swans around it, I grabbed the rod and tried to haul the line in but one of the cygnets legs was caught on the line. It panicked and they all tried to get into the harbour, I thought for a minute that it was going to be a nightmare scenario as the cygnet struggled trying to break free. I held on and tried to pull the bird closer to the steps with the rod and line but no chance - it was too strong. In desperation I gave the line a good pull and the hook and lead weight came away! Whew...I was so relieved for it would have been really difficult to try and catch the grown cygnet. I wish parents would warn their kids to keep their fishing lines out of the water when the Swans are close by, better still I wish there was no fishing allowed from the harbour walls ! The Nairn Swan family are an important tourist attraction and should be protected. Any doubts people have about their value should take a look at the photo of the 8 tourists from France and Manchester, enjoying the thrill of our wildlife !

Friday, 13 August 2010

Merryton Dippers

A pair of Dippers were doing a spot of fly fishing this morning just at the Merryton bridge. Very dull skies, so photo quality not that good. I think the Spate running for several days, has moved them downstream in search of food. Lovely to watch them walking along the bottom of the river in search of larvae. With the wet weather, they later flew to the bank to devour some scrumptious slugs !

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Moat Remedial Work

Today I had some remedial work done on the Island moat. This was badly needed after the big flood of September last year, when thousands of tons of shingle moved down the river. The Moat virtually got filled in and endangered the Swans ability to escape dog attacks, and stopped them being able to take off and land in the moat. This should also help any future newly hatched cygnets to get out of the water more easily.