Sunday, 31 October 2010

Still Need for Dog Control Signs

This afternoon proved yet again the need for a few dog control signs around the lower river. I had just got down to the island where the Swans were coming upstream, I was called by a friend that there was a dog in the river. Sure enough a dozen or so ducks rose and flew away, the dog swam across the river now heading for the Swans. Fortunately the Swans were in the water and could easily keep ahead of the dog, they swam down into the harbour and so did the dog ! The owners had parked in the maggot carpark and the dog had a field day with all the wildlife available to chase. The dog eventually tired and swam back out of the harbour to be collared by the owner at the Bailey bridge. Had the river been the size it was the other day it may have been washed out to sea.

If the swans had been standing on the island or bank, then the outcome might have been a repeat of July's attack on the pen. This merely emphasises my previous call for a few signs to be placed strategically, such as the maggot car park and near the island approaches. The signs could be polite and acceptable to everyone, like " Wildlife Area Please keep your dog under control".
This does not mean the dog has to be on a lead ! I am well aware that many people in the town have perfectly well behaved dogs that would not touch the wildlife, the signs are not intended for them. Visitors often have dogs with them and are unaware of the swans nesting site and the wildlife we have at our feet. Not everyone is gifted with common sense!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Gulls Progress Report

Steven the seagull has been with me 3 months now, still unable to take to the skies he continues to make slow progress. His inability to fan out the right wing completely is almost as frustrating for me as for him ! He did manage a 40 foot flight down into royal walk, I still live in hope that he will manage up eventually. You can see by the 2 short videos what he was like two weeks ago, and then what he was like 2 months ago. There is no doubt his wing has improved immensely and sometimes when he is pushed during play, the right wing is just about 10% short of full stretch. (Note the pic and extended right wing when playing with a ball.) He has a great sense of fun and often plays with me by tempting me with different objects in the garden. He also has plenty of bird company in the form of pigeons, sparrows and the occasional young gull dropping by. I still give him physiotherapy by teasing the wing out as far as I can .

Friday, 29 October 2010

New Arrivals

Some new arrivals recently on the river, indicating the winter approaching. A pair of red-breasted mergansers, and a moorhen which usually has a mate with it during the winter time.

The Mergansers are very much like the Goosanders but tend to be lower in the water, and the males have the biggest differences in colour - with crest non existent on the goosander male.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Some time ago I noticed a small news item on my homepage, It caught my attention because it was asking serious questions about where society was going. It was called the "Movement for Happiness" and I decided to contact the founders since I was interested in the whole concept. I have put a permanent link on my blog roll and maybe some of you will find the concept interesting too. The opening paragraph to whet your appetite says " Increasingly people ask, "What is progress?". For fifty years we have aimed at higher incomes – and got them. Yet over the same period there has been no increase in happiness (in Britain or the U.S.), as measured by surveys. And there has been a shocking rise in the number of unhappy and disturbed children. Clearly we have got our priorities wrong and our society needs a radical change of tack…(Read More)"

It has taken some months for this infant organisation to get up and running, and the response so far has been amazing. About 1500 people have so far signed up from 48 countries. The movement intends to start in Britain and reach out globally, I look forward to contributing in whatever way I can to this Happiness movement ! I think we can all see that Consumerism kills - one way or another, and the Planet is being plundered to sustain the consumerism madness. The Happiness movement will be tackling this problem along with many others, I wish them well ! Maybe we should get back to the basics, food shelter and good health are essential for survival, we should question the need for everything else !

Monday, 25 October 2010

Fairford Friends

My Swan friends in Fairford in the Cotswolds sent me rather lovely photo's of one of their Swans earlier this year hatching it's cygnets. They do a lot of good work down there caring for the local Swans and have given me help and advice every time I needed it. Worth taking a look at their website to see how many dangers Swans face !

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Waiting for Doggo

With Steven the Seagull unable to fly away and join his fellow gulls, he looks a lonely figure in the garden. One of his daily highlights is when Millie and I return with the daily shopping or a walk from the riverside. Today he almost pecked Millie, just to see what she was made of !

Monday, 18 October 2010

Putting Nairn & Swans on the Map

Interesting editorial in the Nairnshire Telegraph this week entitled "Something to see and do". It points out the fact that tourists still come to Nairn and we should appreciate their importance to the local economy. The Editor also points out that we desperately need a dedicated tourism centre for visitors. Most importantly he points out that something needs to be done about the look of the place ! With all the endless talk about town centre regeneration etc, and the streetscape coming to a finale. Maybe the powers that be can tackle the problem of a high st buildings makeover ?

Some of us actually take direct action to improve the Town, like the gentleman I saw today down the riverside with a grabbing stick device, picking up the occasional bit of litter. Like myself clearing out the south side harbour litter the other day, not to mention the periodic litter removal from the riverside too. The local authority still ignore this problem and all the litter scattered around the harbour benches and under the riverside bushes ! Yet a couple of weeks ago we have a bunch of Numpties discussing the merits of my contribution of the Swans Island - and whether or not it's an asset to the Town ! I sometimes wonder if these people actually walk the river and have their eyes and ears open when they do ? Nairn has a lot to offer and what some don't seem to understand, is the fact that many come here to get away from it all ! With the pressures of modern day work and living, people seek a quality of life they cannot get in the city. They do not want noise traffic and concrete, but open space, scenery and the natural world to view. The river wildlife is on many peoples agenda when visiting the Town. Today I met a family who come to the caravan site twice a year and follow this blog and the lives of the Swans - they are not the only ones. Take a look at some of the recent stats maps and you can see there is a world outside of the Nairnites one. They at least find the swans island and river wildlife interesting, and I feel I'm helping putting Nairn on the tourist Map.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Flirting Cygnets

Maybe it was the warm sunshine or just the joy of life, but whatever - 2 cygnets were doing a bit of flirting today. Mirroring each others movements, and ritual head nodding, it was intriguing to watch. The injured cygnet walked at last yesterday, with a very severe limp but at least walking 3 weeks after the injury. This might have a bearing on whether the parents keep them until the spring, since they know the cygnet is not fit to leave yet.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Defending the Territory

With last weeks high tide a lone Swan decided to land in the river and check the place out. Our resident pair wasted no time in chasing it off above the road bridge. Swans are notoriously territorial and wont tolerate other swans on their patch ! The residents are showing no signs of chasing their offspring away, If they are still here by November I reckon they may stay the winter. The injured cygnet is improving further and is using the bad leg a little more each day


Saturday, 9 October 2010

Flight News

The cygnets are having almost daily flights now with favourable conditions prevailing. In spite of a bad left leg, the hurt cygnet is able to fly but still loathe to put any weight on it. Meanwhile Steven the seagull flew from the garage roof about 25 feet onto the garden today, I had to give him a push, but the flight was controlled and the landing perfect ! I am sure that given time he will eventually fly of his own accord.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Hurt Cygnet Improves

After 12 daily doses of anti inflammatory medication , the hooked Cygnet appears to be on the mend. I watched as she joined in the flight training sessions, she did use her damaged left leg -reluctantly though . I get the feeling it must be muscle/tendon damage, for she is still hesitant about putting weight on it. She is the one closest to the camera in both pics.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Mink gets an Osprey

Nairn harbour is turning out to be a right haven for wildlife these days. Today I was fortunate to get some pics of a resident Mink that stole the show by inspecting many boats in the harbour.

At one point it spent some 20 minutes in the Harbour master's boat "Osprey", and I was beginning to think it was nesting there ! Afterwards it inspected adjoining boats and anything on the pontoons that might harbour some food . Yesterday I saw it swim across the harbour with a live crab in it's mouth !

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Nairn Swans Flying & Global

Yesterday For the first time this year I saw all the Nairn Swans flying, including the Pen ! I was particularly pleased to see the 4 cygnets with the Pen, after the dog attack which nearly finished her off. The injured cygnet with a bad left leg, still managed to take off and land. I have been giving her an anti inflammatory, but may have to catch her again with the SSPCA for a medical checkup. In spite of the naysayers and bad mouth critics, I continue to feed and promote the Nairn Swans to a global audience. The Nairn Museum is still displaying my photo exhibition, and it appears to have been well received. Handing out free postcards to the tourists seems to have helped promote the Nairn wildlife along with the calendars. The stats feature on Blogger is an interesting bit of info, and shows that Nairn Swans audience go all the way to OZ.