Sunday, 30 October 2011

Still Seven Cygnets

The two missing cygnets have still not returned to the family in the river. I can only hope they have joined some others somewhere locally. At least the weather is mild and settled , normally the sort of weather the pen gets rid of the cygnets. Today the remaining cygnets were getting another love lesson from the parents, and got the message by copying the parents bill in the water afterwards.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Early Departure This Year ?

October is often departure month for cygnets, and with 3 of our cygnets missing this morning I am wondering if our family are on the verge of an early departure. The Cob and Pen were on their own this morning and I thought the cygnets were all gone until I spotted 6 of them in the distance . They cautiously approached the parents with the wings up, then displayed a subservient stance, until the parents dipped their heads showing acceptance back to the river. (Sequence of pics shows all.) With the tides currently low and settled enough to get at the seaweed near the baths, perhaps the parents will take the opportunity to either chase them or leave them at sea. It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming days.
UPDATE : Late this afternoon one more cygnet arrived back, leaving two still missing.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Watch Out There's a Vandal About !

Today I found the Swans Island safety sign broken and floating in the river. I would ask everyone in the community to keep an eye out for vandals and anti social behaviour along the riverside. I noticed too that broken bottles on the paths leave dangerous glass splinters that cause injury to dogs. Dogs mess and litter along the river paths is again becoming prevalent with the darker nights - no doubt the same culprits as usual. I know the Citizens of Nairn appreciate the Swans and river wildlife and I would ask you to do the right thing and report any wildlife crime, vandalism and anti social behaviour that you see, the NAIRN POLICE number is 01667 452222. A timely reminder of what can happen to innocent creatures like Swans are on the Scottish SPCA website just now- Like the SSPCA I also support a total ban on the use of airguns in Scotland. With all the computer games and simulated shooting need for dangerous airguns as well !

What's Happened to the Herons ?

It's well over 6 weeks since I've seen any Herons down the lower river. This is unusual because this area was a favoured fishing spot for 2 of our regular herons. I wonder if the Mink or some other predator has killed them ? I know one of the herons used to frequent the Swans Island and stand in the tall grass preening itself. This makes me wonder if a Mink has got it there, for this is where I found a dead Khaki Duck just a few weeks ago. I am told that there is still a heron up river but we used to have at least 4 of them on the lower stretch. The pics show our colourful birds earlier in the year.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Cygnets at Play

The cygnets are growing in confidence and independence, but the parents are still not inclined to chase them off. They flew confidently up river landing at merryton bridge. After a good feed they all had a bath and preening session and some were in a very playful mood, playing tag !

Thursday, 20 October 2011

The Matriarch

Our Swan family are large and very close, yet my parents generation came from families that were just as large in those days ! It makes you think and appreciate just how tough they were, trying to provide and keep them all towing the line ! Today I watched as two cygnets started flirting and doing a ritual mating session. I wasn't the only one watching, and the pen kept a close eye on proceedings until another two joined in...she was not amused ! She is very much the Matriarch of the family and decided it was time to intervene, what she wants she always gets !

The sequence of pics tells the story from the cygnets flirting until she moves across the river to show her displeasure. They were suitably humbled and put in their place by the Matriarch, followed up by the cob.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Beautiful Birds

The more I watch them the more I appreciate beautiful birds. With the drop in temperature the birds are looking forward to their food, and I was given a lovely welcome today down by the Merryton bridge. The cob and some cygnets spotted me from below the island and decided on a shuttle flight for their grub, camera out in time to get a few flight shots. The cob arrived first followed by the cygnets all of which flew really well , one of them had a pre - landing wobble, but corrected for a perfect splashdown ! The last pic is of Lefty the cygnet that had the angel wing, flying and landing like a trooper ! In addition someone sent me a youtube link of a fantastic nature video which will bring a lump to your throat. Well worth a look !

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Chief Gurner Rises to the Top

I note that Nairn's Chief Gurner, aka the Gurnmeister, aka Graisg, aka Des Scholes our New river community councillor to be -intends to raise the river pollution issue at the next River Community Council meeting. I have long felt that the RCC should have pressed Scottish water and SEPA for more action to prevent sewage leakages into the river. Previously highlighted pollution incidents on both the "" and this blog, have given graphic images of unacceptable pollution into a clean Salmon river, and only a few hundred yards from our tourist beaches ! I did send a comment to Des but he saw fit not to publish it, which is his right of course. The gist of which was that I advised the resident adjacent to the brochers brae leak to contact SEPA,(Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) since she has young children that play in that contaminated area. She said she had spoken to Scottish water and that they said that funds were not available to fix the leak ! They then turned up with a 5 gallon drum of disinfectant and splashed it all over the grass beside the leak. I told the resident that she should in fact be talking to SEPA since they have the powers to make Scottish water solve the problem. Since Des has highlighted the issue yet again and as a new Community Councillor, I asked if he would take action on this matter ? He seems to have risen to the challenge, good luck Des ! (Previous pics of River pollution enclosed, swans were swimming in and drinking it on Oct 1st above.)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Catching The Rays

Glorious sunshine rare this year ! With talk of another Arctic winter looming, it's lovely to catch some rays along with the last of the years butterflies. In April we had what many of us thought was the start of a long hot summer, butterflies and all. May saw the weather go downhill and along with all the insect life, Summer did not arrive at all. Virtually the only butterflies I saw this year were a Tortoiseshell in April and Peacock in October !

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Swanning Around

The Cygnets are getting whiter by the day, and Lefty - the one that had the angel wing is the whitest of them all. They have daily visits to the sea, and the young cygnet that tagged along earlier in the week is still around the shoreline. The pen was looking restless, she went out of her way to chase the young cygnet out to sea. Short vid of the family swanning around in the moat, with Lefty the whitest of them all in the foreground.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

All at Sea

The banished cygnet again joined our family at sea today, only to be shunned again as they returned to the river. The lone cygnet was left offshore to brave the elements, watched by our River seal who was fishing at the end of the pier. Yesterday 3 young year old swans arrived in the river only to be ousted by our cob within minutes of their arrival, It could well have been their offspring from last year.