Thursday, 31 May 2012

Aloha Alloa

After a nice warm night in a heated box at 85F the young Gulliver was ready for breakfast ! It's eyes were open and although still unsteady on it's feet, it had a go at eating some chick starter that I prepared. It kept aiming at my pink fingers, since this is what they do to their Mothers red spot on their beak in order to get them to open up and deliver the regurgitated food ! I had no choice but to cover all my fingers in messy chick starter food, so he would get fed regardless ! The heated box had given him new life and a good chance of survival. Simon from the Scottish SPCA arrived this afternoon and was pleased to see the gull chick in such good form, he will now go to their new care centre in Alloa where they have excellent facilities for the care of wildlife. Gulliver pushed himself onto his back several times but managed to right himself again, enclosed pics and video clip. With the late cold spring it appears the seagulls are nesting later this year. Aloha Alloa Gulliver !

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Gull-ivers Travels

Was presented with a newly hatched young Gull chick this afternoon. It was picked up by a young man living behind the Al Raj Restaurant , he found it in the gutter pipe above his flat then took it down to the riverside !!
I explained to him that it would die and he must take it back and put it where he found it. When I checked later it was laying on the concrete steps having fallen out of the guttering. I looked around the surrounding buildings but no nests to be seen or adult seagulls either. It may have been snatched by a predator and dropped on the sloping roof when challenged, It seems the only explanation since there were no flat nest areas of any kind in the vicinity. I am pretty sure it has been hatched within the last 24 hours. I have it in a heated box meanwhile, The Scottish SPCA will pick it up in the morning. Anyone finding sick or injured animals or birds should contact the Scottish SPCA locally on 01463 231191. Young birds that have fallen from the nest should be put back if possible, or otherwise left alone since the parents usually care for them.

The Grass and the Grain

Have never seen the river so barren and weed free, the last big spate completely cleaned out the riverbed. The Swans have lost their normal food supply, so I have taken to giving the cygnets fresh soft grass at least twice a day. I learned some years ago that they love soft fresh greens, as long as it's small enough for them to ingest. They also eat porridge oats, and fresh wholemeal bread in very small pieces. The weather has again taken a dive, but can only hope for warmer times to come. The parents defer to the cygnets and watch over them while they eat, later they have the wheat grain and fresh wholemeal bread so they are OK. ( short video below)

Monday, 28 May 2012

Tranquility Base

With the cygnets now 2 weeks old and thriving, they already show all the mannerisms and characteristics of adult swans. They were bathing and preening with Penny in a like fashion, and were left on their own while Popeye and Penny flew to the other side of the harbour. This was brief and Penny rushed back to be greeted by head nodding and much cheeping ! 

The day ended with a tranquil in-line swim to the island, see video below.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Cute Cygnets

The really cute stage of cygnets is during the first month of existence, I never tire of looking or taking snaps of them. The modern cameras with zoom lenses mean that all of us can get really close up shots.

Sometime the detail is excellent, others because of movement bad light or luck it's not so good, but the shot is worth keeping anyway.

Like I said, I never tire of snapping cygnets !

Ugly ducklings....Never !

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Have you ever Wondered ?

If you've ever wondered what the cygnets are doing under Mum's wing.....
 Then wonder no more ...a nice cosy body warmer !

Another short video clip of the cygnets progress.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

All Aboard

Nothing cosier looking than a cygnet on board !
Or sitting in the warm Sunlight !
Four aboard, but they're getting bigger everyday ! For those hoping to get a pic of the cygnets on Penny's back, you have about a week to do so - after that she wont be carrying them around !

Short video clip of the family in the harbour on a beautiful summer day!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Backlit Photo's

Conventional attitudes to taking photo's always points out the wisdom of having the sun at your back. This is good sound advice which means most of your pics come out in detail.
However sometimes it's nice to break with convention and have a go at shooting almost into the light, the effects can be quite nice too !
These I took earlier this evening before sunset, with the sunlight coming in from the front right.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Harbour Otter

Slight change of topic - tonight down at the harbour whilst checking on the Swans, a duck started making a big fuss alerting the swans that danger was around. Sure enough within a minute or two I spotted an Otter feasting on Salmon Parr, harbour is full of them at the moment. Poor quality pics but short video clips confirm it was an Otter. One more predator for the Swans and ducks to worry about ! If you missed my old post on the Nairn harbour otter, you can see it here with video clips,

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Always One

I have noticed year after year, there is always one Mummy's boy or girl that just loves staying on Penny's back on water or land !
It was still very cold today and that damn wind has been blowing from the north for weeks - surely it will come to an end soon.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Awww Cygnet Pics

In spite of the drizzle and cold north easterly wind, I managed to get a few pics of the cygnets and a short video clip.
These are for my faithful followers to see the cygnets close up. Some of my viewers are in distant lands, but I know they appreciate the birth of the cygnets every year...Enjoy !

Cygnet Safety

The Nairn Swans have finally had enough of the nesting site, and swapped what must have seemed like the north face of the Eiger, for the north side of the harbour ! Penny has obviously had enough of the biting Northerly winds which has plagued the nest site for weeks now. The Harbour offers some respite from the wind and the chance of some seaweed for the cygnets, but we badly need some warmth ! Today she kept the cygnets under her wings virtually the whole day, I only saw them once briefly at the harbours edge. Bearing in mind how vulnerable the cygnets are to predators at this time, Blackback gulls, and Crows within the harbour area will snatch one if given half a chance. I would like to remind people not to attempt throwing bread at the Swans when resting on the land within the harbour. This will only attract predators and give them a chance to exploit the vulnerability of the swans on land. They previously lost a cygnet to a black back gull a few years ago in the harbour. The cygnets need slimy weed at this stage of their development, admire and take photo's by all means but don't throw bread at them !

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Magnificent Seven

During today's brief midday spell of sunshine, Penny brought the 7 Cygnets down into the moat for some weed feeding on the stones. The weed is sparse due to all the heavy spates and cold weather, however enough was available for the cygnets to eat.  It looks as though 7 is the final number hatched, which is good by any standard, considering how bad the conditions have been during the incubation. A couple of short videos - one shows how difficult it is for the cygnets to climb the steep slope back to the nest, the sound you will hear are not that of a dog barking, this is Penny calling her cygnets to follow.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Water Babies

Mammy....why are we freezing ?
This afternoon Popeye escorted 5 of the cygnets down into the moat for a dip, two remained with Penny on the nest. They spent most of the time trying to get onto his back...who can blame them with such an Arctic blast from the north ! I managed a couple of short video clips of them heading back to the nest site before it clouded over. Earlier one of the cygnets was having a chat with Mum - I think the caption was probably it ! 
One poor Swan on the SSPCA website shows the dangers of fishing tackle to swans, seen here,

Seven Up !

Seven cygnets so far, and Penny still insists on sitting on the remainder. However if they don't hatch by tomorrow then they probably wont hatch at all. When the parents give up on the nest, I'll get a chance to inspect the ones that don't hatch. Weather is very cold, and my fingers were feeling the bite today. The cygnets don't need food for the first couple of days and live on reserve yolk sac. However they will have to take to the water soon !   

Five and Still Counting

This evening Penny gave me another look at the wee beauties, and opened her wing like a car door to expose 5 cygnets. They sat around their Mum for several minutes until a shower prompted Penny to cover them up from the cold rain.