Thursday, 31 January 2013

Duck Killed by Dog

Today I was told about a dead duck on the riverbank at the Maggot Flats. To my dismay, I found it was one of the young rescued Drakes that I released into the river a few weeks ago. It's wing was broken and Twisted, this is consistent with having been grabbed and shaken by a dog. Having despatched it to the river I was then confronted by a barking snapping black staffie, which came out of the Maggot flats straight down to the riverside. The Woman in charge kept shouting  "Theo, Theo" , the dog taking no notice continued to bark at me, this was a dog that was not under control by the owner. This incident confirms what I have said all along about clearing that riverside area, it has opened it up to uncontrolled dogs to attack the wildlife !  The wildlife are being killed and people are being intimidated by uncontrolled dogs ! In the past 10 years my own dog Millie has been attacked and bitten on three separate occasions whilst she was on the lead, it was only good fortune that it wasn't a child in the location at the time. The time has come for some sensible Signs and action to protect the wildlife on the riverside. People have to be educated about keeping their dogs under control, especially around wildlife!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Family Membership

In order to include all generations, the Trustees of the River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust have agreed to allow a family Membership Annual Fee of £20. This will include all members of the Same family living at one particular address. The Trust is keen to have children as members of the Trust, for they will be the future guardians of the river and it's wildlife. The fee will entitle all members of the family to a membership card, and the knowledge that they are helping to feed, protect, and defend our wildlife and improve their environment.
Plus of course free subscription to this Blog ! Payment can be made through this blog by using the donate button or can be paid directly to any of the Trustees.  Or sent to, River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust , 10 Douglas Street Nairn. IV124DJ. Scotland.
If you like the river wildlife and wish to see it's continued presence, then please join us !

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Trust Constitution Extracts

Some of our new Trust members might want to see some important extracts of the River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust Constitution. The Constitution has ten articles, the following are articles 1 to 3.

1.     Name: of the fund will be “River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust” hereafter referred to as The Trust.
2.     The Purposes / objects: of the Trust shall be the advancement, of welfare health, and protection of the River Nairn Swans, waterfowl, and water birds within the tidal reaches of the River Nairn. This includes their nesting island site, associated riverbanks, environment and habitat, for the good of the community and future generations in perpetuity. The trust shall be non political.
3. Powers: In Furtherance of the purposes / objects, the Trustees may exercise the power to: (i) Promote conservation, and environmental improvement, by educating and encouraging the local population to care for their River environment and wildlife. (ii) Invite and receive contributions through membership fees and raise funds where appropriate, to finance the work of the Trust and to open a bank account to manage such funds. (iii) Publicise and promote the work of the Trust, and work with others of a similar nature, and others who have an interest in the well - being of the River Nairn and it’s inhabitants. (iv) Employ staff or unpaid volunteers as necessary to conduct activities to meet the purposes / objects. (v) Take any form of action that is lawful and necessary to achieve the purposes / objects of the Trust. (vi) Appoint a suitable experienced avian person to look after the welfare of the water birds, as a voluntary river watcher on behalf of the Trust
Any members who would like to send in Wildlife photo's or comments please feel free to do so. These will be treated in strictest confidence if required. Membership is growing and we need as many members as possible to ensure the above articles are enacted and adhered to. We don't want any more slash and burn tactics on the riverside, depriving the wildlife of cover and exposing them to potential uncontrolled dog attacks ! A message to those habitual dog owners  who continue to use the riverside and leave their dogs mess - TRUST MEMBERS WILL BE WATCHING and the Region Dog warden will be notified ! 

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Weekend Look Back

Still full of the Man Flu, so will have to content yourselves with a Look back at some of the more rare visitors to the River, like the high contrast Long Tailed duck in 2011,  and the Guillemot last year. 

Just before Christmas I took a few shots of the Goldcrest, darting around the pines and dense bushes below the Merryton bridge. These are the bushes that must be left alone and untouched for the sake of the wildlife !!!!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Man Flu

Despite a serious bout of Man Flu, I still managed to get to the River and feed the birds. Can't complain too much since it's at least two years since my last cold. It's amazing how the Swans can look so cumfy in the cold freezing conditions. Cygnets have been coupled off by the parents, but not yet expelled from the river for good.

The white duck finally has her mate, she has been working on him for months and now he keeps close, he is also a hybrid - she was determined to get him !

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Nairn Police Good Samaritans

Concern over a Swan seen on the A96 road between Nairn and Auldearn prompted the Police to give me a call over it's condition. Not having a car the police gave me a lift to the scene, and the Swan was now in an adjacent field.

 I could detect no apparent injuries and it seemed lively enough. It may well have clipped some power lines not too far away ( in one of the photo's.) It was just over a year old going by the colour of it's bill, so I left it alone to recover, it will hopefully take off later. Nice to know that our local police also keep an eye out for the wildlife. 

Another recent casualty that did require medication was a pigeon with neck injuries and unable to swallow food. I took it home last Friday and on advice from a pigeon man gave it some flagyl for the mouth and throat infection. 

This seemed to do the trick and within a few days was able to eat. The neck injury may have been caused by a Sparrowhawk initially and then it was picked on by other birds because of it's condition. At least now it has a chance of survival by being able to eat !

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Rescued Ducklings Progress

The five ducklings have survived the past week's high tides and integrated well with the other ducks in the river. They are learning every day from the other ducks, the warning calls, who's who, and all the goings on between the sexes.

They still stay together as a family, and at one point I saw their Mum close by - I would not be at all surprised if she recognizes her offspring ! 
Sari and Jo are still close, with the duckling mortality rate it's important that the females survive.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Tufted Duck

My wee pal the Tufted Duck that I've fed for the past few Winters has remembered me, and is back on the hunt for some food again. 

Winter is here and the ducks were enjoying every morsel, along with the cute tufted duck -straight from Disneyland !

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Trust Constitution Adopted

A wee bit of Nairn local history was made tonight when the River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust had it's first official Trustee meeting. We met at the Chairman's home in Fishertown to discuss the Constitution of the Trust. Authorise and sign Banking mandate papers, and get an update on membership details. Also discussed were our aims and strategy for the current year. Paramount for the Trust is the protection of the River Wildlife and their environment, they are unable to speak up, so the Trust will speak for them. A clean and healthy river full of life, is a magnet for everyone, a local asset that must be cared for. 
This will include responsible dog ownership, where all dog owners should conform to the Scottish Outdoor Access code. This is in everyone's interest, including the wildlife ! Half of Scotland's birds are ground nesting and need an element of protection. Dog owners are responsible for their dogs, this means cleaning up after them and keeping them under close control around wildlife. The Scottish Outdoor access code states that close control means the dog trained well enough to walk close by the owner, if the owner does not have  recall ability then the dog should be kept on a lead no longer than 6 feet. With the proliferation of dog ownership in Nairn, it's time the authorities bit the bullet and started taking control of the dog situation. Everyone complains about dog mess and bad owners giving all the good dog owners a bad name. The Trust intend to have some positive input to this perennial problem. People have to be made aware that waterbirds are vulnerable many months of the year.

 An example of the Swans for instance, they take nearly 2 months to nest and hatch their young.Then the Pen takes 6 weeks during the summer to Moult when she cannot fly, after she regrows her new feathers the cob takes 6 weeks for his moult when he cannot fly, all this time they and their cygnets are vulnerable to dog attack. All the ducks are also ground nesting and their ducklings are constantly under threat until they are 10 weeks old and able to fly. Dogs being allowed to run free chasing and sometimes killing wildlife, is just not acceptable even in an urban environment.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Sleeping Merganser & Pigeon Baths

The Merganser gave me the chance of a couple of shots as it drifted sleepily downstream, then woke up and gave a yawn !

 Meanwhile back at the house with the frozen bird bath topped up with warm water, the pigeons were piling in and having a communal bath !

Monday, 14 January 2013

Harbour Haven Duckling Deaths

Sadly 2 of the rescued ducklings that I released have been killed in the harbour yesterday. With this weeks high spring tides I saw 5 of the ducklings up at the Merryton bridge, and thought maybe they had just been separated after leaving the harbour. This has been my main fear after their release, that they would fall victim to predators before they got river wise to the dangers. 

I released them before the spring tides so that they would gain a weeks experience before the high tides during the night. The harbour can be a safe place, but also a death trap if used by the Otters, Mink or Seals for hunting. 

The good news is that the other 5 are now close to their Mum, and Sari and Joe are still alive !

 If they can survive the next 5 days tides, they should be pretty well integrated with all the other ducks and aware of all the dangers.

I hope our new 
Trust members have now received your membership cards posted recently.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Goldeneye, and Others

The hard frost has brought in a female Goldeneye today. These birds usually turn up in January when the temperature drops below zero. Last year we had several male Goldeneye,  and I expect they will show up again soon.

 The Mallards were clamouring for the grain today to keep out the cold ! (short vid above) Even the Turnstones were close by, eating the grain as well.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Year of Natural Scotland

This has been designated the Year of Natural Scotland - by coincidence we have launched The River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust this year too! The River Nairn is small but has it's share of natural beauty, along with the coastline, the Culbin and the hills to the south.

 Many visitors are quick to praise how lovely Nairn is, and how lucky we are to have a pristine river with all it's wildlife right on our doorstep! Sadly familiarity does often breed contempt, and some locals do not appreciate what's right at their doorstep.  The River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust hope to highlight the importance of preserving and taking pride in our River, keeping it litter free, and protecting the rights of the water birds that inhabit it. There is no doubt an abundance of wildlife attracts and entertains visitors everywhere. 

The trust intends to enhance and preserve this asset feature of Nairn.  Membership is growing daily, with even more eyes to keep a close watch on our wildlife.