Friday, 29 March 2013

It's a Good Friday

Sunshine, fresh crisp air and Happy wildlife on the River, what more could we wish this Good Friday. 

A variety of birds feasting together, getting ready for nesting by building up reserves. 

Quite a few ducks are already nesting and within a few weeks there will be few to be seen on the tidal reaches.

 After one week, the  injured pigeon is giving me optimism by increased use of it's left leg.

 It is able to push it's way around the box, and when sitting on my hand I can feel the grip from both feet.

 All other bodily functions are normal.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Paraplegic Pigeon ?

The Injured pigeon I picked up last Saturday is making good progress, and is now eating drinking and preening itself. I have given it a warm bath and discovered another bruise behind it's neck. It's beginning  to look like it's been the victim of a mid air Sparrowhawk strike, where it has crashed to the ground causing the paralysis of the legs. After consulting Sue our Avian adviser, It appears that the injury is spinal, if the injury is not permanent it could take 3 weeks to regain the use of it's legs. If however it is a permanent injury, then it will never regain the use of it's legs. I have decided to give it my best shot and keep it for at least 3 weeks to see if it recovers.

Warm baths and physiotherapy will be the routine to see if I can get it walking again.

Meanwhile we have 3 Goldeneye making use of the island moat today, a female being courted by 2 males.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

"Wind From the East - Not Fit for Man or Beast !"

So go's the old saying, but maybe it's an ill wind that might have benefits later. Many of the ducks are back to the lower river for food and appear to have put nesting on hold due to the cold weather. When nesting resumes, there might be more cover and natural food around for the ducklings. The water is icy, and Winter is with us for a while yet, although we have faired much better than most in the UK. 

Yet another pigeon casualty I picked up from my street yesterday, this is the 8th pigeon in the past year, 6 of which have survived so far. This one has either hit a car or window, but does not appear to have any broken bones. However it was bleeding from the mouth, I think it's brain has been scrambled resulting in partial paralysis of it's legs, more so the left side.
It is out of immediate danger, and managed to have a drink this morning. Time will tell if it is going to recover completely.
I also noticed that the light coloured Call duck has disappeared since around the 17th.

 This is a great pity because the 4 call ducks were inseparable and I thought they might manage to nest and give us some young ones. I know there is a chocolate labrador called Dexter that is untrained and in the river trying to catch ducks. I had a word with the owner and told him that the dog MUST be kept on a lead near the river. I don't know if this dog is responsible for ducks that are going missing, but owners MUST keep their dogs under control near wildlife !

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Sunny Swans

Biting easterly wind, but at least we had sunshine and no snow. I managed to repair some Island erosion and have a little more to do, by way of seeding the bare patches.

Popeye and Penny continue to make nesting preparations and some bonding rituals in the bright sunshine. 

They Mirror each others movements and blow bubbles. They are in excellent condition and look the picture of good health !

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Snowy White Swans

With Today's Spring Equinox there is no spring weather to match,  and the winter forecast is for yet more Snow on the way.  Ah well - better now than April and May, for many of the birds are already nesting. 

The Swans are well into their nesting preparations and Penny is seeking out minerals and algae nutrients. Snowing or not, she is moulding the nest site for this years brood.

I have done some remedial work to the island that was eroded by the big Storm surge a few months back, with still a little more to do.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Global Trust Membership

The River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust continues to grow with the Parkdean caravan site open for the new season. Some regular Caravan holidaymakers who have long admired our river wildlife and appreciate the care taken to look after them, have joined the Trust. Our Thanks to iolaire for gifting the impressive Trust Logo above.

In addition we have admirers from Europe, America to Africa and Australia who have joined too, making the Trust Global. With 2 days to the Spring equinox, winter is setting in for the foreseeable future, but the wildlife are keen to get nesting and some are already started. 

We have a female Goldeneye with suitors on display today, the Red breasted Mergansers are also paired up.

 All we need is some suitable spring Weather !  
APOLOGIES, to those  who have paid membership by cheque that have not yet been banked. The Bank has made several errors in setting up the Trust account. They are putting it right and should have the Account opened within the next couple of weeks ! 

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Seagull Drummers

This past weeks weather has hopefully delayed nesting for many of the ducks, we don't want them kicking off too early and getting caught out later.

The white duck is still spending most of the time resting the injured leg and preening, 

but I have seen her use it sparingly, fortunately It does not affect her flying ability.

 I noticed yesterday the river drain above Merryton bridge staining the water Green, but was told by a passer by that it was food colouring used by Scottish water for testing, I hope so ! 
The gulls are seeking out protein in the form of drumming for worms, this simulates a mole digging, and the vibrations make the worms rise to the surface. More and more gulls are acquiring these skills, they are highly adaptable.(Short vid below.)

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Tree - mendous

The Swans and Ducks gave a large broken tree the once over today. 

Penny had quite a nibble at the tree moss, and the duck inspected the interior.

Meanwhile further up river, another duck tried a bit of tree climbing ! 

That north easterly wind today was Brrrrrrr !

Friday, 8 March 2013

On The Mend

Good news on the white duck, this afternoon she used the injured leg very cautiously for the first time in a week. With a bit of luck in another few weeks, hopefully she will regain full use of the leg. 

One of the cygnets returned to the river a few days ago, it stayed above the Merryton bridge away from the parents, but they chased it out as soon as they saw it. The ducks are in mating mode, but this winter cold snap will hopefully slow them down a bit. Last year was a disaster, with warm weather early March, then cold all the way through the following months.

It was fatal for the April -May ducklings with no insect life, and ravenous crows and seagulls ! This pic of the ducks was taken on 3rd April last year !

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

White Duck Injured

Five days ago our beautiful white duck injured her leg, I have been closely monitoring her condition and thankfully she is now beginning to recover. This is a very dangerous time for ducks along the riverbank, the drakes testosterone levels are rising and they are pursuing the ducks. In addition, dogs are also scaring the birds suddenly, where they rush down the banks to the river. Exposed tree roots laying horizontally along the bank edges, allow the ducks feet and legs to go under roots and the downward momentum injures their leg muscles and joints.

I was fearful of the white duck having a broken leg, for she was sitting for 4 days with the leg behind her in the same position. I emailed photos and video to Sue our Avian expert, and she thought that it was probably not broken . Only yesterday did I see the duck partially using the leg, confirming Sue's assessment. It will most likely take 3 or 4 weeks for full use of the leg to return.

Meanwhile I am feeding her Mealworms, lettuce and grain seeds, to aid recovery.  Fortunately she has a good mate who is keeping strangers away, and keeping very close to her.  

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Blade Runner

The River Nairn road bridge took on a new dimension this morning, with the transportation of Windmill blades heading east towards Aberdeen. 

These things are massive, It's not surprising that some folk don't want them too nearby !

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Swans Best Year Ever

With a new season on it's way, I thought a pictorial showing our Swans Best ever year on the river - 2011.

Popeye and Penny are now approx 12 years old, and don't know if they will ever again achieve the fabulous brood of 2011, which was 9 cygnets all reared to maturity.

Enjoy some of the pics that made it a special year for me as well as for them. It was the first year ever that Popeye carried cygnets on his back, this was always down to Penny in previous years ! 

It was also the year that I took one of the cygnets home for a week to correct a condition called "Angel wing".

This was a great success and I returned "Lefty" to the family after 6 days. 

I hope more of you out there will join the River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust, to ensure that these beautiful birds will forever grace our River.