Thursday, 28 November 2013

Trust Membership Nears 100

Eleven months since the River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust was formed, and our membership today is just shy of 100 . The Trust has not officially advertised for members as yet, but has grown just by word of mouth and recognition that the River Nairn Swans and waterfowl are a local attraction, and bring an added tourist dimension to the riverside.

Members will shortly receive our 2014 calendar, which I have produced myself in order to keep costs to a minimum, I will be delivering some of these, rather than pay the 70p postage - a real Scot !!!  Seriously, all membership fees are used for the welfare of the river wildlife and the trustees receive no payment whatsoever. Our Chairman Martin Shand has used his car and trailer for a donation of wheat grain from former Councillor James Campbell of Inshoch Auldearn., and other members like George Stephen of Fishertown have supplied Carrots from Forres when required. 

No wonder our Swans and ducks are in the best of health, being cared for by the River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust !
Why not Join us, Family membership is £20, or £15 for an individual, and help provide proper food for our beautiful river birds.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Dazzling Drakes

Mallard drakes are beginning to look really good, with their new colours shining in the winter Sun.

 Our beautiful white Mallard duck is also looking great, as is our Swan family. 

Their daily ration of Wheat, Carrots and wholemeal bread, helps them through the cold winter nights.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Solo Moves On

After 4 weeks TLC with the River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust, Solo our lonely Cygnet has now moved on, courtesy of the Scottish SPCA

Today one of the Local SPCA Inspectors took Solo to their Inverness depot where she will be transferred to Fishcross wildlife centre for integration with other Cygnets.
I will miss Solo for she was a gentle cygnet but badly in need of other swan company, in fact she was beginning to view me as a close companion, and actually entered the house today for a quick look around !

Swans instinctively seek the company of other swans for they have a gregarious nature, except when they pair up, then they are highly territorial. Solo has fully recovered from her leg injury and should be able to take off when the time comes. 

It would have been nice if our Nairn Swans would have accepted her, but Popeye and Penny will be chasing their offspring soon. A few  pics of solo today, and take note of the last pic where Millie my dog does not even get off the couch when solo was in the living room !

Monday, 18 November 2013

Solo Gets Restless

Solo the cygnet having got her foot cured, is now getting restless to join other cygnets. 

She would like to follow me down to the river, but would be rejected by our resident adult swans. She is now exploring every aspect of the garden, and occasionally peers through the windows hoping to join me in the house !

 She is pretty much 100% healthy now, and will be moved to join other cygnets at the earliest opportunity. Short video below, showing how to enter a pool without spilling a drop !

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Sari and Jo - One Year On

Last years Halloween ducklings Sari and Jo, have managed to survive their first year on the river.

This is surprising since all the drakes from that brood were killed, but the 3 sisters survived. 

They have turned out to be beautiful ducks and they all managed to get mates as well. 

Sari and her sister had two ducklings apiece this year,  but all were taken by predators. I hope they will fair better next season.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

True Grit

Solo the cygnet continues to thrive in my garden, and has now started to seek grit and roots from the lawn ! She uses her bill like a minature jack hammer seeking out grit and roots, although she gets plenty of grass, lettuce, and wild bird seeds, including some grit .  I await a settled spell of weather before having her taken to a new home with other young cygnets. 

Meanwhile our family on the river, continue to enjoy the good life.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Philippine Typhoon

Sometimes natural global events come to the fore, perhaps as a reminder that we are not always masters of our own destiny. During debates about consumerism etc, I have often remarked that the only two things we really need to survive is Food and Shelter, everything else we can manage without !  I wonder if the ferocity of the recent Typhoon to hit the Philippines is ultimately down to our consumption of the earths resources ?
Climate change will affect us all one way or another, and will manifest itself in ever more extreme natural events. Having worked my way round the world through 29 countries ending in the Philippines in the 1960s, I can honestly say that they are some of the nicest people on the Planet. Nairn is a Seaside Town and one can only imagine what would happen to Fishertown if hit by a similar natural disaster. The River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust will donate £50 to the Disasters Emergency Committee to help with the food and shelter that is so badly needed. Some images on this BBC LINK.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Redwing Arrival

One of our Trust members George Berryman has just sent me a couple of pics showing a Redwing he took yesterday.

This is probably from Iceland and come here for the winter for the abundance of berries to eat.

Redwing are similar to a thrush, but have a red patch under their wings, which of course you can't see when the wings are closed. Nice shot George !  

Friday, 8 November 2013

Solo Back in Rehab

After 3 days in the river and Solo still not flying off to pastures new, It is obvious that Solo is unable to fly away, even after harassment from Penny and Popeye. Perhaps the main reason is being too young, and having injured herself on maybe her first flight she lacks the confidence and experience to fly again. 

Whatever the reason, it is too dangerous leaving her to the mercy of our resident swans for any longer. With neap tides over the coming week she would be unable to feed on seaweed, even if she was allowed to reach the sea. 

The sensible thing was to bring her back to the safety of the Aviary and garden until she is a little more mature, then introduce her to other newly fledged cygnets, well away from our territorial residents ! Short video below of wing exercises)  

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Solo's Release

With the Sun shining and the other young cygnet still in the river it was time to release Solo back to the wild.

Was sad to take her from the peace and security of the garden, but the time was right and she was in good health, although she was enjoying a sleep after her breakfast !

The tide was high and the resident family were up by the merryton bridge, so I took Solo down past the Swans island where she could make a quick getaway to the sea if required. 

Her joy at being in plenty of water after 10 days in a paddling pool was obvious. She cavorted, dipped and splashed around, giving herself a much needed bath and even had a quick wing flap along the top.

Taking a few pics I left her to it, hopefully she will meet up with the other cygnet  and they can start life's journey together. (Short video below after release)

Monday, 4 November 2013

Intruders - Solo's Family ?

High Tide brought High Drama on the river today when two swans and a cygnet turned up close to the Swans island.

Popeye and Penny were not amused and proceeded to chase them around with the intention of making them leave !  I have a strong suspicion that they might well be Solo's parents and sibling, the cygnet looks exactly the same age as Solo, 

and it's not often you see a pair with only one cygnet in tow. 
Solo is now ready to be released and is no longer limping,  I was about to run home to bring her down to the river when the intruders were chased off, leaving the poor cygnet on it's own.

They headed over towards lochloy direction, I think the intruders thought this was a flock and decided to leave theirs to join our eight. Needless to say popeye and Penny were having none of it, and chased the cygnet up river then back down again towards the sea. 

Tomorrow I will release Solo back to the estuary, the tides are suitable this week to find seaweed feeding at low tide, and the possibility that it will meet up with either it's siblings or parents. 

After 10 days of TLC, Solo is in good health and should be strong enough to meet up with other cygnets somewhere along the coast.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Solo's Sole

Solo is making good progress and beginning to walk a bit better, with a less pronounced limp.

It has become obvious that she has scraped her left foot on landing. While preening yesterday I managed to get a shot of her foot and you can clearly see the injury at the foot joint area, this is causing the limp and inability to run or walk quickly enough to take off. Eventually her sole will be healed, ( Pun intended ) although it might take a few weeks !
Short vid below.