Thursday, 31 July 2014

Bird Brain

Observing bird behaviour, I have come to realise like in all species, some are more intelligent than others.

Lately my peanut feeders have been emptying at a phenomenal rate. A few Sparrows have learned how to open the feeder sliding top and have been feeding their offspring with liberal amounts of peanuts.

 So much for the bird brain theory, it might be small but it does function well enough! Sequence tells the story.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Cygnets at 10 Weeks

With the river full of weed there has been plenty of food for the Swans this Summer. 

The Cygnets are now 10 weeks old and growing rapidly, with the wings now being the final phase of their development. 

Penny has moulted and now growing her new flight feathers, she should be able to fly again by mid August. Looks like possible heavy rain by the weekend.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Salmon and Sunshine

Scotland cant always boast about sunshine, even in the middle of Summer, but right now we are getting our fair share. This must impress the tourists especially with the Commonwealth Games and influx of global visitors. 

One segment of our community however is champing at the bit for rain, the Angling fraternity have been drooling at the sight of Salmon that are now getting desperate for rain to allow them up river to the Spawning grounds. Much as I love the wildlife above the water, I also admire and marvel at the life below the water. As an ex angler I would now much rather watch these beautiful fish than catch them.

River conditions are pretty dire at the moment with low water, river weed and lack of oxygen all with the potential for the spread of disease among the fish. Myself and other members of the Trust will keep a watchful eye on the welfare of these fish whilst they are in this vulnerable position. Late July usually produces some rain, for the sake of the fish I hope so.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Wildlife Litter Danger

Yet again the dangers of litter to the wildlife was apparent to me today. I noticed a young gull trailing what appeared to be plastic twine from it's legs. It spent some time trying to peck the tangled mass from it's feet , but only succeeded in making matters worse.

The real danger is the tightening of the twine around the leg stopping the blood supply, when it will lose its foot and probably it's life due to infection. 

Only 20 metres away I noticed the "grey water" drain outlet and surrounding vegetation was festooned with paper towels and other sanitary items, again proving that this is not only a "grey water" overflow ! 

Maybe Scottish water should trace the source of this contamination and hopefully put a stop to it. I am constantly seeing paper towels and other items laying in the shallow water downstream from this drain. Is it from the nearby car wash or shops ? This outlet is also permanently open which will allow rats easy access !

Friday, 18 July 2014

Successful Release

After 3 weeks Trust protection, the rescued Glebe Road mother and her ducklings were successfully released into the river today. 

Their chances of long term survival are now greater than before. Short video below.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Trust, Summer Update

Most of my viewers will already be aware of the main events this season so far. 

Popeye and Penny have produced 8 cygnets , bringing their total survivors since moving into the river at 49 to date. 
This years duckling count to date is 77 survivors and 96 fatalities that I am currently aware of, this will no doubt change . 

However this is the best season ever for the ducks on the river Nairn. I think the main reasons for this years success are several, the hatches are later than previous years which means more cover for the nesting ducks and more insects for the ducklings.

Warmer days and nights means less food required for survival, this includes the predators like the crows, which have also had increased carrion because of the deadly pigeon paramyxovirus which has affected many of the towns pigeons. This has taken the predator pressure off the ducklings for the time being. The mother ducks are also more experienced, a trend that I hope continues!
Membership of the Trust has now reached 124, for which I am truly grateful, the cost of feed uses all our funds. Rescued birds this season has now reached 34, most of which have survived. 

Later this week I will release the rescued Glebe road mother and ducklings into the river,

as well as a pigeon recovering from an injured wing.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

River of Happy Returns.

This week has seen a dramatic return of several mother ducks with their new Ducklings, it is so heart warming and gratifying to see so many, successfully make it safely back to the river. 

Tonight I counted over 40 ducklings which would make this the best ever year ...providing they can keep them alive for the next few weeks ! 

With the tourist season and school holidays in full swing, many people are enjoying seeing the thriving river wildlife. I would ask everyone not to attempt throwing bread at these tiny ducklings, as they will fall prey to the gulls and crows !
 Enjoy some of the photos and short video below of 3 broods along the rivers edge. This is truly a river of Many Happy Returns !

Monday, 7 July 2014

Duck Broods

Latest figures on the duckling situation on the river at this point in time is 93 fatalities and 39 survivors, which includes the 9 currently in the aviary.

This is relatively good compared to previous years, and I am hopeful of some more broods still to arrive. 

Warmer weather, more cover, and less food needed, means less pressure on the ducklings.

Some pics of broods on the riverside.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Rescue Brood One Week On

There can be few things more endearing than a Mother Mallard caring for her brood. I have had the pleasure and privilege to some beautiful images this week, as the Glebe road rescued brood continue their temporary safe confinement . 

After one week, the brood have grown , allowing for the Mum to have short spells of Me time !

Some of the weeks endearing images and short video clip below.