Monday, 29 February 2016

Duck On The Mend

After a week of antibiotics and TLC in the brooder, I have moved the injured duck into the Aviary. 

The wounds seem to be healing up well, but she is in need of deeper water to bathe and stretch her wings.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Barren River

With so many winter spates, the river is bereft of precious Algae at this time of year.

The winter sun has been in short supply, which has not helped the situation. Penny is now entering the pre nesting stage, and always on the lookout for Algae in order to help with the production of eggs.

Although both swans are in excellent health, she needs the natural minerals and Algae to produce a good hatch in the coming months.

 Sunshine and low water conditions should help the photosynthesis grow the Algae on the river bottom.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Call Duck Muscles In

Our one surviving Call duck is still going strong and is determined to get a mate. Last year it was amusing to watch as he muscled in on a pair of Mallards.

 This year he is doing the same but appears to be the dominant one of the pair this season.

He is a real feisty character and will tackle the biggest and strongest of the Mallard Drakes.
In the world of Ducks, being big isn't everything !

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Good Company

The Injured duck is recovering well, after only 2 days the medication is taking effect and the angry raw wounds are calming down. She is also eating like there's no tomorrow, showing a preference for round lettuce, mealworm and poultry pellets. Her isolation in the brooder box suits her fine right now, and she has the company of a life size sister in the form of an A4 photo. This was a successful idea of mine over the years, making a home from home for ducks and works !  

Nurturing Nairnshire

Having applied for £ 800 funds from Nurturing Nairnshire on behalf of the River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust, I was informed today that the application is eligible for the next stage. The details are set out below.

Nurturing Nairnshire Community Grant Fund

Dear Applicant,

Many thanks for your application to the Nurturing Nairnshire Grant Fund. I can now confirm the application is eligible to be taken forward to the next stage. Please confirm you have read and understood the contents of this email.

The second stage of the process will involve presenting your project at the Nurturing Nairnshire Community  Event. The event takes place in Nairn Community and Arts Centre on Saturday 12th March from 10am.It is likely the event will run until 2pm.

Outline Agenda
09:30 – 10:00am - Registration
10:00 – 13:00pm - Community group presentations
13:00 – 13:30pm - Voting and light refreshments
13:30 – 14:00pm – Grant presentations  

Rules of event
Each applicant will be allocated a 4 minute slot to put their case for funding this will consist of a 2 minute presentation, followed by a 2 minute Question and Answer session. The event will be overseen by the local ward manager who will ensure times are strictly adhered to. There will be no facilities for digital presentations. Organisations will be allocated a presentation slot at random. A detailed agenda will be distributed shortly before the event.

Any individual who wishes to vote must register between 9:30 and 10am and stay for the whole event. To be eligible to vote you must live in the Nairnshire area and be over 14 years old.

The ballot box will remain sealed until all the applicants have made their presentations. On completion of the final presentation voting papers will be available for all those attending including any members of the public and applicants . Each person will be required to vote for 5 applications by placing a single X against each choice, any voting papers with less or more than 5 choices will be deemed as invalid and rejected during the count.

The count will be undertaken under the supervision of the local ward manager and details of the result will be announced at the end of the event. Funds will be allocated using the number of votes cast for each applicant.

Each winning group will be invited to have their photo taken and will be asked to stay for a group photo.

Funding will be subject to Highland Council policy and will be outlined in the offer of award issued after the event.

Applicants may invite supporters to the event, all will be admitted subject to the fire capacity of the venue.

Kind regards

Daniel Greig

Policy Coordinator
Highland Council

Tel: (01463) 702867

The Trust applied for £800 to Enhance the lower riverside. £500 of this will go to purchase and plant approx 120 bushes shrubs and trees along the riverside from the road bridge to the Maggot. The trees will be Rowan and Bird cherry to provide colour and feeding for the birds. The shrubs and bushes will provide colour, shelter and fragrance and enhance the whole riverside for all. The other £300 will be used for the bird rescue service that the trust provide at 10 Douglas street. The Trust has rescued around 130 birds over the last 3 years, most of these were ducklings that need care for 2 months before release back into the river. Caring for Ducklings requires specialised feeding bedding and facilities, and the Trust has spent over £8000 in the past 3 years caring for the river birds.
I would like to ask all our supporters for their vote and to register at the Nairn community centre  on march the 12th.   

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Duck Rescue

With the tide receding I went down to the riverside again to see if I could spot and catch the injured duck. Good fortune and some feed grain gathered some ducks into the area. After 20 minutes the injured duck appeared out of the thorny bushes, and was immediately pounced on by testosterone filled drakes!  I assembled the net, waded out and around and managed to catch her. I took her to the Vets right away to check out the damage. She has a bruised right wing joint, but no apparent broken bones, her back end is raw with a deep injury just up from the tail end.

The vet cleaned it out with a saline solution but could not stitch it because of the size of the open wound. She was given antibiotics, pain killer and cream was applied to the bare skin area. I have put her into the brooder box and will administer her medication for the next week. I hope she survives, but will take some time to recover. It remains to be seen whether she will ever be able to fly again, time will tell.

Duck Danger

This morning a sad sight for me when one of our ducks turned up badly injured.

She had obviously been attacked earlier  perhaps while nesting, for some of our ducks  have already started. I have seen this sort of injury before after a black back gull attack, or it may have been crows.

Unfortunately I did not have a net with me and could only give her a feed .Went back later with the net but she vanished into the riverside bushes at high tide.

Will keep trying to get her some medical attention, before she dies from infection.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Redshank And Blue Sky

Finally we get some blue sky, after many cold miserable and tiresome wet days. Forecast is for some dry frosty weather, at least with brighter skies.

 The Redshank in winter plumage forages around the stones and seaweed, while Popeye and Penny wait for spring.

Friday, 19 February 2016


Some opportunist Turnstones in their winter plumage, taking advantage of some feed grain in the shallows.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Longest Rest

It's good to see Penny relaxed and resting after 8 years of rearing cygnets. This winter will be the longest period of rest she's had between broods for several years .

She and Popeye look great and in good health, and should be well rested for the new season next month.

The March spring tides usually heralds the start of nest building.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Local Politics

It has come to my attention that a newly organised company called Nairn River Enterprise has been created. 
I went to their website to see what they're about, and likely to have any impact on The Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust. My immediate reaction on seeing their website photo showing the Swans and ducks at Merryton bridge did not impress. 

I would like to make it crystal clear that this new private limited company, has no connection with The River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust. The Trust is strictly non political, is a non profit unincorporated association, run by unpaid volunteers, Membership is open to everyone. The Trust are the guardians of the River birds, their welfare, habitat and environment.

The new Nairn River Enterprise company has some local politicians and activists as directors, and they seem to have ambitious plans for the Town. The local weekly newspaper The Nairnshire Telegraph has this weeks front page story on the financial squabbles of this embryonic company. 

This new company looks like a political attempt to rival  NICE, ( Nairn Improvement Community Enterprise ).
Our new Nairn River Community Council has voted wisely on the financial Squabble.

The only Squabbles the Trust want to see on the river, is strictly between the birds !  My opinion....Too much Politics not enough enterprise !

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Northerly Chill

Spending the usual hour and half feeding all our river birds, I was almost numb with the Northerly breeze blowing right up the riverside. The leaden skies, and frequent sleet showers added to the chill. It is also a reminder that the prevailing summer wind direction tends to come from the north and west, which is the reason we should all be against any ship to ship oil transfers across the firth. Any accidental oil spill would threaten our highly valued beaches. 

With only an inch of snow we are still getting off lightly this winter far !

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Getting That Loving Feeling

It's no coincidence that birds look their best as spring approaches. Popeye and Penny are no exception, the radiance of their plumage is stunningly white just now.

They are getting that loving feeling ...and it shows !

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Near Miss

My attention was drawn to a commotion outside my window today. Looking out I saw the reason why, a Sparrowhawk had a near miss on a target next to the window. After I managed to get a shot it flew off, and I discovered two terrified birds under the bush, a Blackbird  and a Sparrow, they live another day !

Monday, 8 February 2016

Perennial Problem

No, this is not Popeye and Penny checking out their family tree. Just the perennial problem of trees being washed down river and bringing thousands of tons of shingle with them. The baskets installed around the bridge supports in my opinion were a big mistake, they not only catch dozens of trees but also allow the shingle to pile up down stream.

It would have made much more sense to have built concrete diamond shaped foundation supports, allowing freedom of flow and less chance of trees getting snagged.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

United Against Ship to Ship Oil Transfers

                           I am pleased to see the RSPB have also come out against the proposed Ship to Ship oil Transfers in the Cromarty and Moray Firth. From what I can see there is widespread and local opposition, and rightly so.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency ( MCA ) are likely to be bombarded by plea's and petitions, from every section of the highland community, in favour of the natural world and our local wildlife. 

The last thing we want are images of birds on our beaches like the ones shown here !

Friday, 5 February 2016

Pigeon Down But Not Out

The Pigeon with The broken wing has now been moved into the Aviary. Unfortunately the broken wing is still hanging down and will always be that way. The healing process was already well under way when I caught it, and the broken wrist bones have permanently fused together. However the 2 week containment of the bird and anti inflammatory medication has allowed it to heal enough to fly. It has been able to fly up to the shelf in the aviary, and I will keep it another week or so before releasing it into the garden.

Allowing complete healing will give it the best chance of sustained flying ability. The wing is down, but it's not out !