Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Woeful Day

 It has been a woeful day for me, sadly I had to part with the moonwalking duckling since it's condition had worsened and it's quality of life would have been intolerable.

Then the morning visit to the river I discovered the newly released ducklings on the swans island happily preening themselves. I counted 11 and knew right away that the Mother was being pounced on by the drakes. I had hoped when she headed up river yesterday that she would take a few days to return to the lower river, however someone told me that the brood was down river last night ! Within a short while this morning the Swans chased the brood and one of them disappeared between the large rocks on the bank, It still has not rejoined the brood. After the tragedy last year I am full of dread for the 7 week old's, especially if the mother is killed and the Blackback gull turns up ! 

They are on the verge of flight, but will have to stay alive for about another week to improve their chances of permanent survival.

They are pretty well fully grown and are sticking close together as the photos show. I released them before they could fly, in order that the mother would not take off and abandon them, but teach them the dangers of the river environment.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Lucky 13 Release

Today was D-Day for our first brood of 12 ducklings to be released on the River this year.

After 7 weeks of TLC and a final breakfast of Lettuce, mealworm, and mixed grain, it was time to introduce them to the wild.

With the help of trust member Eddie, we carried the 12 ducklings and their Mother down to the riverside and let them go. The Mother took them upstream, and this might be the best move away from drakes down river. Short video of successful release below.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Snow White

Brilliant sunshine, and today has been the first truly fine summers day this year !

All the birds are chilling out and enjoying the sun, a little too bright for the camera when shooting white objects though.
Cygnets enjoyed having a dip below.  

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Moonwalking Duckling

Last week I discovered that one of the ducklings belonging to the mother with 5 in the coop, had a problem with balance and walking. It had a tendency to shuffle and Moon walk backwards and was smaller than the other siblings.
I took it to the vet to check if it was a physical problem, like tendons or ligaments on the right leg.

After a physical examination, the Vet concluded that it was not physical but neurological. There is no way it can survive in the wild, so I may have to keep it as a pet or have it put to sleep. This is quite a dilemma , for at the moment I am caring for 42 ducklings and 3 mother ducks which pretty much takes up my whole day. Meanwhile I will keep the Moonwalker and see if it shows any signs of improvement as it grows up - it is only barely 6 weeks old just now. It seems to have all it's senses, and is able to eat and swim erratically trailing the right leg.  

Ducks Turn White

The pair of golden ducklings hatched last month in the incubator have now turned white, they are looking good.

 Although the last one to hatch has been the weakest and a little slow, 

this gives me cause for concern but I hope it catches up before too long.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Cygnets at Sea

With almost a summer like feel to the day, Popeye and Penny have taken the cygnets out to Sea. 

Showing the extent of their domain, Popeye had to chase the young pair of Swans that have been feeding off the shoreline. 

Penny kept the cygnets close beyond the breakers, you have to admire our fearless swans and the education and care they give their offspring. They were so far away that even the zoom was unable to get any detail.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Cygnets Feed

The Cygnets are now 2 weeks old, short video below of Cygnets feeding on newly picked grass. 

They have been getting soft lettuce, soft lawn grass, and today I tried them with chick crumb starter feed, this is the same feed the ducklings get at home. They also have fresh wholemeal bread, Mealworm and Dandelion leaves. Already they are nearly twice the size at hatching.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Active Riverside

The Riverside is becoming a little more active, with returning fish catchers on the go. 

The River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust will be releasing 12 ducklings and their Mother next week. 

Hopefully they will be too big for most predators, and should be able to fly fairly soon.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Easy Rider

Every year out of the cygnets brood, there is always one that stands out and loves being on top.

This year is no exception, and Penny has yet another Mummy's boy..or girl. 

This is the first time in 9 years I have actually seen one sitting on Penny's back from the nest all the way down to the moat.

Then after a feed climbing aboard again.

What a great mother Swan is Penny !

Saturday, 21 May 2016


"Fine weather for ducks" often used , but today even the ducks ran for cover !

  One of the most violent squalls Iv'e seen for years passed over Nairn just after 1.30pm today. The ducklings started quacking and ran under the bushes, as strong winds,  hail, and torrents of water poured from the skies. I caught a short video as it passed by. (can only imagine the overflow from the drains ! )

Friday, 20 May 2016

And So To Bed

Tried the Macro setting on the repaired camera today, close up of the cygnets of course. Also removed a willow branch that had taken root on the island, then pinned another dead Crow nearby. The deterrent seems to be working well, and haven't seen a Crow near the island since the hatching.

Once again I was privileged to witness the cygnets going to bed, with full approval of Popeye and Penny.


Thursday, 19 May 2016

One Week Old

As usual the weather has gone to the dogs and we are back to cold northerly winds, surely this will come to an end soon !!
Life goes on and the cygnets have survived their first week on the river, they are stronger and growing. 

Popeye  had the task of seeing off his daughter again, as she tried to come back to her home the other day. Swans are very territorial and will not tolerate other swans - even their own offspring- trying to come back.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Safe Harbour

Popeye and Penny as is their custom, have taken the cygnets to the harbour within days of hatching.

The high walls and calm water with grass verges, suits the swans temperament. It is not without it's dangers though, as there are Blackback gulls sometimes perched on the floodlights, and a pair of dangerous crows always on the lookout for a victim.

However today our skilled and experienced duo, kept them close and enjoyed the warm atmosphere, with the cygnets having a well guarded snooze beside Mum.  Weather permitting, the cygnets will be taken to the open sea any day now.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Ducklings Delight

With all the focus on our new cygnets, our new seasons ducklings are missing out. 

Have no fear they are alive and well under the care of the Trust. The eldest will be released in a couple of weeks, when safe from Crows and gulls.

Meanwhile the incubator brood are thriving and enjoying the run of the place, the two yellow ones are just gorgeous and I will be tempted to keep one for breeding next year. All previous white ones have been killed on the river, and I hate the idea of the these suffering the same fate.

The mother with five in the outhouse is doing well, and her little ones enjoy all mod cons as the short video clip shows.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Cygnets Close Up

Cygnets are getting stronger and doing well.

They are being kept warm by a very attentive Mum. 

Short Video of Cygnets for those of you who haven't yet seen them close up.