Thursday, 30 June 2016

Seven Weeks On

The cygnets are growing rapidly, at 7 weeks old they seem even more advanced than previous years.

As always, Penny and Popeye escort them closely and Penny has now started the annual moult. She will be unable to fly for the next 6 weeks, but Popeye retains his ability to fly until Penny regrows her new feathers - he then Moults in turn.

This has evolved in order that one of the parents can always fly to defend the young - ain't Nature wonderful !

Monday, 27 June 2016

Love At First Bite ?

The White duck has turned out to be a male, so when I introduced him to the recovering injured duck he was pleasantly surprised.

They do enjoy each others company but this will be short lived, since I will be releasing the duck back to the river in a few days, she is almost fully recovered.

New River Brood

On a previous posting I mentioned a mother with 7 ducklings, sadly she lost 5 the day after the posting, and then another the day after that, currently she is still holding onto the one. 

However today I can report another new brood consisting of 12 new ducklings, fingers crossed she can hold onto some of them !

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Twelve In - Eight Out

Today the Trust put the 12  Riverpark Brood back into the river. Two were held back, a female for the white duck as company, and possible mate for next season. The other one is also a female but a mini size and not yet fully developed. It would not survive in it's current condition, if put into the river environment. 
It is only half the size of all the other siblings, and makes me think that the father who is the only small male call duck we have on the river.

The trust rescued another 8 ducklings two days ago, after the Mother was pounced on by the drakes and forced to flee.
She also has an injured leg, and the best option was to save the ducklings before the circling Crows took them. 
This makes a total of 50 ducklings rescued by the trust so far this season .

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Merganser Cr'eche

The 15 Mergansers are still on the lower river, a very organised Crèche indeed. 

Friday, 24 June 2016

Many Merganser

A new mega brood of Mergansers turned up today. Weather was dull and wet, but I managed to get a few shots of a Merganser and 15 young ones !

This is probably two separate broods combined, as Mergansers are known to form a crèche, and are taken care of by a single female or Auntie.

This is the biggest amount of Mergansers I have ever seen on the river.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Duck 5 Star Hotel

The injured duck is recovering well and should be ready for release next week. 

She is enjoying 5 star treatment, with exclusive accommodation , bath, and smorgasbord cuisine.

Who needs a plastic duck in the bath when you can have a real one !

Short clip below.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Meeting

Popeye was the only one initially to turn up for his feed this evening, but then Penny turned up about 15 minutes later with the cygnets in tow.

Although this pair have been together at least 10 years, 

protocols still have to be observed when meeting - no matter how long they have been apart.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Lost Duckling - Found

As always when doing my river rounds, I'm always on the lookout for newly hatched life. Today on the Swans Island among the 50 or so ducks and swans I spotted a lone duckling desperately seeking it's mother.
It was following every duck in sight only to be chased away or pecked and eventually retreating onto the island. The tide was in and I couldn't get over to effect a rescue, so I waited an hour until the tide receded.

As luck would have it I then spotted the Mother and 6 other ducklings at the other side of the river and was determined to get them reunited. When the island was accessible I managed to get over and catch the duckling. After another half hour the mother returned towards the island and I let the little one go near enough to spot Mum, she also spotted the wee one and they were all happily reunited.

This is the first brood Iv'e seen since April that has not as yet been taken by the Crows, with the Crows and Gulls feeding their young she will have a hard time trying to keep them !    

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Growing Fast

The cygnets are growing by the day and will shortly be the size of Geese.

With an abundance of river weed and my daily provision of mixed grain wild bird seed, wholemeal and grass, they are thriving.

A few photos today in spite of the leaden skies and drizzle, showing the family coming to the moat for a feed. 

Notice how the little ones now take the lead, with no more threat from crows or the like !

The  last photo is me having a conversation with a few of the little ones !

Friday, 17 June 2016

Pigeon Posting

Getting a bit bored being cooped up, waiting on new feathers to grow out. 

The injured wood pigeon decided on a bit of adventure around the computer....

Now lets see...what can I write about, hmm.... after 3 days of rain, even the ducks are fed up with it !

 I think I'll just show you my head scar and keyboard where's the @ key again ?

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Heal Thyself

The injured duck is progressing well and the external wounds are healing up fine. From past experience I know that ducks have a great ability to heal themselves if left in peace to do so. After all, in the wild there is no handy chemist or vet to attend them. I have been watching her closely and notice that she sits at certain angles with her injured leg held in various positions.

 She had the run of the bath for some hydrotherapy and enjoyed the quick swim, but avoided the use of the injured right leg. I will give her all the time she needs to heal herself, with the slight aid of an anti inflammatory.

Meanwhile I clipped the white ducks wings today since she was reaching the point of flight. I am not a fan of keeping birds in captivity, but feel I have no choice in this instance.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Drakes Still OTT

It might be a week from Mid Summer, but in this part of the world we are still waiting for summer !! It still feels like April, and the Drakes on the river are still over the top when it comes to chasing the females. I had to rescue another female today who had been pounced on badly by the drakes. 

She had an injured foot, and wounds on her head and back. I was able to take her home and give her some treatment by way of anti bacterial cream on the external wounds, and oral antibiotic and anti inflammatory. As it happens she is known to me, and could well be the mother of the incubator ducklings, if not then she is certainly the sister of that same family.

She seems very much at home in the brooder box since she has been there before as a duckling !

This has temporarily displaced the injured young wood pigeon who is doing well, but has lost many feathers after the Crow attack.

Monday, 13 June 2016

White Duck Gone

Less than 24 hours and the white duck released yesterday is gone. As feared it was a prime target for Mink or Otters, I had hoped that safety in numbers would prevail, and that it would survive long enough to learn of all the river predators. It seems the way of the world, anything that's different or stands out gets picked on.

The remaining ducklings are still alive and no doubt witnessed the loss of the white sibling.

 Looks like my decision to keep the last remaining white duck was a prudent one.