Friday, 31 March 2017

Anniversary Nesting

Penny and Duke have started nesting on this Island anniversary year. Sadly Popeye our previous Cob died last September, he fathered 62 cygnets in the last nine seasons.

Penny his mate was fortunate to have found Duke her new partner, and he looks to be up to the job of following Popeye's legacy.

Today they were working together preparing the nest for the coming season, we just got Duke back earlier this week from a 2 week stay in the SPCA wildlife rescue centre. 

Hopefully Penny will provide us with more beautiful cygnets to grace our river this Summer.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Duke Does The Business !

Duke has returned just in time to see off a challenger for the territory. 

Typical Cob he was guarding the island while Penny was organising the nest site, when the challenger came up river.

Duke set off to challenge and saw it off as Penny decided to join in with a very aggressive stance. 

They have been inseparable and eating well since his return, and have mated several times. 

The River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust has sent a £200 donation to the Scottish SPCA national wildlife rescue centre today, for the good work, treatment, and safe return of Duke.

Monday, 27 March 2017


After nearly 3 weeks away, Duke was delivered back to Nairn today by Animal  rescue officer Jamie Cherry of the Scottish SPCA.

Jamie handed me Duke and I carried him over the shingle to Penny who was listening to Duke hollering and desperate to get released.

The sun was blazing down and a perfect day for his return. 

When he hit the water she was quick to acknowledge his return and raised her head several times in welcome, he quickly drank from the river after the long journey from Fishcross. 

After a brief  get together and shake out.

Duke suddenly took off down the river and flew about 100 yards, obviously feeling the need to stretch his wings, he then took off again and flew down to the end of the pier.

Penny took the slow route and swam down to meet him for a proper welcome and bonding session. 

This was the moment I was waiting for, and with that... the sea Haar drifted in and enveloped the whole coast line.

However I took a load of photo's and some movie clips. it was a joy to watch ... I have missed out the final mating act to avoid upsetting those with sensitive children. It does look like Duke is up to the job, and Penny can now get on with the nesting season.  Enjoy the sequence of shots and clip below !!

Saturday, 25 March 2017


Have just been informed by Colin the SPCA Manager at Fishcross that Duke has recovered and will be back in Nairn as soon as he can arrange transport.
This will be a massive boost for Penny who has missed him so much., he will be delighted to be back in familiar surroundings too. The coming spring tides next week usually heralds the start of the mating season in earnest. I am delighted with today's News ! Well done the Scottish SPCA at Fishcross, and grateful thanks from the River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust !

Good Suggestion

Received the photo below from a regular Nairn Facebook user regarding a talking point about informative signs about feeding the river birds. 

The River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust consider this to be a very good suggestion. Maybe we could get our local councillors to get some signs fixed around Merryton Bridge? The trust has asked our 4 councillors before about getting a few signs around the riverside with no success as yet. Personally I would make a few adjustments to this sign, but in the Main it is sound advice.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Lonely Penny

Having disappeared yesterday for the day, Penny has returned to the River and Harbour today. She is a very lonely Swan and still waits for Duke to return. 

Spring equinox has passed and this is the most important time of the year, with mating and nest building imminent. It's all down to the Scottish SPCA wildlife centre to get Duke back ASAP.  

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Duke Environmental Issue ?

Further news on Duke today, he is still on antibiotics and painkillers, he is eating but not as much as he should be. I am told if he is not coping or deteriorates again, the Vet plans to check his liver and air sacs by endoscope on Saturday. The Vet suspects his up and down condition could be an environmental issue.

Interestingly enough this is headline news on the BBC today, with a record fine for Thames water for polluting the River Thames and causing the deaths of birds, fish and cattle, details here. . Makes me wonder about Scottish Water, poor old Duke, and discharges into the River Nairn and Moray firth ?
This should be a warning to ALL water companies !

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Male Goosander

Our resident Male Goosander in the harbour today, bright sunshine but biting cold wind.

Sunday, 19 March 2017


Have just had an update on Duke from SPCA down at Fishcross. Duke is now in an Indoor pool and has started eating on his own. Colin the Manager says he is now much brighter than when he arrived. Duke has a swollen foot, but an x-ray shows no sign of a break. He is being given antibiotics for infection meanwhile, and the Vet will check him on Tuesday. Fingers crossed he will soon be well enough to return to Penny who is definitely missing him.

She was sharing the Harbour with the little grebe again today  

Friday, 17 March 2017

Little Grebe

The Little Grebe is still in the lower river and Harbour, a few shots today. 

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Duke Heads South

Duke has been taken to the Scottish SPCA wildlife rescue centre at Fishcross for a little more expert attention. He is still not eating of his own accord but is well enough to do the journey down there. 

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Duke Latest

Duke is still in Inverness undergoing tests. He is still not eating after a one off eating session during Sunday night. The vets have decided to keep him in Inverness meanwhile, rather than a stressful 150 mile journey to Alloa. They are waiting on the results of a blood test and he is still being tube fed.
Lets hope they find out what ails him !

Meanwhile Penny is sticking close to home, and protecting her territory.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Penny Waits for Duke

Penny was calling for Duke last night after he was taken to the Vets. Today she has calmed down and seems to have accepted his disappearance for the moment. 

She took advantage of the Spring sunshine and sat on the exact spot they spent together the day before.

The latest News I have on Duke is that he has responded to early hydration and antibiotic measures and appeared more lively this morning. He will be taken down to Fishcross SPCA national wildlife rescue centre near Alloa tomorrow for further tests and treatment. He was lucky to have been given some vet help yesterday since they are normally closed. As luck would have it, they were on hand dealing with an emergency road casualty and were able to give Duke some preliminary treatment which may have made all the difference to his survival.

Saturday, 11 March 2017


After 2 days of trying I finally managed to catch Duke this afternoon.
He was still not eating and getting more lethargic and weak. I was fortunate that a good Samaritan happened along at the right time and offered to help. 

Duke had gone up to the island strip near the road bridge after an earlier failed attempt by me to capture him. This time I took a different approach and outwitted him, trapped against the embankment just long enough to catch him. I was surprised at how heavy he was, at least 25 pounds maybe even 30, he looks good but was weak, which after 4 days without food is not surprising.

The good Samaritan called Rosie, happened to be an ex police woman and had no qualms about taking off her shoes and wading across the river with the Swan bag, my thanks to her for a good job well done.

Was also fortunate when I called the SPCA with news of the capture, Inspector Anne was within 10 minutes of Nairn, so a quick pick up and Duke off to Inverness for attention.

Fingers crossed it is a fixable illness and we get Duke back soon. 

Just received a call from SPCA saying that the Vet is fully occupied with a long operation, however they have given Duke some hydration mixture and they will have another look at him later this evening. If he makes it through the night they will give him further treatment. 

Penny will be frantically looking for him tomorrow, she has been a wonderful partner checking on him several times a day, for she knows he is unwell. She has had a really hard time with the loss of Popeye and now Duke for the second time in 6 weeks.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Duke Sick Again

It appears our intrepid Duke is sick once again. He has refused to eat for several days and I am having difficulty in catching him for a trip to the vets.

Both Inspector Aileen of the Scottish SPCA and myself tried today but he does not want to be captured, and still well enough to keep out of reach and one step ahead !

                            I will keep trying until we get him sorted, I have a suspicion he has an impacted crop. 

Penny has been keeping him company but she knows he is not right.