Sunday, 30 July 2017

Gurn Boss Rescue

The Editor and Boss of the Gurn from Nurn did a dramatic rescue at the Bailey bridge today. Having heard a commotion at the bridge he saw a young pigeon that had fallen into the River Nairn, probably from a nest underneath. Wading across the river at the expense of a good soaking himself,  he managed to rescue the wet and shivering bird and brought it to the Trust rehab centre. Well Done Des !
The bird is recovering well, has dried out and is now eating.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Injured Duckling Recovers

Two weeks ago today I rescued a badly injured duckling after an attack by a Black backed gull.

After a short course of antibiotics, anti inflammatory,  and anti bacterial cream applied daily to the bared neck, I am pleased to see the positive results.

There is still a small bare area at the back of the neck and it may be a permanent feature, otherwise all of the neck and face injuries have healed. This duckling happens to be a female so even more important that it survived. Providing the mother still has the other sibling I will return it to the river shortly. 

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Together Again

Duke has rejoined Penny, after 6 days of illness he is on the mend but still not 100 per cent. He is searching out soft grass and weed, but did have a little grain. He obviously has a stomach problem and looking for soft greens. I will try and get him some fresh soft grass this afternoon. 

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Duke On The Mend

Paid a visit to Duke up river this morning, this is the 6th day since he stopped eating.

                           I was delighted to see him alert and perked up at my visit, he moved towards me which in itself was a good sign - usually moves away if feeling unwell. He even ate a few small pieces of  wholemeal before moving to the other bank to preen . He has also begun to moult about a week after Penny started. I am hoping he develops an immunity to whatever illness has hit him. I do suspect the sewerage outfall just off the east beach where he was the day before falling ill !

Monday, 24 July 2017

Another New Hatch

Another pleasant surprise this evening when a mother duck turned up with 9 new ducklings. Mother had a good feed but ducklings only hatched this morning so still using the yoke sac.

This is good news at this time of year when plenty of cover and food available, so survival chances are greater. In saying that, I saw a black back gull  grabbing a fully grown duck tonight but it managed to escape - minus a few feathers !

So we now have the newly hatched 9, plus the mother with 10 about a week old, then the mother with 8 quite well grown, plus another 3 mothers with one each. 

It has been a successful year on the river as far as Mallards are concerned.

However we again have a problem with Duke who is again off his food for several days and appears to be ill again. I have been monitoring him and am hoping he can throw off whatever is ailing him. I did notice last Wednesday he was around the sewage outfall in the sea. This would be a perfect way of ingesting a stomach bug !

Friday, 21 July 2017

Fly Catchers

Impossible to photograph ducklings catching flies with my camera, so have taken short movie clip showing just how fast they are.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Fly Catching Ducklings

This evening I spotted a new brood of 11 ducklings. The wind had dropped and the heat was lovely, a real summers evening. 
Just the conditions that are ideal for newly hatched ducklings, plenty of insects within reach from over hanging vegetation.

  The ducklings were having a great time jumping up for the midges and other small flies, a joy to watch.

This new brood could be ideal for the re- introduction of the weak duckling I took home a couple of days ago. 

                                        I have been feeding it up, and with the warmer conditions it is now a lot stronger and more active. 
I have not seen the mother with 6 siblings, unless she has stolen or integrated another brood and this 11 are it. Given the chance tomorrow, I will put this little one back while conditions are right.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Weak Duckling Rescue

Yesterday I was contacted by Shona who lives in the same street, she said there was a duck with 8 ducklings in the high street. When we got there, the Mother duck was frantic as she was surrounded by onlookers and the ducklings were behind large Iron gates. After asking the people to move away and allow the duckling to rejoin the mother they got together and we escorted them down to the riverside.
Today I saw the mother with only 6 ducklings but shortly after, another weak duckling turned up making a total of seven. 

This little one was struggling and unable to keep up with the mother and siblings, eventually being blown down river by the strong wind and the mother and siblings carried on up river. The Gulls and crows were waiting, so had no choice but to bring it home and put it in the incubator to warm up. I will keep it a day or two until it starts to eat and gets stronger , then I can return it to the family.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Lucky Escape

Yesterday one of our largest ducklings was attacked and badly injured. 

After taking some photos and seeing them on the computer it was obvious that the duckling needed some urgent attention. 

This morning I managed to catch it and give it the medication needed. 

Painkiller, antibiotics, and anti bacterial cream.
It is now resting beside the duckling with the broken leg. 

All being well I may be able to return it to the mother and one sibling in a few days. It's had a lucky escape.  

Was sent a photo of possible culprit for the attack. 

This photo was taken by one of our trust members this morning - a day after the attack. It clearly shows a black back gull grabbing a duck by the neck, pretty well same area as the duckling above.
The duck was seen to escape, at least temporarily. 
Again a timely reminder for people to avoid feeding gulls -  the results can be deadly for the ducks !

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Dislocated Duck Brood

The Duck with the dislocated wing is doing a great job caring for her brood of 6. She has just recently shed her main flight feathers but is ever watchful for predators.

One of her brood is only half the size of the others and has to make sure it gets it's share of the food by getting literally stuck in there !
Meanwhile the duckling with the broken leg is getting on with life in the bathtub, after only 11 days care it's doing well.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Library Display

Being exactly 10 years since the creation of the Swans nesting island, the Trust has put on an anniversary display of some photos showing our River swans and wildlife over the years. Some of these are displayed for the first time. Our thanks to Morag Paterson our Trust secretary for setting it out. 

Monday, 10 July 2017

Coastal Predators

There's only one thing more scary than a great Black Back Gull to ducks on the river ...that's Two Black backed gulls !  During the last few days we have lost some ducklings and young ducks, would not be surprised if it was the Black back. One of our trust Members saw a black back with a young duck which escaped after he clapped his hands to scare it off. 

The great Black back is a powerful predator and capable of taking fully grown ducks and rabbits. I witnessed a black back in 2010 taking a fully grown female duck. See above Photos!

 Last week I saw a pair of them feeding on a what looked like a sea trout on the riverside.

Even half dozen Hoodie crows are no match for the Great black back.  The comparative size to a common herring gull can clearly be seen here.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Duckling Hydrotherapy

This time last week one of the river ducklings was bitten by an adult and got a badly broken leg. I was reluctant to have it put to sleep and bandaged the leg close to the body - as the break was there and not possible to splint. I gave it some anti inflammatory pain relief every day, along with some calcium powder.The duckling is only 3 weeks old and am hoping that even if it ends up with a gammy leg, that it will compensate and be able to live with the disability.

Having removed the bandage I was keen to see how well it had healed and give it some hydrotherapy at the same time. I was delighted to see that it has partial use of the leg after only 7 days.

Young birds grow rapidly and heal much quicker than other species. It's early days, but I hope through time it will get enough use from the leg that it can safely return to it's siblings in the river.

Otherwise it may end up as a mate for the duck with the broken wing ! Short movie clip below of the hydrotherapy bath this morning.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Chilling Out

Penny and Duke have settled down to a quiet summer with no cygnets. Penny deserves a break after 10 years constant production. Both of them are looking good, but moulting time will start this month for Penny at least.

Meanwhile the mother with 9 ducklings is no longer able to keep them all under cover, just as well it's mid summer.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Duckling Reunited


Finally was able to reunite the smallest duckling with it's Mother and siblings this morning. They were still together this evening, so am hoping it will survive. The other duckling with a badly broken leg is under my care for the moment. After a visit to the Vet I was given no hope, but I insisted on giving it a chance.

broken leg

The break was bandaged up by the Vet but came off an hour after returning home. So I had to redo the bandage in a more secure fashion. Fingers crossed it will mend well enough to be functional and survive. I had a duckling in 2013 with a badly broken leg which healed up and it survived, so I'm an eternal optimist when it comes to birds ability to heal themselves.  See photos below.