Friday, 29 September 2017

Summers End ?

Our Summer has been pretty poor and Autumn is now under way with the leaves turning. My hopes of an Indian Summer are still there for October, but if September is anything to go by !

Have seen very few butterflies this year, but today had a double treat.

With a red Admiral down by the riverside, and a Dragon fly by my garden pond, hope still for an Indian Summer ? 

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Trust Feeding Facts

Viewers might like to know a few facts about the Trust feeding regime on the riverside. Trust membership pays for the feeding and care of the River Nairn water birds. It has been remarked to me often that these must be the best cared for birds in Scotland, I don't argue with that ! 

The Trust Provides approx 3.5 tons of specialised and mixed grain a year to feed around 180 birds. This might seem a lot, but in fact is only around 2 ounces or 56 grams a day per bird.

The quality of the feeding is reflected in the good health and condition of the birds, which we all enjoy seeing on our river. A couple of short clips below, showing Penny and the ducklings feeding today. 


Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Island Takeover Bid

The two young swans have not given up trying to takeover Penny and Dukes territory. 

Today was their boldest attempt yet, as they flew over a couple of times before landing beside the nesting island.

Penny and Duke were having a nap at the Merryton bridge but soon rallied as the youngsters landed. 

Penny was first to mount the attack followed closely by Duke. The youngsters  were quick to realise that this was going to be no walk over.

Penny knows that Duke is still vulnerable due to his moulting being incomplete he is unable to fly for another week. Swans use their wings as weapons, but when moulting they risk severe injury if the feathers are not mature enough to take a pounding.  Pen swans moult before the Cobs, so Penny was capable of fighting and took the initiative.

The youngsters thought by leaving the water they would be left alone - not so !

Penny and Duke were determined to make them leave the entire territory and the red line is off the end of the pier ! 

Penny escorted them down river but Duke held back knowing she had everything in hand. I suspect one of the youngsters will likely be Penny's offspring. The sequence of shots tells the story.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Defending The Territory

There have been a pair of new swans checking out the estuary in the last couple of days. Penny disappeared for the entire day on Sunday leaving Duke to defend the territory. 

It seems I named him well after John Wayne, for he tackled the two young swans himself when they ventured up to the Merryton bridge.

Pouncing on the back of one, he grabbed it by the back of the neck and paddled at the same speed as it tried to escape. Eventually he let it go and both the youngsters headed back to sea. 

Penny returned yesterday which is the anniversary of Popeye's demise last year. Perhaps she flew off to check on last years brood, she looks stunning in her new plumage.  

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Limpy and Disco

My two disabled ducks are gradually getting used to each other, although disco is still showing she's the boss.

However Limpy is still a baby, just coming up to 3 months old. I think once he gets his male colours and a bit bigger she will be more accepting of him, especially when spring arrives !

Meanwhile when together in the pool they get on great and do a bit of diving together. Limpy's gammy leg is no hindrance in the water, and he can now use his wings to give himself a lift when required.

Having had this impediment since a small duckling he has adapted and managed OK on one leg.

Short clip below showing how Disco still rules the roost !

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Penny And The Ducklings

Nice scene today in the Autumn sunshine, Penny looking enviously at the mother duck with the brood of Nine !

Penny had several broods of nine herself over the years, sadly not this year.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Mirror Mirror....

Penny and Duke appear to be getting a little closer lately. Duke seems to have gotten over his bouts of ill health and appetite has returned.

Penny has now got her new plumage and has already had a test flight. Duke is about 10 days behind her with the moulting. I had a chat with them this morning and both knew I was communicating ...even if they couldn't understand, they like being close and ready for a soothing nap !
Duke was resting his right leg, the foot is used as a means of controlling body temperature, solar panel for swans !  Short clip below.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Successful Duck Release

The rehab duck with the previously broken leg was finally released today. 

The sun shone for the first time in weeks, and the 10 day rehab after the splints were removed ensured that she was fully recovered. 

Not even a hint of a limp she took to the river with great joy, diving and splashing and giving herself a good wash and preen. I am truly happy she is back in the wild, although I'll miss our little drinks together !! 

Monday, 18 September 2017

Being In Demand

Young Ducklings are quick to learn where there's a food source, mainly from their Mum of course. 

During chilly weather their need for food is much greater, to keep the cold out and keep growing as well.

The combination of dried mealworm, porridge oats, and mixed bird seed, is an ideal high protein diet to do the job.

The sequence of shots shows what happens when I turn up with the food every day, the ducklings virtually scoot over the water, have their fill and depart to sleep it off !

This Mum knows me from previous years and her experience shows. It's nice being in demand ! 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Bird Seed Benefactor

Got  a pleasant surprise returning from this mornings river bird feeding session. A 20kg sack of wild bird seed deposited at my door.

The Trust would like to thank the anonymous benefactor who kindly considered the birds welfare, especially during this cold snap. Much Appreciated

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Cute Ducklings

The September brood are coping with the new river environment in spite of the recent spate conditions. 

Was a bit worried when I didn't see them yesterday, but today mother duck turned up at feeding time with all 9 ducklings.
They were eating like ravenous piranhas with the drop in temperature and high water.

 After stuffing their necks with Mealworm, porridge oats, and mixed bird seeds, they settled down for a nap. 
At first on the recently created shingle bed in the middle of the river, then under the bridge.

Short movie clip below, drink after the feed .