Saturday, 27 January 2018

Bottoms Up - 5 Years Young !

The River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust is now 5 years young. It was January 2013 when the first Meeting of the founding Trustees got together.

Much has happened over the last 5 years to benefit the river wildlife, and in turn delight many people in the process.

We now have around 200 river waterfowl which give a lot of pleasure to many by their presence on the river. 

The Trust have been watchdogs for the wildlife and the local environment too, reporting pollution incidents, picking up litter, and educating people on the riverside.

Many rescues have also been carried out, saving various birds that would have otherwise perished. Well over 100 birds have been saved.

The Trust has dealt with wildlife safety issues like getting BT to alter wiring after one of our cygnets got killed.

We also deal with the Scottish SPCA and Vets on a regular basis, as well as network rail, BEAR Scotland, Scottish water, SSE and anyone else that effects our legitimate concerns.

The Trust has spent over £15,000 on the care and welfare of the birds and their environment. This has come Primarily from the membership which now totals 176. Most are local but some from throughout the UK and abroad too.

Every penny raised by the Trust has been used to benefit the wildlife.

As time passes people realise more and more that we need to keep in touch with nature, that the natural world is immensely valuable for our own well being.

                          It has to be protected and cherished for future generations.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Thaw and Pollution

River is still running high after the thaw and stormy wind yesterday. The birds are getting into the eddies where they can avoid the strong current and feed.

Penny and Duke find it easier to reach the feed then ride the rapids.

Unpleasant mess on harbour street yesterday as a sewer overflowed onto the street, this was quickly spread all over the road and path by passing vehicles. I contacted Scottish Water and they said it was being investigated. This sewer has thrown up stuff before and is an obvious long term problem to be fixed. It ultimately ends up in the roadside drain then into the river !

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

My Friends Perspective

Big thaw started today and river rising makes feeding my friends more difficult in a fast spate river.

However during the cold spell they were fed twice a day - now back to once a day. 
The Trust helps them get through the winter months ready for a productive spring.

Feeding my friends in the cold river conditions, I get a close perspective and am accepted by Penny as a trusted friend of 12 years.  Short clip with Penny preening beside me before the thaw.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

On Guard

Lovely crisp winters day, blue sky and  I managed to remove some annoying river litter in the form of 2 white  plastic sandbags near Merryton bridge.

Penny and duke had a good feed then spotted a lone Swan around their island.

This provoked and immediate response both arching their wings ready for action !

Duke showed the more aggressive stance which you can see in the photos, he is on the right hand side.

He seems to be more willing for combat this year and is in a healthy condition. Defence of their territory will be their number one priority from now on.  Short movie clip of them feeding, minutes before spotting the intruder below.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Winter Chill

As I surmised early in December, the Winter looks like being a hard one compared to recent years.

Already we've had more snow than last year and it's only mid January.

When the ground is covered the birds suffer more than most, so make sure you top up your bird feeders and don't forget they need water to drink.

Our river birds had the seal to avoid during high tide today as well.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Plastic Pollution Litter

Hot topic right now is Plastic Pollution of the Planet. This subject has been ongoing for years now and Greenpeace often highlight it. As a child, Plastic was pretty rare to us in the 1950s, but since then the discoveries have come thick and fast, and now within my lifetime we have succeeded in choking the World with plastic of every description.

What is really shocking is the time it takes for these substances to biodegrade. Fishing line for instance takes 600 years to break down, and many other everyday items anything from 50 to 450 years.

More details on the BBC website

                                   It is incumbent on all of us to act now to tackle this threat to the environment and all living things in it !

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Radiant Swans

Being on the right side of the Mid Winter Equinox, birds begin to look their best prior to the mating / nesting season.

Duke and Penny are no exception and look positively radiant!  Short movie clip below.

Cold Kills

Trust Secretary Morag came across a young poorly Blackback gull today on the beach.

Realizing it was poorly she brought the bird to me to check it out.  I could find no external injuries of any kind but with the persistent frost over the last week, I was certain it was hypothermic and possibly starving as well.

Putting it in a heated insulated box I gave it some rehydration liquid, being in such a weakened condition it was unable to eat. As is often the case with birds close to death, it picked up briefly after an hour or so, but later passed away peacefully.

Long Cold frosty nights,  frozen ground and inadequate food supply kills many birds during the winter.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

New Visitors

This morning saw the arrival of two new Swans in the river.

Couldn't tell if it was Slim with a new mate, or a completely new pair. Duke and Penny were further up by the Merryton bridge unaware or uninterested. 

The new pair only stayed for a couple of hours then moved back down to the sea.

This is the time of year when newly paired swans start moving around looking for spring nesting sites. It's unlikely that Penny and Duke will venture far from their home turf now.  

Monday, 8 January 2018

Frost Free

One thing about fast flowing water, it avoids freezing easily.

The past few days and nights have been pretty cold with a penetrating frost. Our river Birds are delighted to get their daily rations in icy conditions - before chilling out....literally ! 

Penny and Duke have been back since New years day, and are happy to preen and sit tight during this cold spell.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Seal Salmon Fishing

For those of you who might not have seen the River Seal catching a Salmon, I have a few shots taken in September 2013. It shows the Seal catching and devouring a salmon a lot quicker than you could eat a fish supper !   

Sequence shows the catch and dispatch.