Friday, 30 March 2018


Love is in the air for Penny and Duke on this Good Friday. 

What a lovely surprise to see them getting close and ultimately mating. 

This is quite a change from last year when Duke was weak and ill. 

Today all systems were go and he was synchronising the rituals, and behaving much like Popeye did in the past.

After mating at high tide, he proceeded to the nest and dutifully guarded it.

All the signs are pointing to a normal nesting season, fingers crossed we get some cygnets this year.  

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Easter Eggs

Disco the disabled duck has finally begun to incubate her eggs .....all 16 of them !!!!

Had the chance to inspect the nest when she came off briefly for a wash and bite to eat this morning.
She is quite a Madam and enjoying life to the full, all being well we should see some ducklings in a months time.
She will rear them in as natural a state as possible until they are safe enough to be transferred to the river when about 9 weeks old.

The six she had last season were successfully integrated into the river population at that age.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Little Egret

Keen walker and Trust Member George Berryman, captured a couple of nice shots out by the Ministers Loch today.

The little Egret has made the area it's home over the past couple of years.
These birds are fairly rare in Northern areas, this could be the result of climate change. George said it was a graceful mover.

Friday, 23 March 2018


Today I found one of our Mallard Drakes dead beside the Merryton bridge. By all accounts it seems to have been a dog attack with paw prints around the carcase.

The nesting season is now underway and it is common for ducks and drakes to be scouting the riverbank for possible nesting sites. The Drakes hang around the area and are sometimes slow to move particularly if they are under a tree and unable to take off easily, this one was under a tree.

I have consistently asked some dog owners to keep their dogs under close control, especially at this time of year through until July at least. The Scottish outdoor access code stipulates this advice.

Some people are determined to ignore this advice and will be reported to the Dog warden and the Police if spotted by Trust members. 

One such woman consistently allows her dog to chase the birds, in spite being asked time and again not to allow it to do so. The River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust exists to protect the river birds. The vast majority of dog owners are no problem, but some couldn't care less about other species. Fifty per cent of Scottish birds are ground nesting and will not leave their nest when sitting on eggs, even when the threat to them can be fatal.
The Trust only asks that dog owners keep a wary eye on their dogs, and keep them close by in an area where wildlife abounds. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Disco Still Laying

Disco the disabled duck is still laying eggs and I see a total of 10 so far. She has had a few hiccups along the way, and laid a very small egg about quarter the normal size last week !

Having spoken to a friend who told me that she was probably lacking calcium, I supplied her with some crushed Cuttle fish shells. She was gobbling them down like there was no tomorrow, and this put her back on track for a full clutch.

She has not started sitting yet, so looks like she is going for the dozen !

Meanwhile Penny and Duke are still waiting on spring weather, but I fear winter is not over yet !

Monday, 19 March 2018

Sunny Respite

After what seems to have been weeks of bitter Siberian easterly winds, we finally get a welcome Sunny respite.

The river birds are frisky and Penny and Duke I'm told were mating yesterday, this is good news as the run up to nesting time is not far away. We have a spring tide at the end of the month, and I expect them to start nest building then.

Trust members and regular River and beach walkers Mr and Mrs Nicol, brought me another Guillemot found on the beach. In spite of my best efforts it died after expelling the same foul smelling inky black fluid as the previous rescued Guillemot. There have been several deaths of these sea birds over the past few weeks.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Back With The Tide

Our Resident Swans Penny and Duke have returned to the River after 15 days away. Have no Idea where they were, but both look in excellent condition.

Penny normally starts nest building around the end of this month, but with such a prolonged winter this might be delayed - unless we get a dramatic improvement in the weather !

They have settled straight back into their normal routine, chilling out close to their island, nice to see them back😀.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

This Time Last Year

With Penny and Duke away for nearly 2 weeks, some people are starting to miss them now. 

Checking back to this time last year, Duke was taken ill on the 11th March for the second time and treated at the Scottish SPCA wildlife rescue centre in Fife.

Since then his health improved but we know he did not fertilise Penny's eggs last season.

My feeling is that she is still trying to get a new mate, and only time will tell if she comes back to nest with a new partner, or a new pair come in and take over the Territory.  Winter is not over yet, but I'm certain she will be back for the next Spring tide. 

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Something In The Water ?

Trust Members have been observing some seabird casualties over the past few days. Maybe it's the result of the strong Siberian wind pushing the birds from East to West last week.

Gerry and Belinda picked up a Guillemot yesterday from the beach near the Golf view hotel. I put it in the brooder under some heat and gave it some re-hydration fluid in the hope of saving it, however it died through the night. 

Today George Berryman another Trust member, witnessed the death of another seabird on the east beach, looks like a Little auk. The Guillemot had no external injuries but passed a black foul smelling inky fluid, makes me wonder if it was something it ate, causing an illness?

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

The Latest Wag

Our resident Swans Duke and Penny have been away since the 1st of the month. With the extended winter weather, who can blame them! Although we missed the Snow , we got the Siberian wind chill and now the leaden skies and rain, very dreich.

                      I refilled the garden pond today, and Disco and Limpy could not wait for a refreshing bath.

So much so they jumped in before it was even inches deep.

Then out of the blue the Pied wagtail turned up, followed by a Yellow wagtail, both hoping for some tasty mealworm.

Pics are poor quality as I took them from indoors and light was so poor. Nice to see we have Yellow Wagtails on the go.

The Pigeons also arrived, with a lovely white visitor as well.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Coldest Winter

My earlier gut feeling about this going to be a bad winter seems to have come to fruition. Must be the coldest winter for at least the past 10 years. The relentless Siberian wind is bone chilling if outdoors for any length of time.

Even with the pond heater, I have to break the ice off the pond every morning to allow Disco and Limpy access.

Ground is frozen solid and Disco is desperate for grass roots and soil, so have to pour hot water on small area to allow her to get at it.

Meanwhile the Pied Wagtail is glad of the dried mealworm sprinkled on the pond every day. This continuing severe weather will be fatal to a lot of birds, so be sure to give them food and water !