Saturday, 30 June 2018

River Oil Pollution !!!

UPDATE: River is clear today, although I understand was still diminishing oil film at 11pm last night.
From what I saw yesterday evening I would say this is a local discharge from somewhere on the west side of the river - from the brae or high street vicinity.

Just Phoned SEPA the environmental protection agency,  River is covered in a film of oil which started to pollute the lower river area about 8pm.

This is disastrous for the wildlife, especially at this time with ducklings and cygnets on the river.

The low water conditions make it even worse for the Fish as well.

I hope SEPA can get onto it right away, weekend or not ! 

Aggresive Duke

Don't know if it's the heat or whether Duke is getting over zealous about being the protector, but he has been chasing the ducks around for the past few days. 

                            It appears that any newcomers get chased.  

River is rapidly drying up and no sign of any rain in the near future.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Hottest Day

The hot weather continues with Temperatures into the 80s today. Everything was trying to chill out, including the birds.  

First thing this morning I found a rock dove in the garden in it's final death throes, don't know if this was heat related or not. 

On the neighbours tin roof, the 3 gull chicks were struggling in the heat with gaping mouths trying to cool down. I felt pangs of guilt having a garden pond just feet away, so decided to give them some water to help them out. 

This was immediately appreciated with the 3 of them piling in for a much needed drink. 

Being a tin roof the heat must have been unbearable.
The river is the lowest I have ever seen, in the near 40 years having been in the area.

Penny has started moulting and Duke is now in total charge of family safety, chasing anything that comes near.  

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

New Broods

As anticipated, more new ducklings are now appearing on the riverside. 

The extended cold winter delayed many of the ducks from nesting early, and I thought they would be 2 to 3 weeks later.
The appearance of two new broods since yesterday seems to confirm this, and there are still others nesting right now. 

Just a reminder to everyone please do not throw bread at them, as this will bring down the gulls and Crows on them.

Also spotted the brood I put in last Thursday, one appears to be missing, but the other 7 are sticking together. 

The island brood are now 2 weeks old and six are still alive.

The warm weather should help their survival chances, with heavy growth cover, insect life, and less pressure on food resources.

Saturday, 23 June 2018


Yet again Plastic pollution hits the news headlines.

The sad sight of wildlife starving to death because their stomachs filled with plastic, unable to eat real food is heart wrenching. The top photo shows the plastic that came out of one bird !

Perhaps it's time that Schools added the subject of Planet pollution to the lessons, as the kids today will have the pollution problems of tomorrow ?  

Surely this subject  should be given a greater priority than the consumer society that has created it ?

All of us have to think more about the use of plastics, especially single use stuff and teach the kids to stop throwing litter down. 

They should be made to realise that even sweetie wrappers are plastic and not paper, and it gets blown into the rivers and pollutes the sea. 

                             I have published this subject before and make no apology for a repeat with pictures - showing exactly what is going on around the Planet..

Make no mistake, the biodegrade charts don't tell the whole story, even after this happens hundreds of years from now, the tiny particles are still available for sea life to eat - ultimately into the food chain !  

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Longest Day

The Summer Solstice was the release date for Disco's ducklings. This happened this morning, and due to making a mistake with the camera I did not record the event !  

However, by chance one of our Trust members was on the Merryton bridge with a camera phone and did record the event. Link is HERE

Been a funny sort of day, as Duke stayed in the Moat with one cygnet while Penny took the other six down river. This never happened with Penny and her previous mate Popeye. I heard from another Trust member that Duke spent half an hour chasing some ducks near the Swans Island. It might well have been the ducklings I released this morning - I hope he has not scared them off !

The mother duck with 6 small ducklings is still on the go having had 9 ten days ago. I also noticed another duck with 5 large ducklings arriving at the Merryton bridge this evening, she has been seen up river near the granites pool for some time.

The cygnets are growing at an incredible rate, and show no signs of slowing down. 

Conditions have been perfect for them with river weed and grasses in abundance. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Ducklings Last day

Disco's ducklings will be released from rehab tomorrow. They are keen to get flying and have been practicing around the garden, especially during the windy days. All of them are capable of flight including the 2 rescued ones that were only a week behind. 

Today they were given a treat with a fresh Pond refill. It has been a lot of work caring for them for 2 months, but they stand a good chance of survival even without disco's guidance in the river. 

Her disability would mean certain death if she was released into the wild. She and Limpy will be permanent residents of the Trust. Short movie clip below.

Monday, 18 June 2018


Having been asked several times to produce another Swans Calendar, and with the successful hatching of Penny and Duke's cygnets, I put together some of the best archive photos as well as the recent brood. The manufacturer raised their prices by almost 25 % on last year, so reluctantly I have to pass on some of this increase. The cost to Trust members will be limited to £6, this is way below what it would cost if you were ordering direct from the manufacturers using your own photos !  

Non Members buying direct from the Trust will pay £7-50, even this is below the cost doing one for yourself. Postage will be added.  
Can I remind everyone that every penny raised goes to the care and welfare of the River Nairn Water birds. There will be a limited amount of these beautiful calendars produced, so help the wildlife and order now.
They are also on sale at Strachan's in Nairn.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Young Gulls

Tried the new camera again on the young gulls on the neighbouring property roof.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Coming On

Penny and Dukes brood are coming on, and already bigger than the ducks. 

They've had the best start in years, with conditions having been perfect for the first month of their lives.

Likewise Disco and Limpy's brood, due for release to the river next week.

Our latest river duckling brood has lost two this morning, now down to seven.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Island Duck Hatches 9

The Mallard duck in a previous post nesting on the Swans island, showed up this evening with 9 ducklings. I am particularly happy about this as she was chased off the nest by a Black Spaniel called Bailey !! This happened around the 2nd of June, and was seen by a Trust member who related the story to me. 

Fortunately the Duck did not abandon the nest and has hatched them just before the high spring tide in a couple of days time. I watched her this evening as she came to me for a quick feed then returned to her ducklings on the island, chasing some drakes away in the process ! 

Hopefully her chances are better with heavy growth and plenty of available food now.

On my way home I spotted a gull chick falling from the Macintosh building in the high street, it is being watched by the parent bird and is currently in the hair salon doorway.

This is likely to be a regular occurrence from now on, with gale force winds forecast for Wednesday / Thursday.