Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Duckling Update

What a difference a day makes !  After a good nights rest with plenty of food and medication, the injured duckling was in a lively mood this morning. It appeared to be walking almost normally and the hock joint swelling had reduced. I decided to give it a bath and see how it's swimming ability was with the improved leg. Short movie clip below.

The anti inflammatory has made a big difference, but to be certain I took it to the Vet for assessment.
Claire of Moray Coast vets, seemed to think it may have had ligament damage and that I should continue with the anti inflammatory until further improvement, hopefully it wont need antibiotics unless signs of infection appear. A diet of soft lettuce, mealworm, chick crumbs, porridge oats and a cuddly toy, all help with the recovery. Hopefully back to the river soon !

Duckling Rescue

About 5 days ago I saw a duckling trapped under the wire mesh at Merryton bridge. It had squeezed between the mesh and got stuck. I watched for several minutes as it tried to squeeze through. 

Eventually I decided to wade across the river and free it, by the time I crossed the river it had gotten free. 

However over the last 3 days I have watched one duckling from the same brood struggling to keep up with the others, with difficulty walking. It has been in obvious pain and occasionally being picked on by other adult ducks. 

                         It is smaller than the others and not getting enough food. The mother duck has been looking after it and gave me a merry chase this evening as I attempted for the 3rd time to catch the wee one and get it some treatment. 

Tonight I finally caught it and is now safely in the warmth of the Trust brooder. The hock joint is swollen on the left leg but not broken, I have given it some painkiller anti inflammatory, and will see how it is tomorrow, perhaps a visit to the vet is next.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Good Times Continue

Looks like the Summer weather is set to continue for a while yet. 

The expected heavy rain has not yet materialised in our part of the world. 

This means a bonus for the river wildlife, excluding the poor Fish waiting to return up river to the spawning grounds. The river birds are thriving and the Cygnets are almost the size of Penny and Duke, today having a playful paddle to the delight of onlookers. Short clip below

Penny is growing her new feathers and should be capable of flight in a couple of weeks, meanwhile diligently escorting her brood - while duke harasses the ducks.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Bird Rehydration

Occasionally I have the job of trying to save sick and injured birds. Basic knowledge has been gleaned from conversations with our Avian adviser, the internet, and practical experience. Sick pigeons have common and often fatal illnesses that little can be done with. Birds that are sometimes unable or unwilling to drink or eat, can sometimes be helped on the road to recovery.
Rehydration is the first thing that should be done, before any food is given, as the bird has to be well enough to cope with digesting food. Hydration liquid is easily made up by using 1 litre of warm water, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and I teaspoon of salt. Short movie clip below showing a current situation.

In spite of my efforts, sadly this bird did not survive.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Long Hot Summer

The long hot summer continues, and visitors take advantage of our lovely river walk. 

They come from all corners of the globe and admire our river birds. 

Locals too enjoy the new life to be seen. Today some disabled children from the Leonard Cheshire home in Inverness, stopped for a joyous look at the ducklings and Cygnets.

The natural world never disappoints.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Exceptional Beak

Have observed a Black headed gull recently with a most unusual long beak - 

much longer and more curved than normal.

Thursday, 19 July 2018


                          Idyllic conditions on the river again today. 

Even the Goosander was laid back, enjoying the heat with plentiful small fish available.

Usually doesn't get this close. 

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

New life and Death on the River

With most of the Ducks on the river now moulting, they are highly vulnerable to attacks by predators.

Sadly this was witnessed by one of our Trust members this morning, on seeing a Great black backed Gull taking a fully grown female duck.

Some hours later a new duck brood appeared. With the exceptional summer weather and a delayed nesting by some of the ducks, we stand a good chance of seeing even more broods by summers end.

One cygnet was curious to see these new arrivals.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Two Months On

Been a fabulous two months since the Cygnets hatched, weather has been exceptional and they have been blessed with Ideal conditions for growth. 

Looks like this Summer will go down in the record books and sure to be remembered. Duke has almost been terrorising the duck population, and intends to be undisputed boss of the river. Penny keeps total control over the Cygnets and ignores Dukes macho displays.

My rock dove Pal is still recovering from the nasty neck wound and unable to eat much on his own, although he tries a lot. I still have to tube feed him several times a day and administer medication, only hope the damage to his throat is not permanent.

The Wagtail is still feeding the youngster, and turns up outside my window every day for a handful of mealworm.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Heron Fishing

With River conditions so low, only the Heron is actively fishing. 

What little rain we've had is no where near enough to water the garden, let alone raise the river level. 

The Heron caught 2 fish within five minutes, and the ducklings are surviving well in the Summer conditions.

Monday, 9 July 2018


The River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust have today heard a report on Facebook that our Swans and Cygnets were under attack. Around 2pm a group of teenage children were seen throwing stones at the birds under the Bailey bridge. Apparently an adult warned them of the consequences but was given a load of abuse.

The Trust would like to warn children and their parents, that causing death or injury to any of our river waterfowl is a serious criminal offence, whether this is caused by an out of control dog or child !  Could result in a £5000 fine or 6 months in jail !

The Trust will have no hesitation in taking any perpetrator of such action to court.
We ask all our 180 members to keep a close eye on our wildlife and report immediately to the Police any criminal action against our birds. You do not need to confront the perpetrators, just use your mobile phone dial 101 and report the incident. The Police will act. 

Swans and Ducks are incredibly vulnerable at this point in time as they have young that cant fly and  are moulting as well. It is the responsibility of all Nairn residents to keep an eye out for these innocent creatures that enhance the Town and give all of us pleasure.

This photo of Penny 8 years ago after she was attacked by an out of control dog at exactly this time of year !  

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Tough Times For Some

Lovely summer weather continues with a slight welcome cooling for us. 

River level continues to drop and no real sign of rain on the horizon, hardly enough for the Swans to float downstream. 

The ducklings are having a favoured start to life and are now at varying stages of growth, from several days old to fully fledged and more to hatch yet.
The local feral pigeons are having the worst of all seasons, and I have now counted 15 dead over the past week. All of them seem to be dying from the same problem, and I suspect an E coli type illness, killing them within 18 hours of appearing listless.

One of the rock dove pals of mine, who has so far avoided this, has been injured with a neck wound. This has impacted his ability to swallow and eat. Fortunately I was able to catch him due to my close connection over time. Giving him some anti inflammatory meds, rehydration mixture, and a cold compress on his injured throat. He was enjoying the cold compress so much, at one point he fell asleep in my hands. Might get the Vet to check him out tomorrow.  

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Heatwave Continues

The exceptional weather continues, and no doubt will be remembered as one of the best summers ever. Hard to believe the beast from the East was not long ago, and we will all be talking drought pretty soon no doubt !
I for one am enjoying the warmth, and the scent of honeysuckle in the cool evening air.

The river birds are chilling out in a decreasing water supply as river level records are broken.

The latest count of the seasons ducklings on the lower river comes to 41 surviving so far. With more to come before the summer is over, I think this will be a bumper year for our Mallards. 

Plentiful river weed means well fed Swans, with the Trust providing the vitamin supplement.

Ever mindful of the environment, Trust Secretary Morag removes a plastic Space hopper toy thrown into the river by 2 schoolboys on the first day of the School holidays !! 

Penny has moulted and Duke is in tip top condition, happy with his new position as top bird on the river.