Sunday, 26 August 2018

Living With Dinosaurs

Yet again another news item today on the BBC confirming the link between Dinosaurs and Birds. 

After 14 years of close contact and study of our river Swans I need no convincing of such a link.
Viewers might want to have a look back at a post I put out back in September 2011

Looking at the long neck of a Swan, their ability to hiss and flare their wings when confronting danger, their skin and general demeanour.

The serrated edges to their bill allowing them to tear vegetation from the river or lake bed, and the massive eggs which produce cygnets that are ready to take to the water, almost from day one.

                              I have no problem associating these birds closely with ancient Dinosaurs. The beauty and diversity of bird species is quite amazing and the constant hybridisation, and evolution is a joy to see. 

Take this pigeon in my garden today, a perfect combination of a rock dove, and another white dove. Such a beautiful mix with the grey blue wings of the rock dove, and the white beak, head and legs of the white dove. Looking at our own predatory species - I like living with Dinosaurs !

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Cygnet Growth

The exceptional summer has provided the cygnets with conditions for rapid growth.

Abundance of river weed has ensured that they are already the size of their parents.

Will be interesting to see if they will chase them away early, or keep them around until new year.

Some pics showing stages of growth over the last 3 months.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Weegie Meets Disco

Weegie the disabled duckling is at last starting to grow. I thought it time to introduce it to Disco briefly in the garden pond.

Could be wrong but I think it's a male, and always willing to stick up for himself. Disco was intrigued by this baby, and for the most part accepted it into the pond. 

She did however dunk it a couple of times, but Weegie took it in his stride. I will wait for a week or two yet, before putting it with Disco and Limpy in the aviary as permanent friends.
Short clip below.


Monday, 20 August 2018

Summer To Remember

Summer weather continued to hold for the Nairn Highland Games .  It was breezy but a great day out for all. A short clip of the bands below as they headed for the opening at the links.

Meanwhile the Swans are enjoying the luxury of continued good weather and plentiful food supply.

The Cygnets wings are nearly fully developed and should be set for flight lessons by months end.

Duke meanwhile has cast all his plumage, and looks pretty threadbare, another month before he can take to the air again.

Weegie the disabled duckling is growing but so is the disabled leg. 

Mum and siblings are still all surviving in the river which is good news. 
With a successful games and weather still good, this is surely a Summer to Remember !  

Monday, 13 August 2018

3 Months Old

From an egg to the size of their parents in three months !  

The cygnets have had a privileged start to life with ideal conditions throughout.

Penny is now encouraging them to exercise their wings by having quick spurts from time to time.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Weeks Events

Duke has lost all his flight feathers and will now have to wait until September before being airborne again. 

Penny has regrown her full plumage and is ready for flight about now. 

The cygnets wings are developing fast and they are virtually the same size as Mum and Dad. 

River is still in drought condition and still no sign of any significant rainfall yet.

Weegie is still in splints, and will have a check up on Monday, I have been giving it antibiotics for the past 5 days and hoping it will get the benefit. 

The Mother and 7 siblings are still surviving and taking advantage of the long summer.

                                        I've had a ringed Racing pigeon arrive in  my garden, and it appears to have joined the Town pigeons, he is a lovely specimen and very tame.  

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Weegie is Back

The injured Duckling was today at the Vets. Prognosis for full recovery is bad. After an X-ray it appears that this is not a slipped tendon, but more likely a developmental issue with bone at the hock joint damaged and not fitting together as it should. Normal usage of the left leg will not be forthcoming, which is a huge disappointment to me. However, having already 2 disabled ducks in care -Disco and Limpy, it looks like there might now be a third. After discussion with the vet we decided to splint the leg in the best position and continue with medication for the next week when it will be checked and renewed to allow for growth. Even if it gets partial use it could still have a life of quality with the Trust. 
This duckling is a livewire and have decided to call it "Weegie",  all Scots will recognise the term, as Slang for Glaswegian - usually implying a real fighter !

Printed out a new photo of it's Mum to watch over it in the brooder box.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Flight Training Soon

Penny and Duke's first brood are thriving and enjoying the exceptional summer weather. 

Having the occasional sea trips and now flexing their growing wings.

Penny has moulted and should be able to fly again by the end of the week, 

Duke has now started his moult and will be flightless for the next 5 weeks. I expect Penny to start the cygnets flight training by the end of the month, with short bursts of running / flapping in a week or two.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Duckling Back in ICU

The brave little duckling released on Friday has been struggling and the injured leg has worsened.
I had hoped being back with the family it would have improved, the opposite has happened because of too much activity on a leg that is still injured.
I had no choice but to catch it this evening and bring it home for further ICU treatment. I will take it to the Vet tomorrow and see what else can be done.
Earlier this evening I watched with another Trust member as it attempted to climb up the wire mesh , only to fall between and struggle to get free - twice ! The strain on the leg was just too much. It is such a little fighter it deserves all the help the Trust can give it.

The Mother and others had taken it back as though it was never away, and the mother is still very protective to it. It needs to double in size and have a better leg to have any real chance of survival. 

Friday, 3 August 2018

Duckling Back Home

After 4 days anti inflammatory treatment and TLC, the injured duckling was returned home to the river today.

Was treated by the brood as if it had never been away. It's still only half the size of the rest of the brood but stands more of a chance with the improvement to the leg injury.

Pics show it getting back into the brood. 

Still not 100% and could take a long time to heal completely. I had to return it quickly to avoid rejection and also to make sure it was oiled by the mother and siblings. 

Ducklings need to be waterproofed by the mother for the first 3 weeks until their own oil gland kicks in. It was touch and go this morning, separated for a time and picked on by other ducks. It's a tough little character and I hope it survives. Short clip below having a bath and preen last night.