Thursday, 31 January 2019

Snow Birds

Coldest night of the year so far, lovely blue sky, cold fresh air and no wind. This type of winter weather suits me fine. 

Thought Penny and Duke had chased the cygnets away, as they both turned up for their daily feed alone. 

They both enjoyed their feed in relative peace, with Penny giving snorts of satisfaction. Short video below.

Once finished with the feed, they settled down for a preen in the morning Sun. 

Decided to check down by the harbour to see if the cygnets were there, as this was the spot I fed them yesterday. 

Sure enough there they were a few yards from the ice encased harbour. Looks like Penny and Duke have already made the break, and should be relatively easy to escort the cygnets away at their time of choosing. They have had them around for nearly 9 months which is about the longest rearing period  in the 12 years since Penny has been in the river. 

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Bitter Breeze

After a couple of days thaw, the river has risen and the birds retreat to the Island haven. 

Wind has now come in from the north and is bitterly cold, even the Swans have their heads down today. 

Penny is unlikely to chase the cygnets away until favourable weather conditions return.

Friday, 25 January 2019

Gary Has Gone

Seems that Gary the injured Pink footed goose has recovered enough to leave the Harbour. He had been receiving grain feed for several days during the big freeze and was last seen on Tuesday. 

With high spring tides and half the Harbour covered in ice it was difficult for him moving around.  I am hoping he recovered enough to re-join the flocks of geese along the coast. At one point he flexed his wings and they looked symmetrical, this bodes well indicating no broken bones. 

He certainly had a good grain feed on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, hopefully giving him the energy needed to take off.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Duke and Sons

Bitterly cold and grey day, and more on the way. 

Our Swan family are still here, and cygnets looking more and more like adult Swans every day. Will this months spring tide be their last on the river ?  

Duke is happy to have his offspring around him, with  two of his sons close by.

The females are more subdued and the bill colours starting to change.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Gary The Goose

ad a visit from the Police whilst Feeding the river birds the other day. I was informed about an injured Pink Footed Goose which has been seen in the Harbour for about a week or more.

Was asked to check it out and see what could be done, perhaps with the involvement of the Scottish SPCA.
I made a visit to the harbour and sure enough there was Gary the goose (Policeman called him that ). He was very wary and headed for the water when approached. I took a few photos of him and looked for signs of injury, He appears to have a damaged left wing with some missing flight feathers, otherwise OK. 

Most likely shot and injured by one of the coastal cowboy wildfowlers. 

After contacting the SSPCA, they realised that catching him would be very difficult as he can run and swim well, and also able to hide under the pontoons.

The Trust has taken on the task of caring for him by providing grain feed, as the harbour has little or no food to sustain him in the long term. If he has no broken wing bones and only needs to regrow some new flight feathers, then it is possible he will make a full recovery - given time. 

The Trust and SSPCA will be keeping a close watch on his welfare, and would ask people to give him a wide berth and avoid throwing bread to him,  this would only scare him and attract crows and gulls,  he would not eat bread in any case. He is very much a wild goose and rightly wary of people.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Changing Times

While Most of Europe is being inundated with Snow, we are still blessed with a mild far !

Climate change is affecting the whole planet, and none of us know what the future will bring.

Meanwhile Penny and her offspring are still chilling out on the river, and some signs of the cygnets changing -

with a hint of Pink in the colour of their bills. Penny looks stunning and in great condition.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

On Borrowed Time

Birds ability to determine the time is amazingly accurate. Over the years I have observed how mid winter is marked by birds re-claiming their territory, and the change in attitude as they pass the longest nights and head towards spring. 

Penny and Duke likewise know that spring is on the way, and today Duke started chasing a couple of his offspring, getting them ready for the final family breakup.

The cygnets are now on borrowed time and the parting has now started, it may take a couple of weeks, but they will soon be on their way to start life's journey.

Duke will have started the spring testosterone build up, and Penny knows it.

The cygnets also know they must depart - for it is part of the Swans life cycle. 

Already some swans are looking to join a flock, and others will be looking for a mate and nesting sites. As it happens, one flew over this morning and spotted by Duke with his wings up, decided to fly on.  

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Disco Bath

Was time for a close inspection of Disco and Limpy, so a nice fresh bath was a good place to start !

Apart from the broken wing, Disco is in excellent health and enjoyed the attention, hopefully she will nest again this year and give us some more of her lovely ducklings.

Limpy is surviving but the one leg situation is a strain on him, short clip on Disco's bath below.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

A New Year

Another New year starts on the River, and the 7th year since the founding of the Trust. The success of the Trusts endeavours are there for all to see. 

We now have around 200 ducks and our family of Swans, all happily living out their lives on the river and beyond. A quick count at Christmas, revealed we have about 80 female ducks, this is quite an improvement on recent years and bodes well for the future. 

Jokingly some people ask if I have names for them all, I do for a few,  and special favoured ones. The one at the top of the post really has an eye for me, she knows if she looks me in the eye intently enough I will throw her some extra grain, she is a sweetie !
Short video below gives an Idea of the numbers during mid winter, appreciative of the Trust feed. 

Checking back on the Trust expenditure since it's founding 6 years ago, we have spent £20508. on the birds care, welfare and environment. Trust members and donors can take a bow on helping create a happy and enjoyable life for our waterbirds, and an improvement to their natural world....and ours !