Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Picky Penny

Fast approaching March, and another nesting season for the river birds. Fortunately the spring like weather has not yet fooled many ducks into nesting!  The good spell is coming to an end and back to more seasonal temperatures soon.

Penny and Duke are still biding their time, but Penny starts to get a little more picky prior to nesting time. Her priority over the next month will be seeking out Algae and minerals, essential to nesting and egg production.

She is in Prime condition and showed it today by flying low up river to join me for breakfast.

Afterwards she chilled, chatted and dozed beside me and Duke - It's nice to be appreciated. 

Friday, 22 February 2019

Dashing Drakes

Early Spring weather looks set to continue for some time yet with almost summer temperatures.
Remains to be seen whether this will turn out to be a curse or a blessing for the wildlife. 

Some birds likely to start nesting early if this weather continues, leaving the possibility that their hatches could suffer badly if winter returns.

Climate change now effecting the entire Planet.
Meanwhile the Ducks are pairing and bonding, and the Drakes looking their best at this time of year.

Dashing Drakes - like many species the males being the colourful ones and the females having plumage essential for camouflage and survival. For those who are unaware, some females have two partners, and only the females actually quack!

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

On Patrol

This weeks Spring tides mean extra vigilance on the part of Penny and Duke. 

High water allows easier access for any incomers to launch a takeover bid for the territory, so Penny and Duke have been on Patrol ready to repel any and all possible incomer landings. 

The flared wing stance ,is a warning to any passing swans that they will be challenged !

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Duke Flies In

My long standing rapport with Duke and Penny has it's rewards. Understanding and observing them over many years allows me to often anticipate their next moves.

Today was one of those occasions when I guessed that Duke would rather fly than walk up river. It was feeding time and they were a couple of hundred yards away, but I knew Duke might take off and fly up so got the camera out and ready.

Sure enough he did what I thought, and managed to get a few shots as he approached to land just 4 feet away from me - 

                     I could see him judging where to land, it was so beautiful and skilful.

Thursday, 14 February 2019


With Spring like temperatures, was nice to see the pairing and bonding on the riverside.

Valentine's day seemed to be echoed by the birds.

Duke and Penny enjoying their new freedom, and my Woodpigeon pals likewise preening and bonding, all very Spring like.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Harbour Check

Penny and Duke are now enjoying the brief interval before this years nesting season begins.

Having fledged the cygnets they now have the river to themselves - and the ducks of course !

However, they are making sure the cygnets have stayed away, and keep checking the harbour and channel in case they return.

Penny will now feast and relax until nest building time, and Duke will guard the territory fearlessly.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Rainbow Magic

Another trip to the pier lighthouse resulted in some Rainbow magic ! 

Went down to witness Penny and Duke chasing the cygnets out to sea, then away to the west.

Shortly after, the skies darkened and the predicted rain showers began. 

Minutes later, one of the most vivid full spectrum rainbows I have ever seen, appeared right in front of Duke and Penny as they sailed right into it !  Was pure gold ! 

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Banished With Tough Love

Duke is determined to keep his offspring out of his territory from now on - no matter what. You can see the power as he ploughs through the water ! Today he diligently escorted the youngsters to the end of the pier several times, and leaves them be when they enter the sea.

This is the territorial boundary which he will enforce ruthlessly for the rest of his life, this is his and Penny's territory and he in his prime, ready to tackle all comers.

He has proved himself to Penny several times over, by sticking with her and seeing off any competition, capping it all with the successful parenting of their first brood together. 

Even now he is doing what all successful Cobs do, saying goodbye with tough love to his offspring after 9 months of care and education.
I could not resist visiting the cygnets down by the pier to give them one last snack. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

A Frosty Chinese Farewell

Another generation of Nairn cygnets are being expelled from the River today. 

Penny and Duke seem to have adopted the start of Chinese new year as the start of spring, (coincidentally this date is also the Chinese belief as the start of spring.)

                        It was obvious that Duke and Penny were in a determined mood to start the expulsion. 

Duke in particular was very aggressive and backed up by Penny, the cygnets have got the message that their nursery days are over. 

They've had 9 months of great care and attention and are now fit for life's journey. 

They are the 10th generation of Penny and we wish them well. 

Pics tell the story of todays frosty farewell. 

Monday, 4 February 2019

Tufted Duck

The Hard frost of recent times, has finally driven some birds to the river. 

Frozen ponds and lochs mean hard times for some species. 

This morning I spotted the first female Tufted duck in the river this winter, she was happily swimming among the mallards who were quite accepting of her presence. 

Meanwhile 3 cygnets were having a little chat together.