Thursday, 30 April 2020

Slim And Sue Prevail

After yesterdays Mexican standoff, and another flurry this morning, it appears Slim and Sue's resolve has  prevailed.

Slim has seen off the incomers while Sue has been feeding on Algae and minerals needed for egg production.

She has curtailed this activity to the river, avoiding the other pair down by the estuary channel. I am happy they have prevailed after claiming the site and building the nest. If the other pair had arrived 2 weeks ago, they would have been the victors for sure. 

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Strong Challenge for Territory

High Drama on the river today as I witnessed one of the strongest Swan challenges for many years. A  confrontation involving two more incomers, one of whom was a very aggressive male.

Contrary to some local speculation it was not the return of Penny ad Duke, but almost certainly one of her Male offspring, perhaps the same age as Sue or maybe a year older. He was certainly stronger than Slim. 

His intimidation was fierce, and succeeded  in pushing Slim and Sue up river for most of the day.
As dusk approached Slim and Sue left the water and managed to work their way to the top of the island nest site, where Sue promptly sat on her treasured possessions.

Slim took on a defensive posture to repel all boarders, while the male incomer strode along the riverside towards the nest site.

The tension was building and the darkness was looming, I did not think the incomer would risk walking up to the nest with the female sitting and her mate standing guard....I was wrong ! 

Bold as brass the incomer strode up to Slim just a foot away from the nest and eyeballed each other for about 10 minutes it was astonishing , and the first time seen in my 16 years swan observations. 

The only sign of potential conflict was the constant rubbing and flicking of wings. 

                    It ended when the incomer dropped his posture and walked calmly down to the moat.  

For now it appears that Slim and Sue have defended their nest. They will have learned much from the experience and I cant wait to see what happens tomorrow ! Pics are of poor quality due to bad light and auto settings.

Monday, 27 April 2020

Classic Swan Action

After extensive enquiries, the Trust has Traced and identified the local Man who allowed his dog access to the Swans nest. The Trust would like to thank a riverside resident Mr Ian Pollock who intervened when the dog was at the nest and remonstrated with the irresponsible dog owner.

Fortunately the Swans have not abandoned the nest, and were in high spirits today while chasing off another pair of swans trying to access the territory.

Both Sue and Slim appear fit for any challenge as I witnessed this morning. Slim was minding the nest, while Sue was returning from a seashore forage for minerals required for egg production.

She was followed by another 2 swans eager to venture up river. Her response was to turn around and meet the challenge, forcing them back a few yards at a time. 

However the 2 were determined to keep following, much to her annoyance, this went on for some time. Slim was observing all this from the nest some distance away and obviously realised his soulmate needed backup. 

Ordinarily swans need a run to take off, but Slim  stood up from the nest edge caught the fresh breeze blowing under his wings and just took off from the elevated nest site.- it was expertly done! 

Within seconds he was beside his mate ready for action !  Sue let him do the business of intruder disposal, and he promptly saw them both off. It was classic Swan action and a delight to watch. 

Job Done he returned to the river welcomed back with a bonding display with Sue, then mating before taking pride of place up at the nest ! 

                          It was like days of old, with Penny and Popeye all over again. This pair are going to delight the people of Nairn in due course ! 

Saturday, 25 April 2020


Earlier this evening a dog attacked the swan on the nest. The swan is currently nesting and may well abandon the nest  because of this attack. The Nairn Swans are one of the few attractions we can all look forward to this year, it is vital we do our utmost to protect these beautiful birds.

The Trust asks for anyone with information or witness regarding the dog and or Owner, to contact the Trust on 0774861 6587 or  email 

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Nesting Vigilance

Our new generation Nairn Swans ( Slim and Sue ) have established themselves on the River with a little encouragement from The Trust.

Sue was born on the island 4 years ago and knows me and the river well.

She has started nesting on the exact spot where she was born and has Slim as her mate and guardian.

From what I've observed, ha is attentive and well up to the job of a male Swan. He is young, confident and vigilant. In keeping with the Trust's aims, all members can help by keeping a watchful eye on the safety and welfare of our new Nairn Swans. In these dark days of epidemic, they will soon  give us all reasons to be cheerful, given the time and peace.

Friday, 17 April 2020

Young Love - Young Life

Our new generation Slim and Sue, have settled into the river and appear to be enjoying their new domain.

                         I was privileged to witness a very lovely bonding session today, a regular occurrence of young love.

While we humans are blighted by a deadly virus, the wildlife world continues with the business of creating new life.

How lucky we are to have such distractions at this time.

Slim and Sue are like the Penny and Popeye of 2005, I hope they give us the same joy for the next decade.

Just spotted the first Duckling brood of the year....if you see them - Please don't throw bread to them, as this will attract Gulls and Crows that will kill them !!

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Pigeon Release

After nearly 5 weeks rehab, I finally released the injured pigeon this afternoon. 

The injured wing fully healed and functionally fit for normal flight. 

Additionally, I think the local Sparrowhawk is now nesting, as all the smaller birds and pigeons seem currently unafraid.
Was nice to see the pigeon take off and join it's mates on a nearby roof, job done !

Friday, 10 April 2020

Exotic Visitor - Mandarin Duck

Have just received some nice images from one of our local Trust Members.

                              Isobel regularly feeds duck visitors to her garden in Nairn, but yesterday had an unusual visitor along with several Mallard drakes. Some good things come from China, like this beautiful Mandarin Duck !! 
They have now established themselves in the UK, numbers thought to be around 7000. Unlike the Mallard they nest in trees sometimes as high as 10 metres off the ground, usually in dense woodland near ponds. This one is a fine male specimen.

Thursday, 9 April 2020

River Springwatch

Exciting time of year with river wildlife very much into mating and nesting.

Many local Trust members have their daily exercise doing a river walk, Members who live along the riverside are also keeping a watchful eye on the safety and security of our much loved waterbirds. 

The Trust is aware that many people take their dogs for a walk as part of their daily exercise. 

With this in mind it's important they are kept under close control near the riverside.

The waterbirds are not entertainment for dogs to chase, injure or kill, especially during nesting season.

Monday, 6 April 2020

Pride of Place

In spite of the virus restrictions, the Trust fulfils it's obligations as usual.

As part of my daily exercise regime, feeding the river birds to ensure their good health ( and mine ) at this critical time of year.

Nesting is underway and many Ducks have already started. 

Disco, our disabled duck has already laid 8 eggs and more to follow.  Our new Swans, Slim and Sue, are still happily enjoying their new domain, and the new feeding regime.

The injured pigeon is now well on the way to a full recovery, and has taken pride of place on my ornaments shelf in the kitchen! Doing the rounds, checking out the kitchen sink and living room. 

Although able to fly, I will not make the mistake of letting it go too soon, as the Sparrow hawk will still be able to single it out with missing tail feathers etc. Virus or no, I still have things to occupy my time.  I hope all our Trust members are keeping fine and enjoying the blog updates. Take care . 

Saturday, 4 April 2020

A Swan Named Sue

                        It has become increasingly clear to me that our new generation Pen, is one of Penny and Popeye's offspring of 2016. 

That was the last brood hatched by our magnificent pair who dominated the riverside since 2008. 

Penny and Popeye reared 9 generations until 2016 when sadly he died. The new Pen " Sue "will be 4 years old this May, making it the optimum time for her to start mating and nesting as a first time adult. Penny and Duke only had one brood in 2018, and this would make any of that brood too young and immature to be nesting this year.
Looks like Penny knew her daughter was waiting just offshore, and has ceded the territory without any need for a fight, this would explain the easy takeover.

We can only hope that "Sue "and "Slim" turn out as good as Penny and Popeye at rearing cygnets, she has all the hallmarks of Penny. Photo's are of the 2016 brood, and one of those cygnets is Sue !