Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Cygnets Growing

Just over three weeks since hatching, the cygnets are now the size of Mallard ducks! 

Today our Swan family chilled out enjoying the sunny breaks in the cloud. 

Short video below showing communication between Sue and her cygnets.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Island Ducklings

Was pleasantly surprised this evening by Mother duck showing up with 11 ducklings from the Swans Island.

She is a regular and has nested there the past few years. 

Additionally her mate was also close by which is not usual, so it was nice to see him as a deterrent to other drakes. I gave her a good feed and also the ducklings with crushed dried Mealworm, this is the only thing apart from insects that they eat at this stage.

                      If you see them DON'T THROW BREAD TO THEM, This will only attract predatory Gulls and Crows that will kill them! Also spotted another mother with 6 this morning. Having late hatchings are often the most successful with more cover and insect life around. Short video of the little darlings below. 

Friday, 26 June 2020

Dangerous Drakes

Was alerted this evening by two women  telling me there was a dead duck below the Merryton bridge. It certainly looked dead and I moved on, was only when I returned I noticed two Drakes were trying to mate with it on a different spot that I realised she was still alive! She was in a sorry state and need rescued immediately. 

Fortunately the river was low and I was able to wade across and pick up the poor duck. Have taken her home and given her a pain killer and soothing anti bacterial cream on her raw back. This is typical injuries from multiple drakes trying to mate with her, sometimes resulting in death. 

Testosterone levels in drakes start to fall about now and moulting begins soon, this usually stops this kind of activity on females. I am hoping she will make a full recovery in a week or so.  

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Successful Release

                     Ideal day for introducing the Ducklings to the river. With the Help of Martin and Donald, all 15 were loaded up and transported down to a quiet spot. There was 9 females and 6 males, which was a nice change from too many Drakes. I'm happy to say that quite a few take after Disco. 

They were hatched 52 days ago and now capable of flight. It will take them a few days to get used to the new environment, but when I left them, they were already being eyed over by 4 regular residents.
Disco knew it was time for them to leave, and will happily get back to normal. short clip below.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Time To Go !

Disco's 15 ducklings are ready for release tomorrow morning The Trust has given them a start that few Mallard broods would get on the river.

They have been well fed and kept safe but with the expert help of Disco, their Mum. Today she was giving them final instructions from the edge of the garden pool, see short video below.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Injured Drake

Yet another casualty for the Trust to attend to, an injured Mallard Drake. This fellow has been hanging around the Merryton bridge for some time and appeared to have an infected eye about a week ago. 

This seems to have cleared up but he was getting more scruffy and weak lately.  He also appears to have sustained a head and neck injury and was unable to eat grain. he looked up at me last night with an imploring look, as if to say can you help !   

Had no choice but to take him home for a check up and treatment. He has a definite neck injury, probably due to a bite, and possibly an  intestinal infection as well. 

After taking advice I have put him on a course of antibiotics and anti inflammatory medication as well.  He seems quite an old chap, so we'll see how he fares, but after a day he is already a bit livelier, and has a photo of a female for company!

Monday, 22 June 2020

Trust Care

With better weather and more people out and about, local woman Debbie found a young Blackbird   near the Links café. Apparently in danger of being stepped on, or grabbed by a dog. Young fledglings are best left where they are, as the parent birds usually always know where they are. 

The Trust will always try to find a solution, so we took the bird in this case. To ensure I would provide the best care I contacted our Avian adviser Sue Hulbert, having 30 years experience I knew she would give me the best advice. As always, Sue was up to the eyes in wildlife and birds herself, but gave me the gen on  best care for Blackbird fledglings. 

Armed with Sue's best advice I thawed some Mince and soaked some dried Mealworms. Fortunately this bird is not so tiny, and more easily handled and fed. I should be able to transfer it to the Aviary to learn to feed itself soon. Meanwhile a diet of Mince and Mealworms goes down well!

Saturday, 20 June 2020

More Magic Momants

Sue and the Cygnets just keep on giving, what more can I say! 

Today's high tide it was close up, while enjoying a meal of lettuce and dandelion leaves, and a nod of approval from Sue. video below.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Cygnets Eye View

This evening I was privileged to have the Trust of Sue and Slim, enough to film the cygnets close up !   My many years experience with all of Penny's offspring  allowed me this honour. For those of you who have not yet seen a cygnet close up, your in for a treat !  Sue is on the left and Slim on the right. The cygnets just had a meal of soft lettuce , Mealworm, fresh grass and Dandelion leaves... enjoy!

Disco's Brood For Release Next Week

Full wing development should be complete late next week, allowing Disco's brood release into the river. 

As always the Trust gives them the best possible start in life with the ability to escape danger by flight if needs be.

                    In the last 4 years Disco has hatched 38 ducklings and fostered many more, all of which get returned to the river.

Monday, 15 June 2020

Bath With Mum

All the work put into maintaining the moat, now comes to the fore, giving enough depth for Sue to have a good bath. The cygnets joined in, being true waterbirds. Short vid below.

Sunday, 14 June 2020

More Aww Pics

Cygnets are growing fast and necks extending.

Weather and river conditions good. 

However, there is one cygnet with a bit of a limp, only noticeable when out of the water. 

Will consult our Avian adviser to see if any action is needed, may have been stood on by a parent early on. 

Other than that they are thriving and some good shots were available. 

Latest Video

 After a good feed, one of the cygnets had a long preening session on Mums back. Due to blog limitations I had to trim the video, but I think you'll enjoy it below anyway. Turn off the sound as the wind noise is atrocious !

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Happier Days For New Generation

Our new generation Nairn Swans have been drawing the crowds after recent events and press coverage. 

The weather too is now much more benign and the cygnets are thriving. 

Slim and Sue have been keeping a close watch on them, and short shrift to any potential predators. 

Some people are still ignoring advice not to feed the gulls, and this causes distress to the Swans and Cygnets ! Throwing large pieces of white bread only attracts the gulls, SO PLEASE DON'T DO IT !

Slim and Sue appear to have gotten over the loss of their 4th cygnet and the remaining 3 are already growing after one week. 

                       I had to cut down a giant hogweed on the island today before it flowered and had the opportunity to take some pics afterwards. 

Some were taken before the demise of the cygnet but worthy of a reminder of the joy of the new generation - enjoy.

Friday, 12 June 2020

UPDATE - Poorly Cygnet Dies

Returning to the river this morning, my heart sank when Slim and Sue showed up with 3 cygnets.
A trip over to the spot where I left it with the parents last night revealed a small scattering of cygnet downy feathers. It appears it had died over night  and been taken by Crows or gulls.
In my experience, birds that stop eating soon pass away, and sadly this was the case here. I suspect it was the weakest of the brood, and most likely the same one that was swept away and rescued last weekend.

The first week of any newly hatched birds are often the toughest, not all survive.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

poorly Cygnet

Over the last couple of days I have noticed one of the cygnets weakening and not eating. Don't know if it was the one rescued last Sunday or not. Even Slim and Sue know it's not well, but unable to help.

Tonight It was unable to get out of the moat and join the others so I had no choice but to wade over and lift it out of the moat. 

Slim and Sue did not attack me and knew I was helping by putting it close to her . the wee one managed to crawl beside Sue. I have not seen it eat for 2 days, a situation that cannot go on - it will not survive. Will see what it's like in the morning, before deciding the best course of action.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Nairn Swans Dynasty

After the unseasonal and traumatic events of recent days, thankfully local conditions have improved and calm has returned to the riverside.

Sue and Slim are doing a great job, and Sue is following her Mothers footsteps. Feeding time by the Trust with special provisions for the cygnets are a great source of protein for them. 

Looking at them feeding close at my feet, is a repeat of the days 4 years ago when Sue herself was doing the same thing. 

Enjoy the short footage of all getting stuck in below, and the pose of the single cygnets...how cute can you get ?  

Monday, 8 June 2020

Dramatic Cygnet Rescue

The River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust would like to commend the actions of local Man Graeme McKinnon, for a dramatic rescue of one of the cygnets this afternoon. I have been given an account and received photos of the rescue, which thankfully ended in a successful rescue of the cygnet. 

Graeme took a considerable risk on the East pier wall, and skilfully caught the distressed Cygnet just before it would have been swept out to sea.
The cygnet was returned to the family at the nesting site. 
I know the feeling of satisfaction one gets from a successful rescue, and I can see the same on Graeme's face.
As a Formal Thanks you  are hereby made an Honorary Member of the River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust. Well done Graeme !

Having checked on the Swan Family tonight, you can see them off to bed after a feed.

Slim and Sue have a lot to learn about cygnets and the dangers of the river Nairn. The wee ones are at their most vulnerable right now, but it's good to know the people of Nairn are keeping a watchful eye on them.