Saturday, 31 October 2020

Swan Relocation

 The Swan incomer to the river over the past 10 days is proving to be a problem for Slim and Sue who are increasingly aggressive to it. They are capable of driving it away', but also capable of causing fatal injuries to it. 

 This swan is actually related to Sue but several generations apart, it would be a shame if a fatal attack happened.

 The female incomer has been malnourished and obviously has no mate or cygnets this year. 

                            In the best interests of all the river Swans, the River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust took the decision to relocate the Incomer today. 

With the help of Donald one of our Trust members and myself, we transported it temporarily to the trust sanctuary. 

Here I can give it peace to eat all it  wants free from intimidation by Slim and Sue. Already it has gained weight since entering the river, and when fully fit I will have the SSPCA relocate it to a safe area with sufficient feeding. 

Have no idea where it came from but it's very tame and has been hand fed by humans. I've called it "Briget" since it has spent most of it's time at the Merryton bridge.

                         I'm fairly certain it was born on the swans island 5 or more years ago, and knows me and the river well. Already it has settled in and 

Disco now has a new friend, if only for a short time. Glad we relocated today with fierce winds forecast. Short video below showing Briget tasting the goodies on offer. 


Friday, 30 October 2020

Trust Members Classic Rescue

 Yet another bird rescue by a Trust member the other day.

Nancy Ashcroft saw an injured and bedraggled pigeon in her garden and took action to save it. 

Sensibly using a towel to throw over the bird, rather than the more stressful and difficult action of trying to grab it with bare hands. Keeping the bird warm and in darkness is the best solution to rescuing a bird. 

Nancy did exactly that, wrapped in a towel in a box it was quite happy and safe when delivered to me. It looks like a Sparrowhawk has had quite a struggle trying to subdue this pigeon, it has multiple injuries, ranging from the neck, to back  wings and leg. 

The will to survive is evident in the photos where it's enjoying a good feed and drink in the care of the Trust. Hopefully this plucky bird will survive.

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Alien Intrusion - Slim is Missing !

 Last Sunday a squad of 7 Kayaks intruded into the Wildlife area of the lower river Nairn.

Their irresponsible action scared the 200 birds away from the Swans island and island strip near the Merryton bridge.

 Our resident Cob Slim has not been seen since. His mate Sue and their 3 cygnets have been calling him, to no avail. 

The River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust support the wildlife in this area, and are caring for a sick and malnourished swan and pinkfoot goose. 

These were also scared away by the kayakers. 

There can be no excuse for paddling in this area, chasing all the wildlife from their natural environment.

This deprived them of their daily winter feed supplied by the Trust, as well as depriving all the local residents and visitors the pleasure of seeing the river wildlife. Since the pandemic more people than ever walk around the riverside to enjoy the wildlife. River conditions as well as the known wildlife area were, and are not suitable for kayaks, canoes, or paddle boards. There are thousands of miles of Scottish coast and hundreds of Lochs and rivers. Picking a couple of hundred metres of wildlife environment to invade is irresponsible to say the least ! The people involved had no consideration of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code which clearly states not to disturb and avoid wildlife areas! 

The photos clearly show the wildlife gone - and the pathetic sight of stranded kayak, canoe in inches of water. 

The others alongside the swans island.

The Trust asks all members to record and report any further intrusions into the river wildlife environment, and any sightings of Slim.  

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Drama on Rapid River

Recent heavy rain caused quite a dilemma for our Swans today. This was the biggest spate on the river since Slim and Sue moved in to claim the territory. 

They have been lucky their cygnets are now big enough to fly and avoid a worse case scenario.

Nevertheless, the ferocity and speed of the water at one point had Sue and two cygnets washed away to get marooned on shingle on one side of the river, while Slim and the other stuck on the opposite side. 

                      Ironically the appearance by the recent incomer changed the dynamic, as Slim felt obliged to chase it away, at the same time  joining Sue and the two cygnets on the opposite side.

The incomer craftily flew round the Fishertown and landed back where the single cygnet was, in the safety of the backwater. 

                              I was at the opposite side trying to feed Slim , Sue and cygnets as one of them kept calling for the lone one on the other side.

After 15 minutes it took the plunge and swam across the river barely making it safely - whew! 

Keen to get back to the island, they tried in vain to sneak up the side but the current was too strong. 

They ended up waiting until the tide came in, enough to swim back to the island.

This was not the end of the drama, as Sue was determined to chase the incomer away. 

This she did successfully, but the incomer once again flew around and landed back up river! Short video below showing the trapped swans on the east side of the river.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Water Lane Casualty

Latest casualty brought to the Trust for attention, thanks to a local resident of Water Lane. One of the Town centre  pigeons, not everyone's favourite bird but I like them. It appears this one has had a collision damaging it's left side and wing. More worryingly it also has a serious digestive disorder which needs antibiotics, currently being administered.

 The probable fracture is at the wing joint, vital for flight and usually the most difficult to heal correctly. It will take a couple of weeks treatment and TLC, to see if it can be saved... fingers crossed.


Tuesday, 20 October 2020

On The Mend

 Our poorly Swan visitor is on the mend. 

After 3 days of good feeding, it is now preening regularly and much more lively. 

All these signs are positive and the outlook is good for this Swan. I am hoping Slim and Sue will leave it be for a while. Short video below of active preening today.

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Poorly Visitor

 Several people have noticed another adult Swan in the river, some thinking maybe it was Penny coming home. It crossed my mind initially until I went to investigate, it is not Penny but most certainly one of her offspring.

                         It knew the river and me instantly, and came over in a weakened state - and very hungry! 

Having been spotted by Sue and Slim it retreated up river avoiding confrontation. Later yesterday it came down to the island when our residents were being fed. Slim raised his hackles and chased it round the back of the island where it climbed to the top. I had to intervene to avoid possible fight and injury.  It was weak and collapsed in the high grass. 

Avoiding problems I picked it up and carried it down to the rivers edge where I gave it grain out of sight of Slim and Sue. It was very light, underweight and ravenous. 

Still on the river today but keeping well away from our residents. Will monitor it's progress and build up it's strength before Slim and Sue decide to chase it out altogether. 

 Slim has just about completed his moulting with new plumage, finally looks like he has his Mojo back !!


Friday, 16 October 2020

Sue Catches Bunch of Five

Yesterday Sue had an away day with her 3 cygnets and once again Trust member Avril was on hand to capture their return on video. 

The big surprise was, that Sue was accompanied by 8 cygnets !

These were probably a family that had recently been fledged and latched onto Sue and her offspring on the way home.

 This is the time of year when swans start to jettison their cygnets to fend for themselves, these ones I reckon were a few weeks older than Sue's. 

Slim and Sue spent an hour and half trying to chase them out of the Moat - their exclusive territory ! 

Slim is still unable to fly, so he left the job mainly to Sue who eventually got them all into the river and escorted them back to Sea.

One returned this morning but was given short shrift by Sue, watched closely by Slim and the cygnets. One of them  joined in the expulsion, and I suspect it was the male. Was getting dark so yesterdays photos are poor. Avril's short video below captures the lovely sound of the wings as they pass overhead.