Wednesday, 30 December 2020


 Thanks to Trust members contributions, we are in the black for 2020. Summary of Trust accounts for the eighth year - as follows: Outgoings £3338-93. Income £3472. Giving us a balance of £133-07. 

The Success of the Trust is reflected in the thriving waterbirds population of the river Nairn, if it wasn't for the Trust they would not be there. 

Winter on this shallow fast flowing river means feed is all but non existent. 

The birds need a steady food supply especially at this time. The cost of wheat grain rose this year and the bulk of Trust expenditure goes on Grain. 

During this pandemic year, many of us appreciate the sight of these lovely birds on our daily excursions. 

Sunday, 27 December 2020

No Festive Goodwill - Just Bah Humbug !

                        It may be the season of goodwill, but Slim and Sue were dishing out some "Bah Humbug" to 3 swans that dropped into the river today.  

Having just finished their feed in the Moat, Slim and Sue watched the beautiful sight of 2 adult swans and their cygnet glide overhead into the spate river. 

This would  be their first test, and lesson for their cygnets on how to protect your territory and expel incomers. 

The sequence of shots shows Slim and Sue shoulder to shoulder as they dished out "Bah Humbug" to the visitors! Great Lesson for the youngsters.

Friday, 25 December 2020

Christmas Day 2020


After a good feed, some images of our river birds this Christmas day. Not missing my Pal Woodie !

Sunday, 20 December 2020

Momentous Year

 This has been an unforgettable year, not only for the Pandemic lockdowns starting in March, but also in the same month, the departure of Penny and Duke, and the arrival of Sue and Slim. 

Penny who occupied the river for 13 years and hatched 70 cygnets, departed on the 8th March never to return. She will be 20 years old this year and I think she basically retired, knowing that nest building laying and hatching, was for one of her offspring now. 

Was only 11 days after the 8th when a young new pair of swans turned up for a scouting recon of the river and nest site. This was Sue, one of Penny's daughters from 2016, she remembered me and the place of her birth. Her mate Slim was very wary and kept his distance from me, proving he was not reared on the river and therefore not related to Sue. My guess is that Sue might well have been literally given the nod by her Mother Penny, to occupy the Nairn River territory as they turned up when I expected Penny to return to nest.

Late March into April, Sue and Slim set about refreshing the nest, bonding and mating in their new home territory. 

The Trust gave support to their endeavours, with provision of additional nesting material and  daily food supplies nearby.

 The scene was set for a continuation of the Nairn Swans Dynasty ! All was well, egg laying for a week until another pair tried to take over, most likely one of Penny's offspring from an even earlier time seeking a home nest site. A tense battle and standoff ensued for a whole day, with Slim and Sue holding onto their prize site.

 However the crises stopped Sue from laying any further eggs, and she started to incubate the 4 eggs in the nest. 

The rest is history, and can be seen in the previous blog posts for the year. Sadly one of the cygnets died within a couple of weeks, it may well have been injured and stopped eating. 

During May, Duke returned alone and was attacked by Slim. He retreated to the harbour and was underweight and had several injuries. I had him taken to the Vet and it was decided that he had underlying health issues and was put to sleep. All in all it has been a successful year for the new Nairn Swans and they are currently still here as the top photo shows. I think Sue will prove to be just as prolific a Mother as Penny, and will give all of us a great deal of joy in the coming years. 

The Trust believes in Nurturing Nature, something we should not take for granted. As the so called most intelligent species, we have a duty to care for all others. 

The Trust wish all our members and viewers, a Happy new year and many more scenes like this.

Monday, 14 December 2020

Week Before Mid Winter

This has been a very trying year for many, Covid-19 is rampant throughout the World and today I hear of another variant spreading even faster ! 

                        It is only a week until the mid Winter solstice and personally have found this year to have passed very quickly, in spite of the virus effect, maybe just old age ! 

Today I heard from Scottish water regarding the tree debris caught on the Merryton bridge. The contractors have been informed to clear it and will do so when conditions allow. 

The last spate has once again changed the riverbed and a large tree festooned with Ivy ended up in the Moat. 

This tree was strangled by Ivy vines which equalled the density of the tree itself, as the photo shows. Top heavy, it was snapped like a twig when hit by the Spate !  Fortunately a Local firm, HFBC  located adjacent to the Swans Island, gave a helping hand cutting up the obstruction. The Trust Thanks them!

Slim and Sue still show no signs of fledging the cygnets yet, and are content with all that they have.

Disco and her mate Donnie are also content with their lot, waiting on an end to the long dark winter nights. I tried a shot in the dark with night settings ! 

Monday, 7 December 2020

Six Months Old

 Slim and Sue's cygnets are now six months old. 

They are getting whiter with each passing week, but still softly whistling like babies !  

The river is bereft of any feeding vegetation, so they depend entirely on the food provided by the Trust at this crucial time of year. 

 With 17 hours of darkness every night, it's a long cold winter! However, they are riding out the high river spates and looking good, with no sign as yet of leaving home. 

Slim and Sue seem happy enough to have them close by and might well keep them through until Spring. 

Some large trees have got hung up on the Merryton bridge and likely to catch a lot more if they are not removed. I have reported this to Scottish water who should act soon.

Saturday, 5 December 2020

Update on Briget

Following the irresponsible SPCA release of Briget to Loch Flemington, observations have been made by one of our Trust members on her situation. The first two days, Briget was trying unsuccessfully to befriend another Swan pair with 7 cygnets. Also observed currently around 40 other Swans on the Loch as well. Some of these believed to be Whooper swans that overwinter here from Iceland and beyond.

The Scottish SPCA were considering using a boat to try and catch Briget but I have advised against this for two reasons.  Firstly Briget can paddle/ swim faster than a paddle boat, and  the disturbance this would cause to all the Birds on the Loch. There appears to be plenty of feeding available as groups of Swans were observed feeding on the bottom weed. Briget should have no problem integrating with some of these and feeding on the vegetation, she is not a novice when  it comes to other Swans and feeding. I estimate her new feather growth to be around a centimetre a day which should complete in a month, with maybe a week to harden off for the ability to fly. As long as she has access to food I am not worried about her future, I would not be surprised if she pays us a visit in January sometime ! 

Meanwhile we've had 2 days of Rain and the river is raging, just as well Briget is not there at the moment .         

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Scottish SPCA Fowl UP !

Having carefully nurtured Briget in preparation for her trip to Fishcross for care, she was picked up this morning by the Scottish SPCA - but dumped locally in Loch Flemington ! 

Seems because there was no obvious sign of sickness or injury she was released.

This was totally contrary to my wishes, expectations, and what I was led to believe would happen. 

 Will still be at least 4 weeks before Briget will be able to fly again. However I am still concerned for her welfare as she  is only just getting back to full health and I don't know if there's enough natural good feeding in Loch Flemington to continue her recovery. Had I known what the SPCA were going to do, I would have kept her in the care of the Trust for another few weeks. 

Growing new plumage takes energy, and good nutritious feeding, which she would have been assured of with me. The upside is, she wont be able to fly back to the river to be pounced on by Slim and Sue. UPDATE; I have asked a member of the Trust to Check out Briget tomorrow.