Friday, 3 December 2021

Over Wintering ?

Beginning to think Slim, Sue and the cygnets are going to be around for some time yet. Other than the occasional pick on the neck, they still show no real signs of chasing them away. 

Over wintering like last year perhaps. They all look in great condition and good health, with their new white plumage.  

Even Runty has blossomed but still some time behind in development, but the white feathers are starting to show on her back. They have all weathered their first major storm, are proficient flyers and fit for anything.

 Slim keeps a watchful eye on me for his favourite handouts. 

Doris the rescued duck has also survived, along with her many female offspring which gives me a great feeling of satisfaction.

Sunday, 28 November 2021

After The Storm

Storm Arwen certainly caused a stir over the weekend. I managed to get down to the riverside as the wind was picking up speed on Friday. The Swans were on the lee side of the island out of the wind and  managed to give them a feed along with the ducks. 

The wee Robin was sheltering before all the leaves were stripped from the trees. The wind gusts Friday night were fierce, and the neighbours roof sheeting started to pull away, some riverside trees were also uprooted. 

Slim and Sue must have taken the cygnets to safety during the evening and did not return until the worst of the storm had passed on Saturday afternoon. 

Today, tranquillity returned and all the family were safely back at Merryton bridge.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Robin & Dunnock

 With Winter on the horizon, the smaller birds are busy feeding during the short days. Taking advantage of any sunshine and benefactor like myself with regular haunts. 

The Robin is the most friendly and has even taken food from my hand.  His plumage is superb and quite happy to pose close up. 

The Dunnock has been observing this, and decided to follow up on the tasty goodies on offer, dried mealworm, crushed peanuts, seeds, and wholemeal. 

Dunnock are cautious loners, and tend to clear up behind sparrows, often mistaken for one. 

This little one has grown in confidence and now follows the Robin on a regular basis. 

Friday, 19 November 2021


This week marked 6 months since the hatching of the cygnets. Slim and Sue seem quite content to keep them in the territory with frequent trips along the coast. Flying back, and leaving them to make their own way home. 

They are getting increasingly whiter, except for Runty who's development is still a couple of weeks behind the others. 

Meanwhile on the home front, Saffron Ebony and Disco now have a new addition to the group. A young Drake called Newbie who I hope will eventually mate with Saffron , leaving her brother Ebony to partner Disco. 

The idea being that the white duck gene will be passed on to any offspring they might have in the future. Both Ebony and Saffron should be carrying the gene, but hope they don't interbreed , hence the hopeful  partnerships of Disco and Newbie. 

Whatever happens they will all be free to return to the river next Summer. Meanwhile Newbie being last in the group has to keep his distance, and accept the fact that he's  last in the pecking order !   

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Love Birds

Was nice to see my feathered friends on the riverside yesterday. 

Lovely Autumn sunshine and unseasonal warm temperatures helped lift the mood. 

Woody and her mate turned up for their ration of peanuts, then gave me a show of lasting affection.. nature at it's best ! My relationship with Woody is so special since I reared her as a squab in 2013, after she was blown from her nest in a gale. 

Seeing her now with a mate who must wonder at her closeness to a human, but happy that he also benefits from the handouts ! Short video of Woody below, enjoying some spinach when she was growing into a beautiful wood pigeon ! 

Sunday, 14 November 2021

COP 26 - My Verdict

The much hyped COP 26 conference in Glasgow is finally over. 

Realistically getting 196 countries to agree a deal that would end the Global threat to the Planet in one fell swoop was never an option. However, my take on the end result is hopeful for the future. Anyone 50 or over is unlikely to see the world recover from the current climate change juggernaut, but the plans laid out in Glasgow does give cause for optimism in the long term. 
The activists must continue with their campaigns and hold their governments to account, year in year out until the climate has stabilised to 1.5C or below.  The likelihood of humans and consumerism stopping is unrealistic, but this might also be their partial salvation. The USA and China agreeing to cooperate is likely to result in a competition for business and prestige with dollars to be made in the process. The stimulus to renewables and green energy will have global appeal and a huge new market for big financial institutions. Fossil fuels will be given the heave - ho as they will be penalised by the markets as non profit losers. 

Most of the global warming has taken place in my lifetime, and yet I remember as a child we had no electricity in our house ! It was only during  WW11 that the Americans discovered that there was such a thing as the jet stream, which drove weather systems around the planet !  If the human race can advance to the same degree in reverse in the next 70 years with new technologies and real respect for the planet we all live on, then there is reason for optimism...Like Stephen Hawking said " Where there's life, there's hope".

Monday, 8 November 2021

Cygnets Stay Home

Slim and Sue still reluctant to part with their offspring yet. 

Saturday 5 of the youngsters were missing all day, and I thought maybe the apron strings were being cut. However, I learned today that a paddle boarder came down river and drove them out to Sea ! This new Fad is another human frivolity that is causing alarm to wildlife all around the country. As the Wildlife cannot speak, The Trust will speak for them.

 "Please do not intrude on our river home!"  


Meanwhile The Trust will continue to feed and watch out for our precious river wildlife.

Friday, 5 November 2021

New House For Saffron

                     In anticipation for Saffron nesting next season, the Trust has been busy converting an old chicken coop into a new house for Saffron. 

With the skills of Trust member Donald, we made some adjustments to keep at ground level, a very cosy and secluded house and site. I am hoping that Saffron will choose it when the time comes to nest.. if not, then maybe Disco will instead.

Short video of recent antics in the garden pond.

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Nairn Beach Action - Sat Nov 6th


Trust members and viewers are invited to a COP26 Global day of action this Saturday the 6th of November. More details on the Gurn website A Gurn from Nurn: COP26 – Fancy “flagging up” your dreams for the future – this Saturday (6th November) on Nairn Beach for the Global Day of Action? (

There will also be a beach clean up as well. Regular viewers may remember when Nairn residents took to the Beaches before, when we  demonstrated against Ship  to ship oil Transfers...a battle which we won!

Friday, 29 October 2021

More Blah Blah or Ta -Ta Climate Change ?

 Will Scotland go down in History as the place where World leaders finally took action to save the Planet ? 

Or, will it be a case of, were Doomed- were all Doomed.. 😊 as our well known Scots actor in Dad's Army once said . 
The existential threat to much life on the Planet is no joke however. Latest predictions as high as 3c temp rise by 2050 now expected on the current trajectory. With some of the biggest carbon polluters not even attending this conference, it is doubtful that definitive climate action will start. As an old timer who previously tried to ban the bomb 60 years ago, it is likely that the same will happen trying to get a final solution to climate change. The existential nuclear threat still exists...and climate change we can probably add to the list... and all in one lifetime...Wow, aren't we the most intelligent special species! ..were all Doomed 😟. Thanks for the use of the John Laurie photos.

 Whatever we do to it, the Planet will survive - even if we don't. 

My message to the COP 26 delegates - DECLARE WAR ON CLIMATE CHANGE!

Video reason below.

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

New Additions

Often some surprises along the riverside. This morning I thought Slim was in the process of expelling one of the cygnets, as he chased and jabbed at one of them. I thought briefly it was Runty, until I realised Runty was feeding close to my feet. A quick count revealed we had 8 cygnets !  

Seems that a lost cygnet had  latched onto Slim and Sue's family, probably been made to leave home by it's parents, as this is the time for cygnets breaking the family bonds.

                     If you count the cygnets in the photo you will see 8 instead of 7. 

Another newcomer hopped along the river path in my direction. 

These bunnies are usually on the opposite side of the river.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Mature Cygnets

Slim and Sue...with a little help from the Trust, have managed to raise the cygnets to maturity. 

All are now flying competently and can be seen flying regularly. Today I saw them come in against a blustery wind, landing safely in the river. 

Remains to be seen how long Slim and Sue will keep them at home, before making them leave on life's journey. 

The Trust will continue to feed them twice a day, keeping them healthy and ready to go, whenever that is. 

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Cross Breed Newcomers

Just arrived on the river this morning, 5 newcomers. Don't know if they were put in the river, or made their way from a farm perhaps . 

They appear to be cross bred Mallards with a domestic duck variety. 

Larger than wild mallards, there are 3 females and 2 drakes. 

They turned up as I was feeding the resident flock. This evening they joined in the feeding session. 

The two dark ones are female as you can hear in the short video below. They are obviously used to humans and other ducks, and quite feisty too. 

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Ebony Is a Boy !

Saffron and Ebony are 8 weeks old today !  I can say with certainty that Ebony is in fact a Drake, his Sister Saffron is female. 

Disco has been actively opposing Saffron as she has been with me for 5 years and considers the place hers! I will keep both newcomers for a season to give them the best chance of survival. 

Short video of the ducks enjoying life at the Trust HQ below. 

Meanwhile more good news on the swans, thankfully Runty has started to fly with the family!