Thursday, 25 February 2021

No Place Like Home

Seems like one of the Cygnets prefers being at home with Mum and Dad , rather than the big scary world outside the river. 

Slim and Sue have so far not chased it away, just the occasional nibble when it gets too close to them eating. 

Weather conditions are almost spring like, so it wont be long before they escort the wee one away again.

 Meanwhile it's enjoying the fresh snow water baths, and the security of parents and food supply ! 

Sunday, 21 February 2021

A Taste Of Spring

Slim and Sue are wasting no time bonding, a day after expelling the cygnets from their home territory. 

The weather was positively spring like, following the previous weeks cold spell. 

They reminded me of Penny and Popeye in their heyday.

                  Rewarding me with a beautiful show of nature at it's best !  

My own live performance of Swan Lake, how privileged I am !

Friday, 19 February 2021

Cygnets Expelled

Has been a long time in coming, but Sue and Slim have finally cut the apron strings from the cygnets. On the same day I had Briget taken to Beauly, Slim and Sue took the cygnets away along the coast. 

Last evening the previous poorly cygnet flew back alone.

This evening Sue and Slim were in a fairly aggressive mode, relentlessly chasing the cygnet up ad down the river. 

The devoted parents for the last 8 and half months have decided it's time for them to fend for themselves! 

                  I'm particularly impressed by the way they kept them until the weather and poorly one got better, fit enough to leave home. 

This was their first brood and they kept them an extraordinary length of time. Sue was the one dictating the expulsion, showing yet again she is the prime mover in this relationship! They now have a couple of months to themselves, before the cycle starts again. If Briget or any other swans come into the river now, they will be attacked by Slim and Sue !  

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Briget Relocated

 After nearly two weeks R and R, it was time to return Briget back to the wild. 

She has had the best care and attention from the Trust and today was relocated to the Beauly Firth, courtesy of the Scottish SPCA. 

The hard cold spell is over, hopefully she will join other Swans and perhaps find a suitable mate. 

Having previously been taken to Findhorn, and Loch Flemington, I hope this is third time lucky! Was really hoping to have her relocated to Loch Fleet, but Covid restrictions will not allow travel to another area. If she returns to the river, I will let nature take it's course and no doubt see her expelled by Slim and Sue !

Friday, 12 February 2021

Big Freeze !

 The Big Freeze continues in Nairn, temperatures around minus the mid teens centigrade, even cold enough to freeze the running river !

                    I think the last time was around 20 odd years ago.

 Trying to keep Briget with enough unfrozen water takes me an hour every morning. 

Breaking and removing ice from the pond, She has to have breakfast too, of course ! The ice around the pond is lethal !

Slim and Sue flew in over the river from the sea, but realised they could not land.

 So circled round a couple of times before choosing the only area ice free,  just under the bailey bridge. 

Full marks to Sue for guiding the family, safely landing in formation under the bridge - excellent flying skill !

Forecast should see a thaw next week.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Brrr... Briget !

Up until last night we escaped most of the Snow this winter. Today a beautiful blanket of the white stuff covers all. 

Briget has kept the garden pond fairly free of Ice, but not quite for the whole night.

 She is one lucky Swan, with Disco and Donnie for company and  having the Trust catering to her needs.

                        I have to break the morning ice, and supply about 20 gallons of warm water to melt the remainder. 

After her breakfast of wheat , poultry pellets, mealworm and wholemeal, she enjoys a lovely bath - as you can see in the short video below. 

Monday, 8 February 2021

Briget OK

After 48 hours rest and recovery from her Crash landing on the 18th green, Briget is healthy and Looking good. I had a thorough inspection of her legs and feet that were injured, either on landing or take off from ice. 

She has two cuts to her web feet which will heal naturally and an abrasion to the underside of her left foot, probably due to the  hard landing. 

                       I'm happy to report that she does not need veterinary help and will make a full recovery. 

The plan now, is to keep her in care until the end of this exceptional cold spell, then to have her released maybe to Loch Fleet or Alturlie, not to a frozen Loch ! 

 She may of course try and return to the river, but by then Slim and Sue can see her off safely. Meanwhile, she and Donnie and Disco are enjoying the Trust Spa in Douglas street ! Short video below, enjoying a refreshed pool and a high protein mealworm snack !

Sunday, 7 February 2021

Eight Months Old

Our new generation of Nairn Swans are now 8 months old. Sue and Slim are reluctant to cut the apron strings just yet.

 Sue would like them to go, but as a new Mum she is reluctant to send them packing during the coldest winter for years. 

Having watched her nibbling at their necks when they intrude on her personal space when feeding, a sure sign that it will soon be time to go. 

Being her first brood she will want to give them the best start on life's journey. A return to milder spring weather should be the catalyst for the final goodbye!

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Briget Returns For Tee !

Phone call from Scottish SPCA telling me about a Swan that was in a garden near the Golf course.

 Local residents Mr and Mrs Nichol adjoining the course, saw a Swan laying on the 18th green. Mr Nichol went to investigate and the exhausted Swan stood up and he escorted it back to his garden. 

After reporting it to the SPCA, they gave the swan some porridge, well done to them as the bird was exhausted and injured.

SSPCA Inspector Ross had a feeling it might have been Briget returning to the River and gave me the call.

Sure enough it was Briget with her new plumage plus injured feet. I bagged her up and took her home for some R and R. The plan is to let her feed and rest up for a couple of days then get her to the Vet on Monday for a check up. She appears to have an injured left foot as well as a couple of tears in her webbing.  

Looks like a heavy crash landing was the cause but in good health otherwise, and must have survived the frozen loch Flemington situation. 

Currently enjoying the pool with Disco and Donnie. The Trust Thanks Mr and Mrs Nichol for their action. 

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Stoic Bird

 The more I observe birds, the more my admiration grows for them. Their resilience and stoicism I have witnessed first hand on numerous occasions over the years. Overcoming illnesses, injuries and disease.

One such bird is a Pied Wagtail that I befriended, it has followed me around the Town for the last couple of years. 

Summer 2019 I noticed it had a large growth on it's right foot, a red cluster, almost like a Raspberry. The creation of a garden pond was the initial attraction for it, and picking up the Dried mealworms that were put down  for the ducklings.

 Previous post on this bird can be seen here on Bird Brain . This bird knows I will supply it with food when it appears, and yesterday I noticed the foot has all but gone, with only a stump remaining! 

 Stoic and Feisty, it still chases the Sparrows away from the food ! We can all learn so much from other species.