Thursday, 29 April 2021

Too Cute

Just how do you keep 17 ducklings warm in  an icy wind ?

 Get a sunny spot, out of the wind, under a bush.

                    If all that fails, get under your Mum 😊.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Look What I've Got !

 Finally the end result of Disco's egg laying marathon.. 15 plus 2 from the gull raided nest. 

Only 3 eggs did not hatch from her total of 18 laid. Also found that incubation can take 30 days instead of 28. 

Having thought after her nesting disturbance and cold eggs, they would not survive. If these all make it to the river in 8 weeks time, this will make Disco's contribution of 55 ducks in the past 5 seasons. 

Broken wing or not, she is a great mother duck survivor. 

 Donnie is overwhelmed by the offspring, enjoy the first dip in the pool, short video below.

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Busy Week

 Been a busy week all round. The near disaster with Disco having let her eggs get cold during the Frosty nights, has miraculously come right. 

Of the 10 eggs put to the incubator, 8 have hatched and are now sitting comfortably under Disco. I was frankly not expecting any to survive, but nature has again shown it's resilience and will to survive.

Meanwhile Slim had to flex his wings the other day by chasing off 2 intruders that flew in. He wasted no time in seeing them off across the bailey bridge.

The bad news this week was the 9 ducklings hatched in the harbour last week have been decimated by the Crows, leaving a distraught mother duck with only one.

 The other 6 also hatched last week have disappeared again to early predation by Crows and Gulls. 

Our new environmentally conscious member, has been helping collect litter and assisting the Trust with donated Gravel.  This has been a useful windfall to firm up the Island moat. 

 The current local Trustees assisted by local resident volunteers, provided the muscle power for a job well done.  

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Incubator 2 Hatch

The two eggs saved from the Gulls assault on the island ducks nest, - hatched yesterday.

 So far, Disco's eggs show no signs of life, with 2 days to go before the due date ! 

Meanwhile the saved ones are drying off nicely in a brooding box.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

First Ducklings Hatch

Beautiful surprise on the riverside today, not one but two hatchings of Ducklings ! 

A mother with 6 at the Swans island, and another with 9 in the Harbour.

 Lovely to see new life appear on the riverside at the start of what we hope will be a bumper year for the waterfowl. 

Reminder: Please don't throw bread to the ducklings, at this age and size, they will be taken by attracting Gulls and Crows !

Friday, 16 April 2021

Disco Nesting Disaster ?

With only a week to go before Disco's ducklings were due to hatch...bad news ! A couple of nights ago I heard a commotion coming from Disco in the garden, something had spooked her off her nest.

I suspect it may have been a Mouse getting underneath her warm nest on a frosty night. The upshot was, she would not go back to her large clutch, around 18 eggs ! After a couple of hours I decided to check the nest and felt the eggs which were pretty cold. 

Realising the potential disaster, I took 10 of the eggs and put them in the incubator, in the hope that they can be saved. I will know in about a weeks time, but I don't hold out much hope, as they were pretty cold after several hours during a very cold night. 

By Morning Disco had returned to the nest and has resumed her normal routine sitting on the remaining eggs. I will be astonished if any survive with only a week of incubation remaining and getting so cold. Previous years she has nested in the safety of the coop, this year she opted for outdoors in the aviary which is not Mouse proof ! The incubator has 2 other duck eggs, salvaged from an abandoned nest attacked by gulls!  I'm hopeful these might hatch in a weeks time.

 Meanwhile, Donnie awaits the big day.

Saturday, 10 April 2021


 Would the person who removed the round mouthed Shovel / Spade, from the riverbank beside the Swans Island, Kindly return it. This Shovel is not a rusty discarded artefact, but used regularly by me to maintain the island environment for the Swans. It was left there to avoid it being carried up and down daily to my house. PLEASE RETURN IT.   

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

April Fool

 It's common knowledge on the lower Riverside not to disturb nesting birds. There are signs posted to that effect. In addition, Local Harbour users, including canoeists, Kayakers, and paddle boarders also know to keep away from the Swans and waterbirds above the Bailey Bridge. 

Last Thursday, April fools day lived up to it's name, a  paddle boarder was seen upsetting our resident nesting swan, forcing her to get off the nest at this critical time of year. The Swans are in the middle of egg laying and are a star attraction on the river. The River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust manage the welfare of our waterbirds and spend over £3000 a year doing so. We have around 200 members who contribute to their wellbeing, and expect compliance from water sports enthusiasts and everyone else to respect the precious wildlife, their habitat and environment. The photo supplied by a Trust member shows the paddle boarder shortly before the Swan left the nest. For thousands of years humans have hunted wildlife with sticks and clubs, a paddle boarder with a paddle is a valid perceived threat to all waterbirds. The only paddlers we want to see on the river, have webbed feet below. 

The area above the Bailey bridge is a no go area for frivolous human activity as far as the Trust and river wildlife are concerned. Trust members are asked to record all encroachments into the wildlife domain. 

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Blizzard !

The Arctic blast continues, this morning I was caught briefly in the thick of it. 

 The wind must have been 50 miles an hour and the snow was horizontal. 

Slim was on the nest with head down, and all the other birds were taking flight.

 Sue toughed it was brief but bitter !

Monday, 5 April 2021

Arctic Air and Graces

 The Forecast Arctic blast arrived today, escaping the Snow locally was a plus. 

However, the wind speed and temperature was definitely Arctic ! 

The air is noticeably cleaner, which again is a plus from my point of view. 

 The serious business of nesting and creating the next generation of Nairn Swans goes on regardless !  

Slim and Sue ignoring the cold got on with mating yet again, it seems certain they will exceed last years brood by all accounts, as the photos show.