Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Active Riverside

The Riverside is becoming a little more active, with returning fish catchers on the go. 

The River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust will be releasing 12 ducklings and their Mother next week. 

Hopefully they will be too big for most predators, and should be able to fly fairly soon.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Easy Rider

Every year out of the cygnets brood, there is always one that stands out and loves being on top.

This year is no exception, and Penny has yet another Mummy's boy..or girl. 

This is the first time in 9 years I have actually seen one sitting on Penny's back from the nest all the way down to the moat.

Then after a feed climbing aboard again.

What a great mother Swan is Penny !

Saturday, 21 May 2016


"Fine weather for ducks" often used , but today even the ducks ran for cover !

  One of the most violent squalls Iv'e seen for years passed over Nairn just after 1.30pm today. The ducklings started quacking and ran under the bushes, as strong winds,  hail, and torrents of water poured from the skies. I caught a short video as it passed by. (can only imagine the overflow from the drains ! )


Friday, 20 May 2016

And So To Bed

Tried the Macro setting on the repaired camera today, close up of the cygnets of course. Also removed a willow branch that had taken root on the island, then pinned another dead Crow nearby. The deterrent seems to be working well, and haven't seen a Crow near the island since the hatching.

Once again I was privileged to witness the cygnets going to bed, with full approval of Popeye and Penny.


Thursday, 19 May 2016

One Week Old

As usual the weather has gone to the dogs and we are back to cold northerly winds, surely this will come to an end soon !!
Life goes on and the cygnets have survived their first week on the river, they are stronger and growing. 

Popeye  had the task of seeing off his daughter again, as she tried to come back to her home the other day. Swans are very territorial and will not tolerate other swans - even their own offspring- trying to come back.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Safe Harbour

Popeye and Penny as is their custom, have taken the cygnets to the harbour within days of hatching.

The high walls and calm water with grass verges, suits the swans temperament. It is not without it's dangers though, as there are Blackback gulls sometimes perched on the floodlights, and a pair of dangerous crows always on the lookout for a victim.

However today our skilled and experienced duo, kept them close and enjoyed the warm atmosphere, with the cygnets having a well guarded snooze beside Mum.  Weather permitting, the cygnets will be taken to the open sea any day now.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Ducklings Delight

With all the focus on our new cygnets, our new seasons ducklings are missing out. 

Have no fear they are alive and well under the care of the Trust. The eldest will be released in a couple of weeks, when safe from Crows and gulls.

Meanwhile the incubator brood are thriving and enjoying the run of the place, the two yellow ones are just gorgeous and I will be tempted to keep one for breeding next year. All previous white ones have been killed on the river, and I hate the idea of the these suffering the same fate.

The mother with five in the outhouse is doing well, and her little ones enjoy all mod cons as the short video clip shows.


Monday, 16 May 2016

Cygnets Close Up

Cygnets are getting stronger and doing well.

They are being kept warm by a very attentive Mum. 

Short Video of Cygnets for those of you who haven't yet seen them close up.


Sunday, 15 May 2016

Final Check

Today I had the opportunity to give the nest a final check, the remaining egg was cold and showed no signs of life, so had to be removed. Penny still laid her 8 eggs this season, so even at 15 years old she can still produce a large clutch.

 Now she can get on with the business of caring for 6 healthy cygnets without the distraction of non -hatched eggs in the nest. She has already been taking the cygnets into the water at regular intervals to feed.

Happily she is using the turf ramp I set up, giving ease of access for the cygnets and also the smooth pathway to the top of the island.

Again I was privileged to watch the bedtime ritual this evening, showing what happens when they get back home to the nest.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

First Dip

Today, thankfully the wind has dropped and the skies are blue, and the cygnets were taken for their first dip.

This gave me a chance to check the nest after the 6 hatched by yesterday. I found 2 eggs, one of which was obviously dead and I removed it,  the other I will leave for today but it probably won't hatch - most eggs hatch within 48 hours of the first one.

Penny seemed to think there should be another, for she kept calling and going back and forth to the nest. 

Anyway 6 cygnets makes it 62 that our pair have produced in the past 9 years, a considerable achievement.

The Sun was warm and the cygnets were taken down to the moat for their first dip, the water level is down and makes entry and exit difficult.

The ramp I made the other day did help them get out after the dip, but climbing to the nest was a marathon.

 One of the cygnets took a direct route to Penny's call, and led the others on a perilous climb to the summit.

All made it to the top but one was exhausted by the effort.

 The series of Pics tells the story and video at the end shows them preening on the nest. 


Friday, 13 May 2016


Observing and dealing with wildlife over the years can be a heartbreaking task, especially during springtime.

On the other hand the joy and pleasure can be extremely rewarding too.

This morning I went to see if Penny our resident Pen had finished hatching the last of her clutch.

The skies were grey with that biting northerly wind blowing up river and over the nest site. I could see she was covering her brood from the biting wind and she made a few doleful cries, reaching for more nesting material to try and cut the wind from the nest. I realised her plight and gathered some dry nesting material then up to the nest and threw it towards the base of the nest.

Popeye came up to see what I was up to but accepted that I was trying to help and stood to the side.

Penny gratefully grabbed at the material and pulled it up to raise the edge of the nest. 

The wind was cold and keen but she raised her wing to allow a couple of cygnets out to observe the proceedings.

The trust I have built up over the past decade with Popeye and Penny stood me in good stead today, as they allowed me full access to their nest site and contents. 

Maybe the fact that I stood on the windward side breaking the wind, and also provided more nesting material had something to do with it , but it was a profound moment of complete trust.

To cap it all, the sun broke through the clouds and she stood up to reveal a beautiful brood of 6 cygnets and a couple of other eggs yet to hatch.

 She tidied a few bits of nesting material, then to my amazement left me and Popeye in complete charge of the brood as she went down to the moat for a drink.

This total display of trust with such powerful birds at this point in their nesting cycle, was utterly amazing to me. I had the presence of mind to get the camera rolling and captured many still images and some video footage as well.  Enjoy the sequence of events and short video below.( Apologies for not having the wind noise reduction switched on. )