Thursday, 23 March 2017

Lonely Penny

Having disappeared yesterday for the day, Penny has returned to the River and Harbour today. She is a very lonely Swan and still waits for Duke to return. 

Spring equinox has passed and this is the most important time of the year, with mating and nest building imminent. It's all down to the Scottish SPCA wildlife centre to get Duke back ASAP.  

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Duke Environmental Issue ?

Further news on Duke today, he is still on antibiotics and painkillers, he is eating but not as much as he should be. I am told if he is not coping or deteriorates again, the Vet plans to check his liver and air sacs by endoscope on Saturday. The Vet suspects his up and down condition could be an environmental issue.

Interestingly enough this is headline news on the BBC today, with a record fine for Thames water for polluting the River Thames and causing the deaths of birds, fish and cattle, details here. . Makes me wonder about Scottish Water, poor old Duke, and discharges into the River Nairn and Moray firth ?
This should be a warning to ALL water companies !

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Male Goosander

Our resident Male Goosander in the harbour today, bright sunshine but biting cold wind.

Sunday, 19 March 2017


Have just had an update on Duke from SPCA down at Fishcross. Duke is now in an Indoor pool and has started eating on his own. Colin the Manager says he is now much brighter than when he arrived. Duke has a swollen foot, but an x-ray shows no sign of a break. He is being given antibiotics for infection meanwhile, and the Vet will check him on Tuesday. Fingers crossed he will soon be well enough to return to Penny who is definitely missing him.

She was sharing the Harbour with the little grebe again today  

Friday, 17 March 2017

Little Grebe

The Little Grebe is still in the lower river and Harbour, a few shots today. 

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Duke Heads South

Duke has been taken to the Scottish SPCA wildlife rescue centre at Fishcross for a little more expert attention. He is still not eating of his own accord but is well enough to do the journey down there. 

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Duke Latest

Duke is still in Inverness undergoing tests. He is still not eating after a one off eating session during Sunday night. The vets have decided to keep him in Inverness meanwhile, rather than a stressful 150 mile journey to Alloa. They are waiting on the results of a blood test and he is still being tube fed.
Lets hope they find out what ails him !

Meanwhile Penny is sticking close to home, and protecting her territory.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Penny Waits for Duke

Penny was calling for Duke last night after he was taken to the Vets. Today she has calmed down and seems to have accepted his disappearance for the moment. 

She took advantage of the Spring sunshine and sat on the exact spot they spent together the day before.

The latest News I have on Duke is that he has responded to early hydration and antibiotic measures and appeared more lively this morning. He will be taken down to Fishcross SPCA national wildlife rescue centre near Alloa tomorrow for further tests and treatment. He was lucky to have been given some vet help yesterday since they are normally closed. As luck would have it, they were on hand dealing with an emergency road casualty and were able to give Duke some preliminary treatment which may have made all the difference to his survival.

Saturday, 11 March 2017


After 2 days of trying I finally managed to catch Duke this afternoon.
He was still not eating and getting more lethargic and weak. I was fortunate that a good Samaritan happened along at the right time and offered to help. 

Duke had gone up to the island strip near the road bridge after an earlier failed attempt by me to capture him. This time I took a different approach and outwitted him, trapped against the embankment just long enough to catch him. I was surprised at how heavy he was, at least 25 pounds maybe even 30, he looks good but was weak, which after 4 days without food is not surprising.

The good Samaritan called Rosie, happened to be an ex police woman and had no qualms about taking off her shoes and wading across the river with the Swan bag, my thanks to her for a good job well done.

Was also fortunate when I called the SPCA with news of the capture, Inspector Anne was within 10 minutes of Nairn, so a quick pick up and Duke off to Inverness for attention.

Fingers crossed it is a fixable illness and we get Duke back soon. 

Just received a call from SPCA saying that the Vet is fully occupied with a long operation, however they have given Duke some hydration mixture and they will have another look at him later this evening. If he makes it through the night they will give him further treatment. 

Penny will be frantically looking for him tomorrow, she has been a wonderful partner checking on him several times a day, for she knows he is unwell. She has had a really hard time with the loss of Popeye and now Duke for the second time in 6 weeks.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Duke Sick Again

It appears our intrepid Duke is sick once again. He has refused to eat for several days and I am having difficulty in catching him for a trip to the vets.

Both Inspector Aileen of the Scottish SPCA and myself tried today but he does not want to be captured, and still well enough to keep out of reach and one step ahead !

                            I will keep trying until we get him sorted, I have a suspicion he has an impacted crop. 

Penny has been keeping him company but she knows he is not right.  

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Bless them All....

With the river in spate, Penny decided to chill out in the harbour, catching the rays and a bit of peace and quiet.

Once again blue skies and clean air, she was joined by the Little Grebe fishing for tiddlers.

Here we have one of the largest and smallest water birds together, bless em all....

Friday, 3 March 2017

Neuro Has Died

My beautiful pet Neuro the duck has died, she was neurologically damaged and underdeveloped. For the past couple of weeks she has been off her food and passing some blood. The vet gave her some worming meds since this might have been the cause, but she was still not eating. I thought she had improved since the other day after I flushed her through with olive oil.

She started to eat after I gave her a warm bath in the sink, but later on she started to regurgitate the food. I put on a post last night thinking she was on the mend but removed it this morning when I found her dead, aspiration pneumonia the probable cause. I was keen to find out what was causing her inability to eat and suspected a blockage of some sort. Bracing myself I opened her up to check the vital organs, the gizzard was tiny underdeveloped, had a small amount of sand and no stones to grind the food. This seemed to be the cause of her underdevelopment and inability to process the food which backed up and decayed. I learned something, but will miss the beautiful duck that I got so fond of..

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Too Many Birds ?

Penny and Duke are looking in great condition, and the weather has been glorious this past few days with blue skies and spring like conditions.
I think some of the birds have already started nesting. 

Standing on the Merryton bridge yesterday at high tide, it was plain to see that the report of there being too many birds on the lower riverside was a gross piece of misinformation by Highland Council propaganda department.

They still have not replied to my request as to where, when, who, and how they compiled their report.

Meanwhile our intrepid duo, are chilling out and keeping the young pretenders away, 

and the little grebe is still living in the river.

Sunday, 26 February 2017


The River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust has been established just over 4 years. It has been brought to my attention that some individuals say they know nothing about the Trust other than me, Joe Telfer the founder. It's only right therefore that I enlighten them and everyone else about the Trust.
We are an unincorporated association of voluntary unpaid Trustees, with a current membership around 170.
We have a constitution which is a bit lengthy for here, but I will give you Clause 2 which is the primary basis for our existence.

2. The Purposes / objects: of the Trust shall be the advancement, of welfare health, and protection of the River Nairn Swans, waterfowl, and water birds within the tidal reaches of the River Nairn. This includes their nesting island site, associated riverbanks, environment and habitat, for the good of the community and future generations in perpetuity. The trust shall be non political.

To all intents and purposes we are a charity, but not allowed to state this in our constitution.

Currently we have 4 Trustees, Joe Telfer as Founder Treasurer, Martin Shand as Chairman, Morag Paterson as Secretary, and Sue Hulbert our Avian Adviser.
We will start with Sue Hulbert.  Sue runs a Swan Sanctuary in Swindon, she has 28 years experience in animal welfare and is an Ex council ranger. Although she runs a small swan sanctuary, she also cares for many different birds and animals on a daily basis, including cats for the cats protection league. I am eternally grateful for the assistance that Sue provides with her wealth of avian experience.

Sue is small in stature but catching Swans even in the most difficult situations is something she takes in her stride. She is often asked for her help by the Council, Police, and the RSPCA to assist in rescues. Sue is also a member of the Swan convention. She visited me a while back and spent a couple of days on the riverside passing a professional eye over our river and birds. Her expertise on avian matters is invaluable. We got a thumbs up for the job we are doing. She is also a keen football fan !

Morag, our secretary, flew into Nairn and landed on the riverbank 3 years ago, after years of living and working in other cultures and countries, always fascinated by life’s flow :-)   She’s ‘done’ many things: international networking for a more connected world, social enterprise, teaching, volunteering at Young Enterprise, as Chair of a Community Council, and locally at CAB, and now is all about happiness, health and life awareness. Nice job to have!  She is fascinated by the natural world, and what lessons we can learn from being close to nature - one reason she runs a lot along the riverside and beach (picking up litter along the way), and takes dips (occasionally swims with the swans and ducks).

Martin our Chairperson works locally in public service  but visits most of the highlands on business, and is also very concerned about wildlife conservation issues. A very keen DIY man and big Nairn County FC fan , with a sense of humour, comes in handy as our handyman with a trailer !

Joe Telfer  Founder Treasurer, Always been keen on the natural world ever since father brought in Trout during rationing after WW2. I remember when he was president of the local angling club in Lanarkshire during the 1950s being taken on a fishing trip to the Tay at Aberfeldy. I discovered my first Robin's nest in the root of an upturned tree, tiny delicate eggs which he made sure I didn't touch.The World and people were different then, Tuberculosis was common, and the bus load of anglers mainly coal miners donated half their catch to the local sanatorium on the way home.
I worked my way round the world for 3 years during the 1960s, I have been in business, ex hunter and fisher, and have had my epiphany moments. I feel passionate about the Natural world the environment and Scotland's natural beauty. With a lifetime of changes - from the milk being delivered by horse and cart to sitting at this computer doing a blog. Familiarity breeds contempt, and the consumerism of society is a major threat to the entire planet. As the apex species I think it's incumbent on us to protect and conserve other species. I concentrate on what I can do personally to protect what I believe is important.
The Trust deals with the Scottish SPCA on a regular basis, the power companies, BT, Network Rail and any others that impact on the wildlife.
Finally our valuable membership, the people who help sustain the Trust with their compassion and love of the Natural world.We have members locally, throughout Scotland and the UK, and some living abroad who keep in touch through the blog postings. The Trust is grateful for your support and pledge to continue caring for our patch of river environment and it's inhabitants.