Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Red Breasted Mergansers

A sure sign of Autumn and approaching Winter, is the appearance of the red breasted Mergansers in the tidal waters.

There were five today close to the Merryton bridge, but weather a bit dull for really good photos.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Royal Baby Pigeons

Four of the baby pigeon squabs from the royal hotel apartments are doing OK, but sadly the oldest one died. They had a few fleas which I have treated, and seem to be thriving on a feed mix of chick crumb starter, porridge oats, mealworm and garden peas all liquidised together with water.

It's a bit daunting handling the smallest one for feeding. I think they are all from separate parents since they appear to be different sizes - all one family now, short vid clip below.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Royal Squabs

An afternoon visit from Donald the caretaker of Royal Hotel apartments with a royal surprise. 

Workmen fixing the attic ceiling area came across 5 baby pigeons (squabs). The parent birds have been using the broken skylight to access the attic for nesting. Having reared squabs last year I knew I could take care of this lot although 2 of them are tiny and about 4 days old, another one is half grown, and the other two are developing their spiky feather shafts. Fortunately for them, my last years experience will mean they have a good chance of survival.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Flood Woes

Last weeks flood completely reshaped the entire river, with massive trees and amounts of destruction wreaked along the riverside.

The Swans Island moat has many tons of gravel dumped into the top half, which will have to be removed for the Swans safety.

 I also noticed today that a large piece of wire mesh has been torn from the base of the Merryton bridge, which is also a danger to the swans. Scottish water will have to rectify this ASAP before we have an accident !

A massive tree is lodged on the old mooring pole, must weigh at least 5 tons and probably shifted thousands of tons of gravel on the way down the river!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Stranded Marine Animals

This time of year can sometimes find seal pups or other marine animals on the beach, and people often feel they should do something when faced with an apparent stranded seal pup, or other marine animal like the dead porpoise below.

However one of our local Trust members who also happens to be involved with Marine animal rescue, has sent me the following information poster that gives very useful advice and contact numbers.

I would recommend viewers to take note of the advice and numbers for future reference on this subject.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Flood Casualty

With the river now receding after the big flood it now becomes possible to see the riverbed changes. Huge volumes of gravel have been displaced and washed downstream, and the course of the river has changed yet again .

The moat protecting the Swans island has been partially filled in by tons of shingle blocking the supply of fresh water to the moat. This moat overflow also helps keep the area near the harbour toilets free from foul smelling drain effluent gathering near the toilet wall. The gravel will have to be cleared to protect the Swans nesting site, and prevent stagnant water building up in front of the island. I will carry out a thorough inspection when the river drops further.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

All at Sea

After another deluge the river was almost as bad as the August flood with a raging torrent carrying trees and all kinds of debris into the Sea.

With a heavy swell the swans almost got caught out on the shore, with the injured cygnet getting separated and marooned on the beach at one stage.

It was unable to get over the breakers but eventually rejoined the family after being chased by a dog.

All managed to return to the harbour in the afternoon, 

while some of the ducks took refuge on the swans island

Monday, 6 October 2014

Cygnet Has Lucky Escape

After receiving an emergency call about one of our cygnets today from our regional dog warden Angela Taylor, I feared the worst because of the gale force winds and potential for flying accidents.

Apparently one of the cygnets landed in harbour street and was then chased by a dog into a riverside garden from which it could not escape. Fortunately it was watched over by Angela and one of our trust members until I arrived on the scene. 

After a quick inspection it appears that other than a minor cut to one of it's feet and some displaced feathers, there was no serious injury and I was able to return it to the family in the river. This is the most dangerous time for young cygnets that are inexperienced flyers, with Autumn gales flying accidents are a common cause of death and injury.
My thanks to Angela for her concern and quick response.

Friday, 3 October 2014


Managed to catch a quick shot of a Mallard pair in flight, 

as well as the Cygnets doing their fly / run up the river last week. 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014


After yesterdays ducklings release, I was keen to see how they had survived their first night on the river, and was delighted to see them all together. What was even more of a surprise was the fact that after 2 months I believe their parents recognised them.

At one point today the ducklings were resting on the shingle and the parents came alongside in the river and spent quite some time observing them. The mother only had them a few days before the big flood in August, but I'm certain out of all the new ducks on the river she recognised them.

In the photos the parents are on the right in the water, and her daughter is sitting on the shingle - and she is her double !  I even think the daughter recognises her mother too ! As a lover of these remarkable birds, this is a real eye opener for me.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Bertha's Babes Successful Release

After 8 weeks sanctuary with the River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust, the nine saved ducklings were successfully returned to the river today.

With the help of friend and trust member George Stephen, we introduced the ducklings to the lower river where they relished in fresh water and freedom !

Within a short time they were already approaching some other resident ducks, and sampling the river bottom. Six are females and three drakes, which is a welcome change from the many predominant males.

Later with Penny leading the way, the Swans decided to avoid walking over the pesky shingle

and had a fly - run to the Merryton bridge for their feed.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Swans Eye View

Putting the camera down to the same level as the Swans for a different perspective.

One very friendly Robin close to the rivers edge can probably see the swans like this too.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Bertha's Babies Released Soon

 The 9 ducklings taken into care by the River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust prior to the big Bertha flood last month, will soon be released back into the river. 

They should be capable of flight in a couple of weeks, and therefore more likely to survive any predator attacks. 

Proper care has ensured their good health and growth, and happily 5 of them are females which will go some way to offsetting the predominance of male ducks.

Friday, 19 September 2014

A Family of Nations

The historic referendum result is in, with a fairly convincing NO vote for Scottish independence. After all the hype and razamataz of electioneering, the people of Scotland stared reality in the face and decided to remain part of the family that forms the United Kingdom. Scotland and for that matter the UK have always punched above their weight, and it seemed to me that when the World is showing signs of falling apart for Scotland to add to that process was a step too far - particularly at this point in history. Democracy has won the day and a credit to Scotland for such an example to the World. No one doubts that Scotland could go it alone and that we are a nation , we are also known to be canny, I think we showed that yesterday. The Politicians should take note, that even here in the Highlands the vote was NO. 

People want them to act accordingly and start doing what they are elected to do. Stop looking out for their own agenda, positions and party, and start improving the lives of  those living here and make it a better place for all.  

Thursday, 18 September 2014

History in the Making

Today the biggest referendum vote in Scotland's history will take place, whether to go independent or not. After 2 years of build up, many are now suffering from referendum fatigue and cant wait until Friday morning. The only certainty is that the country is split down the middle over this issue, and Scotland will never be the same again as change is inevitable. All of us will have to live with the outcome and make the most of it.
The river wildlife are oblivious to this course of events and will continue with the business of living, learning to fly and staying alive.

  We could learn a lot from Swans, they are not greedy creatures and are content when they have their share, 

unlike humans who seem programmed to always want and demand more - sometimes leading to our own destruction.