Thursday, 24 July 2014

Salmon and Sunshine

Scotland cant always boast about sunshine, even in the middle of Summer, but right now we are getting our fair share. This must impress the tourists especially with the Commonwealth Games and influx of global visitors. 

One segment of our community however is champing at the bit for rain, the Angling fraternity have been drooling at the sight of Salmon that are now getting desperate for rain to allow them up river to the Spawning grounds. Much as I love the wildlife above the water, I also admire and marvel at the life below the water. As an ex angler I would now much rather watch these beautiful fish than catch them.

River conditions are pretty dire at the moment with low water, river weed and lack of oxygen all with the potential for the spread of disease among the fish. Myself and other members of the Trust will keep a watchful eye on the welfare of these fish whilst they are in this vulnerable position. Late July usually produces some rain, for the sake of the fish I hope so.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Wildlife Litter Danger

Yet again the dangers of litter to the wildlife was apparent to me today. I noticed a young gull trailing what appeared to be plastic twine from it's legs. It spent some time trying to peck the tangled mass from it's feet , but only succeeded in making matters worse.

The real danger is the tightening of the twine around the leg stopping the blood supply, when it will lose its foot and probably it's life due to infection. 

Only 20 metres away I noticed the "grey water" drain outlet and surrounding vegetation was festooned with paper towels and other sanitary items, again proving that this is not only a "grey water" overflow ! 

Maybe Scottish water should trace the source of this contamination and hopefully put a stop to it. I am constantly seeing paper towels and other items laying in the shallow water downstream from this drain. Is it from the nearby car wash or shops ? This outlet is also permanently open which will allow rats easy access !

Friday, 18 July 2014

Successful Release

After 3 weeks Trust protection, the rescued Glebe Road mother and her ducklings were successfully released into the river today. 

Their chances of long term survival are now greater than before. Short video below.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Trust, Summer Update

Most of my viewers will already be aware of the main events this season so far. 

Popeye and Penny have produced 8 cygnets , bringing their total survivors since moving into the river at 49 to date. 
This years duckling count to date is 77 survivors and 96 fatalities that I am currently aware of, this will no doubt change . 

However this is the best season ever for the ducks on the river Nairn. I think the main reasons for this years success are several, the hatches are later than previous years which means more cover for the nesting ducks and more insects for the ducklings.

Warmer days and nights means less food required for survival, this includes the predators like the crows, which have also had increased carrion because of the deadly pigeon paramyxovirus which has affected many of the towns pigeons. This has taken the predator pressure off the ducklings for the time being. The mother ducks are also more experienced, a trend that I hope continues!
Membership of the Trust has now reached 124, for which I am truly grateful, the cost of feed uses all our funds. Rescued birds this season has now reached 34, most of which have survived. 

Later this week I will release the rescued Glebe road mother and ducklings into the river,

as well as a pigeon recovering from an injured wing.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

River of Happy Returns.

This week has seen a dramatic return of several mother ducks with their new Ducklings, it is so heart warming and gratifying to see so many, successfully make it safely back to the river. 

Tonight I counted over 40 ducklings which would make this the best ever year ...providing they can keep them alive for the next few weeks ! 

With the tourist season and school holidays in full swing, many people are enjoying seeing the thriving river wildlife. I would ask everyone not to attempt throwing bread at these tiny ducklings, as they will fall prey to the gulls and crows !
 Enjoy some of the photos and short video below of 3 broods along the rivers edge. This is truly a river of Many Happy Returns !

Monday, 7 July 2014

Duck Broods

Latest figures on the duckling situation on the river at this point in time is 93 fatalities and 39 survivors, which includes the 9 currently in the aviary.

This is relatively good compared to previous years, and I am hopeful of some more broods still to arrive. 

Warmer weather, more cover, and less food needed, means less pressure on the ducklings.

Some pics of broods on the riverside.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Rescue Brood One Week On

There can be few things more endearing than a Mother Mallard caring for her brood. I have had the pleasure and privilege to some beautiful images this week, as the Glebe road rescued brood continue their temporary safe confinement . 

After one week, the brood have grown , allowing for the Mum to have short spells of Me time !

Some of the weeks endearing images and short video clip below.


Monday, 30 June 2014

Chilly For June

Been another eventful day on the River, but the weather is still poor for the time of year, already past mid - summer. The new rescued brood of 9 were also being kept warm by Mum, with regular body warmings in between swimming and foraging around the Aviary, they are incredibly cute at this age.

This morning I also released twin ducklings into the river,only to see them beat a hasty retreat from the hungry hoards of river residents.

Having had no contact with any other ducks since hatching 6 weeks ago, they were timid and hid on the riverbank until the afternoon before rejoining the other ducks. This evening they had adjusted to the fact that they are not the only ducks in the world and should be fine.

The annual carnage among the young seagulls has also begun, with a concerned local resident leaving a badly injured seagull in my garden for attention. A quick inspection showed it had a compound leg fracture and internal injuries causing breathing difficulty. I had no choice but to pass it to the Scottish SPCA who immediately put it to sleep. It's a sad fact that some people intentionally run over these young birds, as I once witnessed in Harbour street. This is callous and cruel behaviour.  

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Glebe Road Rescue

Thanks to Mr and Mrs Cameron of Glebe Road, I was able to help rescue a mother duck and her 9 ducklings today.

This is the second brood that has come from this area, and seems a favoured spot to nest by some ducks.

Quick thinking by Mr and Mrs Cameron by providing water and food on their patio for the mother and her brood, then contacting me has helped save this fortunate duck family. The previous mother from this area was run over trying to cross King street some weeks ago, a fate this Mother has been spared.

After a donation from Mr and Mrs Cameron to provide for the ducklings feed and care for the next few weeks,  the River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust is happy to grant them a years Membership. The duck family will be released back to the river when it is safe to do so. This Mother duck is known to me and is one of our elder ladies. 

After a quick check of her new facilities she had a bath and allowed the ducklings to enjoy their new temporary home.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Two Short Films

Having a little nostalgia trip right now and perhaps many of our new Trust members have never seen  my efforts at making a couple of short films about the Nairn Swans,  and 

Steven Seagull. About 5 or 6 minutes each. Click on the links. Enjoy !

Friday, 20 June 2014

Two New Broods

The ducklings have as usual been devastated by the predators, 77 killed so far with 8 surviving and another 12 that I recently returned to the river.

However the season is not yet over and another two broods have shown up.

With better weather and more cover available, perhaps more of these will survive the onslaught of the Heron , Crows and Seagulls !

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Return To The Wild

Five weeks after being run over by a car while trying to cross King street, the Mother duck and her 3 remaining ducklings were finally released into the river. 

Her broken wing has calloused over but she will be unable to fly. This is a severe handicap at present, because the Drakes are still chasing the females and she will be unable to escape their advances.
She is likely to be hiding out and keeping a low profile for a wee while yet.

However the ducklings have had a good start and are already showing an interest in joining some other youngsters.