Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Waiting Game

Penny is still playing a waiting game for Popeye's return. I have noticed several times that she is asserting her Alpha role, by making deep grunting sounds amidst the cygnets, usually only done by Popeye ! No doubt this is to keep the cygnets compliant and under her total control.
On Thursday I am hoping to get an update and timeline from the Scottish SPCA on Popeye's return date to the river.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Popeye Progress UPDATE

Have just been given an update on Popeye from Scottish SPCA at Fishcross wildlife centre. He has been given an X-ray, since his blood test results were inconclusive. Nothing untoward has been spotted and he continues to show improvement by eating more, he was weighed at just over 11 kilos. He has another 4 days medication to take, then he will be moved into a bigger pond with other swans. They intend to keep him for another Vet check next Tuesday, then a further few days to make sure he is OK after coming off the medication. The Liver medication appears to be flushing out whatever has sickened him.

The earliest we can have him back is likely to be the end of next week or beginning of the following week .
They want to make sure he wont go downhill after sending him back. I Just hope Penny has not given up on him by then !!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Penny Tired Out

The absence of Popeye is having it's effect on Penny. Caring and watching out for the 6 cygnets alone, appears to be tiring her out.

Today she looked really tired and had some shut eye after I fed her and the cygnets.

She probably does not get the same amount of sleep having to keep a wary eye on her brood and watching out for predators and dangers all by herself. I hope we get Popeye back soon to share the burden.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Heading In The Right Direction

POPEYE UPDATE : Just been informed that Popeye is responding to Liver Treatment, and is now eating, walking, and swimming. He is being treated by renowned SPCA Bird Vet Mr Alistair Lawrie BMVS  HonFRCVS . He will be seen again on Thursday when hopefully the blood test results will be available.


Still waiting on Popeye's blood test results, but have been told that his condition is improving and "heading in the right direction".  I take this to be good news for the moment, but will be a lot happier when they tell me he has a clean bill of health and is ready for the road home !

 A few pics to remind us all of what a superb and important bird he is !

Sunday, 15 November 2015


Penny has a definite air of melancholy, Popeye her lifelong partner is nowhere to be found and she is at a loss. The only thing keeping her going are the Cygnets.

                     I am hoping I will get Popeye returned to her this coming week. He will be stressed at being kept away from his family, and this will not help his health condition either. 

He has lost everything, his partner, family, territory and usual food supply. I hope the SPCA rehab centre will be taking all this adverse effect on his health into account !

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Popeye Blood Tests

I have been informed that the Scottish SPCA wildlife Vet at Fishcross has seen Popeye today. It does not appear to be an infection, but they are concerned that because of his age (14) and faeces colour it may be a Liver problem. They have taken blood samples which will be sent away to be analysed to see if they can determine what ails him. Meanwhile he is eating and is comfortable, we can only hope that it is not a serious Liver problem !

Penny is obviously missing him and has been calling and looking for him, she is still keeping the family together and appears to be waiting for him to return.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

When a Hiss is as Good as a Kiss

POPEYE LATEST: I have been informed that Popeye is now eating on his own and allowed to enter and leave  a pool as he pleases. He has a problem with one leg and this will be looked at by a bird Vet  on Thursday. This was supposed to happen today but some sort of delay has occurred, no more news until after Thursday.

Popeye has now been transferred to the Fishcross Scottish SPCA Wildlife rehab centre. He is likely to be there for one to two weeks depending on his progress. I am told he was head up and hissing at the Vet staff today, this is a good sign since he was so poorly yesterday. He is still weak and wobbly, but I'm more hopeful he will make a full recovery.  I have made the SSPCA aware of his family status, his food and dietary requirements, and the need to get him back to his family as soon as possible. They will keep me informed of his progress.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

The Family Awaits

Penny and the cygnets have been waiting and searching for Popeye. Penny occasionally calls out for him and goes up to the road bridge where I picked him up yesterday. Latest news today is that Popeye's temperature is falling and he is being taken to the new Scottish SPCA wildlife centre near Perth tomorrow. The facilities are all there for full veterinary treatment and care.

 Hopefully he will make a full recovery and be back with his family soon. 
Penny is capable of managing the family on her own, but her partner of 10 years will be sorely missed ! 

Friday, 6 November 2015

Popeye Taken To Vet

UPDATE : Have just received a Call from the Scottish SPCA at the Vets. X-ray shows nothing, but he is running a very high temperature - off the scale ! He has been put on a drip and high dose of antibiotics since this could be a bacterial infection. He will be kept for 48 hours at the vets to see how he responds.

Our resident Cob ( Popeye ) has been taken to the Vet in Inverness.

                     I noticed since Wednesday he has been increasingly lethargic, no appetite, and keeping himself away from the the rest of the Family.

This set alarm bells ringing and I decided he had to get medical attention. I managed to wade under the road bridge and catch him with some difficulty on the slippery stones, he was quite weak.

With the help of Morag our Trust secretary, we took him home to await Scottish SPCA transport to the Vets in Inverness.

Before he went, I checked his exterior and inside his mouth and upper throat for possible injury or fish hooks, but could see nothing.

                          I have asked for an x-ray to check for lead poisoning, and also Botulism or any other bacterial infection.
He was in good health up until last Tuesday night, so I hope they can find out the problem and treat it right away.  He is not a happy boy and very weak, although he is heavy enough to fight illness. Penny will be looking and calling for him, although she knows he is ill and been keeping himself away from the cygnets.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Nostalgic Look Back 2005-2006

Searching through my computer photo archives, I came across photos of Popeye and Penny the 1st - the previous Nairn Swans and cygnets.

                         I had just taken up digital photography,
 the years were 2005 -2006 and those summers were pretty warm and pleasant. 

Year 2006 was the last successful breeding year for them before the cob was killed in 2007. 

                        I was gutted by that event, it was the end of a beautiful friendship with these magnificent birds. 

Their departure was not in vain and resulted in the creation of a permanent haven for our river swans and ducks.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Nairn Swans - 10 Years On

It's hard to believe that Popeye and Penny our resident Swans, first arrived on the river ten years ago. I had taken up digital photography just a few years before, and loved taking pictures of all the Swans that I saw on the River. It was a sunny 6th of May 2005 when I first saw Popeye and Penny below.
I deduced that they must have been newly paired up and were looking for a nesting territory, had they been a mature pair, they would have been nesting at that time of year, they must have been about 4 years old. A few weeks later they were chased out of the river by our previous river residents. The following year they returned and laid a couple of eggs in the long river grass near the harbour toilets, these were promptly swamped by the monthly high tide. 

Undeterred Penny moved up river to the island strip near the road bridge and again laid a few eggs. I recall one Monday morning I saw her away from the nest and she would not return to it, the previous night something had scared her and she abandoned the nest, it could have been an Otter, Mink or dog.
Again they were chased from the river by the previous pair, only to return in 2007 trying to nest in the harbour.

 Once again they were caught by the spring tides and the eggs swamped daily, they had still not come to terms with the tidal nature of the Estuary. Again they were expelled by the previous pair after a fatal fight that cost the lives of the previous pair's cygnets, and latterly the life of the previous Cob who hit a power line, it was truly a tragic year !

That was the last straw for me,  I was determined to have a proper nesting island, on the river so much desired by the Swans. 

The island was successfully built later that Summer and I hoped the previous Pen would find another mate.

Sadly she did not and moved away in October 2007, I last saw her the following January in the sea near the paddling pool.

A few weeks later in February 2008, Popeye and Penny returned to the river and immediately took to the new island to build a nest, I was overjoyed.

Their first brood was 4 cygnets, and since then they have successfully raised seven broods with as many as 9 at a time, totalling 56 fledged cygnets since 2008. 

Their remarkable persistence paid off, and they are now part of the Nairn community.

We could all learn a lot from Swans, qualities like courage, fidelity, and persistence.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Pintail Perspectives

Once again we have a beautiful Autumn day and probably the best October weather for years.
Our migrant Pintail is still enjoying the river and the company of the swans and Mallards.

His new plumage is striking and virtually complete.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Popeye And The Pintail

Sometimes waiting to click the shutter just at the right moment gets a nice photo.

The Pintail has integrated well with the other birds and is now looking really good.

With his new plumage, the pin tail feathers are now getting prominent too.

He is a real contrast to the Mallards.