Saturday, 8 March 2014
With spring not too far away, the ducks are picking their partners with the Drakes showing their fighting prowess.
Many of the ducks have the same partners as last season with the younger ones coming into their first adult mating season. Some ducks have several suitors while others have yet to find a permanent mate. Sadly the 4 call ducks that were released into the river last year have all been killed, except for one drake.
He is a tough little character and has attached himself to a couple like glue ! He has been chased, bitten, and pecked, but he is besotted with a particular duck that has a mate, but she looks like his old flame that was killed.
He is spare but what a spirited little drake he is.
The Halloween ducks that were saved 18 months back, have the same mates they had last year, they are beautiful ducks along with their sister who has 3 drakes constantly with her, she must have something special !!
The beautiful white duck has the same mate as last season and all of them will be nesting soon.
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
As usual Popeye and Penny's offspring don't want to leave the home territory without a push.
Today 3 of them returned to the river only to be promptly chased by Mum and Dad, this behaviour is built into their DNA and is to be expected.
The sequence of shots tells the story where several attempts were made to chase them back to sea.
In the end, Popeye and Penny prevailed and flew back to their precious Island home.
Sunday, 2 March 2014
Yesterday the first of March the Cygnets departed the river, it looks like the final break has been made and they are now on life's grand journey.
They have had the best possible start in life, and the weather has also been kind to them - we wish them well !
Meanwhile Popeye and Penny are enjoying their new found peace and quiet with no more standing back and allowing the cygnets to eat their fill.
They can now feast together, prior to the new nesting season which is only a month away.
Friday, 28 February 2014
Tuesday, 25 February 2014
It's remarkable that only 9 months have passed and the Cygnets are fully grown, competent fliers, and ready to look after themselves.
Considering they are capable of living 25 years, their ability compared to humans is amazing. For us to reach this stage of development on comparative lifespan, we should be caring for ourselves and able to survive from 2 and half years old ! Short video clip below at one day old, with Penny calling them down to the water. Nature is Amazing !
Sunday, 23 February 2014
Friday, 21 February 2014
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency ( SEPA ) have today sent me an update on the fractured pipe that has been leaking into the river. SEPA have made good their commitment and have a positive response from Albyn Housing. The following extract from SEPA today.
"Albyn Housing has temporarily repaired the leaking pipe and is in contact with Scottish Water regarding a permanent repair.
Albyn Housing confirmed last week that the temporary repair is sufficient at the moment and they will monitor the situation until a permanent repair can be organised."
Well done SEPA !
Thursday, 20 February 2014
Cygnets still being chased about today, until a wind blown balloon whisked past them in the strong blustery wind.
They panicked and quickly grouped around the parents for protection, fear of the unknown was greater than the threat from the parents. They have had the best possible start in life and look simply superb !
Monday, 17 February 2014
Two pairs of Goldeneye close to the Merryton bridge today, interesting to watch and heard one of the males call for the first time, then throw his head back in mating pose.
Amazing that these diving ducks actually nest in holes in trees several metres from the ground, and lay 8 to 11 eggs.
First nested in Scotland in 1970. and there are about 200 nesting pairs, but this increases to 35,000 in the winter, according to my bird book.
Saturday, 15 February 2014
Cygnets are now 9 months old and looking really good, this is the longest the parents have ever kept them around.
The previous two seasons they have chased off their brood by the 9th January, the unusual winter weather might have extended this years stay. Popeye and Penny are at least 13 years old, so perhaps their maturity also has a bearing on their behaviour now.
Another trust member also tells me that the Goldeneye males have now arrived in the river, and were putting on a mating display by throwing their heads back.
Perhaps real winter is about to begin !
Tuesday, 11 February 2014
Cygnets are still here, although frequently on their own and at sea.
Parents still tolerating they're presence and have them under total control.
Again I was ideally placed to get a few nice shots as they flew towards the Merryton Bridge.
They are becoming competent fliers, even in blustery conditions.
Saturday, 8 February 2014
Briefly thought that the cygnets had finally gone today, with Popeye and Penny happily on their own at the Bridge.
Was just about to head down to the harbour to see if the cygnets were there, when they suddenly appeared. They flew low up river to the bridge, very wary of the parents and rightly so, Popeye and Penny are increasing the pressure for them to leave.
The Winter has just not materialised locally, and I cant remember a year so mild. This has been good for the birds because the ground has never been frozen at all this winter. We have certainly got our share of global warming this year !