Sunday, 25 January 2015

Giving Nature a Home



The RSPB had their big Garden bird watch this weekend, and like thousands of others I duly noted the various species in the garden. 

   
I have allowed the small garden that I have to become a bit of a wilderness over the past few years, to give cover and protection to the smaller birds - to a great extent it has worked.

The River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust has also done much to create a home for the river birds as well, the provision of feed grain keeps the birds in good condition, and they spread all along the river and surrounding areas during the spring and summer. 

Last season we saw more ducklings around than for some time, and this brings joy to all who see them. Long may it continue !

Meanwhile our swan family are still together, in spite of the parents itching to get the youngsters to move on.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Penny


It's almost 10 years since I first saw Penny and Popeye on the river. They arrived in May 2005 looking for a nesting site, I believe they were newly paired up and about 4 years old. 



This makes them 14 years old this season.
What a pair they have turned out to be, they have raised 49 cygnets to date and have claimed the river territory as their own.



Today I watched as two new swans tried to fly in, only to be met by Penny and this years offspring, it was no contest so they headed away - they might well have been some of her previous offspring. 

The swans island is extremely attractive when the tide is in, and no doubt looks an ideal nesting site for any pair of swans.

Penny has made full use of the Island since it's construction, and now knows the river and tides better than anyone.





In celebration of her many productive years contribution to the river, and the pleasure she has given to all who traverse the riverside, 

here are some classic poses of this beautiful and remarkable Swan.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Red Breasted Merganser


All is tranquil on the river at present, and the Cygnets are still here, although pretty well left on their own by Popeye and Penny.

 Female Red breasted Merganser doing a spot of fishing in a very tranquil setting at high tide.


Saturday, 17 January 2015

Hard Winter Frost


The Swans island attracts other species especially during hard winter weather.



The grain and wild bird seed is also a welcome lifeline to the Moorhen and Turnstones. 

Meanwhile the cygnets are keeping warm with bills tucked under their wings.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Spooked Ducks and Snowy Swans


With winter biting, all the wildlife are searching for food, this includes the river predators like the Otter.
The ducks on the island got a close look at one the other day which was at the opposite side of the river. Most of the ducks did not wait around and flew up river, the remainder were mostly drakes but they were very alert as the pic shows !


Meanwhile today the Snow started to fall, and a wintry scene developed at the Swans island.

Popeye and Penny will not chase the cygnets away during adverse weather conditions.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Trust News and Appeal


The past year has been another successful year for the river Nairn birds with a full compliment of 8 new cygnets, all of which have survived.



 In addition to our beautiful swans, the Mallard ducks have also increased, helped by the Trust caring for 4 broods during the course of the year.

Many of these would otherwise have been taken by predators before they had a chance to survive.

We have also lost many ducks during the course of the year, the beautiful white duck and her mother, many others also fell to predators. However a total of 55 birds were rescued during the year, three quarters of which survived.

Duck numbers have increased, and this has meant a corresponding increase in expenditure for the Trust. Having just completed preliminary Trust accounts for 2014, it shows a deficit of £1038-64 which so far has come out of my own pocket !
As a pensioner this amount is increasingly hard to sustain.

Trust expenditure for the year was £2555-08 and the total income was £1516-44. This is in spite of the fact that trust membership has grown to 140 as of today. Many of these members have family membership, so the income does not equate to £15 per member. The trust needs more members to maintain the vibrant and healthy river bird population that we all enjoy. 

As you all know the summer floods blocked the moat with gravel and this will soon be cleared, the cost of which will have to be met by the trust. The trust receives no money at all from local councils or the public purse, and is a voluntary organisation. I know from the comments of people around the Town, how much they appreciate the water birds and the care that goes into looking after them.

   I appeal to all viewers if they could go the extra mile and make a donation, or become a member of the trust..

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Simply Superb


Images of swans are iconic and simply superb,  I think they are one of the most photogenic birds on the Planet !

The split between parents and cygnets have already all but taken place,

it is now up to the parents as to the date of final parting.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Peaceful Co-Existence


Peaceful co-existence reigns among the swans and ducks even at feeding time.

The cygnets are almost independent of Popeye and Penny and are often sited at separate locations, 

they seem to know that their time is limited with their parents, it will soon be time to go.

They are in excellent condition whenever that time comes.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

New Year - New Look


Sometimes it's fun to use graphics programs to take a different view of photos.

Simply switching to the negative can give some pleasing results.

Lets hope this is another bumper year for  our beautiful Swans !

Friday, 26 December 2014

Ice Maidens


Heavy overnight frost ensured a covering of ice on any still water, this meant the island moat had a glaze this morning. 


Penny led the way as chief ice breaker, and the cygnets tried nibbling their way along !

 The ducks wisely stayed near the running water at Merryton bridge.