TREVOR WEEKS MBE - Six rescued ducklings now coming of age in back garden

The juvenile pipistrelle bat found at Framfield

The juvenile pipistrelle bat found at Framfield

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Several weeks ago we rescued a family of ducklings who were being walked across the busy South Road, in Hailsham.

Their mum ended up flying off as local residents tried to keep her and the ducklings safe from the busy traffic. In the end the mum disappeared and the ducklings had to come in for care. These are the six ducklings now much more grown up. They are doing well and have now been moved to an outdoor pen at Kathy’s garden in Uckfield.

Ducklings - Trevor Weeks

Ducklings - Trevor Weeks

Our orphan rearing team have been extremely busy this year and worked so hard. We clearly need to improve our facilities in this area of the hospital to make cleaning quicker and easier and more manageable for the volunteers which is also much better for the casualties welfare too. We would like to purchase 24 new fibreglass veterinary cages costing about £400 each per cage. We are looking for help in sponsoring these cages. If you would like to help sponsor one of these cages please contact me on 01825-873003 or by e-mailing trevor@eastsussexwras.org.uk. We will also put a label on the cage with your name on and you would be welcome to come and visit once the cages are installed too. Groups, clubs, societies, residents’ associations, schools, individuals, friends etc might want to club together and sponsor a cage or even do it as a gift or “in memory of” a friend or relative too.

We received a call out to Birdineye Farm at Framfield last week. The call was to a possible baby bat in a wood burning fire. On arrival the owners said they couldn’t find the bat, but as we started searching the bat was found hidden on the back of the wood burner’s door. The bat turned out to be a juvenile pipistrelle bat, which was rather sooty. He was checked over and found to be rather dehydrated and a bit underweight and may have been trapped inside the burner for several days, so very kindly Jenny Clark at the Sussex Bat Hospital kindly took him on.

We’ve had another couple of hedgehogs in this week with infected head wounds. One with an abscess across his head and one with an infected wound, both picked up from the Eastbourne area. Those of you who remember little “Wood Violet” the hedgehog who at just 300g had half her nose strimmered off, she is almost completely recovered now.

As you may have seen in last week’s paper but too later to get into my column, Southern Water staff called us out after a goose was found trapped in a sewage tank at the Uckfield Water Treatment Works in Uckfield. Staff noticed the bird had landed in the circular waste water tank being chased by the constantly rotating arm, which they quickly turned off. Staff thought the bird might be able to fly out of its own accord so left it for a couple of days, but it just stayed there.

Kathy, Sean, Robert and I attended on site. This is not the first time we have had waterfowl accidentally landing in this exact same tank. On the 25th October 2007 we had a swan trapped here which we needed to catch. The smaller birds like ducks are normally okay and can fly out easily but geese and swans always have trouble.

Because of the drop from ground level down to the gully round the edge of the tank, I had to climb down in order to try and catch the goose. The gully was very slippery and wet so we had to proceed with caution. Sean stayed by the overflow to stop the goose becoming stuck while Robert and I approached from either side. After a couple of attempts to catch the goose, it managed to take off and just about gain enough height and flew through the surrounding railings and onto the grass.

We then walked the goose across the grass to a nearby pond where it was quickly onto nice clean water where it could recuperate safely. I think all the goose luckily needed was a bit of encouragement in order to help it get up and out of the tank and I’m so glad I didn’t end up getting wetter than last time. We would like to thank the Southern Water staff at Uckfield for their co-operation and assistance with this rescue.

Kathy’s new aviary at Uckfield has been a great success in soft releasing a number of garden birds back to the wild. However, it might be too much of a success as Kathy had to evict a flock of 20 starlings from the aviary egged on by our handreared starlings. Talking of pens, our orphaned foxes are being moved this week and will be going to their release site, so it won’t be long before we can start releasing them. We have to wait till the natural dispersal period when cubs would normally be leaving their parents, as there is less territorial competition and they will merge with the local population better.