TREVOR WEEKS: Poorly kestrel, toads on the move and more swans from Princes Park

Uckfield kestrel SUS-160703-085806001
Uckfield kestrel SUS-160703-085806001
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This beautiful kestrel has come into care from Uckfield rescued by Andrew and Charlotte. Every winter we see a lot of casualties coming in badly emaciated and struggling to find food or that they have eaten something bad which has made them ill.

This kestrel is one of those casualties.

Badly emaciated and very cold, he was taken straight to our care team who took him home for the night to give extra care and fingers crossed he will make a recovery.

We are seeing a lot of birds especially at this time of year which are underweight and suffering from digestive system problems, many of which are caused by or can easily be spread from bird tables and feeders.

Bird tables and feeding stations are valuable sources of food for our wildlife during the winter, but because they concentrate wildlife in one spot in larger numbers than is natural they also can increase the risk of infection and disease spreading too.

This is why feeding in moderation and limiting the food supply put out is so important so that wildlife does not end up concentrating in too larger numbers.

But even in moderation small feeding stations can cause problems, which is why it is so important that feeders and tables are kept clean and disinfected at least once a week if not more often.

Although we have had some very cold nights recently, we have had some damp milder nights too.

You may have noticed an increase in frogs and toads around recently.

They are in the process of migrating to their spawning grounds.

Unlike frogs which spend most of their time in water, toads spend most of their lives in woodlands, gardens, hedgerows and under decking.

They are all in the process of moving to mate and spawn.

They move only at night to avoid predators.

Chris and I came across quite a few last week after coming back late from a rescue.

If safe to do so please stop and moved them out of the road.

Known toad migration sites which cross roads in East Susssex are Ersham Estate Hailsham, Harlands Estate Uckfield, Knowle Lane Halland, the lane between Litlington and Exceat and Underhill Lane Maresfield to name a few.

I found quite a few on the Manor Park Estate around Oakwood Drive, Nevil Road, Hempstead Lane and Browns Lane last week.

Sometimes there is an obvious direction in which they are moving, or a pond or stream next to the road where they can be placed.

But generally move them onto the grass verge.

Wear gloves or make sure you wash your hands afterwards.

If you decided to go on a patrol take a torch and wear light coloured clothing or a hi-vis tabard to ensure you are easily seen.

We had another two calls down to Princes Park in Eastbourne again this week.

We had two reports of swans entangled in fishing line.

Rescuer Tony managed to catch both and bring them into care.

Luckily there were not injured and were suitable for release straight away.

Kathy and I attended a call in Firle Green Uckfield last week after a report of a hedgehog having being attacked by a dog.

When we arrived we found the dog in question was rather small so unlikely to have caused major injuries.

Kathy checked over the hedgehog and gave it a thorough examination but found no sign of injury or illness.

The chap was in good body condition so he was released back into the garden where he quickly ran off under the decking to hide.

It was not far from where we had released a family last year, we scanned the hedgehog but it was not one which we had microchipped.

It was nice to see a healthy hedgehog for a change.

Finally thank you to Uckfield Bonfire Society for donating a generous £100 towards East Sussex WRAS from the proceeds of last year’s Bonfire procession.

We had a report of an injured badger in Hove last week. Rescuer Daryl and Chris joined me in sitting, waiting and watching for the badger to arrive.

The badger which is thought to have a territorial bite wound above its tail, sadly it didn’t visit during the three hour wait. We did see a different badger but this one was certainly not injured.

The residents are going to keep an eye out for him and see if he visits again.