TREVOR’S WEEK: We checked the cygnets at Hampden Park this week

Decoy Pond cygnet release SUS-160926-090100001
Decoy Pond cygnet release SUS-160926-090100001

We were called down to Decoy Pond Hampden last week and, as we have been doing over the past few months since the cygnets were born, we caught one randomly to check its weight. This is the first time was have been concerned about the weight of any we have caught this year. We released it again as it did not feel bad enough for us to be concerned and start checking more frequently.

We returned the following day and noticed that one of the cygnets had a damaged wing dragging in the water. We had an opportunity to catch one of the other cygnets and did so and checked its weight and were concerned enough to place him straight into our ambulance, and we took the decision to catch the injured cygnet and the others. However the final cygnet we were unable to catch as he was so lively. The four cygnets caught weighed 4.3kg, 5.1kg, 5.7kg and 7.25kg, the later probably being a male at that weight. This is much better than when we caught the cygnets last year and the year before. The fifth remaining cygnet we left with the parents at the lake.

The 4.3kg cygnet is the one with the damaged wing and has now been taken up to the Swan Sanctuary and has sadly since died. The other three which we caught have been checked over at WRAS’s Casualty Centre and given a wormer and after advice from the Swan Sanctuary they were returned to the lake the following day.

We also found the decomposed bodies of two cygnets in the vegetation and reeds at the edge of the lake just anti-clockwise of the large tree by the inlet stream. The swans regularly perch on the edge of this silted up area which has been planted up. Now the vegetation is dying back the bodies were visible. Although impossible to know for sure, they may have been predator attacks due to their location and way in which they are hidden – mink possibly – but that is very much a guess.

Out of the eight original cygnets two have been taken to the Swan Sanctuary of which one has died. Two have died at the lake possible predator related and four are still with parents at the lake.

A young male deer came into care Sunday morning at 1am. On-call Rescue Coordinator Chris Riddington received the call just after midnight to reports of an injured deer in Hellingly which had been removed from a fence. The finders had managed to secure the deer in their vehicle until Chris arrived. Once on site the deer was assessed and transferred to one of WRAS’s stretchers and secured in the ambulance.

Chris called Kathy and I down to the Centre where we waited for him to arrive. The deer was suffering from a ligature wound just above the ankle joint. It was down to the bone in a couple of places but nice and fresh and plenty of skin attached and the blood supply not compromised. The wound was cleaned and emergency first aid was given. Once calm the deer was transferred in to one WRAS’s large indoor pens for the night. Chris and I stayed over at the centre to ensure the deer was ok and didn’t have any problems and in the morning called in help from deer specialists Chris and Sylvia Collinson. After assessing the deer we drove it back to their facilities at Chelwood Gate.

A poor hedgehog was found in pond last week, swimming around unable to get out. Very cold and dehydrated when rescued it was taken to the Casualty Centre. Our care team warmed him up gently using a heated mat and warmed fluids, he then went into one of our incubators to maintain his body temperature. The following morning he had eaten all of his food and was lookimg a lot better and we hope he will make a full recovery.

We have also released one Tawny Owl and had another admitted, this time late at night via South Coast Ambulance Service in Hastings. One of their ambulances transporting a patient to The Conquest Hospital saw the dazed bird on the roadside. They stopped their vehicle picked him up, delivered their patient to the hospital and then waited for WRAS rescuers Chris and Laura to collect their wild patient. The poor owl is a bit concussed and has been given first aid and some rehydration fluids. He has now settled in well and we hope will make a fully recovery.

Other calls this week have included rescuers Zoe and Nikki rescuing a young mouse catted in Ringmer, rescuers Chris and Laura dealing with a grass snake with a broken spine that sadly has to be put to sleep and Chris and I rushing to the aid of a badger in pain at the back of Collin’s Honda at Herstmonceux which is thought to be a road casualty. We have also had more night time calls including yet another dog attacked hedgehog from Hurstpierpoint.