TREVOR WEEKS: Owls, a sparrowhawk and a moorhen

It's my birthday on Sunday January 22 and I am asking all my friends to make donations to my colleague Daryl Farmer who has now been rowing across the Atlantic for the past month fundraising, even spending Christmas away from his family.

Tawny owl from Rye SUS-170118-114702001
Tawny owl from Rye SUS-170118-114702001

He is all on his own and has had an amazingly difficult row so far, with some amazingly violent storms, being washed overboard, capsized, suffered from concussed due to huge waves throwing him around inside his cabin, rudder cables snapping, foot plates being pulled out and much more. He is behind schedule but with improving winds and weather recently he has started picking up and piling on the nautical miles again. You can read the updates and report on his progress via our website

This winter has certainly been a strange one so far for our wildlife. The mild start to winter was much welcomed to help us get about a third more hedgehogs back out to the wild than we would normally be able to. We still have about 100 in care still. The warm weather does have its drawbacks though, as we are seeing birds starting to build nests. This week we have had two young collared doves come into care. The first one was from Uckfield and the following day a second which we collected from Foreman and Hanna Vets in Stone Cross. The smaller of the two from the vets was particularly weak and underdeveloped and sadly did not survive but the slightly older one is improving and currently at home with Kathy for close observation and hand feeding.

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A lot of parasites won’t be killed off without the very cold temperatures this winter either. I wouldn’t be surprised if ringworm is not going to be a problem for our wildlife this spring if it stays mild. We have seen a few cases this winter already. The cold weather we have experienced has been fairly short lived. In order to hibernate properly hedgehogs need consistently cold temperature rather than just for short periods of time. The more they have to come out of hibernation the more fat reserves they use.

Last weeks cold snap saw Chris Riddington and myself sleep over at the Casualty Centre due to the severe weather warnings. It is our biggest worry that no one would be able to get to the Casualty Centre in the event of severe weather, so we stay over for safety. Luckily we don’t have to do this very often although the night we stayed we didn’t get much sleep due to one of the foxes being rather active in their enclosures all night.

Rescuers Andrew and Charlotte Loftus collected this gorgeous tawny owl from the emergency vets in Bexhill. The poor bird had been hit by a car near Rye, the finder took it into the vets who then called WRAS. The owl is doing well but was very concussed and disorientated, but with some TLC we hope he will fully recover.

A stunning young moorhen has come in from Mill Road Hailsham after being found not standing. He has damage to one of his legs and is very alert. We think he has probably had a knock with a car but it is difficult to tell for sure.

We have also had a sparrowhawk come in from Rathfinny Estate in Alfriston collected by WRAS rescuer Hannah Stainton. The bird of prey was found grounded and suffering with an injured wing. He is very lively and the fracture is in a good place on the wing to heal easily without the need for an operation or anything.

Rescuer Tony Neads has been to a few injured foxes this week included some in Eastbourne and one in Bishops Close Seaford. Rescuers Kai Ahmed and Gemma Ashcroft have been out to a little catted Blue Tit in Old Town Eastbourne which is doing very well at WRAS’s Casualty Centre as well as attending a road casualty tawny owl at Barcombe, but sadly the owl had passed away before they arrived.

In just two hours last week we had calls to a collapsed fox in Crowborough, which ended up being taken by the finder direct to vets due to its severe condition. An ambulance rushed to deal with a pigeon unable to fly in Bridgemere Road Eastborune and an injured crow in the park at Hampden Park, as well as an ambulance attending an injured blackbird in Manor Close Uckfield. One of our volunteer also drove their own car to deal with a poorly hedgehog at Trevor Gardens in Glynde.