Heading off to the lakes, via the Ashes Lane Field, the only birds seen of any note were the male KESTREL, doing a bit of early morning hunting, and 15 MEADOW PIPITS that flew from the grassland. Approaching the lakes I heard calls from a NUTHATCH, a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and a COAL TIT, while a scan of the ornamental lakes produced the COOT pair, and a flash of a KINGFISHER as it sped low over the water. I could only see the two adult MUTE SWANS on the water and assumed that their youngster was obscured behind one of the small islands.
Nothing was on the main lake at all, but approaching the smallest lake I could see a dull white-ish object up on the high fence/bankside treeline, I assumed it to be a large piece of rubbish, but looking through my bins I could see to to my horror and utter dismay that it was the immature Mute Swan, hanging upside down, its legs impaled on the barbed wire. I thought it was dead, but then I noticed a small movement from it, I had to do something, I had watched this bird since it had hatched and wasn't just going to leave it suffering, but their was an 8 foot wire fence, topped with 3 strands of barbed wire between me and the Swan!
Despite not being sixteen anymore, I decided to scale the fence and rescue the Swan, eventually I got over the fence, but at the expense of a gashed palm and numerous cuts on my hand. I approached the Swan and gently lifted it, taking the wait off its impaled webbed foot and leg, I could then untangle the legs from the sharp barbs, one of which had totally penetrated the right leg. I slowly released the bird from the grip of the inhumane wire, and lowered it to the bank, where it sat, looking very poorly.
I could hear the adult Swans making noises on the adjacent ornamental lake, they knew their youngster was in trouble, but I couldn't return the Cygnet, there was no way I could take it back over the fence.
My barbed wire injury, horrible stuff it is!
Leaving the bird on the bank, I decided to call on my friends nearby and phone for assistance from the RSPCA ( Thanks K & A for all the help and your patience!) the RSPCA, to it's credit, were on the scene in a little over an hour and I took the very friendly RSPCA guy, ( thanks Andrew for your assistance) over to where I left the swan, the idea was to give it some first aid, then take it back to the lake to join its parents, but when we arrived the Swan had moved onto the water, and had perked up remarkably since I had left it. We tried to coax the swan nearer to enable its capture, but it didn't want to know us, so in the end it was decided that we would leave it, and keep a close eye on it over the next few days. Hopefully its wounds will not get infected, and the bird will recover enough to fly back to the lake to join its parents, I'll have to keep it supplied with food though, as the lake its on is totally devoid of anything for Swans to eat. I'm hoping that the story of the first Mute Swan hatched out at these lakes will end up a happy one...........so fingers crossed!5
Mistlethrush, from my archives