Saturday, 3 September 2011

Cygnet rescued

 One of our cygnets with fishing tackle

Jack MacDonald called round this morning to say that a cygnet was in the lagoon looking very sorry for itself with fishing tackle dangling from its beak. Philippa had also noticed the cygnet and phoned  Peter & Addie who live close by but, as they were away, she called the Swan Sanctuary in Shepperton.  They immediately responded and Rhonda came by boat to Taggs Island to rescue the cygnet.  Armed with bread, wheat, a net and the all important swan hook we were hopeful that the cygnet would soon be caught, freed from the tackle and, hopefully released with only a loss of dignity.

 I'm not coming quietly

The cygnet had other ideas and, in spite of everyone's best efforts, managed to escape and fled from the lagoon.  Many thanks to Andy, who waded in and almost caught it, to Di who tried to head it off in a dinghy,  to Dave and Rhonda who were paddling the pontoon, to Nick who tried to block its escape with his kayak, to Denise who tried to stop its escape with a net and to everyone else who did their best, one way and another, to help out.

Di and Rhonda pull the cygnet into the boat

The cygnet led the rescuers a merry dance and seemed determined not to be caught.  I guessed that it might have headed for Duck Ait so I went to Peter & Sue's and we spotted the cygnet on the island with the rest of the family.  I called Dave to let him know (thank goodness for mobile phones) and Rhonda & Di came by rescue boat to the tiny island, joined by Dave in our boat and Nick in his kayak.  Poor Rhonda, who was already soaked from wading through the lagoon, cautiously approached the swans, picking her way through piles of guano, and almost managed to hook the cygnet but again it evaded her.  Once the swan family had taken to the river Di, Dave, Nick and several other kayakers who had joined in with the rescue, encircled the cygnet so that Rhonda was finally able to capture and lift the cygnet.

 How undignified!

Once aboard, Rhonda was able to disentangle swathes of fishing line and the hook from the cygnet and then checked it out for any other damage.  Fortunately, in spite of the hook and line and its obvious distress at being chased and womanhandled, the cygnet didn't need to be taken back to the Swan Sanctuary for treatment.

I'm off if I can just flap a bit harder

Free at last

There were smiles all round as Rhonda freed the cygnet and it headed straight back to its waiting family.  A job well done and congratulations to Rhonda especially and also to Di for her great boat handling.  The Swan Sanctuary at Shepperton is a Charity and I'm sure will welcome donations.  They not only rescue swans but also ducks and other waterfowl.  If you'd like to find out more then you can go to their website <>.