TREVOR’S WEEK: Good news on our deer - and a rescue of a tawny owl and several bats

Trevor Weeks. East Sussex WRAS Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service. SUS-160404-145044001
Trevor Weeks. East Sussex WRAS Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service. SUS-160404-145044001

Good news from Chris and Sylvia about the young road casualty fallow deer we rescued last week who had awful head injuries.

She was inside for a number of days as she was blind and needed to be hand fed.

Over a number of days she started to eat more for herself, although was still blind and the vet’s prognosis was not good as she had a lot of neurological symptoms.

But they persevered and she started to get around more and eventually showed that her eyesight had improved quite a lot and she was able to avoid most obstacles.

Although of course she then became more feisty, so she is now in an outdoor pen.

She has some movement issues with all the bruising coming out, but has now improved enough to be out in the garden where she feels more settled and is doing well, all things considered.

So huge thanks to Chris and Sylvia Collinson and also of course to the kind people who stopped, called us and waited with her.

We are holding a Christmas craft fair again this year on Decemeber 3 between 2pm until 5pm at East Dean Village Hall.

Last year was a massive success and a lot of money was raised.

If you would like to book a table for the event, once again it will be £10 per table.

There will be mince pies, music, cakes, raffles and more! So if interested please email

East Sussex County Council has been in touch with us about Ditchling Common and said that given the reports that have come in since June, they are currently looking at how they can improve their management with the limited resources it has.

This will also include the consideration as to whether fishing is appropriate or not at the site.

ESCC has arranged for the Environment Agency to visit the site and advise on the fishing at the site.

Sussex Police Wildlife Crime Officer Peter Hall has also been in touch saying that unfortunately there are currently no lines of enquiry to pursue at this time without a witness coming forward with information.

He has also been in contact with both East Sussex County Council’s countryside management team and the Environment Agency to highlight both this recent incident and other complaints they have received about discarded fishing line, illegal angling and the general state of the park.

He hopes that we will be able to instigate some joint working to alleviate some of the reported issues on site.

Hot on the heels of these fishing line incidents at Ditchling Common, we were called out to rescue a tawny owl reported as hanging over water attached to fishing line.

Rescue manager Chris Riddington and I jumped in an ambulance and drove just up the road from our centre to the fishing lake just off East Hoathly by-pass where we were shown to the hanging bird.

From a distance it was not easy to tell what the bird was.

The line was dangling from a tree branch over the water.

The bird’s wing appeared to be caught on the line and the bird unable to get free.

Chris inflated one of our small boats and I put on a dry suit.

I waded out with a net and pole whilst Chris rowed across.

Once in position, I was able to use the net to pull on the line bringing the bird down to a manageable level, where Chris was able to hold the owl, albeit with the bird’s talons embedded in his hand!

The line was quickly cut wrapped in a pillow case and taken back to the lakes edge.

Back at WRAS’s Casualty Centre we were able to remove the rest of the line which appeared to be caught round the feathers rather than the wing itself. The owl was able to fly across our First Aid room, so after medication the bird was bedded down in one of our indoor pens.

We took the owl back to the woods Sunday evening where he was released back to the wild.

We have also had a number of bats this week. Including a pipistrelle bat found in church in Westham, as well as a brown long eared bat grounded in Eastbourne.

There was also a poor bat which like the others was taken up to Jenny Clark MBE at the Sussex Bat Hospital at Forest Row after being caught up on a thistle after being rescued by our volunteer rescuer Murrae Hume.

We’re getting quite a lot of calls about poorly foxes around Stafford Road, Seaford and Crown Close Uckfield as well as Old Town Eastbourne.

They are all too mobile to catch and we have been out several times trying to catch them without success. We are looking to see if we can treat them out on site but struggling to find people in those areas who are seeing the foxes on a regular basis who can help us do so.