Trevor’s Week - February 8, 2012: No Swan Lake, more like The Nutcracker!

LAST week started with a call out to Glynde Reach, which is a river which runs from the A27 at Beddingham across to Glynde railway station.

A swan was found in the field next to the river, with blood over its wing and at first it was unable to stand.

We couldn’t make out what was happening initially, but then realised there was a fishing line caught between the wing and beak.

As we approached, the hook in the beak came out and the swan was able to stand and start running across the field. I ended up tripping up as we ran after the swan doing my best impersonation of Swan Lake, but my landing was rather a heavy one!

Luckily, rescuer Carrie and Plumpton student Chris kept the swan away from the river whilst I got to my feet and managed to corner it by the field gateway. We took the bird back to WRAS’s Casualty Centre where the beak and wing were checked. The majority of the blood was actually from the beak injury. The wing and beak have healed well. The swan was ready for release at the weekend, but we decided to keep her in for a few more days due to the snow.

As a result of my fall, I was not fit enough to visit the St John Ambulance Cadets last week which was very disappointing, but I visited Parkside Community Primary School last week to talk to Year 2 about wildlife. They presented me with a cheque for £119.70 after raising funds by making and selling Christmas stamps used within the school.

I also visited Polegate Brownies at the weekend and discovered what a knowledgeable group they are. They made a donation of £25 to WRAS too.

Tuesday last week we were called out to a badger struggling at the side of a lane near Herstmonceux.

The call came at about 4pm, which is an unusual time to get such calls. We think it may have been hit on the nearby A271 Hailsham to Herstmonceux road during the night and crawled across the field getting stuck at the bottom of the bank at the side of the lane trying to head back to his sett.

The poor creature put up a struggle but could not use its rear legs. After initial emergency treatment by WRAS, the badger was assessed by a vet who agreed the badger was paralysed and would not recover and had to be put to sleep.

Tony rushed out to a road casualty fox near Eastbourne on the A259 in the early hours on last Wednesday; the fox had a blow to its head and was taken to the emergency veterinary clinic at Bexhill for an assessment.

There was a lot of swelling around the eye which was also very bloody too. Clearly concussed and confused the fox was treated by the vet and then bedded down at WRAS’s Casualty Centre where the head injury and eye were treated twice a day.

The fox is still with us and doing well, not fully out of the woods yet, but we are pleased with his progress.

WRAS has its snow plans in place and WRAS committee members Monica and Brian stayed overnight on Saturday to ensure the animals would be looked after. I came down to the centre and stayed over on Sunday night in case ice caused problems for volunteers getting to the centre in the morning.

We had another set of calls about a swan being trapped in ice at the Pells Pond, Lewes again last week.

Members of the public were so convinced that the swan was trapped we ended up going out twice in the same day to check, but clearly it was not. We were also called to a swan at Piltdown Pond near Uckfield where a swan was reported as having been caught with a fishing hook in its beak, but when we arrived it turned out to just be a piece of weed.

We have also had calls to an injured heron hit along Ersham Road at Hailsham and a badly injured pigeon in Brighton, plus a baby collared dove on the platform of Seaford Railway Station to name just a few.


East Sussex WRAS is a voluntary organisation which relies on donations, receiving no funding from government or the RSPCA. Anyone wishing to make a donation should contact the treasurer at PO Box 2148, Seaford, BN25 9DE.

• 24-hour rescue line: 07815 078234