TREVOR WEEKS: Mixed bag of rescuees included a cygnet and a kingfisher

Monday turned out to be a rather busy day with our ambulances dashing around all over the place. The day started with me being woken up about 2am with a plea for help dealing with a road casualty fox in the middle of Uckfield High Street. I was on site within 15 minutes but sadly the fox had already passed away.

Saturday, 11th November 2017, 7:00 am
Kingfisher from Eastbourne SUS-170811-104118001
Kingfisher from Eastbourne SUS-170811-104118001

Throughout the rest of the day we encountered a duck which hit a window in Heathfield which flew off when rescuers arrived. We had calls to five pigeons. A feral pigeon was caught by a cat near Glyndley Garden Centre Stone Cross. A feral pigeon with a fractured leg from Wallsend Road Pevensey and a wood pigeon with a fractured leg from one of our vets who is currently working in Essex. A wood pigeon grounded from Lower Horsebridge and a wood pigeon from Mutton Hall Hill, Heathfield, grounded and then caught by a dog.

We also had calls to a number of hedgehogs which were either out during the day or too small to hibernate. These were from Dover Road Polegate, Wannock Drive Polegate, Woodlands Way Heathfield, North Way Seaford, one from a Glyndenbourne Opera House, one from Ark Vets in Burgess Hill and one from Hurstpierpoint and a 200gram hedgehog from Eastbourne. We also received two other calls about hedgehogs which were a borderline weight for hibernation so gave out advice only. There was also a catted mouse from Brightling Road Polegate and a blue tit which hit a car window on the A22 Uckfield by-pass.

We had a kingfisher admitted on Sunday after he struck a window in Eastbourne. Slightly concussed and suffering from a headache he was admitted to our intensive care unit and is being monitored closely.

Sunday saw WRAS ambulances rush to two crashed swans. Rescuers Chris and Ollie and officers from Sussex Police dealt a mature cygnet on Lottbridge Drove, Eastbourne. It had been seen wondering across the dual carriageway it was eventually found slumped in some hedges when rescuers arrived. He was quickly secured and taken back to WRAS’s casualty centre for assessment. The poor cygnet started to have trouble passing faeces and was in clear discomfort. Possible blood staining was noticed and discomfort was felt around the ribs. The swan sanctuary at Shepperton was contacted and rescuer Tony rushed it up there for further investigation. The cygnet also had what appears to be a couple of fused vertebrae causing the neck to bend at a strange angle. This is quite common in cygnets and often caused by the parents treading on hatchlings in the nest.

The second swan call was to Lewes off the Railway Lands where the previous night’s bonfire had taken place. Callers were concerned the swan couldn’t take off. A bit of gentle persuasion from rescuer Chris and the swan was back in the air.

Rescuers Jen and Brian were called to a house in Maresfield after a lady could hear an owl inside her chimney. Unfortunately, the chimney was rather tall and had a bend at the bottom that meant rescuers were not able to see very far up the chimney. The damper was left open over night and in the morning the owl was flying around their living room. I then attended first thing. The tawny owl was clearly in a good condition and flying well so was encouraged out a window to fly off home again.

I rushed out to a road casualty tawny o wl at Wych Cross at about 10pm. I was on site within 20 minutes of the call and found the owl being protected between two parked cars. I had to us my ambulance to block the road for a few minutes whilst the owl was rescued.

The poor creature is thought to have burst an air sac and is very concussed. The owl’s eyes were closed. The owl has been given emergency first aid and WRAS’s vets consulted. I then rushed down to Buxted to deal with a catted thrush also which were both taken to WRAS’s casualty centre and bedded down after treatment. The owl has now made a full recovery and was released on Tuesday night back where found.

On October 4 we rescued a 400gram hedgehog from Park Close, Burgess Hill, after getting a leg stuck between two pieces of decorative slate around the border of a garden. The lady covered the hedgehog and called East Sussex WRAS for help. An ambulance was on site within an hour and the slate pulled apart and the hedgehog safely removed. On checking over this hedgehog it was found to have a missing rear leg and an old injury to a front leg too. WRAS vets assessed the injuries to see if the hedgehog was going to be savable.

Luckily her wounds healed well. But we were unsure about how she was initially using her legs. She was placed in an out door enclosure for a couple of weeks to assess her better and to check for any potential problems on release. We were really pleased that she coped very well, there was no sores or problems with her feet and legs. Knowing the area has a good population of hedgehogs and are looked after well by the local residents she was returned and released last night weight just over 800grams.

The lady who owns the garden has moved the slate slightly to avoid the same incident happening again.