I don’t like mornings – and Monday mornings are the pits! However, I answered my Summons and presented myself at Ellen’s at 10am, with kayak on car roof. Peter and Ellen were ready to go, so we disappeared off to Bristol again. This was about the third time in the last two weeks for me, but I suspect Peter and Ellen had done a few trips without me.
Down the M32 to Bristol, and off at the second junction. Around the interchange, nearly back the way we had came, and then under the flyover and into Eastville Park. There were a few dog walkers and cyclists giving us the “evil eye” for driving along their path, but I’m getting used to that.
After a few hundred yards we arrived at the end of a small ornamental lake, with about eight swans and a few geese and ducks visible. Chris was already there, and within a few minutes we were joined by Gordon, Phil, and one or two others that I was introduced to but regret to say can’t remember their names. I know one was NOT Ian!
Anyway, one of these swans was well entangled in fishing tackle, line (and probably hook) down the throat, shot weight and float hanging from the beak. The swan had been refusing food for a few days and the alarm had been raised. And we were mob handed.
We launched our canoes and kayaks and headed down the lake. The one we were after was part of a group of three at the far end, behind the islands. By the time we approached them, the swans that we had already passed took flight and got in front of us. Normally it’s the other way round. So we paddled gently through the flock, and spotted the one with the bright orange fishing float hanging from its beak. The interlopers took off up the other end of the lake, leaving the target and its mate. The mate had more energy than the target, and we managed to separate them and “persuade” the target swan in to the far end of the lake. There was a contraption here to encourage foliage to grow, and this formed a useful barrier, leaving two smaller gaps to be filled by canoes. The swan was now trapped in an area perhaps 25m square. Unfortunately, the swan didn’t realise it was trapped, and it was off again, through gaps between boats, and up around the island again. And in the commotion, it lost the float.
A few minutes later the swan was safely in a wrap, and the line was being examined. As there is great danger of doing a lot of harm if there is a hook caught down the throat, you do not go yanking on it (although that had probably already happened as it struggled to get away from us and tore the float off).
Tonight the swan is in Newport. Tomorrow it’ll be at the National Swan Sanctuary in Shepperton for an X-Ray – and maybe more. With luck it’ll be returned in a day or so, without distressing its mate too much.
Our activities attracted quite a bit of attention from the public, the Parkie, and the dogs walking their people. And the canoeists were great (even if I do say so) – many thanks for the help, we couldn’t have done it without you. And thanks for all the photos – I plan on getting round to adding them!