Parc Tredelerch Lake just off Lamby Way to the south of Rhymney and on the eastern edge of Cardiff has in our minds always been associated with swans becoming snared in lost or discarded fishing tackle. While the last few months has, mercifully been relatively free of this particular problem, another in our top three reasons for call-out has come very much to the fore.
If our records are in good order, eight cygnets were hatched here in 2014, and, at the time of writing, (12/2), there are just three left, and, as we approach mid February, it really is time the others were on their way ahead of the start of the 2015 breeding season.
Those who are familiar with this part of Cardiff will be aware of the existence of many small industrial premises to the east and to the south, while, to the west is the flyover carrying Southern Way over the River Rhymney into Rover Way.
Apart from one juvenile removed because of fishing tackle in late September, dispersal of the 2014 family started in mid-October. Maiden flights appear to have been somewhat unsuccessful, with the first two ‘grounding’ in industrial premises to the south east. The next one, sadly was even less successful. For a distance, there is a line of power cables running parallel to the flyover referred to above; the body of the bird was retrieved from a tree, having flown into these cables.
That was in mid January; the swan would never have survived the double impact of hitting the cables followed by the uncontrolled fall into the tree.
Finally probably at dusk on Tuesday (10/2), another juvenile crash landed into the yard of fabrication and welding engineers literally a stone’s throw from the eastern end of Tredelerch Lake, and was found there the following morning.
Catching and wrapping him was simplicity itself, and, as for the decision as to what to do next – well, that was pretty simple too! National Swan Sanctuary at Shepperton. The wound under the leading edge of his left wing was fairly bloody; for the longer term, it may need to be stitched.
Although we say it ourselves, we reckon that from the time we learnt of the existence of a problem until the bird was receiving the very best treatment available anywhere (three and a half hours) is not bad going, and in the certain knowledge that what had been provided really was – to coin a phrase – a ‘one stop treatment shop’ admission, assessment, treatment, aftercare, rehabilitation and release.
Its now the evening of 25th. February, a day in which it looks as if the last of the young swans has finally left the lake at Tredelerch. The phone rang just before nine o’clock this morning; amazingly, it was a voice from the past – Steven had supplied and fitted a new bathroom for us about eight years ago. He was calling from an address just to the NE of the lake. What now appears to have been the last cygnet from the lake had just ‘alighted’ in the road, and it wasn’t certain whether he was hurt or not.
Even for a journey apparently as short as this one, I hesitate to say I will be there in under an hour. There were patches of heavy traffic, and so, as usual it was about an hour, and then to be faced with… Notice the slightly quizzical expression – as much as to say; ‘What are you doing here?’ or ‘What took you so long?’ Catching him was easy – wrapping him up – less so; he really did not want to co-operate. So, with 8.8kg of uninjured young swan in the back of the car, it was time to set off yet again for The Knap. In view of what had gone before, he shot out of the wrap in very great haste, and in no time at all was being greeted by one of the other juveniles; that’s the two in the middle at the back.
There was certainly no sign any young swans, so it has to be concluded that was the last of ‘the class of ’14”, with the adults alone, and ready to start all over again.