Gulls have gone after a busy year

I shouldn't say it '“ I shouldn't even think it '“ but it looks as if the recent manic period at the trust is over for the time being.

Saturday, 18th August 2018, 4:48 pm

The last eight of the young gulls were released on the coast by Dick at the weekend, so that only leaves the one that had a serious pecking injury to the back of his head.

He’s making an excellent recovery in the large pool enclosure, with Harry the swan and Harry’s two ‘foster’ cygnets.

The gull has his normal meal of fish, bread and pet food, but also seems to enjoy a side salad of the swans’ lettuce.

Having a bit more time now, Jackie was catching up with a bit of record filing when I called in at the Rollo Centre last Friday afternoon.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

I’d been thinking that we seemed to have had so many more gulls to deal with this year than last, and this was my chance to check back on the paperwork to see if this was true.

In 2017 people brought in 69 gulls, of which 22 died or had to be put to sleep and 47 were eventually released.

This year there have been 113 gulls; 49 have died, 63 have now been released, and that just leaves our ‘vegetarian’ in the pool enclosure.

So yes, we definitely had more gulls this year – a 64 per cent increase.

But at least 30 of these all poured in on a single day when 50mph winds battered the North East coast and the gulls’ rooftop nests came tumbling down.

What a difference a day can make for wildlife.

A further test of the Rollo Centre’s brilliant recording system threw up Milligan’s treatment log.

Milligan is the male hedgehog I permanently rehomed last year in my enclosed garden as he couldn’t go back into the wild due to some sort of respiratory infection.

He had been admitted in September 2016 when the caretaker at Tweedmouth Middle School had kindly brought him in after finding him wandering about during the day.

‘MP90’ as he was known, had arrived ‘sneezing and snotty’ and carrying lots of ticks, so they were removed, he was given first aid and bowls of food and water.

The first few entries show poor Milligan didn’t eat very much at all, but then within a week he was cleaning his bowl. In fact, he was eating so well that a December entry highlighted with bright green marker pen orders: “DIET – DO NOT TOP UP”.

He finally came home with me in mid-April 2017 and has pretty much had the run of the garden ever since.

He’s still polishing off his nightly bowl of wet pet food and dried mealworms.

He’s not at all fazed by visitors; as long as he has his food he seems oblivious to all the ‘Ooos’ and ‘Ahhhs’ and mobile phone photos being snapped.

Neither does he bother himself about our two cats, Thomas and Haggis, who seem enthralled by their prickly companion, but nevertheless maintain a respectful distance at all times.