Swan didn't want to leave culvert

The three Eyemouth cygnets and the swan that had recovered from a bite wound were released together last Monday since they all got on very well together.

Sunday, 13th March 2016, 12:19 pm
The swan from the culvert at West Learmouth, near Coldstream.
The swan from the culvert at West Learmouth, near Coldstream.

They all enjoyed the river, all having a good bath after being restrained in the swan bags.

That release left us with one very weak Swan from Berwick and an Eyemouth cygnet which has received nasty wounds to its foot. However, not for long.

On Wednesday, we took a call about a swan stuck in a culvert at West Learmouth, near Coldstream. It seemed that one of a pair had died and the other would not leave the culvert. There is a lovely small lake there, and when we arrived, we saw a pair of swans, together with a couple of dozen geese.

On the grass near the lake was the body of another swan.

We saw some workmen where the overflow from the lake went under the road and through a grating, and they showed us the swan in the water coming through the culvert about five feet below the road surface.

The two men were wearing wellington boots and waterproofs and were standing in the culvert.

Kay climbed over the wall to get to the bird, but when she saw just how far down it was and that this was not going to be a rescue where she would look at all graceful, she asked the two men if they would kindly pass the swan up to her.

They were a bit reluctant, but she explained to them the best way to handle the bird, and after a bit of hesitation, they lifted it onto the verge.

Kay quickly bagged up the swan and passed the bag over the wall to me and then she, quite gracefully, climbed back over. Meanwhile, I put the bagged bird into the Ikea bag, to keep the car clean.

I lifted the bag into the car, and Kay tried to tie the bag to a hook on the car to keep the bird upright while travelling but realised the bird’s neck was at an odd angle. She then noticed I had put the bird in upside down.

Once the swan was back up the right way, we were ready to leave. We were very grateful for the help given by the two kind workmen.

Just then another van turned up, and we were told by the driver that he had lifted the dead swan out of the culvert and had taken the body onto the grass in the hope that the other bird would leave, but it kept returning to the culvert.

We think what happened here was that another pair of swans had arrived and chased off the resident pair, killing or mortally wounding one and driving them over the edge into the culvert.

We took the swan back to the David Rollo Centre in Berwick and put it in with the swan and cygnet we already had. Luckily, they all got on very well together.

The swan we recovered is very weak, especially her legs, and we are anxious about her condition. She may need to go to the vet for a check over.

As I arrived at the centre on Sunday, Kay was just leaving to rescue an otter from the estuary. She had to clamber over rocks, braving the incoming tide. The animal was very weak, offering no struggle.

It is a fully-grown adult weighing 7kg. It had to go straight to the vet to try to get it going as it was flat out. I will tell you more next week.