Wednesday, 18 July 2018

New life and Death on the River

With most of the Ducks on the river now moulting, they are highly vulnerable to attacks by predators.

Sadly this was witnessed by one of our Trust members this morning, on seeing a Great black backed Gull taking a fully grown female duck.

Some hours later a new duck brood appeared. With the exceptional summer weather and a delayed nesting by some of the ducks, we stand a good chance of seeing even more broods by summers end.

One cygnet was curious to see these new arrivals.


Wendy Grocott-Jones said...

Dear Joe, I have been away in Wales helping a family member after her discharge from hospital. Whilst I was away, a member of the public called the RSPCA to look at Venus, our resident female on the disused Sankey Canal at Wargrave. I have just discovered that the vet put her down. They say she was emaciated and her organs were failing. They could not suggest why this might have happened. Could it have been due to the extreme heat, do you think? Also one of her cygnets has gone missing. She leaves a mate, Vulcan and now only four cygnets. It is very sad x Wendy Grocott-Jones

jayteescot1 said...

Dear Wendy, So Sorry to hear about Venus, that is really tragic news. There is no doubt this is an exceptional year regarding temperatures and lack of rain. In addition I know from experience that Swans are such good parents and will sacrifice their share of food for their young every time. Penny always defers to her cygnets every time, and I have to make sure she gets a share of the food, because I know she would go without while raising the youngsters.

Perhaps being a canal does not help either during this dry spell, it will have an adverse effect on the water quality and encourage bacterial growth and various algae bloom which can be harmful to wildlife. It could be that Venus was also a good age and more prone to falling ill ?

I am sure Vulcan will be able to raise the remaining cygnets alone, and will no doubt be calling for Venus for some time to come.
Perhaps the missing cygnet has fallen prey to a dog or fox attack or something like that.
It's a pity that you were away when this happened as I have had reports from our avian adviser in Swindon that the RSPCA are not the best people to call for care of wildlife down south, as they tend to put down wildlife as a first rather than last option ! The Scottish SPCA broke away from the RSPCA some years back and are much more caring although they have their limitations. In future try and get a swan sanctuary or other to do the diagnosis and treatment, rather than RSPCA.
You have my sympathy, for I know how attached we get to things that we love so much.

Best wishes Joe. x