Afternoon peace shattered at Saul
Hissing, splashing and heavy wingbeats broke the afternoon peace at Saul Junction on Saturday 4th August.
A gang of aggressive swans were seen carrying out attacks on one of their number. The victim swan, already weak and in distress, was seeking shelter between the boats on the Gloucester – Sharpness Canal near the Cotswold Canals Trust Visitor Centre.
Visitor Centre Volunteers called the RSPCA to the scene and local Inspector Richard Carr attended fully prepared with his life jacket and swan carrying kit.
CCT Boat Crew Tim Kerry and Paul Lees then invited Inspector Carr on board Trip Boat Endeavour and set off to rescue the wounded bird.
The team caringly cornered the swan and lifted him aboard the boat. Richard commented, “The boat and skilled steering was an essential part of this rescue.”
Back at the boat wharf Richard gently carried the injured and apparently undernourished swan in a bespoke holdall to his RSPCA van.
Richard then drove the swan to the Vale Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre at Beckford near Tewkesbury.
Four days later Lydia Parry from Vale Wildlife Hospital reports, “The injured young male swan is now recuperating in a fenced pool. He is clearly gaining weight and fitness prior to his release somewhere safe.”
Martin Carr, who lives near Gloucester, returned to Saul Junction on Sunday 5th and was treated to a boat trip in recognition of his assistance to the swan.
Why should such an attack occur?
Martin Wright, who leads Waterside Wildlife Walks for Cotswold Canals Trust, provides this information from his copy of the prestigious bird manual,
Birds of Europe, Middle East and North Africa.
‘It appears that Mute Swans do occasionally fight to the death – but it is unusual. Mute Swans will hold a territory until autumn. Any adult that tries to take over the territory will be met with aggression and usually gives way.’
Perhaps this was the story behind the alarming Swan Squabble at Saul on Saturday.