Today a young lesser black backed gull was rescued in Greenock. It had a hook in its throat and line dangling from its beak. The point of the hook was poking through the skin. We cut the barb from the hook, then gently eased the line and remaining hook up the neck. Job done, antibiotics given, and gull wants to get back in the wild.
On Saturday a new seal pup was delivered from Northumberland. He is heavier than the last pup, had a nasty abcess, but no other injuries. He is being hand fed sardines.
On Saturday our old badger Mr Crusty died in his sleep. Mr Crusty was rescued over two years ago, with territorial bites, no ears and worn out teeth. He was in a bad way, but people had been feeding him for years, and felt he was one of the family. He seemed to be a special badger. We gave him a retirement enclosure, and he spent most of his time wrapped in a duvet. It is sad that he has gone, but we feel he had a good twilight life.
Still a few nestling coming into care. There is a cheeky wee wren that it always hungry, and today a day old pigeon was brought in. More swifts ready to go now, and blackbirds, a wagtail and jackdaw.
Another couple of busy days has brought in 27 new patients, but 54 gulls were released yesterday. That cuts down the work and the feeding costs quite a lot. New patients include a heron from Glasgow Green that had a treble hook down its throat. A trip to the vet was needed to remove the hook. There is a new tufted duckling and 2 more mallard ducklings, a bat and a rabbit, both caught by cats, and several small birds, some cat victims, some found at roadsides. Another fox cub was brought to the hospital this morning. It is also a road casualty, badly concussed. A well grown cygnet was brought in from Rouken Glen Park, it has a leg problem, and sadly, a young roe deer, found on the roundabout at Morrison’s, Stevenston, did not survive. Hedgehogs continue to be high on the list of admissions.
There is good news about Georgie, the common seal pup that came from Northumberland last week. He has learnt to feed himself, and is happily chomping his way through 3 or 4 sardines are every meal.
This weekend was busy with more than 50 new casualties brought into care. There were 4 adult hedgehogs and 7 babies. 4 of the babies were from the same litter, found cold and weak in a garden. The others came singly. Sometimes it is difficult to know what kind of accident has happened to adult hedgehogs. One has an infected wound on its back, another has an injury near its mouth, and there were a lot of fly eggs that we removed before they hatched. There was a poor old hedgehog with very bad teeth. Obviously it hadn’t been able to eat enough food.
There is a new roe deer fawn that was rescued from the canal, and a new fox cub rescued from Pollokshields. It has probably been hit by a car. Its hind legs don’t work very well, but there isn’t a fracture, just severe bruising.
Another young barn owl came today. It was found near Ballantrae, too young to be out of its nest. This is a female owl, and will be reared and released with the young male barn owl that we rescued on Saturday.
Other new patients include house martin chicks, fledgling starlings, a jackdaw, a quail, lots more young gulls and various pigeons.
Today 6 swifts were released. They were in very good condition and keen to go. It was great to see them flying high and darting after insects.
Plans had been made for today. We had arranged to release the first batch of common gulls. These, you may remember, were hatched and reared at Hessilhead. The gulls had to be caught and put into boxes, just 2 to a box. We were grateful that Liz, from Starling Learning, had offered the use of her van again this year. This meant that 72 gulls could be transported. We hadn’t expected a thunderstorm to drench us while we were catching the gulls, but thankfully the sun was shining by the time we released them at Hunterston. The gulls were keen to fly, but most stayed within a few hundred yards, bathing and then searching for new things to eat. There were other common gulls on the sandfs, so hopefully our youngsters will follow their example.
Andy and I came back from holiday last week to find a very different Hessilhead. First of all we noticed a great surge in the growth of vegetation. Our niger feeders had had been submerged by the buddleia and other feeders were hidden by head high nettles. Hessilhead had blossomed!
Likewise patient numbers had soared. There were more families of ducklings and lots of nestlings on heat pads. Another batch of starling chicks were noisily demanding food, and the fist swallows, house martins and even a swift and were feeding well. There is a delightful family of goldcrests, so small yet so full of character.
A few dramatic rescues had taken place. A fox had been rescued, with its head firmly stuck in a plastic baked bean container. Some ducklings had been rescued from a drain, which had involved a trip back to Hessilhead to collect crow bars etc. and two moorhen chicks, with unbelievably long legs and toes, had been rescued from a war time oil tank. Not long ago we rescued a swan from this same place.
Two buzzard chicks had come into care. They are siblings, beautifully feathered and well grown. Now they are in an aviary for flying practice.
The oldest common gull chicks have feathers now, looking quite grown up and smart. The youngest chicks were still in the hospital, but have moved to a shed now. One of our largest enclosures is filling up with lesser black backed gulls. these have mostly fallen from roofs.
The biggest surprise was to find 14 baby hedgehogs in the hospital. Most of these had come from disturbed nests. The good news was that all were old enough to feed themselves, possible a bit prematurely, due to being very hungry when found.