Trip reports

Walk at Fairlop Waters & Unexpected Swan Rescue

Walk at Fairlop Waters & Unexpected Swan Rescue
Copyright Nigel Cox and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

We had a very good turn out as there were 18 people on the walk plus Daniel Erickson-Hull as the walk leader. Some of you may know Daniel through his website RedbridgeBirdwatching (click on Links at the top of this page for info).

We started our walk around the lake, but were suddenly accompanied by an immature swan which had recently been ousted by its parents. After finally leaving the swan behind and explaining (yet again) to the participants of the walk that bread was bad for birds, we noticed a dog trying to attack the swan.

It's really difficult trying to explain to members of the public that they should keep their dogs on a lead and this was a classic moment as to why they should do this. The dog owner made some attempts to call back the swan, but as I work outdoors, I knew the routine, owner keeps calling, but dog keeps ignoring. I was forced to intervene as the swan just gave up and plopped itself on the concrete. I had to put myself between the swan and the dog and ask the owner to leash the dog and leave the area immediately as the swan was distressed and hissing pathetically.

I tried to encourage the swan back into the water but it didn't go in and just hung around the edge. I returned to the walk, but people weren't really paying attention to Daniel, they were all concerned about the swan and kept looking back as dog walkers went by.
By now, I was very stressed and felt the pressure of 36 eyes on me, wanting me to perform a miracle.

I rang Simon Litt, Valentines Park Manager, he contacted some other individuals and told me he would try and do something. Finally, I asked people on the walk to continue and not to worry as there was nothing further we could do.

We had a great walk, the weather was good and at the end, people said they would try to come on other walks. The highlights were brent goose, skylark, meadow pipit and brown hare.

Epilogue: The swan was rescued within hours by Ian Cranston & Barbara Edwards who volunteer for a swan rescue charity. For details on Daniel's website, click on the link below.