Posts Tagged ‘swans’

Woods Estate Agents, Bradley Stoke, Bristol

Three Brooks nature reserve in October

Posted on Friday 10th November 2017 at 9:58 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Angelo - a cygnet with the 'angel wing' condition.

An update from Sara Messenger of Bradley Stoke’s Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group.

Last month it was “All things batty” and this month it seems it’s “All things birdie”! We had several reports that the swans could not be found on the lake, which is not unusual as they often wander up Stoke Brook (from the lake to Braydon Gate) teaching their young how to find food when our young tire of sharing theirs with them! However, for the first time to our knowledge, this time the family went as far as the Forty Acres reserve. Fortunately, they soon tired of their day out and returned to the lake. Whether they were in search of food or a quieter nesting site we don’t know, but the lake is in a pretty poor state. Often the birds can only get across with a combination of swimming and shuffling over the silted-up areas and often it resembles more a large neglected and sinking mud pie than a mirrored blue oasis of calm. The management committee would like to have the lake de-silted again, not only to improve the biodiversity and the habitat for our otters and birds, but to restore its function as an ‘attenuation lake’ capable of holding excess water in times of heavy rainfall. However, SGC seem to believe that the job would cost £100,000. We have yet to persuade them that Andy D, armed with a couple of buckets, would do it for much less!

Angelo’s future

We had another report that Angelo, our cygnet with the disabling ‘angel wing’ condition, was apart from the family group and that all his attempts to return were being rebuffed. Of course, every time I went to check, it was as though the cry “teacher’s coming” had gone up and they were all beautifully behaved. Angelo weighed less than his sister and has no white on him at all which suggests that he is not maturing at the same rate as his siblings. We had planned to remove him from the lake in the new year and have been searching for a reliable ‘forever home’ for him, which we believe we may have now found. My preference is, while it is still safe to do so, to leave him with his family for as long as possible, so we’ll be monitoring the situation, but we’d be grateful if you all could also keep an eye out for him and if you see anything untoward let us know, either via Facebook or email us on report-it@threebrooks.info

More: Bird boxes and owl prowl report »

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August in the Three Brooks nature reserve

Posted on Thursday 7th September 2017 at 11:44 pm by SH (Editor)

Swan and cygnet ringing at the lake in the Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve, Bradley Stoke.

An update from Sara Messenger of Bradley Stoke’s Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group.

Swan ringing

Although we have in previous years wanted to ring our cygnets, we never managed to find a time when both the birds were present or the ringer’s first baby wasn’t making an appearance (welcome to young Freddie). So we were rather excited that this year it all seemed to be coming together, and mostly it did. The first flaw in our plan came when we discovered we were rather short on swan jackets, as it turned out that the three Robin had planned to borrow and the three Richard planned to borrow turned out to be the same three jackets! The second flaw was putting up a corral in knee-deep water. While the boys patiently waited for the birds to decide to all be in the corral at the same time, they discovered that the silt at the bottom of the lake was less firm under foot than they thought and that they were now thigh-deep in water. It was at this point that the cry went up and we chose to just take the birds from the lake, only for the boys to discover that they were now stuck fast in the mud and, as their waders rapidly filled with cold water, they could only watch as three of the cygnets glided past.

Weighing a cygnet at the lake in the Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.After that, everything went smoothly, the birds were remarkably unfazed by our attentions and the two adults and two cygnets were safely trussed up, checked over and weighed. Who knew that Ikea bags were perfect for this? (Although we’re hoping Gill remembered to wash it out before she used it again.) None of the group has the required swan ringing licence, so that part of the evening was left to Richard, who works at WWT Slimbridge and wildlife expert and author Ed Drewitt. Richard also showed us how to determine which birds are male and which are female, which is a very hands on technique! As we’re very organised, the two males have their rings on their left legs and the two females on their right. The female cygnet has been named Lily, her name was chosen by young Olivia Hayes and the male cygnet has been named Angelo by our slightly older but no less charming Emma.

I’d like to say “thank you” to everyone who helped out and to all the dog walkers who were happy to take the long way home to avoid stressing the birds while they were on land. Also to Les, who helped us try to persuade the other birds they too would like some bling.

More: Cygnet suffering from ‘angel wing’ due to bread-based diet »

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Nature conservation group report for May

Posted on Wednesday 14th June 2017 at 11:14 am by SH (Editor)

The Three Brooks swans on the lake with their cygnets. [Photo credit: Graham Bloomfield]

An update from Sara Messenger of Bradley Stoke’s Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group.

Otters on the reserve

I’m not sure which of this month’s news I’m most excited about. At the beginning of the month, the cat was well and truly out of the bag when Jen Ladley managed to video a family of the reserve’s most ‘otterly’ cute visitors, a family group of two otters and their two pups. Although we’ve known for years that otters frequently visit the reserve, it was decided not to publicise their presence. Although we have many times left out our wildlife cameras to try and get a picture of these shy nocturnal creatures, we’ve never managed more than an occasional blurry photo. Even if you’re not lucky enough to actually see an otter, you can still know they’re around as they have a habit of leaving their spraint (polite term for poo!) on top of rocks or tree stumps. I do recall from our recent Bio Blitz that it smells like jasmine tea!

Back in November, we received a call from a local resident whose fish had been taken from his pond, killed with a single bite to the head and dragged away under his fence, which does seem to suggest that the otters had been helping themselves to a free lunch.

We’ve also at times found evidence of mink on the reserve, but we’ve not seen them for a while. As otters will kill and eat mink, we assume they’ve either been predated themselves or have moved on, which is good news for our water voles and our rabbits. (In a survey it was found that 95 percent of a mink’s stomach content was rabbit.)

You may have wondered why Wessex Water had cleared the banks of all vegetation months before they started work but this was to discourage our water voles from nesting in that area as we all want as little disruption to the wildlife as is possible.

More: Swans and cygnets | Dawn Chorus | New committee »

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Bradley Stoke Nature Reserve swan found injured

Posted on Thursday 26th April 2012 at 6:28 pm by SH (Editor)

Injured swan at the Three Brooks Lake, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

The female swan from the Three Brooks Nature Reserve lake was today found in distress by a dog walker, who thought the swan may have a broken leg. The RSPCA were called and were met at the lake by two committee members from the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group (TBNCG), Sara Messenger and Gill Smith.

The hen was, fortunately, not on her island nest or in the water but on the bank being protected by her mate. Alan, from the RSPCA checked the bird over and although a broken leg was ruled out the bird was very weak and was struggling to stand and he made the decision to take the bird to the RSPCA clinic in Bristol. Although no injury was found the bird was obviously in need of treatment and has been placed on a drip, it is hoped that she will improve in a few days, if not she will be sent to specialist centre West Hatch in Taunton for further treatment.

The swans have had mixed fortunes after making Bradley Stoke their home. Last year the pair had eggs broken, were harassed by dogs, shot at by two boys with an air rifle and (with the help of another local resident), survived the attentions of three men with a large hold-all. Although they hatched five chicks, they all got caught in the weir and although dog walker Michael braved the cob and got all five out, only two survived.

More: Volunteers had moved swans’ nest over to island »

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