Eyemouth swans fail to learn from mistakes

Jock the Eyemouth swan never seems to learn. He and his new mate have built their nest on the lowest possible bit of riverbank in the same area where it was washed away last year.

When I saw them, Jock was doing his share of egg-sitting while Jenny (yes, the Eyemouth swans are always Jock and Jenny) was floating around feeding her face with river weed. I have no great hopes of this nest being successful, but would be delighted to be proved wrong.

Most hedgehogs will be out of hibernation by now and are very much at risk of being stabbed by garden forks or sliced up by strimmers, so please keep your eyes open for these useful, slug-eating gardeners’ friends.

There is currently a survey being carried out in the Lothians and Borders to try and get an idea of how common or uncommon hedgehogs are in our part of the world. The survey asks for details of when, where, how many, dead or alive, and if there were any young ones. If you weren’t lucky enough to pick up a postcard from one of the Eyemouth shops in which I left supplies you can submit information online at www.wildlifeinformation.co.uk/hedgehogs.php

While I’m talking about hedgehogs I ought to mention a recent threat that has emerged. The Royal Mail gets through two MILLION red rubber bands every day and lots of hedgehogs have snuffled their noses into them and got so entangled in them that they have caused serious injury and even death.

Some schools have organised their pupils into rubber band collectors on their way to and from school and I would urge everyone to pick up any you see and either re-use them or cut them up and dispose of them safely. Please also draw this problem to your postie’s attention as they may not be aware of what they are doing by dropping rubber bands off bundles of letters.

Money is quick to disappear nowadays and we have just discovered how much it will cost to replace our collapsing wooden fence with a new, sturdy metal one. Take a deep breath folks. We need in excess of £11,000 to ensure that all our patients are safely contained out of harm’s way.

To make it easy for our friends to support us, our secretary Terry has set up an account with Virgin Money Giving. Simply by visiting their site and searching for the trust you can push a few buttons and give as much or as little as you can afford.

Terry is also our webmaster and is currently revamping our website to include all links to our donation and fundraising sites. Our Facebook page is proving quite popular for exchanges of information and photographs. Graeme and I always try to answer any questions.

BARRIE MORTIMER

Should you find an animal in need of our services, or if you need any advice please phone 01289 302882. You can e-mail us via our website www.swan-trust.org. We are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/swantrust. If you would like to donate to the trust (cheques payable to BSWT) or to become a member, contact Derek Roughton, Yew Tree Cottage, Branton, Alnwick. NE66 4LW. Telephone 01665 578365. The Berwick Swan and Wildlife Trust is a registered charity in England No. 1064805.