Woke up this morning to grey skies, wind and lashing rain. Felt so fed up you wouldn't believe. Anyway, I'm pleased to say that by about 11.30 it has stopped raining, sky cleared and it was very warm out, although still windy, but coming from the south, so I thought I'd go up to the coast, having checked that the tide was out this time! Packed a picnic and off we set.
It was lovely when we got there, and was sheltered from the wind on the beach, but the sea was rough as hell, some brave souls were in the water though. Walked Emma along the beach, but she wasn't keen on going in, it was a bit fierce, she had a little paddle in the edge. We went round the corner to where the river flows into the sea, which was more to her liking.
I came across a young Herring Gull all of a sudden. In fact, I nearly trod on it, just appeared out of nowhere, and I thought that doesn't seem right, and it was pecking at its leg. When I looked, I could see it had fishing line wound tightly round both of its legs. I tried to get closer and see if I could grab it, but it sensed what I was going to do and flew off. Felt fed up about it but thought no way would anyone be able to catch it.
We sat down on the beach with our picnic (hence the photos below of Emma's piggy face) and then decided I would take her up the cliff path. However, fate took a hand now, because as I went back to the car to put in the picnic stuff, there was a lovely Springer Spaniel tied to a car, howling and crying and looking in the direction of the cafe, so I went along to comfort it. The owners came back and all was well, but because I'd gone in that direction, I decided to walk up the roadside along the river instead. As I passed the cafe and the main car park, I could see the young gull again. It was laying down. I tied Emma to a post and approached, and this time, the gull didn't fly off, but it was edgy. I thought if only I had something to give it to eat, I may have a chance. So I went back down to the cafe intending to buy a bread roll or something, but then found I'd left my money in the car. The owner of the cafe was brilliant, they apparently knew about the gull, it had been hanging around for a while, and someone was on their way to try and catch it. Anyway, he gave me two slices of bread, so off I went. No problem, the gull immediately stood up, and came over to me, it had been standing on one foot, and the other one was going an awful blue colour. I thought it's now or never, and lunged and got him! Trouble was, he wasn't too keen on the idea and swiped at me with his beak, and got the side of my face. Triumphant though I carried the struggling bird back down to the cafe, with blood pouring out of my face, I didn't know how bad the wound was, but was more concerned about helping this poor bird to be honest. The guy in the cafe got a pair of scissors and we set to work getting the line off his poor legs, and then found that the line had a hook on the end and it was in his wing! Luckily, right at the top, more in the feather shafts, and he managed to get it out without causing too much stress or blood. Gave the bird a quick check over, and then I took it across the road and let it free. It just stood there for a minute and then I went over with the rest of its bread and it ate greedily, then flew off toward the sea. Success. So chuffed, even though I am now (probably) scarred for life! (and lost about a quarter of pint of blood,) some of which was on my t-shirt (thank god I'd taken my favourite white fleecy top off) I learned one thing - gulls have very sharp edges to their beaks, (if that's a gull's beak, imagine what a Razorbill's beak would be like..... ) because not only my cheek, but my fingers got a bashing too, but no blood drawn. And I got a free cup of tea from the very nice man in the cafe, not to mention wads of soaked tissues to blot my cheek with. Feeling elated that for once one of my wildlife rescues hopefully will have a happy ending. You can see from the last shots that the leg was almost back to normal colour by the time he flew off, and the salt water will heal any little wound he had on his shoulder.
Fishing boat crossing the cove, rather him than me *puke smiley*
During the picnic...
When I first noticed something wrong, the line, not showing up too well in the photo though.See how thin his left leg is above the knee joint?
After his ordeal, see his leg is almost back to normal colour already
My war wound. I guess I was lucky really, it could have been my eye!