Latest News Friends of WildlifeClick here to find out more about the Swan Trust Friends of Wildlife scheme.  "Swan Notes" News items written by Trust members and volunteers and usually appearing in the “Berwick Advertiser" newspaper each  week. Unfortunately, sister newspaper the “Berwickshire News” are no longer following suit. For those unable to read these items, and  those living outside the Berwick area, here are the last few editions.. 12th September 2019 It may not feel cooler yet, but there’s definitely a change in the air. Instead of the arrivals of spring and summer – the fledglings, the  leverets, the tiny hoglets – it’s now about departure for some of the animals at the Trust. The four tawny owls are now in the Lomax Aviary brushing up on their flying skills before  being set free. Even though they came in as downy owlets and have never had to hunt for  their food, they are now truly wild and ‘buzz’ anyone who gets too near at feeding time.  They never actually make contact, thankfully, but they’re pretty convincing as they swoop  close to ward you away. Kay and Pat have the theory that the redder coloured tawnies are  even feistier than the brownish ones; we have two of each this year, and frankly they look  equally scary to me. Dick took this week’s amazing photo of one of the tawnies mid-flight.  Many of the hedgehogs of Hotchi Mews – the outdoor hutches – are also destined for  freedom this autumn so that they can establish themselves before winter sets in and they  hibernate. Over the coming weeks, underweight, injured, sick or orphaned hogs will be  coming in and will probably be with us until next spring. At our next open day on Saturday  September 21, visitors will have the chance to sponsor one of these overwintering hogs.  The sponsor can name the hedgehog and receives a card giving a little background  information. Later on, they are given an update of the hog’s progress. The sponsorship  money pays towards the hog’s food and any treatment or medication they need throughout the winter. The Trust depends entirely on donations from the public for the work it does to support  wildlife in and around Berwick, generally from places like Seahouses up to Coldingham on the coast and inland to towns such as Duns  and Wooler. All sorts of jobs, such as daily cleaning and feeding, construction work and general maintenance, gardening and offering  phone advice out of hours, are done by volunteers who offer their skills and services free of charge.   But even if people don’t have the funds to donate or time to spare, responding to our appeals for items we are short of can be an  enormous help – often at little or no cost.   At the moment we’re in need of supplies of lettuces, the swans’ favourite ‘greens’. They get three or four of these a day, and they’re  gobbled up within seconds of the lettuce leaves landing on the pool water. So any vegetable gardeners out there, we will take your  leftover lettuces, bolted or otherwise. Another current shortage is wallpaper rolls - and not because we fancy changing the colour scheme. We use it to line the aviary floors  beneath roosting areas so that messy paper can easily be replaced with a clean lining. So if you’re chucking out any leftover rolls of  wallpaper, drop them off at the Rollo Centre. Elfrieda Waren 5th September 2019 (These notes were submitted for 29th August but unfortunately did not appear in the Advertiser until this week) We were called out to a swan on Thursday afternoon. It was near the pier and had been seen with fishing line with a float attached  wrapped round it’s body. Jackie contacted Mike to see if he could go with her to get the bird in. When it was reported the swan was in  ankle deep water but as the tide was coming in by the time they reached the pier the water had come in quite a bit and they were going  to get wet getting it out. Thankfully some lads from Marine Divers Rescue were nearby fully kitted out and with a bag suitable for seals.  The quickly retrieved the swan and it was brought in to the Rollo Centre.   There was a hook on the line which had caught in the wing and the line was wrapped round it’s body and neck. There was a sizeable float included in the apparatus the bird was tangled in. The bird was quite placid while the line was removed and it could finally flap it’s wings.  It was put in a pen with food and water and left overnight to see how it was in the morning. What a change in the swan the following day. It reared up hissing at everyone and stretching its  neck out. The food bowl was empty so it had enjoyed a good feed and was feeling much better.  Kay gave it a shot of antibiotic in case of infection but as it was so feisty it was left by itself. We  decided that as it was looking so good it could be returned to the river on Saturday morning.  When Dick and Gray(my grandson) released the bird the other swans on the river came over and  greeting him like a long lost friend. A happy outcome easily achieved.  Another release this weekend was ‘Little Bun’ the leveret. I had been rearing him at home for  several weeks and he was taken down to the Rollo Centre when he needed more room to run and get himself fit. He was still having his bottle of milk in the mornings but gradually eating more  vegetables. We stopped his milk altogether and he immediately became less tame. We decided  he could also go on Saturday. He weighed 925 grams and was feeding himself well.  Dick had to  catch him with a net which was good as it showed he was growing much more wild and afraid of  people. This is how it should be. He went off into the fields at the release site which is well away  from humans and roads.   We are getting to the time of year when I beg for any bolted lettuce for the Cygnets and Swans  staying with us. They are super extra food for them.  A Quick note on the recovery of the Eyemouth Cygnet that is with us. He is starting to use the leg again, although he did lose a lot of  weight when he first came in. He is receiving antibiotic and painkiller to help him we do hope now he will continue to improve.  Pat Goff 22nd August 2019 We volunteers at the Swan Trust are called upon to do all sorts of jobs – some of them quite dirty. Jackie does try to save the nice tasks  for us, like feeding the cygnets their daily lettuces by scattering the leaves on the pond, or changing Errol the owl’s bathing water. But  there’s no getting away from the fact that wild animals in a contained artificial environment are messy, and the daily ‘mucking out’ is a  vital part of the work.   Over time, you gain a sort of immunity to the sights and smells of the less pleasant tasks. But there are definitely some that stay with  me, such as the cutting up of whole mackerel for the gulls’ meals.      My least favourite job recently has centred round an over-excitable pigeon. As someone  who has a fear of birds’ wings flapping round my head, I wasn’t a great bet as a long  term volunteer when I joined the trust three years ago. I thought I’d managed to  overcome the problem though, until this pigeon came along.  It had been brought in as a  fledgling by a very kind lady all the way from Cramlington, and had a very bad head  injury requiring lots of care and treatment. All this human contact had resulted in the  pigeon ‘imprinting’ with people and just wanting to be as close as possible to anyone  who entered the aviary to feed it. Every week it would welcome me joyously with  continuous cheeping, then repeatedly flutter at me and attempt to land on my head,  shoulders, back or front. Getting in and out of the aviary without having the pigeon  attaching itself was just about impossible. But last Wednesday, silence reigned over the  small aviary, and the snoozing hedgehog that was the pigeon’s ‘housemate’ had the  place to herself. Mike has taken the pigeon home to his garden, where it will be fed  regularly and who knows, may one day decide it doesn’t need people any more. Another ‘dreaded’ part of the Wednesday routine has been the weekly jab for the three  juvenile crows with lungworm, which had been making them cough. That meant helping  Jackie round them up into a carrier to take to Kay in the treatment room. The crows  definitely don’t hanker for human contact, and led us a merry dance chasing up and down the flight trying to net them one by one. Once  inside, they responded quite differently to being held still for their injection. One seemed to wait quite patiently for the ordeal to be over,  but the crow I held was squirming to get free, and when struggling didn’t work he finally clamped his beak round my (fortunately gloved)  finger. Thankfully the course of treatment is now complete; I don’t know who disliked it more, the crows or the humans.   Elfrieda Waren