Nathanville Family History


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A Final Farewell




As told by Patroller Eileen Tyrer
Chair. HEAT

Harwich Environmental Action Team

Lord and Lady Hammerton nested in their usual place and had four young, two white and two brown. One of the white cygnets disappeared very quickly so they were left to raise only three. This is a lovely family and very tolerant of other species. We had two rescues in the Hammerton pond over a period of time. John and Gary from the Caravan Camp helped out along with my friend Sandra. On the first one of the cygnets had a line in its throat with the weight hanging outside its mouth. It’s not easy to rescue here as the banks are steep. It was not a very nice day and got quite cold after a while with the two of us keeping hooks in the water and throwing bread to try and draw them near. We were getting rather exasperated. So we started chatting hoping the cygnet would think we were ignoring it. All of a sudden John got his hook on the cygnet and it was about to escape, when Sandra without warning jumped into the water and grabbed the cygnet. I don’t know who was more surprised us or the swan’s as the water was up to her chest. It was then a question of hauling her and the cygnet out and trying not to laugh too much.

Once they were out of the water I felt the neck of the swan and hoped the hook had gone down. I couldn’t feel anything so we cut the line and took the weight off. We were about to release the cygnet when I noticed blood, we found it had cut the side of its leg. Although it was bleeding quite a bit it was not deep, more of a nasty graze and by applying pressure it eventually eased up so I decided it would be better to release the cygnet back with its family. Turning round to look at Sandra who by this time was starting to shiver in between much laughter from her and us, and me telling her off as she could have really hurt herself, we returned to the car still laughing.

The second one was on the day I had been to London and had returned deciding to take Meg out for her walk. Driving down the lane towards the dyke and passing the entrance that leads to the Hammerton Pond I noticed a fire engine was parked outside the gate. Thinking to myself a youngster had lit a fire again I reached the dyke parked my car, got Meg out and started on my walk looking over as I went, to see people around the pond. The next thing the phone rings and I am told a cygnet is in trouble. I then make my way over to the pond with Meg, as she is good with swans and not a bit of trouble. On reaching the pond the firemen had a boat in the water commanded by a male and female officer. The cygnet was strapped to a bush on the island by fishing line and was franticly trying to escape, especially as the boat got near to it, and it was extremely water logged. The female officer was not really sure what to do and the cygnet was getting so frantic it was going to do itself untold damage if they didn’t act quickly. I called out just grab the neck hold it steady while you just cut him away from the bush. The officer said, “Shall I let him go” I called out “No bring him ashore” with out more ado they went over to the further bank, and guess who jumped in before anyone could do anything to help get the cygnet out yes you’re right, Sandra. We are now convinced she just likes jumping in the water whatever the weather. The cygnet was badly lined up and it took time to release it from the fishing line and although it was badly water logged it would recover more quickly back with its family. So once again we released it back into the water.

Life continued on with Lord and Lady Hammerton and their beautiful cygnets in a very peaceful way. We had no more trouble from their area. The cygnets grew into beautiful swans and the parents were beginning to try to push them off. One morning on my way to work I had barely got there when a call came in that a swan was in someone’s garden and because they were open plan the swan kept going into the road and was nearly run over.
When I got the address I knew it was one of the Hammerton family. Thankfully I have a very understanding boss and I can please myself when I go in and he never minds if I am called out for swans. On reaching the road I was not exactly dressed for rescuing swans but that’s a minor detail that one just ignores. The swan was happily wandering around, the house owners who I knew gave me some bread, which he didn’t want and then he decided to walk along the road with me beside him. He didn’t get far when I grabbed his neck and he just sat down on the pavement and gave up. I think he was just fed up of there being no water. I put him in the car and took him to the Boating Lake, as it was no good putting him back with his family, because they would just have chased him off again. Once there I quickly released him and he seemed happy enough.

About a week later I saw one of the parents take the other two for a flight and I guessed they were going to be left somewhere. The next morning I spotted the white one as she has pinky coloured legs on the Boating Lake. When I got to the Hammerton Pond only Lord and Lady Hammerton were there. Life has continued peacefully, so far they have not nested, but I do not think it will be long before she decides where she will nest this year.

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