Monday, 16 July 2018

How to read water - A visit marked with sadness

My second visit to the river was marked with sadness. As I took my photos I noticed a swan on the tide line, separate from all the others. A passing dog walker expressed her concern too, and a man  went to look at the swan and told us it had been shot. Apparently there was a hole in it's back, and it's prospects didn't look good. 

After much effort I managed to contact the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Protection of Animals) who luckily have a wildlife welfare team. I gave the location and was asked if I could stay with the swan or let them know if anything changes. Some time later I saw a voicemail, telling me an officer was on his way but would not be there until after 10pm. I had not gone prepared for a long stay. The evening had turned cool by now and my daughter had come down with coffee and warmer clothing for me, but by 9pm I decided I couldn't wait any longer. I needed to eat and still had things to attend to, so I phoned the RSPCA back, gave them precise location and update and let them know there was no change in the swans condition. By now there was no dog walkers or other people walking along the river so I was less concerned about the swan being disturbed. I had done all I could as there were no local vets open this time of evening, and I could only trust that the RSPCA would attend as promised.

The next evening I arrived at the river and saw the swan was gone. But after taking photos of the state of river, I started to walk along the sea wall and that's when I saw the swan. 

Maybe the officer had put the swan out of it's misery and left the body there; or maybe for some reason they did not come and the swan died of it's own accord. Either way the tide would have been high on two occasions since my visit, so I'm guessing the water carried it further along. Clearly it has been food for birds or maybe foxes, and it was sad to see the fate of this beautiful creature. When choosing to 'read water' I hadn't anticipated this might be part of my experience. But realistically, it is part of life and it was heartening to see the concern of other people who stopped to talk that first evening.

I continued my walk along the sea wall as planned and this time I noticed other things:

A jelly fish. 

An oyster shell. I now know this variety originates from Portugal. More about that in my next post.

And I have been surprised at how much the tide changes day by day. It's one thing knowing it from a tide time-table, and another to witness and pay attention. I am trying to visit at roughly the same time and today, instead of a trickle, the water was still deep enough for this red boat to swing gently on it's anchor. 

These shallow curves of waterflow are also teaching me about the depth and flow. I wonder what other things I will be discovering, and hopefully there will be no more injured birds or animals. 
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