Friday 13th December,  a client aboard Sheldrake 2 spotted an unfortunate moorhen suspended upside down from a low overhanging branch, its feet tangled in fishing line. 

After some deliberation, a rescue attempt was planned.  Slowing the boat and slowly approaching the branch, the crew saw the bird move its head and show signs of life.  So with some nifty manoeuvring and the help of scissors and cocktail sticks (!) the moorhen was freed.  A deft client and Frank performed a delicate 15 minute, on-board operation to cut away the remaining tightly bound line from the leg, which was feared to be broken.

The empty fish and chip box served as a hospital bed on the stern deck while humans tried to figure out what to do next.  Swan Rescue didn’t answer the phone but Dave Lee aboard the passing Sheldrake 3 suggested Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital, and they agreed to admit our poor feathered friend.  Sighs of relief…

But our patient turned out to have other plans.  As we were approaching Kings Langley, there was a sudden flutter and a splash as our moorhen flew off, landed on the water and swam away from the stern, trailing her poorly leg.  All fingers crossed that he or she makes a good recovery!

With thanks and congratulations to our guests from Holy Rood Church, and crew, Colin Smith, Frank Stimpson, Rick Hogger.  Next time, please don’t forget your cameras!

Just a thought –  if you spot any fishing line hanging off the trees as you amble or cruise by, if safe to do so, consider removing it.