Caen Hill (Wednesday 4th May 2016)

Most of the slate roof went onto the outbuilding during Tuesday, and I popped outside first thing to record it.

I wanted to call at Caen Hill Locks because I knew that the cygnets had hatched a few days earlier, but my visit was more dramatic than I would have wished.

My next-door neighbours M & K approached me while I was sitting on a bench overlooking a side pond having a coffee and watching narrowboats going through the locks; it turned out they are volunteer lock guards there. They told me the swan family were not by the nest but higher up, so later when I drifted up there I found the two swans and three young cygnets on the canal below the road bridge, but on the opposite side, so I crossed on a lock bridge to reach them.

The swans were leading their charges along the side of the canal with the two cygnets in front approaching the sluice. To my horror both the cygnets sailed straight over the edge of the sluice into the swirling waters below. When I caught up and looked down there was one cygnet in there calling repeatedly to its agitated parents, who were making all sorts of unusual noises, powerless to help.

Tragically, one of the two had been sucked into the underwater pipe that leads to the pound below and hadn't reappeared there twelve minutes later when we looked so must have perished.

I was the only witness to the event so I went to raise help, enlisting a dogwalker who heard the commotion from the towpath, and between us anglers with suitable nets were brought to the scene to try to catch the trapped cygnet.

By this time the parents were extremely distressed, with the cob swan flapping his wings angrily and hissing. However, the rescue was successful and the cygnet was returned to the canal, and swam off to rejoin his parents and sibling (see Extra). It was horrible to witness, but at least one was saved.

I learned later that because the locks are listed, the C&RT are not allowed to add any safety measures to the sluice to prevent such incidents, several ducklings having suffered the same fate last year. When aesthetics take precedence over life and death something is badly wrong.

6.5.2016 (1330 hr)

Blip #1825 (#2075 including archived blips)
Consecutive Blip #024
Day #2232
LOTD #1059 (#1183 including archived blips)

Taken with Pentax K-1 and Pentax D FA Macro 100mm F2.8 WR lens

Caen Hill series
Canals series
Kennet and Avon Canal series
Swan series

A Visit To The Caen Hill Locks, 4 May 2016 (Flickr album)(to follow)

Now posted, for anyone interested:
A Visit To Newport, Shropshire, 23-24 April 2016 (Flickr album)
A Trip To Shrewsbury, 24 April 2016 (including The Dingle)(Flickr album)
A Visit To The Woodland Walks, Bowood, 29 April 2016 (Flickr album)

Lozarhythm Of The Day:
Brian Eno - I’m Set Free (2016)
This Velvet Underground cover comes from Eno’s album The Ship.
"The first time I ever heard [The Velvet Underground] was on a John Peel radio show... it was when their first album came out and I thought, 'this I like, this I want to know about!'"
- Brian Eno

One year ago:
First Of The Gang To Hatch (Caen Hill 2015)

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