The Stowaway

THE  STOWAWAY!

 On Wednesday 3rd March, Nick & Simon Bryant set out from Greenhead at 4.00am on their crayboat “Nakita”.   What would have normally been an “ordinary” day, turned out to be anything but “ordinary”.

After a day’s fishing, the pair returned to Greenhead at 3.00pm and Simon decided to do an oil change on “Nakita”.     On opening the hatch to the engine room, imagine his surprise when he was greeted by a young adult Pacific Gull, trapped in a cray-tray and covered in bilge oil!   The distraught bird (having entered the boat through an open hatch the previous evening) had been trapped in the engine room for some 11 hours with engines hammering and pounding!

A quick call to the DEC office in Jurien confirmed that help was at hand.    On arrival at my place at 7.30pm that evening, it was ascertained that the Gull was very dehydrated and too distressed to handle any more that night, so we “tubed” some fluids and electrolytes into the babe and settled him in for the night.

The next morning, we set about the task of de-oiling the bird, requiring a good sized water proof area, a couple of BIG tubs and an endless supply of warm running water.   Thanks to Wayne and Tams Harsten for the use of their laundry for this purpose.   After 2 hours of continuous washing and rinsing, we then set about the task of drying the large bird, which by now, resembled a drowned rat!   So, into a huge box with towels and blankets, a holed floor mat for a roof, and a hair drier taped in one corner – our gull was soon on his way to drying out.   A further 2 days in the flight aviary with a large wading pool for swimming, and the gull was ready for release.

Nick and Jen (from Jenz Blendz) were on hand early on Sunday 7th March, as we arrived at the Greenhead Jetty to release the gull.   Nick informed us that the gull was a “local” at the jetty and often waited for the arrival of the crayboats to receive some “treats”.   Our gull recognised his home instantly, and was quickly splashing, swimming and preening.  A couple of follow-up visits has seen the gull re-united with his family none the worse for wear (unfortunately, we were unable to check his hearing after the noise of the engines)!

A big thankyou to Susie, the Marine Ranger from DEC, who, after spending the day fighting the fires at Eneabba, assisted with the Pacific Gull, and provided invaluable knowledge and experience to our carers in Jurien Bay.

Another happy ending….

And on another happy note – In our November issue of the Craytales, we mentioned a little Kingfisher which came into care with a broken wing.  “Jaffy” was transferred to the Armadale Reptile Park, where he has now made a full recovery and is able to be returned to the wild.

Footnote – Holly, our tiny Xmas Euro, broke her ankle bone last week, and was transferred to Geraldton, where she is under the care of the vet.   We expect her to make a full recovery, but she will need to be constantly monitored, due to her tiny size.

In the meantime, our devoted carers are still on the job, awaiting the next influx of season babies.

Loveland for Wildlife will have a stall at the coming Easter Fair, and we will be offering one lucky person a chance to win a tandem parachute jump over Jurien Bay!   Be sure to come and see us at the Fair!

Sheryl Wilson – Secretary