Waterside D and the Swan from Hell

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Jonny Bravo
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Waterside D and the Swan from Hell

Post by Jonny Bravo » Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:58 am

For those keen enough to crawl out of bed at 5am last sunday, there was an extra challenge to the race - The infamous Devizes swan was defending his territory to the extreme - even attacking people for walking on the towpath!

There is a nest nearby - but this little git has been attacking crews for years - if you find yourself confronted by it - aim for it head on - Swans attack from behind, so usually by the time it's turned around, you'll have escaped. If you hear a loud flapping, get paddling!

Generally it'll just bite the back of your boat, so paddlers don't normally get hurt - but it has had a few folk out of their boats in the past...


Image[/img]


for some more pics of the evil little git http://www.paddlepics.com/watersides/Wa ... /index.htm

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Pete the kayaker
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Post by Pete the kayaker » Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:18 am

look on the bright side Craig. It'll be probably be dead from bird flu within the year.

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mharrall
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Post by mharrall » Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:46 pm

Persistant little git isn't it? I spoke to a crew the other day who reckoned he'd hit them so hard that he bent thier rudder!
Martin

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Mr.P
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Re: Waterside D and the Swan from Hell

Post by Mr.P » Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:51 pm

we had a close call ..... "it" flew at us BA/head height, thankfully before it had chance attack from the rear, it found another boat to annoy....

....I hope they do manage to "dispose" of it before the DW

Easter Roast post-race?? :)

kvin
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saddam the swan

Post by kvin » Mon Apr 03, 2006 1:00 pm

great pics, especially the one with him on the back of the K1. We've been attacked many times by him including the full frontal flying at you a couple of feet above the water method which is a bit unnerving and hes flown on to the back of the boat and hit me in the back. I reckon Devizes marina, where he hangs out, is the first place to spectate on day 1 of DW at easter.....

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JMT
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Post by JMT » Mon Apr 03, 2006 1:07 pm

I'm pleased to hear we were not the only ones singled out for attention. It maybe isn't the same one that attacked us, as it was a few years ago - but you never know.
Keep pushing for fair access to all rivers (or better still, just go and paddle them!).

Mike Tinnion

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morsey
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Post by morsey » Mon Apr 03, 2006 2:43 pm

Swan with nest and you want to have it "disposed of" just because you want to do a race! A nearby canoe competition site was lost as it was sanctioned as a SSSi, so I doubt you will get the EA on your side to have the swan removed. A sweep stake on how many crews the swan takes down sounds like more fun to me that killing and eating the bird.

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mharrall
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Post by mharrall » Mon Apr 03, 2006 2:52 pm

A nearby canoe competition site was lost as it was sanctioned as a SSSi
Out of interest, where was this?
Martin

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morsey
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Post by morsey » Mon Apr 03, 2006 3:05 pm

Caen Hill used to have the SW canoe polo site in one of the lock pounds a mile west of Devizes.

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mharrall
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Post by mharrall » Mon Apr 03, 2006 3:14 pm

I wondered if that was where you meant. What is it there that makes it a SSSI?

I used to play there a fair bit, it was a shame we lost it as a facility.
Martin

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morsey
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Post by morsey » Mon Apr 03, 2006 3:44 pm

Think it was spawning beds for newts or toads, I'll check later (my housemate had dealings with SW polo at the time).

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Mr.P
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Post by Mr.P » Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:15 pm

morsey wrote:Swan with nest and you want to have it "disposed of" just because you want to do a race! A nearby canoe competition site was lost as it was sanctioned as a SSSi, so I doubt you will get the EA on your side to have the swan removed. A sweep stake on how many crews the swan takes down sounds like more fun to me that killing and eating the bird.
just for reference, we we encounted the "mad" swan, it was probably 1+ mile from the two other swans with the nest. So probably a different bird.....

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maryinoxford
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Post by maryinoxford » Tue Apr 04, 2006 10:17 am

Does it attack other kinds of boats, or just kayaks?
Just curious. Oxford swans have never bothered me. I pass them quietly, don't get between adults and young, and they ignore me. I wonder if this one is naturally aggressive, or if he had a bad experience at some time.
I heard once about a village that had a squirrel that peristently attacked people (and rodent teeth are no joke). Eventually it died or somebody shot it, it was post-mortemed and found to have a brain tumour.

Mary
Not in Oxford any more...

Bod
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Post by Bod » Tue Apr 04, 2006 10:30 am

There used to be a similar swan (may still be) between Keynsham and Bath on the Kennet and Avon. It used to chase you but possibly not as aggressively. The given explanation for that one was that it had lost its mate. They pair off for life so this is a bit of a problem.
John B.

kvin
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Post by kvin » Tue Apr 04, 2006 11:22 am

This one seems to be a bit of a psycho - from experience it doesn't matter how you approach him, we've come round a corner and he's seen us and just flown straight at us a few feet above the water. He's got a mate and it looks like two (quite mature) offspring but you often end up paddling right past them while he'e off duffing someone else up.

He attacks people on the towpath, and I also saw him attack a narrowboat - he was trying to get on the back, to the consternation of the two ladies on it. I got the impression he wasn't just being friendly or after some bread!!

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Vulch
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Post by Vulch » Tue Apr 04, 2006 3:33 pm

Yup, it had one of my crews swimming. Thankfully it seems to back off once the boat has capsized - one of my guys would probably have done something unspeakable to it, judging by his consternation at Wootton Rivers. Is self defence justifiable against the Queen's bird?

I don't think that it is nesting either - I have been attacked by it all year round(ie often out of nesting season), and have rarely seen another swan nearby.

I am pretty sure that it is the same swan year after year as well. It would be too much of a coincidence for different swans to behave in exactly the same way in exactly the same place year after year. We don't get any problems elsewhere on the course - and we paddle past a lot of swans!
The Thatcham swan was also legendary for behaving in a very similar manner many years ago. Apparently it ended up on a dinner table in Hereford.


Vulch

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