Friday, 21 August 2015

Bye-bye Kraken

After two months and 14 days we said good-bye to Kraken last Sunday.

At the end of July he finally learned to fly and promptly flew into North Haven were a seal and two Great Black-backed Gull chicks gave him quite a fright. Ed ran down to the beach and Kraken, having had enough of his freedom, came paddling over and climbed onto Ed's hand.

Kraken in North Haven (photo R. Green)

Kraken climbing voluntarily onto Ed's hand
Because of his new found ability to fly we had to errect a net over my vegetable garden so he would not fly off again. During the next two weeks he got used to being outdoors in all weathers and all night long and we are confident that his instincts would guide him well and keep him save, now that he has to look after himself.

One last cuddle

On Sunday we boarded the boat with Kraken, he was quite relaxed and seemed not to mind all the people and noise around him.

Captain Kraken

Beautiful Shoveler (photo J.A. Thomson)
Then followed a car drive all the way to Gloucester where we stayed the night with Ed's uncle. First we put Kraken in a pet carrier but he wasn't too keen on it so in the end he sat on Ed's lap for the entire journey, his beak tucked into Ed's armpit. He is the most chilled-out duck ever!

Hey...I want to get out!
That's much better!

In Gloucester Kraken resided in John's greenhouse for one night and the next morning we took him to the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust reserve at Slimbridge

What is going on? I can't eat these flowers, they're made of plastic!

Pippa (who volunteers on Skomer) and Duane (both working for WWT at Slimbridge) greeted us in the car park and we escorted Kraken to his new home: the "Back from the Brink" enclosure. He was going to live with Cranes, some Beavers and a lot of ducks - how exciting!

Before releasing Kraken, Duane put a red cable tie onto his left leg (he cut off the excess cable tie, of course), so that he will be recognisable in future.

Ringed with a red cable tie

Finally Ed had to put Kraken down onto the grass and with bated breath we watched what would happen. First of all nothing happened, he just stretched his wings, sat down, nibbled at some grass, made Shoveler noises and looked about.

After about five minutes we tried to nudge him into the water - obviously he wasn't keen on a swim so he just lifted off and was gone.

It was great to see him fly but we were also a bit worried, will he be ok landing and where will he end up?
Where might he be?
So we went and searched for him and after an hour we spotted him in the "Tundra" enclosure - it seems he preferred Eider Ducks to the Cranes. He was splashing about and having a proper groome.

Kraken (in the middle) with his new friends

We left him to it and went for lunch. In the afternoon we found him again, asleep on an island, standing on one foot with a red cable tie and his beak tucked under his wing. Ed called his name but he did not respond, either he did not hear or he had already forgotten all about us.

Good-bye and good luck Kraken, it was a real privilege to watch you grow up.

Day 1

Day 76

Bee and Ed

P.S. A big thank you to everyone who helped look after Kraken on Skomer and to Duane, Pip and everyone at WWT Slimbridge.
For the Kraken fan club, the latest news is that he was spotted most recently, still in Tundra, on the 21st of July feeding and interacting with other ducks quite happily. Keep an eye out for him if you are visiting Slimbridge and be sure to let us know if you see him.

1 comment:

  1. That is good news. Goodbye Kraken. Slimbridge is on my to visit list. D