Navy divers rescue swans' drowned nesting raft
Royal Navy divers came to the aid of a pair of breeding swans when the birds' lakeland nesting raft began to take on water.
A specialist team from the Southern Dive Unit, based in Devonport, Plymouth, used their expert skills to carry out a reconnaissance mission to check for damage at the nesting site at Radford Lake in Plymouth before reporting their findings to members of the RSPB so that repairs can be carried out.
The team used the dive as a training exercise after they received a request for help from RSPB member Gordon Miller, of Plymstock, near Plymouth, who had become concerned about the future of the nesting pair of the birds when their nest containing eggs on the raft was flooded in April.
He said: "I was very worried when the nesting site was drowned and the nest with eggs was washed off earlier in the year."
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He said the eggs had been incubated for 34 days without hatching. "They had all been ruined by soaking up water. It was very sad for bird lovers like me. Other people have also taken the swans to their hearts and have asked me what I can do."
He enlisted the help of the Royal Navy by appealing to Naval Base commander, Commodore Graeme Little.
The team dived from an inflatable boat with a stand-by safety diver and shore staff.
Able Seaman Diver Stuart Farden said: "This was a small scale exercise, but one that was good for the community and gave me and the team good experience. It seems the raft might be waterlogged and need replacing or having added buoyancy."
Leading Diver Ade Morris was supervising.
He said: "This was a great chance to meet the community needs, gain experience and directly train divers in command leadership and management experience. That is what the Navy is proud to do. I hope some good comes to the swans and the lake environment from this."