Helen called me yesterday evening to see a rat or water vole in the water. It was swimming in the cut and trying to get out out onto the opposite bank. It couldn't, and then it started swimming about. It looked like a rabbit swimming. It had obviously been trying for a while as it was tired out and kept going under. I quickly got a bucket and boat hook out to see if I could scoop it out. It came close enough to the bank through for me to grab it by hand. It turned out to be a leveret.
A little wet leveret.
Beeston Castle in the evening sun.
We dried the leveret off and warmed it up as best we could. It didn't move much and was clearly knackered. We went on line to get some information about them. We called this one Lucy the Leveret,(but it may have been a Lionel!). Lucy weighed in at a little over 700gms which showed that it wasn't yet weaned so we couldn't really move her far as we didn't have an hare formula milk. I think fully weaned leverets weigh a bit over 900 gms. I then got worried about us handling it etc as we would have to leave it for her mother to find and with it being kept in the cat basket too maybe it would have been rejected. In the morning she looked lively but didn't seem to have eaten anything we had left her. She was standing in the bowl of water so not sure whether she had any of that either. We decided to move over to the off bank and drop her over there where we had first seen her hoping we would be close to her Mum. I rubbed my hands with a bit of her droppings to try to lose my smell before handling her. I jumped off and moved a bit away from the canal. As soon as I opened the basket she leapt out. She headed straight for the longer grass which was by the canal, and promptly fell back in again!!! I quickly scooped her out again and as it was only a quick dunking I put her down and left her for her Mum to find. I hope she has done okay, but I have my doubts. We couldn't have left her to drown in the cut last night and don't really know what else we could have done. We did contact the Hare Survival people but of course it was at night and no message back today. Good luck to Lucy.
Lucy the Leveret looking much more dry and alert before release.
The moment of release, and just before Lucy jumped back in the water!
We set off in on and off drizzle. I didn't know whether to wear waterproofs or not, it was that sort of rain. We were only going as far as Egg Bridge and there were no locks today so Helen stayed inside and did some cleaning and baking, emerging just as we arrived. There were about two miles of linear moorings around Hargrave and this becomes very tedious when you are only doing minimum speed to prevent causing damage to boats and moorings as you pass. Egg Bridge seems to have been called this when the bridge over the canal was built in 1700 to prevent Egg Farm being cut off from the road. Why else would it be called that? I was hoping for something more exciting really. As soon as we had moored up it chucked it down until about 1600. Once it had stopped we went off to post letters and buy some milk. Helen had made a crumble out of the spelt flour from Bunbury mill and the fuit was the residue from the red currants that we picked at Calveley and had made the jelly from. It was lovely.
Our mooring at Egg Bridge.