A duckling has been dubbed Lucky 2 after being rescued by a passing motorist.
Anthony Welwig, of Rye Road, Guestling, found the mallard duckling on its back in Chapel Lane, off the A259 in Guestling Green while driving along the road.
He said: “Ahead of me, several empty crisp packets rose from the tarmac in a strong rush of wind and what seemed like a little ball of yellow-brown fluff, spun around in narrow circles in a wind eddy below.
“I noticed movement from the fluff as two tiny legs with webbed feet thrashed around in all directions. It was a duckling on its back unable to right itself.
“I braked and came to a halt, but an impatient driver who suddenly appeared behind me sounded the hooter and shot past me at speed straight over the duckling. For a moment my heart left my body, I was so shocked.
“Miraculously, the wheels missed the little ball of fluff and in the slipstream that followed, the duckling spun about in circles still on its back.”
Mr Welwig then picked up the duckling from the road out of harm’s way.
He added: “I guess it was only a day or two old, so delicate and as light in weight as a handful of cotton wool.
“I cuddled it in my fleece as I wandered up and down the road listening and looking for clues as to where it could have come from, but to no avail.
“I even scrutinised tree trunks clad in ivy as my days as a tree surgeon occasionally revealed places where ducks nested in hollows beneath the protection of green growth.
“I sat in the Landrover for 30 minutes warming the duckling up and keeping it calm. On several occasions it tried to crawl up into my sleeve.
“I went outside again to listen but there was no sign of its family. I placed the duckling on the tarmac to see how it coped. It wobbled at each step and was very unsteady.
“I was ready to take it to Mallydams because there was no way I would leave it in that hostile landscape alone. What the little duckling had experienced must have been really terrifying.”
In January Mr Welwig rescued an injured black-backed gull and named it Lucky so he decided to name the rescued duckling Lucky 2.
He added: “Lucky 2 was confirmed as a mallard duckling by a member of staff at Mallydams and was given a thorough external examination.
“Fortunately no visible injuries were found. I was told the duckling would be put in an incubator to keep warm and recover from the ordeal.
“As there was a group of four ducklings and adult mallards at Mallydams recovering from trauma also, Lucky 2 would be introduced to them hopefully becoming an addition to their family and all scheduled for eventual release. I looked forward to visiting Lucky 2 to see how my rescue was coping with a happier start to life.
“I was amazed how such a tiny frail creature survived this horrifying ordeal on the tarmac road. What it had been through before I had arrived could have been even more cruel.”
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