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Rush-hour drivers in a flap as swan struts its stuff on main road

By Claire Williamson

Published 29/10/2015

Strolling the Sydenham bypass
Strolling the Sydenham bypass
Wrapped safely in a rug...
Back on open water

Commuters had a rather strange excuse for being late for work yesterday as an awol swan on the Sydenham bypass had them in a rush-hour flap.

Long delays were caused for motorists as the large swan, sitting on the tarmac near The Oval, prompted a massive traffic build-up for Belfast-bound traffic. Motorists took to social media with snaps of the swan - but the bird definitely wasn't camera shy nor put off by the waiting cars as it continued to wreak havoc.

The swan was quickly rescued and after a check-up at the vets, was released back into Victoria Park.

Rescuer Andrew Johnston said it was the second swan he had rescued this week following another incident in Ballyclare on Monday.

He said: "By the time I got there two policemen were keeping an eye on it. They had managed to chaperon the swan into a little fenced area off the road - so it wasn't causing major traffic problems by the time I got there.

"But I did have to sit in traffic for quite a while.

"The policemen, they were two big 6ft 5in guys and they were asking, 'What do we do, how do we get it, can it bite you?'"

Andrew said when it comes to safely rescuing swans, the main danger is their wings which can break a limb.

"I have a technique, I have a tartan blanket I keep in the boot of the car for such eventualities. You try to get the wings down by their side as it's the wings that do the damage, or potentially can", he said.

"If you think of the weight of  a swan and obviously the wings need to be able to lift that bulk off the ground, so they are quite powerful.

"They can give you a bit of a nip but the beak isn't the problem, it's the wings."

How the swan came to be on the road remains a mystery.

"We don't know what's happened to the swan. It may have tried to land on the road thinking it was water with it being wet," added Andrew.

"They are not particularly phased by much, adult swans don't have much to fear in the wild. So they are pretty tough birds."

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