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Swan which brought rush-hour traffic to standstill on Sydenham Bypass rescued

By Claire Williamson

Published 28/10/2015

The rescued swan Pic Andrew Johnston
The rescued swan Pic Andrew Johnston
The swan back home in Victoria Park east Belfast. Pic Andrew Johnston

Commuters on the Sydenham Bypass were caught in a flap this morning as a swan caused long delays to their morning journey.

The large swan was sitting near The Oval and caused a massive traffic build up for Belfast bound traffic.

Motorists took to Twitter with snaps of the swan - giving them a slightly strange excuse when they arrived late for work this morning.

But it definitely wasn't camera shy nor put off by the waiting cars as it continued to wreak havoc for motorists.

The swan has now been rescued and after a check up at the vets it will hopefully be released back into Victoria Park.

Rescuer Andrew Johnston told the Belfast Telegraph this is the second swan he has rescued this week - following another incident in Ballyclare on Monday.

He said: "By the time I got there this morning two policemen were keeping watch 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, two big 6ft 5 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 if they hit you.

"I have a technique, I have a tartan blanket I keep in the boot of the car for such eventualities and it's the perfect size for catching a swan.

"You try to get the wings down by their side and it's the wings that do that damage, or potentially can", he said.

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

"If they hit you with their wings they can break a limb. So the trick is get the wings down by your side and hold the neck. They can give you a bit of a nip but the beak isn't the problem it's the wings."

Although how the swan came to be on the road remains a mystery.

"We don't know what's happened to the swan. There is a breeding pair in Victoria Park and they are quite territorial so this may be a youngish swan that is trying to find its own territory and has been chased off and has become disorientated.

"Or it may have tried to land on the road thinking it was water with it being wet. They are  not particularly phased by much, adult swans don't have much to fear in the wild. So they are pretty tough birds.

"But this one doesn't look injured."

A similar occurrence happened in south Belfast last December when a swan blocked the junction of New Forge Lane and Malone Road.

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