MEMBERS of Barrhead Angling Club came to the rescue when a family of swans was attacked by an angry rival.

Barrhead fisherman Jim Maitland, along with Mike O’Donnell and Johnny O’Reilly, were quick to react as the birds from Walton Dam, near Neilston, went for a wander with their cygnets to Glanderston Dam, near Barrhead.

The two males from each family attacked one another, leaving the anglers fearing the worst.

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Jim, 56, told the Barrhead News: “We already have two resident swans at Glanderston Dam, who have six cygnets. Me and my mates could see this new family of swans hanging around.

“I was fishing around the back end of the dam and I spotted the two males fighting. It was pretty brutal. I ran to get the keys from the boat so I could go out and separate them.

“The wee babies were in amongst it all and I was worried that they might die.

“I managed to separate them and one went onto the land but the resident swam came back after it again, pecking at it. If we hadn’t been there, one would have killed the other.”

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Johnny then decided to put down bits of bread for the cygnets so he could get them into a container and transport them back to Walton Dam.

However, that proved to be a tricky task.

Jim explained: “The mother and father were going daft, even though we were trying to help them.

“We called Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue, who talked us through what to do, and they got to the dam within an hour. They were brilliant.”

Jim, along with Mike and with help from Hessilhead volunteers, carried the cygnets, with their mother and father walking behind, to return them to their home.

“It was a fantastic idea to carry the box because the parents followed us all the way from Glanderston to Walton,” he said. “It was a bit scary walking through the fields because there was cattle with their young. It was frightening but they were quite happy just to watch.

“When we arrived at Walton Dam, we released them back into the dam.

“I’m glad we could help.”

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A spokesperson for Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue said: “A big well done to Barrhead Angling Club.

“Some members called us because a family of swans from Walton Dam had walked, with their cygnets, to Glanderston Dam. The adults then attacked the resident swans on Glanderston, who also have cygnets.

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“By the time Hessilhead arrived, the anglers had trapped the Walton Dam cygnets in their boathouse and their parents were keeping watch close by.

“The anglers then walked with the box of cygnets, calling to the parents, who followed all the way back to Walton Dam, where the family was reunited.

“Hessilhead followed the procession, making sure the adults didn’t head back to Glanderston.”