Guest Blog – An update on the Black Swan

There was a lot of interest when I wrote about the Black Swan the other day, with people via the blog, Twitter and Facebook all saying what a sad story it was an how they hoped for some good news.

Happily, Bob French, who has obviously been watching these swans far more closely and for longer than I have, got in touch with some news. He’s also kindly shared a couple of his own images. So over to Bob…

Some slightly heartening news for you perhaps – the female Black Swan is here on Campus East. She’s not the widowed female from the long resident Campus West pair though, she’s actually their progeny from 2011!

Widowed Black Swan and cygnets
Courtesy of Bob French, under Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Licence

She’s been on Campus East since she left her parents and lives with the resident pair of Mute Swans here. Normally it’s quite a friendly dynamic, only interrupted around mating time when she’s shooed away to give the Mutes some space.

Seems to have been more tension this year though, as the Mute pair now on Campus West were disputing territory with the Mutes here. I think the Black Swan got caught up in it all and relocated to Campus West for a while… I imagine things will be back to normal soon however, they seem to have quite a strong bond.

Mute Swan and cygnet, plus Black Swan
Courtesy of Bob French, under Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Licence

The Mute pair raised one cygnet to maturity last year and the four of them were living quite happily together as a family group.

The widowed Black Swan left towards the end of 2014, after single-handedly raising that season’s two cygnets to maturity. Quite a feat really, as the male died just before she went on the nest! There was a brief stop off at Campus West for one of the juveniles at least, but all three have gone further afield and I haven’t seen them since…


Thanks very much to Bob for this information, I love the final image of the three adults and the cygnet contentedly together.

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I welcome thoughts, comments and questions, so please feel free to share anything at all. Thanks, David

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