Enter the black swan!
Visitors to Petersfield Heath have welcomed the return of ‘our’ black swan yesterday.
Slightly smaller than our resident mute swans, but a feisty individual ready to face off competition. It has been estimated that around 37 pairs may breed in the UK.
RSPB recorder, Colin Nicholson, says, “Sightings of black swans have become reasonably common. They can be found on almost any water body. They have similar habitat requirements to mute swans and are often found in the same areas. Black swans are native to Australia and are the state bird of Western Australia. They were brought to the UK as ornamental birds like peacocks and golden pheasants. Like many other captive birds, they occasionally find their way out into the wild. They appear all black when swimming but they have white primary wing feathers, which can be seen in flight. The bill is red with a broad white band on the tip”.
On our pond the solo swan is an occasional winter visitor that has possibly come from an ornamental pond such as Virginia Water. It is aggressive and dominant by nature, so we might see fathers fly!