Posted: 13.04.21 at 17:12 by Philippa Davies
A video by Neil Salter has captured the release of Dawlish’s new breeding pair of black swans on to the Brook, after they spent a week getting used to their surroundings.
The male and female swans were brought down from Hull last week and kept in the aviary compound until Tuesday, April 13, when the waterfowl wardens carried them down the street to Tuck’s Plot.
Warden Don Phillips said: “It was a lot easier than I thought to be honest - they were very good.
“We caught them in here and carried them down and they seemed very happy.”
He said their stay in the aviary compound served a dual purpose – helping them to settle in and familiarising the other black swans on the Brook with their presence.
“They’ve been there for a week, and they can see out, and our resident swans know they’re in there and they’ve been introducing themselves through the fence.
“This is why you don’t just put them out, because that can cause all sorts of frictions because they are a bit territorial.”
Following the release of the swans, local man Richard Hayward presented a cheque for nearly £1,500 to Don Phillips - the proceeds from the sale of his enamel black swan badges. He produced them to raise money towards the upkeep of Dawlish's waterfowl, following the avian flu outbreak last November. Read more about the badges here.
The gates to Tuck's Plot will be closed for a few weeks to give the swans some space, and people are being asked to keep their distance. The swans can be observed via the Black Swan Cam livestream, which is focused on that part of the Brook.
While the new pair of swans are settling happily into their environment, another male and female are still exploring broader horizons.
Don said he thought the pair, which have been AWOL since the end of March, had been driven away by the two male swans that have now left, after being exchanged for the breeding pair.
He said: “They wave every now and again when they go by. I’m not really worried, but this is the first time we’ve ever had two go and I think it was because we had a male pair who forced them out.
“They’ve been seen at Exmouth, Teignmouth and Boat Cove, but they don’t come close enough for us to catch them. It’s a shame because they’re lovely young swans.”
Read more about the arrival of the new breeding pair last week here.