A rare black swan has been photographed by a local resident on a lockdown walk through Hollow Ponds.
The swan, seen between Eagle Pond and Hollow Ponds, was seen among many white mute swans in the area by Ray Yates, who snapped a picture on an iPhone 5.
“He was constantly darting and moving about, stamping his ground,” Ray told the Echo. “He was aggressive to other males, trying to establish himself in the colony.”
Black swans are extremely rare in the UK, as they are native to Australasia. So, how did it get here?
The Swan Sanctuary, a charity which operates 24/7 swan rescues throughout the year, explained: “Our rescuers in the area are aware of the black swan but it gets the same monitoring as the other swans there.
“A single black swan here is likely to have escaped from a private wildfowl collection” – something which trustee Howard Smith notes is technically an offence.
He added: “Whilst they are not common there are quite a few black swans out in the wild arising from escaped birds. They do occasionally meet up and I believe it is estimated around the country there may be as many as 100 breeding pairs.”
Previously, the Devon town of Dawlish had one of the UK’s biggest black swan populations, though it was sadly diminished by an outbreak of avian influenza.