In previous years, a breeding pair of swans had brought their offspring down from the lake at Brocket Hall to meet us and we would get quite attached to them, until it was time to “fly the coop”.
We were quite sad this year not to see the wonderful sight of a father leading his cygnets down to the Mill, closely followed by mother – all in a straight line. We thought that maybe they were too old to breed now and that we may not see anymore offspring until this pair had gone. Imagine our delight when last Friday afternoon, a new family appeared on the river. There are 10: mother, father and 8 children and they have made our home, their home. We noticed that one of the cygnets was caught up with fishing wire, which needed to be removed immediately. We are lucky to have bird expert Barry Trevis on our staff (Barry initiated our birding holidays and leads many of them) and he was able to catch the bird and expertly removed a fishing hook from its mouth and the majority of the wire. Apart from a few ruffled feathers, the baby rejoined his family as though nothing happened. Dad had one eye on Barry at all times! Barry has also ringed the cygnets so that they can be tracked and he says that the mother’s ring shows that she was ringed by him in 2005 at St Albans’ Verulamium Park!
Our resident pair up at Brocket Hall are not happy with a new family on their patch (this pair did actually produce 7 babies, just decided not to show them off to us this year), and there have been a few bouts of posturing and warnings from the male, but slowly things are settling down. We will hopefully have the pleasure of the new family’s company until the cygnets leave at the start of winter and then, who knows, maybe the parents will stay on.
The RWH office is such a joy to work from with so much nature right on the doorstep. Everyday there is something else that grabs your attention through the window!