I have not had time to post as often as I would have liked to but maybe, one of the positives of spending such a lot of time indoors will be that I get back in the habit of posting more frequently.
There will no doubt be far less people in the parks and commons so I expect to get fewer calls about injured and sick birds. However, with the absence of dog walkers and anglers the birds will be safer and I hope that overall, the lock down will be positive for the swans, geese and, of course, all the other wildlife.
It feels difficult to stay positive in these unprecedented times but here’s a good news story that I would like to share.
At this time of year swans are already on their nests, busy laying eggs. The more mature and usually dominant swans have already bagged the prime locations and any intruder pairs are seen off rapidly. The less mature swans and often, first time breeders make do with the sites that would not be their first choice. Sometimes, this can be in a location where their nest floods and all their eggs are washed away. Although sad, this is a way for swans to learn where is, and where isn’t suitable to nest.
Earlier this month I received an email forwarded to me from the Swan Sanctuary. A local resident was concerned about a swan’s nest on a body of water that led off from one of the Central London docks. My friend, who covers that area, had umpteen rescues outstanding so I went instead. As I walked along it all looked a bit grim, due to the lack natural vegetation. However, as I watched the coots busy building their nests, I noticed several little coot houses put together by local residents. It may not be a pond on a lovely green common but these little urban coots were very proud of their homes. I moved on to look for the swan’s nest and when I saw it my heart sank. In some ways the location wasn’t too bad but it was right underneath a grid! The slats were wide apart and it would only take one idiot to poke things down at the swan, or even her cygnets once they arrived. There was also the chance of cigarette ends dropping down or even broken glass.
I took several photos and sent them back to the Swan Sanctuary. This lovely swan needed protection but there was nothing we could do without the co-operation of the council. Fortunately, my friend Gill, who covers the area, had a good contact at the council – someone that had helped her with a nest problem last year. She made contact with him and he must be one of the most proactive council workers we have encountered. Within 48 hours he had arranged for the nest site to be cordoned off. I cannot begin to say how pleased we were. We now felt the swan had the best possible chance to incubate her eggs safely and we are hoping to see cygnets in May.
Thank you Tower Hamlets Council.