Monday, July 20, 2015

THE BLACK SWANS OF DAWLISH, SOUTH DEVON


As many may already know, Black Swans are indigenous to Australia so it may come as a surprise to learn that there are a few residing in a Devonshire seaside town and have done so for many years.  In fact, they are one of the  tourist attractions for Dawlish, South Devon.  I, for instance, remember them as a little girl, and wanted to see them again on our most recent trip back to Devon last month.


The Black Swans in Dawlish have actually resided here for decades, and have been used as the town's emblem for more than 40 years.  I have read in a couple of articles that the swans were originally brought over from Australia in 1900 by a local resident.  However, in another article I read that John Nash, this resident, a Dawlish-borne man who emigrated during adulthood but paid frequent visits to the town, brought them back from New Zealand.  


(Going a little off topic regarding the swans and something you might find interesting, Jane Austen stayed in Dawlish, as did Charles Dickens who decided to make Dawlish the birthplace of Nicholas Nickleby.)


In flight the Black Swan has a very long slender neck and white flight feathers along the edge of its wings.  The flight is slow with slow wing beats, and a high-pitched bugle is often heard.  Male and female have a similar appearance.  Juveniles are grey-brown with black tips to the outer white flight feathers, and cygnets are light grey, downy with grey-black bills and feet.  We did not see any Black Swan cygnets on our visit.






I am linking with Anni at Bird D'Pot, Michelle at Nature Notes, Judith at  Mosaic Monday, and Stewart's Wild Bird Wednesday.  A big thank you to our hosts for these wonderful memes.