The tale of an escapee...

I am truly fortunate to live right on the shores of Upper Lough Erne, and with the lake on my back doorstep I am an avid watersports fan. However, I have always had a fear of swans. I don’t bother them, and they don’t bother me, but I always paddle past a little bit faster when they fluff their feathers and let out a hiss. The bay to the back of my home house, is very shallow and full of weed which is perfect for swans. Each year we count about 80 or so swans in the small bay, and we have two resident nesting pairs, whose progress we track throughout the season.

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It was just another regular Sunday evening in lockdown, enjoying the 356th day in the month of April, when it was commented “there is a Black Swan outside”. After a neighbour posted a wonderful photo of him on Facebook, the story of this escapee swan emerged. He has escaped from a local farm, leaving his mate behind, to cruise the pristine waters of Upper Lough Erne. With a little bit of research, I soon learned that this tear away swan’s flight feathers (which had previously been cut) had grown back enough, and on the breeze last Sunday, he had managed to regain flight.

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Wednesday evening of the same week came, and our black swan’s location had been given away, as a very suspicious boat, with an even more suspicious net appeared in the bay. We thought he was a goner… but as it turns out, he really does fly rather well, and the boat couldn’t get up to speed in the shallow bay. As an Australian Black Swan (the last one seen in Northern Ireland we think was over 10 years ago on Newry Canal), he must be worth a pound or two, but here’s hoping they don’t come back, and he decides to stay!

Robyn Livingstone, Brooke House