Black swan has locals in a flap

The swan at Princes Park lake
The swan at Princes Park lake

THIS black swan has been drawing strange looks from passers-by in Princes Park.

The bird, which is far rarer than its white swan cousins, splashed down in the park’s lake recently – much to the delight of locals who contacted the Herald to let us know.

Our photographer caught the animal in action on Wednesday and a call to Trevor Weeks, of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service, revealed it was probably an escaped pet.

Mr Weeks said, “Black swans are not actually particularly rare and we know of a few in Sussex which often fly around from location to location, and there is one which sometimes one downstream from Princes Park. They are not a native species so this one will almost certainly be from someone’s own private lake. A lot of people do not clip their wings so they often fly off for a bit before heading back.”

Interestingly, black swans can cause problems for white swans despite being smaller – not because they are aggressive, but because they have strong maternal instincts which kick in when they see a cygnet.

“We had big problems last year when a black swan had to be repeatedly forced away by a white swan because it kept trying to sit on her nest,” said Mr Weeks.

The animal lover added that people were fine to head down to the park and try and catch a glimpse of the visitor, but warned against going loaded with bread crumbs. “The last thing we would want is for lots of people to go down to the park with loads of bread for the black swan.”