SD4214 : Black Swan with Cygnets

taken 28 days ago, near to Tarlscough, Lancashire, Great Britain

Black Swan with Cygnets
Black Swan with Cygnets
The black swan (Cygnus atratus) originates from Australia and is found throughout much of the south-eastern and south-western parts. It is found on most wetlands, ranging from small well-vegetated freshwater swamps to large, open waters, including bays and inlets.

Black swans were introduced to various countries as ornamental birds in the 1800s, but have since escaped and formed stable populations. In England, a small population of black swans exists on the River Thames at Marlow, on the brook running through the small town of Dawlish in Devon, near the River Itchen in Hampshire, and the River Tees near Stockton on Tees.

No one knows why they are black. Some animals are black to help camouflage them against predators. This could be true for Black Swans (but if so, why not other swans?) or maybe itís because, like other Australian wildlife, they evolved in isolation from the rest of the World. As we can see here, the cygnets have grey feathers and look indistinguishable from white swan cygnets.
WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre

WWT Martin Mere is a wetland nature reserve managed by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT). Situated on the West Lancashire Coastal Plain, it is one of nine reserves managed by the WWT, and it is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), an SPA (Special Protection Area) and a Ramsar Site LinkExternal link .

The centre takes its name from the mere on the west side of the reserve which has been provided with eleven observation hides. On the east side of the reserve there are a number of pens providing habitats for birds from Africa, Australasia, North America, South America, Siberia, and Asia.

The lake, Martin Mere, was formed at the end of the last Ice Age, when water filled a depression in the glacial drift. Until the late seventeenth century, this lake was the largest body of fresh water in England (5 miles in diameter, 20 miles circumference Ė three times the size of Windermere). Christopher Saxton's map from 1579 LinkExternal link shows the original giant lake stretching from Rufford in the east, to Churchtown (then known as North Meols) in the west.

Active management of the mere began in 1692 when the first drainage channel was dug, and further attempts to drain it were made in the 1780s, but effective drainage was only achieved in the mid-19th century with the introduction of steam pumping. Farms and market gardens were established on the rich soils of the reclaimed land.

The first 363 acres of the site, known as Holcroft's Farm, were purchased in 1972 through local fundraising and the site was opened to the public in 1975 by Sir Peter Scott, founder of the WWT. Since then the reserve has been extended and is now one of Britain's most important wetland sites, visited by thousands of migrating wildfowl in the autumn and winter. It is also home to 100 species of tame birds, many on the endangered list and part of breeding programmes.

LinkExternal link WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre website
LinkExternal link RSPB Liverpool group
LinkExternal link Wikipedia

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SD4214, 202 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Tuesday, 20 April, 2021   (more nearby)
Thursday, 22 April, 2021
Geographical Context
Lakes, Wetland, Bog  Wild Animals, Plants and Mushrooms 
Camera (from Tags)
Panasonic DMC-G7 
Image Buckets ?
Close Up 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SD 428 141 [100m precision]
WGS84: 53:37.2667N 2:51.9567W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SD 428 141
View Direction
West-southwest (about 247 degrees)
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Other Tags
WWT  Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust  Wild Fowl  Black Swan  Cygnus Atratus  Cygnets 

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Image Type (about): close look 
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