These two swans were being chased out of the pond at Blackheath by another territorial pair of swans. This is a really common issue at this time of year as cygnets move on from their parents, and the displaced swans are often sitting ducks (or sitting swans) for predators, as they’re forced outside of the safety of the water
At this particular pond, the swans were also at risk of being chased into a busy road nearby. Local wildlife rehabber Tracey - who runs Blackbird Boutique in Blackheath Village - got both swans contained, whilst our volunteer Paul then collected them for relocation to a flock of swans that live on the Thames. Where there are large flocks rather than just single pairs dominating a territory, swans can co-exist together happily, but unfortunately these flocks can be few and far between.
Unfortunately, this Thames side flock is now our closest. We used to have an impressive flock of swans at Southmere Lake in Thamesmead, but in recent years their numbers have dwindled from the hundreds to a single territorial pair. This seems to be the result of several factors, but most pertinently, Peabody’s intensive development of the area and changes to the lake. What was once the pride of the local area has now been lost
Disaster almost struck as Paul was releasing the swans when one nearly got loose whilst still restrained in swan wrap - releasing two large swans single handedly is no easy feat - but thankfully the wrap was loose and came away on its own.
Another recent rescue involved a heron collapsed in Eltham. These magnificent predatory birds are not a common admission for the charity. This poor chap was very unsteady on his feet and would not have survived the night if left. Since second-hand poisoning or a concussion were strong possibilities our volunteer Abbie dropped the heron to South Essex Wildlife Hospital so that he could see a vet right away.