Eagle-eyed viewers of the 24-hour Swan Cam at The Bishop’s Palace have had an exciting week. Firstly, a cygnet was spotted hatching in the early hours of Saturday morning. The little cygnet was seen exploring the nest and snuggling up to mum Grace during Saturday. It then delighted viewers by heading into the Palace Moat for its first swim on Sunday morning. It has made several forays onto the Moat since and has even been taken round to the famous Gatehouse bell by both parents, who were showing off their prowess in ringing the bell for food.
The cheeky cygnet managed to cause quite a stir amongst the viewers when it climbed up onto the Moat bank on the wrong side of a fence. It then managed to get itself stuck in the fence at around 8:45pm. Quick-thinking viewers were soon on social media trying to find a solution to the problem and the Palace Marketing team spotted two tweets at around 9pm. The Head Gardener was called up to come down to the Moat bank to help the cygnet to escape – he was seen by Swan Cam viewers gamely fending off Grace with a bucket and extracting the mischievous cygnet!
On Wednesday morning, it managed to pull the same trick again with some more “exploring” of the flower bed and fence. This time our Swan Trainer Moira Anderson was on hand (no bucket needed!) and James helped out with removing the fence for good to ensure no further incidents.
The three remaining eggs on the nest have not yet hatched and Moira suspects that they are no longer viable. All eggs usually hatch over a 24-hour period and it is thought that the disturbance of being moved from their former unsuitable home, to their new home at the Palace, may have somehow interrupted the normal breeding season.
The new family may only stay on the nest for a few more days, so the Palace is encouraging viewers of Swan Cam (located on the Palace website home page) to enjoy watching them now.
Gabriel and Grace are finding their way as parents – it is thought that they are first time parents – but seem to have the usual Swan protectiveness instilled in them, which means that the ducks on the moat get swiftly chased off when they get too near.
We are hoping that the cygnet, who Palace Staff have named Lucky, will be looking to have a quiet couple of days now just enjoying some swimming on the moat after all this excitement.
Moira Anderson said…. “I’m delighted that we have a cygnet hatched. Grace and Gabriel arrived with us and we were just so pleased to have swans back on the moat, so to have any cygnets at all is just amazing. It means that Grace and Gabriel are loving their new home and we hope that they will be great parents and we will be keeping our fingers crossed for many more cygnets from their little swan family for years to come. We have been overwhelmed by how everyone has taken this little family to their hearts as was very evident from all the concern expressed when our little cygnet got stuck on Tuesday! I hate to think how much mischief 6 or 7 cygnets could have caused!”