Back in the black


This is the pair at JCB in Rochester, whom I spotted in 2015. The thing I love most about these enigmatic birds is their Adam Ant-style white bill stripe.

Today (Monday, 30th January 2017) I was contacted by Irene ‘The Swan Lady’ Hodges who was in a state of some enthusiasm, as amongst her usual daily cohort of swans and waterfowl at Chasewater, there was a single black swan, which she fed and caught on video.

Black swans are infrequent visitors to Chasewater, and the only birds I know to locally dwell at Hanch Hall near Armitage and on the lake in front of the JCB works at Rochester in Staffordshire. To have them here at all is a rare delight, and the last occurrence was in 2014, again spotted and recorded by the Swan Lady herself.

Irene and her husband spend a whole lot of time (and very probably cash, too) feeding the swans and waterfowl at Chasewater, keeping an eye on them in general and monitoring their wellbeing.

If anyone else has photos or footage of this gorgeous bird, please do comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

It’s worth reading up on Black Swans – they’re native to the Antipodes but there were less than 50 feral birds in the UK in 2004.

Thanks to all involved – and especially The Swan Lady herself, for doing such wonderful and selfless work out of the kindness of her heart. Cheers, Irene!


The last known black swan visit, taken at 11:02am, Wednesday 17th September 2014. Image very kindly sent in for the Swan Lady by Dawn Hodges-Adcock.

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5 Responses to Back in the black

  1. Jayne Hiley says:

    I saw a black headed pair of white ducks along the canal going towards Chasewater yesterday morning but had nothing to photograph them with! Has anyone else seen them? Not there today though maybe they’re in the lake too!

  2. Yasin says:

    Hi Bob, it’s Yasin off Facebook. Thank you for sharing this. I’m really excited to hear about this, I’ve never seen a black swan in the wild, I’ve even booked a half day off at work today.

    Hopefully I’ll see the black swan and if I get some pictures I’ll be sure to send them to you.

    Does Irene also have a blog?

  3. Pingback: Chasewater Railway – 2018 Annual Charities Day this Sunday! | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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