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General Discussion

Decline of the Black Swans

Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge
30 Sep 2014 17:10

I'm sure that the long standing residents of this town remember when there were as I'm told two dozen black swans. With everything going on in the world I'm sure that the eventually demise of the black swans of Dawlish are of little concern. When we moved to Dawlish two years ago there were ten, now only six remain all males. One that is known as ( Big Red ) remains in the pen due to an injury and also being beaten up by the other males, his outlook looks bleak to say the least. 

This town has become famous for the beloved black swans and wildfowl, sadly with all males you are not going have any chicks born for the future. What if anything is going to be done about it? any counsellors like to comment?. Next the brook is supposed dredged starting October 1st... There is no equipment there as of this writing. This is a disgrace. Tourist come from all over to see this wonderful natural reserve that has always put Dawlish on the map. Maybe in the not to distant future the signs entering Dawlish would have to be changed to say "Once the town that HAD black swans.

30 Sep 2014 20:33


I'm sure everyone in Dawlish wants the best for our Black Swans, and a group of town councillors (Not including me or Robert- so no defensiveness in what I write, just information) have been working very hard with The Environment Agency and Teignbridge to prepare a plan for improvements.  Its not proceeding as fast as anyone would like, but I'm told there are very strict rules on what works can be done when.   Infringing these rules runs the risk of the Beach being closed due to failing clean water regulations.


The Town Council has always been willing to provide additional finance when required to speed things along, and in August we agreed a further £19,200


We are due to get an update at the Town Council meeting tomorrow night (Sustrans presentation at 6:30, followed by the Town Council meeting starting at 7:00) and so please come alomg to hear the latest news.


I bow to other people's greater knowledge - but I'd be surprised if it were true that there used to be 24 Black Swans on the Brook.   There are very territorial and that just sounds too many to be living on a relatively small water course.   What I am sure about is that there will be Black Swans there in the future.   In the past the Town Council has had to refresh the gene pool by bringing in new birds to counter inter breeding, and I am sure that when necessary in the future new stock will be bought.


So far as I know, there have been no requests from our Waterfowl Warden for further new stock, so I'm not sure that it is true that all the remaining birds are male, but I will ask for confirmation of this.


2 Agrees
Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge
01 Oct 2014 07:22

Thanks Michael,

The Information came from from the waterfowl warden. He explained in great detail regarding the black swans so that came directley from him. I thought the amount stated was high but who am I to contridict him. Apparentley ( Big Red ) as he called is located in the pen for his own safety and he has something wrong with his leg and all the other males have been attacking him and he may end up not coming out, so his fate is uncertain. The warden explained to me that he had bought up these issues in the past only not to be acted on.

2 Agrees
02 Oct 2014 10:37



Just to report back as promised


We were told last night at Council that work started on site yesterday. 

I asked your question about the gender of the remaining swans.   I was told that one has begun building a nest, checks will be made to see if additional females are required.



02 Oct 2014 10:49

The report given last night is as follows:


The Environment Agency have carried out the removal of fish from the area which is to be dredged

Work on the Brook has started and the contracters have 16 days to complete the dredging (weather permitting).  There is currently one digger working - a larger one is parked on site ready to join it tomorrow.

Contractors aim to start work on the lower weirs at the same time as dredging then completing others before the end of November 2014 (weather permitting)

The issue of re-siting the swan breeding island from opposite the old post office to another part of the brook is still being investigated.  The waterfowl warden has suggested re-building an island in the area near the beacon in Tuck's Plot.   This suggestion is in the process of being considered by Mr S. Mooree of the Environment Agency.

A swan was seen today attempting to build a nest on a tiny island opposite the Old Mill.

Information Boards to keep the public aware of the work being carried out are being placed around the town.

I have been assured by Simon Humphrey, TDC Engineer, that if the second breeding island is not built and only refurbishment work on the already established island is carried out, DTC will be chared only for the refurbishment work.  This will come out of the £10,000 allocated for the breeding islands.


Mary Lowther

Chairman CAC committee

1st October 2014


1 Agree
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