Swanning Around in St James’s Park

11 July 2014


Last week we found ourselves in unfamiliar territory, and we don’t just mean Surrey! We ventured out of London to Godalming to fetch a new pair of Black Swans for St James’s Park Lake. As we pulled into the drive of the Waterfowl centre, we saw two very large cardboard boxes where the swans were ready for their big move.

Swans in their travelling cardboard boxAfter carefully loading our precious cargo,  we set off to our destination - central London.  Or more precisely, St James’s Park. Running parallel to the Mall, with a Palace at both ends and a Pelican rock in-between, this Park is steeped in history and tradition. We think this makes it even more amazing that it is an important wildlife oasis right in the middle of the city. Even in the heart of ceremonial London, you’ll still find people flocking (excuse the pun) to see all the beautiful birds on the Lake.

From the Mandarin to Ringed Teal, and the Rosybill to Chiloe Wigeon, St James’s Park Lake has been home to a renowned Waterfowl collection since 1837. However, without your generous support of the Royal Parks, it is not always possible to keep the collection fully stocked. So a pair of Black Swans might seem like just a drop in the Lake (another bad pun!), but they will add to the ecological diversity, not to mention the beauty, of this famous Lake.

St James's Park LakeThe pair are currently in quarantine in an enclosure on duck island, in the middle of the Lake. This is because Mute Swans (or White Swans to you and me!) already on the Lake have just had babies, and we need to wait until these get old enough for the parents to stop be so protective of them… think “this Lake ain’t big enough for the two of us”.

On their arrival, the swans looked instantly at home in their private pond where they will stay until they are released onto the larger Lake in a few weeks’ time.

So if you’re passing St James’s Park Lake later on this summer, keep your eyes peeled for a pair of majestic Black Swans.

And if you're feeling inspired by these wonderful creatures, you can help support the magic of the Royal Parks by adopting a duck today.

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