Sydney Swans – Also Available in Black

incidental naturalist

All swans are white, right? Majestic snow-white angels of the lake. Wrong! It was during a 1980s summer holiday to a small English seaside town that I discovered the mute swan’s alter ego; the Black Swan.

The English town of Dawlish sits on the south coast of the county of Devon. It has been symbolised by the Black swan since 1906, when they were introduced from Australia by a New Zealander named John Nash. The species has made Dawlish Water their home since then, except for a brief hiatus between the wars. A Black swan drifting across the lake was such a thrilling sight for a wide-eyed bird-loving boy, on his summer holiday.

Most of us have encountered the Tundra swans of North America, or the majestic Mute swan that I grew up with, on the waterways of England. When spotted in the Northern Hemisphere, the Black…

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