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Our swans are ready to stage a family show

The trials and tribulations of the Foots Cray Meadows’ star performers have taken yet another turn for the better with the news that the female swan is expecting cygnets.

The nest of the royal pair, so brilliantly positioned for viewing purposes in the middle of the lake as opposed to being shielded away in the undergrowth of one of the large ‘islands’, is an added boost for all those who like to monitor progress from a safe distance.

The female, the pen, was seen this week standing on top of her wonderfully constructed heap of twigs, sticks reeds and grasses with the eggs in view, albeit for those with good eyes or a telescopic camera.

The protective male, the cob, put on a stella performance of chasing off on Thursday three Canada geese who had the temerity to enjoy a few moments rest by the Five Arch Bridge.

The sight of the swan, his wings puffed out, powering towards the three innocent intruders, causing them to flee amid quick-fire lunges of his neck, was a great example of nature in action.

What a terrific step forward the impending arrival of the cygnets will be on last autumn when on October 15 the female swan was found distressed with what appeared to be fishing tackle (possibly a Decoy Pike hook) embedded in her neck.

The RSPCA and Greenwich Wildlife Network, with the help of member Ben Bullen and his kayak, were able to capture the bird and take her to a rescue centre in Essex for treatment.

She was returned to the Meadows on October 24 but it appeared that her mate was no longer there.

Those who released her said she was calling for her mate and that they could hear one replying, although they couldn’t see him. Unfortunately, the next day she was gone.

But on November 7, our pair of swans were sighted on the lake.

Such is the enthusiasm this month for watching the expectant parent Swans that even our friendly old terrapin positioned himself, possibly even herself, on some protruding branches to get a closer look on Thursday.

And this brings us to two points . . .

Firstly, the Friends of Foos Cray Meadows do ask our members to remind visitors of a few tips to make such our swans and their impending brood, are troubled as little as possible over the next few months:

  • When in the vicinity of the lake, please keep dogs out of the water and on a lead.

  • This area around the Five Arch Bridge is a Local Nature Reserve, and other birds will be nesting.

  • Be warned that when protecting their young, the adult Swans will endanger your pet dog should it swim in the lake.

And secondly, the moments of the terrapin watching the swan and the cob chasing off the geese have been captured on camera and will be posted here next week. That leads us to offer up a little reminder to members about our inaugural Photography Competition 2024.

With just a camera or your mobile phone, you have the opportunity to win a £50 Amazon voucher plus a mounted copy of your winning picture and a year’s free FFCM membership.

Your photo can relate to any aspect of the wonderful public open space that is the Foots Cray Meadows, its beauty, its landscape and its wildlife. Submit your entries to, with one entry per email and a maximum five entries per person.

The competition is open only to FFCM members with a closing date of June 1, 2024.

Further information on breeding swans can be found at:


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