UPDATE Cygnets at Decoy Pond Hampden Park

Here is a summary of what has happened to the Hampden Park Decoy Pond cygnets this year for those who have been following them:

We attended the lake on Tuesday and as we have been doing over the last few months randomly caught one of the cygnets and this is the first time was have been concerned about its weight. We released it again as it did not feel too bad but enough for us to be concerned and start checking more frequently.

We returned yesterday and noticed that one of the swans had a damaged wing dragging in the water. We had an opportunity to catch one of the other cygnets and did so and checked its weight and was concerned enough to place him in our ambulance, and we took the decision to catch the injured cygnet and the others. However the final cygnet we were unable to catch as he was so lively and didn’t want to invasively catch if so lively.

The four cygnets caught weighed 4.3kg, 5.1kg, 5.7kg and 7.25kg, the later probably being a male at that weight. Which is much better than when we caught them last year. The fifth remaining cygnet we left with the parents at the lake.

The 4.3kg cygnet is the one with the damaged wing and has now been taken up to the Swan Sanctuary. The other three which we caught have been checked over at WRAS’s Casualty Centre and given a wormer and after advice from the Swan Sanctuary we will be releasing them back at the lake this afternoon after 3pm.

Yesterday we found the decomposed bodies of two cygnets in the vegetation and reeds at the edge of the lake just anti-clockwise of the large tree by the inlet stream. The swans regularly perch on the edge of this silted up area which has been planted up. Now the vegetation is dying back the bodies were visible. Although impossible to know for sure, they may have been predator attacks due to their location and way in which they are hidden – mink possibly – but that is a big guess.

The eighth cygnet was taken up to the Swan Sanctuary on 18th August being underweight and is doing well up there.

So in summary out of the eight original cygnets:
Two have gone to Swan Sanctuary
Two have died possible predator attacks
Four Staying with Parents.

We will review what has happened later in the year.

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4 thoughts on “UPDATE Cygnets at Decoy Pond Hampden Park

  1. Jean Clark

    Hampden Park Swans: Hello Trevor and all at ES WRAS. I was distressed to read your report and also a news item in last Friday's Eastbourne Herald (30 Sep) about the deaths/re-homing of cygnets on Decoy Pond. Surely the state of the water and surrounding conditions are now completely unacceptable and inhospitable for wildlife and the swans should be sympathetically re-homed while the whole pond is dredged and made clean and habitable for these beautiful creatures? What can be done? What should the EBC be doing? The Friends of Hampden Park? I gather there's going to be a charity hot-air ballooning event over the park next year? Couldn't some of the proceeds go towards a clearing-up. I am already a WRAS supporter but would be more than happy to provide for the swans' rehoming but I would like to see a campaign for a cleaned-up, enviromentally-and-animal friendly pond in Hampden Park. I used to live in Barnes and they had the most beautiful bird and wildlife sanctuary there. Why not here in Eastbourne? Good luck on Saturday!! Will be along to make a financial and material donation. Thank you for all the amazing work you do. Kind regards, jean

    1. East Sussex WRAS

      Post author

      Eastbourne Borough Council have already spent a large amount of money on dredging the lake. The parasite is a natural parasite which likes slow flowing water. They are investigating options.

  2. R Jones (former comm member)

    II agree that the that the toxic water condition is most undesirable. The pond was dredged approximately six years ago and rushes planted to oxygenate the water all at great expense. It has been suggested that the source of water is being polluted upstream.

    1. East Sussex WRAS

      Post author

      The water is not Toxic or the fish and waterfowl wouldn't survive. It is not pollution which is causing the problem with the cygnets but a naturally occuring parasite which lives in the water and likes, shallow, warm and slow moving water.


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