First cygnets in Brixton’s Brockwell Park for decades

Cygnets in Brockwell Park ©SHauensteinSwan

Swans have hatched cygnets in Brockwell Park for what is believed to be the first time in decades.

Local – and appropriately named –  photographer Samuel Hauenstein Swan has captured some of the seven youngsters.

“After the parents had been sitting on their eggs for the last five to six weeks, this morning I saw for the first time five cygnets in the swan’s nest,” he told the Blog.

“Mostly they hide under the wings of the parents. But if they appear from under the feathers, they are super cute. I’m looking forward to when they ride on their parents’ backs.

“Let’s hope cygnets will not fall prey to crows, herons, magpies or the dogs that are around in the park.

“The foxes should not get to them as the swans have been defending their island in the middle of the pond for weeks. As long as they stay there at night, I don’t think any fox will be swimming over.”

Another photographer captured the images below of the swans contesting the island with two Canada geese a few weeks ago.

Sam said the geese had successfully hatched four goslings, but the swan pair did not allow them to shelter on the island where they had their nest – the only one of any size and with enough vegetation to offer protection.

“Forced to overnight on the shore, the little goslings were easy prey to a fox,” he said. “In less than a week all but one chick had been killed, along with one of the parent birds.”

Rehabilitation if the park’s ponds took place some years ago. There had been plans to establish a bigger island on the top pond, but the programme was cut short. Sam said that, as a result, there is no shelter for breeding birds away from the sensitive noses of the park’s foxes.

Swans in Brockwell PArk

Swans in Brockwell PArk

More from Samuel:
instagram: sam_bronx |  twiter: SamBronx-Photo


  1. The parents and cygnets have now gone to the relative safer larger pond. They have been here for a week now and the youngsters are growing fast. Unfortunately one of the cygnets has met an untimely fate since the brood is only six strong. They are thriving all the same.

  2. I would support the idea of an island with protective vegetation for the ducks, geese, and now swans etc on the large pond. What needs to be looked for this to be considered?

  3. I whole heartedly support Sam’s comments. It is so wonderful to see the swans and signets in the pond and the other wildlife and for so many families to enjoy it and for children to learn about nature, especially in a densely populated area of London. However, it is a crying shame that there is but one tiny island for nesting birds to keep their young away from the prying eyes of the foxes. Sam’s idea of a large island on the big pond is such a fantastic thought, is there a way we can campaign to get this put into practice? A larger island with enough vegetation would hopefully avoid sorry tales of chicks and their parents being caught by prey. Can you help us Brixton Blog?

    • Kirsty, it is not just foxes, there are some very cruel people out there as well. I am surprised that this was reported the day the cygnets hatched. They and the parent swans cannot even seek the sanctuary of the larger lake, or reed beds, for the time being, which was where they were earlier in the year before they started nesting. They are for present stuck on the lower small lake. It is lovely news but it does leave the nest and cygnets more vulnerable by its reporting. It would have been better to have left it for a while and just those passing this lake would have known. There are dog fights, trees damaged, saplings broken in two, greenhouses vandalised, huts burnt out and plants stolen. Let’s hope that these young thrive and are not disturbed or harmed by publicity.

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