A swan arrived in Tuttington this week and seems to have taken up residence – if only briefly – just upstream of Kings Beck bridge. No doubt she is checking out the neighbourhood with a view to building a nest to raise a family.
Becky might seem an appropriate name for our swan but it is based upon an assumption of sex. Sexing a mute swan (Cygnus olor) is not always straightforward. Male swans have larger blackberry knobs on their beak, a thicker neck and a redder beak than female swans. Our new resident seems to share some characteristics of both sexes: her blackberry is quite bulbous but her beak is not a deep colour, and her neck is fine and elegant. So until someone offers to make a correction, we’ll stick with calling her Becky.
If Becky decides to settle here, no doubt her mate will arrive soon to help with the chores. Apparently, swans pair for life. They are such graceful creatures but will defend their territory if threatened. If she is still there when you cross the bridge, please look and admire but do not disturb.