Doctor’s remarkable swan lake saga

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Studying swan habits over a year informed one enthusiast that not all the drama is going on underwater.

Around the pond, the tension often rivals the format of popular soaps with not all couples remaining mutually exclusive, as has been a longheld view, with romance, new birth, bringing home the bacon and even the tragedy of outliving one’s children after a horrific and fatal attack. Then the trauma of empty nest syndrome as the kids head off to make a life of their own – at least the swanlets don’t bring their washing home at weekends.

Rouken Glen pond is famous for its resident pair of mute swans as they are the main focus all year round, giving the pond its romantic nickname of Swan Lake. Their breeding cycle and annual brood of cygnets are a daily talking point for park rangers as well as visitors and nearby residents.

One avid fan who has been enjoying and charting the progress of generations of the swans is Doctor Bernard Groden.

He has been so enchanted with the comings and goings around the pond that he set about preserving for future generations a year in the life of a family of swans whose ancestry in Rouken Glen stretches back at least a decade.

From hatchlings to young adults setting off on their own life’s adventures, Dr Groden has created a catalogue of stunning photographs over the last year.

Sharing part of his anthology exclusively with our readers, he told The Extra: “For many years, I have watched successive generations of swans being hatched and growing up at the pond in Rouken Glen and then flying off to begin their own lives in other places.

“I have been told that the current swans have been in Rouken Glen for around 10 years and that swans often mate for life.

“In Spring of 2014, I decided to watch and record in photographs the progress of the cygnets and visited the swans regularly, photographing them in different situations.

“I’ve taken more than 60 pictures and have noticed that they seem to form a strong family bond with the parents very much in control.

“In 2014, seven cygnets were hatched but five of them died within only a few weeks when, reportedly, an adult swan protecting their young saw off an attack from a dog, saving two of their young but, sadly, not before their five siblings had already died.

“The two survivors grew under the watchful eye and protection of the parent swans, developing their adult plumage and eventually being encouraged to flee the nest in January this year when the pond had frozen over.”

Dr Groden gives special thanks to the staff of Rouken Glen park for their support in his project.