Posted 31 December 2015 by Andrew Gardner
Driving through Horsham one morning recently, I came upon a large and rather confused cygnet crossing North Parade. Must be on its way to school, I thought - it being that sort of time - then shook my head, woke up a bit and did a double take. None of the local news outlets seem to have been on the case or deemed it worth following up, which is a shame. My guess is that someone left the gate open around the pretty pond in Horsham Park, and I hope the poor creature found its way to safety.
Who do you call for something like that? I couldn't see the police being very impressed, although it did constitute a minor traffic hazard for a while. It was hard to imagine being able to track down a council nature warden at that time of day. But aren't all swans owned by the Queen? "Hi Liz, one of your swans has escaped in Horsham, could you send someone to rescue it please?" I didn't think that would wash. Anyway it only applies to mute swans, and I have no idea what type this one was, and is only really applied on the Thames and certain tributaries - our local Red River, lovely as it is, probably doesn't count, nor those Sussex beauties the Arun and the Adur.
Swans generally find a home and a mate and stay there, but they do sometimes go a-wandering, indeed I have seen wildlife wardens frantically searching for lost swans - to wit, very early one autumn morning while riding through Leigh (a pretty village just over the Sussex/Surrey border with a couple of nice pubs, if you happen to be on holiday in West Sussex (click here to view our cottages) and looking for a gentle day out). Same time of year... so do they have some instinct to move at this time? The Horsham brood (is that the right word) was born in May, so they'd be ready perhaps to find their own territory. If you know, please tell me!