Update: First date turns into something a little more long term for Heath swans
Wallace has proved a big hit with the ponds' swan widow
31 March, 2020 — By Dan Carrier
IT has become a bright, white feathered beacon of hope in darker times – the story of two lonely swans on a Hampstead Heath pond finding true love together.
Last week, we reported how a widowed swan had found a possible partner after four years of being on her own – but swan experts were keeping a close eye on the pair to make sure the first blushes of true love did not wear off.
And this week we are delighted to report that the couple seem set for life after getting past a one week together milestone, a crucial period in the swan world where experts understand the relationship is no longer just a crush.
The widow lost her original other half in 2016 when he died after flying into a building; she has mourned ever since, refusing to settle down with another male.
Two weeks ago, the majestic creature went missing – prompting swan watchers to fear the worst.
The swan rescued from the roof of a nearby house
However, she was found on top of a roof a nearby house and Heath Rangers rescued her and took the creature to a swan sanctuary in Shepperton to recuperate.
It was here her beady eyes fastened on another swan recovering from injury – and the pair were so inseparable, swan volunteer Louisa Green and her colleagues took the decision to bring the pair back to the Heath tother and see if they were genuinely going to give a new relationship a go – or if this was something more like a one night stand.
Ms Green, a research scientist at the Royal Free Hospital, told the New Journal this week there was more good news.
“Our long-term widow and her new mate – which we have named Wallace, as he originally came from Waltham Abbey – have now passed the critical one week time point. I am thrilled to be able to share the news that they were seen mating at the end of last week,” she said.
“There was no guarantee that he would stay in Hampstead given that the pair only met the night before at The Sanctuary. But they just seemed to form a connection over those few short hours and we were lucky that he was both well enough for release and did not have a mate waiting for him back in Waltham Abbey.
“Nevertheless, it was still a risk bringing him here – our widow could have chased him away, or he could have chased her and brought a new mate to her pond, or the pair could have flown off and left the Heath altogether. Generally, if any of these occur it tends to be within the first few days and certainly by the end of the first week. Now they have been in Hampstead for nine days and have been caught mating, we are all breathing a sigh of relief.”
The Heath widow had fled her usual spot on the Highgate ponds after another pair moved into the model boating lake. She is now settling in with Wallace on the Highgate Number One pond.
Ms Green added that she had been helped by readers of the New Journal.
“I’ve watched people on their one daily exercise session on the Heath do a double-take when they see two swans in the Highgate No. 1 pond after so many years of our widow being on her own,” she said.
“Most assume that she flew off and a new pair moved in, but each time I have re-told the story from two metres distance, I have seen something soften in people’s eyes.”
“I have been overwhelmed with feedback from readers telling me how the story has brought a tear to their eye, and it has been lovely to know that this pond romance has touched the hearts of so many during these uncertain times. I would like to say a huge thank you to the many who reached out and offered to be a part of a swan watch rota made up of New Journal readers whilst restrictions are in place.”
To help monitor the swans, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.