Swanning around…

So who is swanning around, while the rest of us go about our business?

Swan on the water

During each year we have lots of feathered visitors come and go, but for a long time we have not been visited by swans. Then, late last year, this all changed when pondweed grew and took over the pond – not good for the aesthetics of the pond, but great for biodiversity as it became a great food source for a family of swans.

Sleeping Swans

In late autumn a family of swans arrived, but didn’t stay for long. Then, during the winter months, there were a number of juveniles on the pond – up to as many as seven. At one point the weather became so bad that ice took hold on the ponds, and it was during this time that the adults returned.

As is their nature they became territorial and forced the juveniles to leave. It was hard to watch, but as it is nature’s way you learn to accept the behaviour.

On a couple of occasions though we had to call the Swan Sanctuary to come and collect the young swans as they became subdued by the adults’ behaviour. Two young swans were then released further along on the Thames. Shortly after, the adults left too.

Then about six weeks ago, a pair of adults took up residence on our lower pond. I watched one day as they attempted to make a nest, but I’m sure they were only practicing, as nothing became of it.

Female Swan on the nest

However, Derek the groundsman informed me that they had built another nest in a more secluded spot.

Although it is in an awkward place for photographing you can see that they have settled nicely and there are now five eggs.  I will be keeping an eye on our new family and once the eggs hatch I hope to post some more photos.

If you want to know more about the family of swans we now have nesting here at The National Archives, just post a comment and I will keep you up to date.


  1. Hazel Edmunds says:

    Thanks for cheering up my day!

  2. Christine Berry says:

    You are welcome. It is such a privilege to be able to watch this first hand. I will post more photos as and when the cygnets arrive.

  3. Bob Douglas says:

    I always remember seeing a kingfisher fly across the pond

  4. Caroline Offord says:

    The photos are lovely. I would very much like to know when the eggs have hatched. I live close to Kew Pond where 7 cygnets were born a few weeks ago. They have just moved themselves from Kew Pond into Kew Gardens to have more space!

    1. Ruth Ford (admin) says:

      Hi Caroline, the eggs hatched just this week – we’ll have a blog update with photos and video tomorrow!

  5. Lenore says:

    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my
    comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say excellent blog!

    1. Christine Berry says:


      But, thanks for your comment, the family of swans are still doing really well.

  6. Neil McCart says:

    What is the latest news on the Swans and their Cygnets?

    1. Christine Berry says:

      They are all doing fine, the cygnets all four of them, are as big as the parents now. They still have the brown/grey feathers though, but they do seem to be losing them, as the white feathers are begining to appear slowly. They spend most of their day on the pond beneath my office window as a family group foraging on the pond weed or asleep.

  7. David Underdown says:

    They didn’t seem very happy about the small group of Canada geese which arrived this morning. Cruised about menacingly (including the cygnets) with wings raised and heads down until the geese left the upper lake.

  8. Val Cooper says:

    Greetings from British Columbia, Canada:

    I just chanced upon this blog when I was searching the National Archives’ recent publications and have enjoyed the comments and photographs in it. I remember visiting the archives a few years back and spending three days there doing research but also taking time out to visit the lovely gardens at Kew. Its time I returned for another visit I think.

    I feel I must apologise for those wretched bullying Canada Geese… we have lots we’d like to get rid of I think.

    Keep up the good work.


    1. Christine Berry says:

      I am so glad that you have enjoyed reading the blog and the comments too.

      The Canada Geese, have been seen off by the Swans this year…so I think they met their match!

    1. Christine Berry says:

      Great photos. It’s good to see the cygnets doing so well.

  9. Diane says:

    The Swans & Canada geese at Kew National Archives do not get on they do not like each other they were eyeing each other up in the photo. I know she is nesting on 10 eggs at the moment so maybe this has something to do with I http://www.flickr.com/photos/62910481@N04/8675322483/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/62910481@N04/8675322483/

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