The black swans have been off and on the Estuary for many years. I first saw them, three of them, maybe ten years ago, swimming by the steps at Powderham where the River Kenn enters the Channel. They are said to escape from Dawlish Brook where, since Edwardian times, they have been kept pinioned to be wondered at by the visitors. These four swans yesterday on the Clyst looked happier and healthier for having got away. I am told cob and pen had hatched three cygnets of which two survive. The third was probably scrobbled up by a fox.
"I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem,