Water of Leith: local resident captures family of swans including seven cygnets ‘thriving’ in urban river

A Leith resident has watched the cygnets develop since they were ‘little balls of fluffiness’
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A Leith resident has shared a heart warming video showing a family of swans enjoying an evening swim in the Water of Leith.

Local resident, Paul Davidson, was jogging alongside Commercial Warf last night when he spotted two parent swans accompanying their seven cygnets - which he said was ‘a great way to finish a run.’

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Paul first noticed the cygnets in early May when they were just ‘little balls of fluffiness’ in their parents nest. And pictures taken by Paul show how far the baby swans have come in the last two months.

Leith resident Paul, said it was great to see the cygnets thriving. Photo: Paul Davidson @elementalPaulLeith resident Paul, said it was great to see the cygnets thriving. Photo: Paul Davidson @elementalPaul
Leith resident Paul, said it was great to see the cygnets thriving. Photo: Paul Davidson @elementalPaul

Speaking to the Evening News, Paul said: “It’s really nice to see them thriving and developing – and seeing them last night was a great way to finish a run. A lot of locals here take interest in them.”

Cygnets can stay in a flock until they are four years old, at which point they leave the group to find a mate and make a family of their own.

Paul said the work of local groups SOSLeith and the Water of Leith Conservation Trust (WOLCT) played a part in health of the swan family, adding: “The fact that there is so much wildlife and so much new life on the Water of Leith at the moment shows that something is working.”

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WOLCT, who carry out regular litter picks to protect the health of the river and local wildlife, recently introduced biodiversity platforms at two locations on the river – the floating islands not only providing a safe haven for waterfowl but also incorporate a ‘subsurface forest’ that ‘create ideal habitats for millions of microorganisms.’

Over two months Paul has seen the 'little balls of fluffiness' develop into healthy cygnets. Photo: Paul Davidson @elementalPaulOver two months Paul has seen the 'little balls of fluffiness' develop into healthy cygnets. Photo: Paul Davidson @elementalPaul
Over two months Paul has seen the 'little balls of fluffiness' develop into healthy cygnets. Photo: Paul Davidson @elementalPaul

Volunteers at SOSLeith, who have long campaigned for improved water quality on the river, recently took Lothian MSP, Foysol Choudhury, on a guided tour around the lower basins of the river and hope that the government, Scottish Water and environmental regulator SEPA will work together to mitigate regular sewage ‘spills’ in Leith. Making a deputation to full council in May, the organisation said the true extent of environmental damage caused by overflowing sewage is unclear due to a lack of monitoring.

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