First Swan Eggs Laid At Abbotsbury
10:31am 2nd April 2013
While you were tucking into chocolate eggs - the Swans at Abbotsbury have been laying there's.
Two pairs of swans have laid the first eggs for 2013 over the Easter break.
One pair of proud parents to be were actually born at the Swannery in 2004.
Swanherd Dave Wheeler said: "They've stayed true to the old adage that swans mate for life, having nested together for the past four years, meaning this is their fifth consecutive year of laying eggs.
He added: 'The weather has been so bitterly cold this year that we wondered if the eggs would be a little bit delayed, but the end of March or beginning of April is quite normal for the first eggs to appear.'
Both nests are situated quite close to each other near the rearing pens and feeding area. The eggs can be easily seen by visitors to the tourist attraction, which is open seven days a week.
General Manager of Abbotsbury Swannery, John Houston, said: 'It's magical to glimpse of the egg under the pen (female swan) so today's a good day for everybody to visit us.'
Abbotsbury Swannery was established by Benedictine Monks who built a monastery next to Chesil Beach during the 1040s. The monks farmed the swans for lavish banquets. Their legend has it that the hatching of the first cygnets marks the first day of summer.
John Houston added: 'It's fitting that the first eggs were laid at Easter time and spotted on 1 April. For us, British Summer Time has come just that little bit closer.'
It's not yet certain when these eggs will hatch, as the incubation period of 35 days only begins when the last egg in the clutch has been laid. Swanherd Dave Wheeler said: 'There could be anything up to 12 eggs to be laid in each nest - so we will just have to wait and see.'