SWANS are disappearing from the Lancaster Canal “at an alarming rate”, according to a local waterway enthusiast.

Frank Sanderson also claimed that a popular mating pair had recently been driven apart by building work on the waterway.

The birds have nested close to a small aqueduct on a stretch of the Lancaster Canal adjacent to Milton Lane, just outside the village of Crooklands.

The work involved a pipe being put through a culvert under the canal to stop leaking.

Mr Sanderson said: “The work drove away this highly popular nesting pair of swans.

“Swan lovers hoped that they would find another nesting site, or at least return later, but unfortunately the pen [female swan] has not been since.”


According to Mr Sanderson, a pair of swans from further up the canal has since moved south, which they would not have done “had the ‘Crooklands pair’ still been in residence.”

“Regretfully, we are losing swans at an alarming rate along the canal, and the loss of the Crooklands pair should be the concern of everyone,” added Mr Sanderson.

“Nowadays, despite all the various wildlife and nature organisations, wildlife seems to be very much taken for granted.

“Readers could help by monitoring their local waterways and reporting any unusual event or mishap affecting our important and much-loved swans, ducks and other wildlife.”

Diane Rollin, an ecologist at the Canal & River Trust, said: “If we have unintentionally disturbed a nest it’s not something we intended to do but there isn’t any evidence, as far as I’m aware, that there was a nest being built.”

She added that local teams knew to check for wildlife such as nesting birds and otters before work started.