Black swan returns to Limerick.... without his feathered friend

THE black swan that found love in Limerick city is back, but it's going to be a lonely Valentine's weekend as there is no sign of its mate.

THE black swan that found love in Limerick city is back, but it's going to be a lonely Valentine's weekend as there is no sign of its mate.

It was affectionately called Oz by Kevin O'Dwyer, who first photographed it in Castleconnell last August, as it is native to Australia.

Along with being the black sheep among the white swans Oz has a red beak compared to the normal mute swan's orange beak.

It attracted crowds to Castleconnell but also the wrong crowd as some youngsters shot at it with pellet guns. Oz high-tailed it to Limerick City and landed in the Shannon at O'Callaghan Strand in September.

There were fears for his safety when he wasn't seen for three days in Limerick but then Oz turned up with another black swan in tow.

Shortly after they took off and are believed to have honeymooned in Galway over the winter. But there seems to have been a divorce as Oz has arrived back to Limerick on his own this week.

Mr O'Dwyer, Clare Street, saw that Oz was back on Monday evening.

"I'm delighted he's back. It's definitely him. I went down the ramp at St Michael's rowing club to see him and he came up to me," said Mr O'Dwyer, who even travelled to Galway to see if he could track Oz down.

And the amateur photographer, who has sold dozens of pictures of Oz, says his partner might not be too far away.

"She can't be too far away. I wouldn't be surprised if they ended up back in Castleconnell together. They wander around the place, they don't stay in the same area too long. I think they are lost and they came from a park of some sort," said Mr O'Dwyer.

There are many theories about where the two black swans came from.

It is understood that Beamish bought two black swans a couple of years ago to live in a manmade lake in Cork City and they disappeared around 10 months ago. However, they couldn't shed any light on the subject.

There are some in Rosscarbery and Fota Island in Cork and Lispole in Kerry, but, normally, if the swans were part of a collection they would be ringed. These two swans have no identification rings.

Wherever they came from, it's hoped it won't be a flying visit and Oz's partner lands in Limerick too,

Well known conservationist Corbally man, Pat Lysaght was thrilled to see the black swan back.

"When he was spotted at the slipway of St Michael's rowing club there was great interest and a big crowd surrounded him. It is great to see him back, even if he is on his own," said Mr Lysaght.