FEW sights could be more poetic than a lone black swan gliding across a still, dark lake.

This was the sight which took one Knutsford resident by surprise last week as she walked her dog in Tatton Park, as she has for more than 45 years.

Liz Hurd, of Lowe Drive, was amazed when she looked up and saw the magnificent creature float by just meters in front of her.

The 72-year-old had the presence of mind to take a picture, before getting up accompanying the swan on foot as it swam gently up the lake.

Liz said: “When I looked up, I had to do a double-take.

“I was sitting on one of the benches at the edge of the mere – as I always do – giving the dog some treats, and it was just there. A perfectly black swan, just gliding past.

“I walked along with it as it went sailing along.

“It was just so unusual. I just had to get a picture.”

Liz, a retired British Airways cabin crew member, saw black swans in New Zealand, where they originally come from, when she travelled there as a 19-year-old.

They were introduced to England as part of wildfowl collections, though some birds have since escaped and a handful have managed to breed on certain rivers in the South East.

Liz added: “I've never seen one in Tatton, and I’ve been going there regularly for more than 45 years.

“I went to New Zealand when I was about 19 for a year, and I saw them there, so I knew that’s where they belonged.

“I didn’t realise certain estates would buy them and have them on their grounds.

“Maybe this one has just got lost.”