In the northern part of the Waimanu Lagoons, in Waikanae Beach, a pair of black swans have been taking it in turns to sit over at least six eggs.

"It is the largest swan nest ever on the lagoons," said Michael Peryer, who has conducted countless bird tours in the area over the years.

"This pair of swans have already a family of eight on the lagoons and its very unusual to start another nest before the previous cygnets can fly away."

While waiting for the new lot of cygnets to hatch [about six weeks], the pair took it in turns to protect the nest, and about every 20 minutes each egg was turned over.

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When someone told Elizabeth Taylor, an Ōtaki based photographer and graphic artist, that the eggs were about to hatch "any day now" she decided to hang around waiting for the moment to arrive.

Three weeks later she was still waiting but she continued to visit each day until the cygnets were hatched.

"It's not something you see often."