GOUROCK has welcomed a flock of fluffy new residents after an egg-citing weekend on the shore at Cardwell Bay.

The pair of swans which have settled at Cove Road welcomed a quartet of cute cygnets on Friday when four of their eight eggs hatched.

People from all over Inverclyde and beyond rushed to the site over the weekend in the hope of catching a glimpse of the adorable baby birds as they took some of their first steps and toddled about close to their parents.

Former community nurse Joyce Robertson, who has been looking after the breeding swans since they settled, said she was thrilled to see the cygnets popping their heads out of the nest and getting their first views of their surroundings.

She kept a close eye on the nesting site when people flocked to see the babies over the weekend.

Joyce said: "It was like Hollywood here.

"People arrived with their cameras and were taking photos and videos.

"Everyone was very respectful and if anyone got too close, the male swan was quick to tell them off.

"It was so lovely to see."

The nest contains another four eggs and Joyce and her fellow bird watchers hope to see the other feathery infants hatch soon so that they can join the rest of their brood.

Joyce said the female swan produced eight eggs last year but sadly only seven hatched.

She added: "We've seen cracks appearing in one of the other eggs and we're really hopefully that they'll all hatch.

"The dad is being really protective and warding everyone off and the female is sitting on the nest and being a fantastic mum.

"The babies feed on the remnants of the eggs they hatched from for the first few days but soon the mum will start taking them into the water where she'll bring things up for them to eat."

Joyce said she first spotted this year's eggs just weeks after the site had been targeted by mindless thugs who ripped apart the nest which the birds had spent weeks building.

Concerns were also raised with police after a car was spotted driving close to the nest on the slipway.

Local environmentalists joined together to provide the materials the swan parents needed to build another nest.

Joyce says there's a whole community of people involved in looking after the swan family now.

She said: "We have two volunteers who sit with the birds at night to make sure there are no foxes around.

"We give them food and water and make sure there are no gulls around during the day.

"It's lovely to see them and it's great that so many people are passionate about making sure they're well looked after."