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First cygnet of 2016 hatches at The Bishop's Palace

'Swan cam' lets people monitor the nest without disturbing the birds. Credit: Bishop's Palace

The famous swans at The Bishop’s Palace in Wells have had their first new arrival of 2016.

A cygnet hatched out into the nest in the early hours of the morning of Saturday 30 April.

Viewers around the world can monitor the huge nest by the palace moat at via 'Swan Cam’ - the Palace’s infra-red web cam.

It’s thought to be the first time in recent years that the cygnets have been born in April.

In 2015 the cygnets didn't start appearing until May. Credit: Bishop's Palace

The tradition of keeping swans on the moat dates back to the 1800’s when Bishop Hervey’s daughter first introduced a pair.

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Young swans are rescued in Bath

Two PCSOs have come to the rescue of two young swans in Bath. They were called to St Mark's Road in Widcombe by concerned passers-by. One cygnet was dozing in the road while the other had got itself trapped in the cemetery by the former church.

Passers-by had put road cones about one of the swans, which was dozing in the middle of the road Credit: Anthony Grimley

We’ve had to deal with swans a couple of times before so we knew how to handle them. We put blankets over their heads and bodies to pacify them, then we lifted them and carried them to the canal nearby.

– Mike Symonds, PCSO

They were young birds but pretty big and strong. Luckily they stayed quite calm, although one tried to give me a good pecking and the other left Mike needing a change of trousers.

They seemed happy enough to be back on water and soon paddled off. Hopefully they’ll stay off the roads in future.

– Ashley Bintcliffe, PCSO

Better late than never! Swans arrive at Slimbridge

The first family of Bewick's swans at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre this winter Credit: James Lees

The winter's first family of Bewick's swans arrived at Slimbridge Wetland Centre today. The event is traditionally seen as heralding the start of winter - and this year it's around two weeks later than usual.

The small, wild swans migrate from Russia to the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust in Gloucestershire every year. Normally they finish their journey by mid-to-late October, but this year’s mild weather and unfavourable wind directions dramatically delayed the first arrivals.

The family of two adults and two cygnets touched down this morning. Mum and dad were quickly identified from their distinctive bill patterns as WWT regulars Nurton and Nusa.

We are excited to see that the first arrivals are a family because the swans desperately need more cygnets to bolster the dwindling population.

They are familiar with the reserve as they have spent the last five winters here. Their cygnets have now learnt the migration route from their parents and we are hoping that they will also become regular fixtures here.

– Julia Newth, swan expert at WWT Slimbridge
The small, wild swans migrate from Russia every winter Credit: James Lees

Many more Bewick’s swans are expected to arrive at WWT Slimbridge in the coming weeks, with numbers usually reaching 300.

VIDEO: Baby swans learn to ring bells at Wells

Cygnets born at the beginning of the month at the Bishop's Palace in Wells have learned to ring a bell for food in record time. The 11 baby swans are keeping up a tradition which began in the 1870s.

The cygnets were spotted by staff ringing the bell at the weekend who are amazed that they didn't need to be tempted by bread attached to the cord.

The video shows the youngsters being shown what to do by their parent and then you see them getting the hang of pulling the bell rope themselves.

You can follow the adventures of the young family on the Bishop's Palace Swancam.

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VIDEO: Seven cygnets on "Swan Cam"

Seven cygnets have been hatched to the residents of the Bishop's Palace moat in Wells. It is hoped that they will one day carry on the tradition of ringing a bell in the palace for food but for now here they are in all their fluffy wonder.

The video is taken from a special "Swan Cam" set up by the Bishop's Palace. You can keep up to date with the new arrivals here.

Eight swans-a-swimming at Slimbridge

The largest Bewick's swan family ever recorded has arrived at the Wildfowl and Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire.

'Everton', and his new mate 'Rovers' have brought their six cygnets with them. They've joined 200 more of the threatened wild swans after a 2,500 mile journey from arctic Russia.

It may be "seven swans-a-swimming" in the carol but Slimbridge has gone one up!

Everton is on the left and Rovers is right of the six youngsters. The swan in front is just a passer-by Credit: James Lees
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