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