Posted 9th Nov 2017 by Peter Byrne
The Bewick's swan has finally arrived in Gloucestershire following an epic Arctic journey
The bird, iconic at Slimbridge, has kept staff and volunteers on the edge of their seats, due to the late autumn weather which delayed migration. It's actually the latest that the species has arrived in south West England since 1967, when a swan named Jammy arrived on 9 November.
This year's first swan is a yearling who hasn't yet been named, but most likely visited the reserve with its parents for the first time in 2016. The swan arrived on the Rushy Pen marking the start of a celebrated period for the famous nature reserve, hosting around 30,000 migratory birds each winter.
The Bewick's swans are renowned for navigating 4,500km from the Russian arctic to Slimbridge each year.
WWT Slimbridge's resident swan expert said: "Bewick’s swans are particularly special to WWT as Sir Peter Scott himself dedicated much of his time to studying the bird."
"Watching Swan Lake fill with these remarkable swans is a sight to behold and the arrival of our first Bewick’s swans is the start of an exciting time ahead."
The Bewick's swan has been struggling in recent years, after mysteriously declining. This was highlighted last year by WWT's Sacha Dench, who followed their epic migratory route from the tundra to Gloucestershire on a paramotor.