WWT Welney awaits the arrival of thousands of swans

Whooper swans.Picture:DAVID FEATHERBE

Whooper swans.Picture:DAVID FEATHERBE - Credit: Archant

WWT Welney Wetland Centre is gearing up for the arrival of thousands of swans that will spend the winter on the reserve and have a series of events for visitors wanting to see the spectacle.

Bewick's swans. Picture: JAMES LEE

Bewick's swans. Picture: JAMES LEE - Credit: Archant

Bewick’s swans will fly 2,500 miles from Arctic Russia, while whooper swans will fly in after travelling 1,200 miles from Iceland.

Each year, up to 3,000 Bewick’s swans and 6,000 whooper swans arrive in East Anglia to spend the winter months on the wetlands of the Ouse washes, making it the most important wintering area for these swans in North West Europe.

The Fens are an important wintering site for the swans, due to the combination of safe roosting sites on the wetlands and plentiful food available in the fields after the harvesting.

Steve Wiltshire, warden for WWT Welney Wetland Centre, said: “Each year we anticipate the arrival of autumn with the first swans completing their migrations

“These birds travel incredible distances to escape the colder winters of the northern regions to take refuge within the UK.

“When conditions are just right, it can be like Heathrow airport on the main lagoon with swans gliding down on to the water.”

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Visitors can learn more about the swans at daily feedings sessions with live commentary. They take place at 3.30pm and begin on October 26.

Other events at Welney: wildfowl walks, 1-2pm every Monday, Thursday and Saturday until October 24; winter wild swan feeds, 3.30pm daily from October 26; swan’s awake, 6.15-9am October 26 and November 30; floodlit evening swan feeds, 6.30pm every Thursday – Sunday from November 1.

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