From Russia with swans: woman’s first ever paramotor ‘migration’

Two Bewick's Swans coming into land
Two Bewick's Swans coming into land
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A champion sportswoman and conservationist will fly 4,500 miles from the Russian Arctic to Britain next autumn, using just a parachute wing and strapped to a small propeller engine, in the first ever attempt to follow Bewick’s swans on their annual migration.

Sacha Dench, who works for the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) and is a former British and Australian free-diving champion, will follow the swans in her paramotor as winter drives them off their breeding grounds.

Sacha Dench ANL-151230-123104001

Sacha Dench ANL-151230-123104001

She will film and make live broadcasts along the way.

WWT is currently looking for volunteers to join Sacha’s team – one person to help plan the expedition, and a further two to work as mechanic and filmmaker on the expedition itself. Anyone interested can apply at www.wwt.org.uk/fots/volunteer.

The expedition will uncover new science about the Bewick’s swans, whose numbers have halved in the last 20 years.

The arrival of the Bewick’s swans each year signals the start of winter, whatever the temperature may be. Numbers gradually climb through the winter to their peak in January when visitors to WWT Welney Wetland Centre can enjoy up to 3,000 of these magical swans.

At WWT Welney the Bewick’s swans share their winter home with up to 7,000 whooper swans from Iceland, making a total of 10,000 swans on the Ouse Washes.

WWT is looking for supporters for Flight of the Swans. Further details are available www.wwt.org.uk/flightoftheswans