Bewick’s swans slow to arrive this winter at WWT Welney Wetland Centre.

Bewick swans.
Bewick swans.
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Swan counts have revealed that numbers of Bewick’s swans are very low for this point in the season at WWT Welney Wetland Centre.

The most recent count carried out in December has shown that 147 Bewick’s swans are currently using the wetlands of the Ouse Washes in Norfolk.

This winter, Bewick’s swans are finding more food throughout Europe, which is giving them opportunities to continue feeding up rather than pushing on with their migration.

The availability of food and fresh water is due to a lack of snow fall and mild temperatures in countries further east along the flyway.

Reports from Dutch swan experts show that they have no more than 2,000 Bewick’s swans currently, compared with 6,000 at this point last year

Warden at WWT Welney Wetland Centre, Hetty Grant said: “A cold front on the continent may force the Bewick’s further west, and then we could potentially see an influx in January, if conditions change.

“The swan counts that our staff and volunteers undertake, feed into international data. This gives us an accurate view of where swans are stopping along the flyway, showing the population, feeding habits and climate preference.

“Anyone can assist with gathering this information by reporting leg rings, so make sure you keep an eye out.”