A flock of Bewick’s swans which had begun their epic migration from Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire to the Arctic tundra have turned back to avoid the latest ‘Beast from the East’.
Conservationists at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust noted that of 20 birds which had set off purposefully north last week, 12 had reappeared four days later. 11 had previously left from Slimbridge, with one new Bewick’s swan tagging along, which staff have now named Darcy.
WWT’s Research Officer Kane Brides said: "Arctic migrants like the Bewick’s swan are used to chilly weather and given the extremes of climate they experience, are very adaptable as a result. However freezing conditions reduce food availability and blizzards reduce visibility for migration. With the easterly wind direction against them for their onwards migration to Russia, they are very sensible to sit this out! The Bewick’s swans at Slimbridge are lucky they have a comfortable B&B to shelter at until the cold weather period passes."