More than 10,000 swans counted at WWT Welney Wetland Centre as winter migration reaches its peak

PUBLISHED: 17:28 20 January 2015 | UPDATED: 17:28 20 January 2015

Feeding the swans at sunset. Picture: Sacha Dench

Feeding the swans at sunset. Picture: Sacha Dench


Numbers of whooper and Bewick’s swans on the Ouse Washes are thought to have reached their peak this winter.

Visitors captivated by the swan feed. Picture: Sacha Dench Visitors captivated by the swan feed. Picture: Sacha Dench

As part of an International Swan Census, 10,832 swans were counted at WWT Welney Wetland Centre on Friday.

Staff and volunteers worked together to count the swans, record the number of cygnets that have completed the journey to the UK and look out for any of the individuals marked with leg rings or neck collars.

Louise Clewley, WWT Welney warden said: “This time of year is just amazing, with thousands of swans making this area their winter home.

“It’s a real privilege to go out and monitor these birds, getting a glimpse into their lives.

Whooper swan on winter wheat near Mepal. Picture: Simon Stirrup Whooper swan on winter wheat near Mepal. Picture: Simon Stirrup

“From watching pairs of whooper swans bugling to warn others off their food to listening out for the contact calls of adult Bewick’s swans, softly talking to their young.

“It is amazing to think that they travel such vast distances.

“One particular Bewick’s swans named Madame Cholet was ringed in Russia in 2005 and has been spotted in Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands and East Anglia throughout her annual migrations,”

Special floodlit feeds offer the chance to watch the swans getting their last meal of the day as the main lagoon is illuminated.

Swan feeds take place at 6.30pm Thursday to Sunday each week until February 28. The noon and 3.30pm swan feeds are daily until March 8.

Swans awake events (6-9am) are on February 14 and February 18. Booking is essential, £12 per person.

For a full list of events and visitor centre facilities including directions, go to


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