February 2014: A Bewick’s swan cygnet appears to have abandoned by his parents at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire. Yesterday WWT researcher Julia Newth, who recognises the hundreds of swans in the flock by their individual face markings, saw that one family had acquired an additional youngster.
The lone cygnet has latched onto Slimbridge regulars Wooton and Stinchcombe and their four cygnets, but is spending much of its time calling in the hope of being reunited with its own parents.
Bewick’s swans migrate in large family groups and due to recent mild weather all but 10 of the Slimbridge flock have departed already.
Julia Newth said: “Occasionally, cygnets become separated from their parents during migration when there is perhaps bad weather, but it is rather more unusual to see such a separation before the journey has begun.
“We’re all waiting to see whether the parents return. If they don’t, and the cygnet leaves with its adopted family, we will call on our extensive network of swan researchers along the 2,500 mile journey to Russia to keep an eye out for them and check whether the lone cygnet manages to stay with them.”