Thursday, 3 December 2015

Return to the Wildbrooks …

Bewick’s Swan (Cygnus columbianus)



The floodplain of the Arun valley ranges across a broad sweep of undisturbed wet grassland, intersected with wildlife-rich channels, surrounded by woodlands, and overlooked by the South Downs. It forms an essential part of the Arun Valley Special Protection Area for its large numbers of wintering wildfowl.

Although October records exist, it is generally mid November when the first of the Bewick’s appear in Sussex; three adults being present since at least 22nd November this year. After breeding in Arctic Russia, the swans undertake a 2,500-3,000 km migration to their wintering grounds. The vast majority head for Britain, the Netherlands and Germany, with smaller numbers wintering in Denmark, France, Ireland and Belgium. Sussex being located near the southwestern edge of their winter range.

A bird whose presence heralds the start of winter and embodies the atmosphere of the secluded wetlands of the Arctic tundra …

References:

Hughes, P. (2014). Bewick’s Swan. The Birds of Sussex. Thetford: British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Books on behalf of the Sussex Ornithological Society, pp. 80-81.
Mason, M. (1996). Bewick’s Swan. Birds of Sussex. Sussex Ornithological Society, pp. 133-136.