As flooding affects the nesting season on the Ouse washes at WWT Welney, one pair of swans are towering above the lapping water.
A determined pair of mute swans are refusing to lose their nest to the flood waters at Welney. Gathering what vegetation they can find, they are trying to weather the rising waters to continue incubating their eggs and hopefully hatch the cygnets inside.
As a result of the flooding on the Ouse washes this spring the breeding season at Welney has come to a standstill. But one of the many pairs of mute swans which breed on the reserve is not giving up without a battle. Since the waters came on they have increased the height of their nest from its origins on the banks of the ditch next to the footpaths.
Mute swans are native to the UK and remain close to their breeding territories all year round. Visitors can see the mute swans up close in the winter at the swan feeds, during which time the reserve is home to an additional 10,000 swans migrating from more northerly breeding grounds. But during the summer the whooper swans from Iceland and the Bewick’s swans from Arctic Russia are absent leaving the whole wetland site for the mute swans to use to hatch and raise their cygnets.
‘The water levels have now started to drop, relieving the pressure on this particular pair of mute swans’ says Marketing and Events Officer, Emma Brand. ‘We hope the levels will continue to drop over the next week or two so that we are ready for the June half term activities, which include pond-dipping, moths on display and biodiversity blitz sessions’.
The water levels are now decreasing with hopes that the reserve will start to open up again to visitors and provide feeding areas for the birds once more. Updated information on the access on the reserve and what activities are available can be found at www.wwt.org.uk/Welney .