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A Bewick's Blog: Winter 22/23

As the Bewick's swans arrive at Slimbridge this winter, we'll be keeping you updated on the individuals on site this season.

As the Bewick's swans arrive at Slimbridge for the winter of 2022/23, we'll be keep you updated on the individuals on site.

The first Bewick's to arrive the winter of 22/23 were ‘Fortune Two’ and ‘Combo’on 10 November - on our 76 Birthday! Fortune Two is nineteen years old and first arrived as a cygnet at Slimbridge with his parents ‘Sauber’ and ‘Manero’ in the winter of 2003-4. He paired with Combo in the winter of 2005-6 and they have returned every year since.

Current families on site include;

  • Croupie and Wheel with three cygnets. Croupie first wintered at Slimbridge as a cygnet with parents Croupier and Dealer on 26 November 2004. He has been with mate Wheel since the winter of 2010. Grandparents are Casino and Punter, and great grandparents are Nijinsky and Caroline - who first wintered at Slimbridge in 1969.
  • Maisie and Maifeld with two cygnets.
  • Baratheon and Venta with one cygnet (the first for this pair).
  • Sarindi and Sarind also with one cygnet. Sarindi is a known as the 'divorced' Bewick’s swan, he first wintered at Slimbridge as the new mate of Saruni on 25 October 2007 and were still a pair the following winter. However in the winter of 2009 both swans returned with different partners - Sarindi with present partner Sarind and Saruni with new partner Sarune - the last time this pair were seen was 2011.
  • Knockin' and Ringin', two yearlings named to celebrate the amazing support of players of People's Postcode Lottery, who have raised over £3.8 million for WWT's work. Knockin' and Ringin' first arrived at Slimbridge as cygnets with their respective parents in 2021. Parents Primero & Piquet and Hoorn & Laren have wintered every year at Slimbridge since 2016, with Primero first wintering here in 2012, with a different mate called Pidro. Knockin' and Ringin' are the first offspring for both these pairs.
  • A new family Ananas with a new mate, newly named Mayweed, and three cygnets.
  • Another new family Zenobia with new mate Septima with two cygnets. One of the cygnets has a distinctive bendy neck.

Zenobia & Septima's cygnet.JPG

Two cygnets, one with bendy neck

  • Somme with new mate Ypres - who has not been seen since the winter of 2017. It is not uncommon for birds to skip or miss several winters of visiting Slimbridge, especially so with the warmer winter climate Europe is experiencing. Due to birds short-stopping - where birds winter further east than they once used to, this now sees many species of waterbird changing their habits and wintering elsewhere - including Bewick’s swans, European white-fronted geese and pochard.
  • Trotsky and mate Bronstien, Trotsky was the first swan to arrive in the winter of 2017-18 on 8 November 2017 as a yearling. He was first seen with mate Bronstein last winter and both swans arrived at Slimbridge this season on 22 December.
  • Turlach with mate Tramore and three cygnets, this pair also had 4 cygnets last winter. There is always one family that 'rules the Rushy Lake' and this year it's this family! Second in command is Orkney Reid and his mate Doodled along with their four cygnets. This pair first wintered at Slimbridge in December 2016 when they brought back two cygnets, however they don’t always return having missed the 2017 to 2020 seasons, returning in 2021 (again with four cygnets). It was lovely to see one of Orkney Reid and Doodled’s cygnets from 2021 (known as a yearling) also return and is regularly hanging out with her Mum and Dad and this years offspring. This bird has been named Orli Marley.

  • Single parent Kritsa with two cygnets.
  • Indri and mate Indriidae with two cygnets. Indri was first seen on Swan Lake on 28 December 2022 on her own but was calling and left, she was then seen again with her mate Indriidae and two cygnets on the Slimbridge moor (other side of the canal). Indri first wintered at Slimbridge as a cygnet with parents Aye Aye and Ayman and two siblings in 2016. The following winter Indri returned with just her mother and they spent their time on Swan Lake.
  • A yearling named Bendy, due to their distinctive bendy neck!


Bendy, credit Steve Heaven

  • New arrivals on the 27 December included Chapellerie with two year old son Chaperrel. Chaperrel first arrived at Slimbridge with single parent Chapellerie as a cygnet on 4 December 2020. He was still with his mother last winter and returned with her this winter. Chaperrel has a few grey flecks on the head.


Chaperrel, credit Steve Heaven

  • Pair Bubbly and Soapy arrived at Slimbridge with two cygnets on 18 December 2022. On 24 January 2023 only Bubbly and one cygnet were at Slimbridge, with Soapy and the other cygnet missing. But on the morning of Wednesday 8 March, the whole family were back together again.

Other individuals identified include;

  • Babato (male) and Babaco (female). Babaco first wintered at Slimbridge as a single adult in December 2013 and has arrived every winter, Babato joined her in the winter of 2016.
  • Desmond Tutu, who first wintered at Slimbridge last year and was named in The Times Christmas appeal.
  • Newly named Amy A - a yearling on their first winter at Slimbridge. Amy A has been named after Slimbridge Marketing Executive, who loves writing about the swans and photographing them each winter.
  • Dandeeno (male) and Katniss (female). Dandeeno first wintered at Slimbridge as a cygnet with parents Danuta and Danut, plus sibling Duna, in 2005. Katniss is his new mate, they have been together since last winter.
  • Pom (female), who first wintered as a cygnet with single parent Macau in 2009. Pom was last at Slimbridge the winter of 2019/2020.
  • Grinner who first wintered at Slimbridge as the new mate of Smiley on 30 December 2014. Grinner also visited Slimbridge on 5 December 2018 with new mate Grinning who he was with until 14 January 2021. Grinner has been on his own since last winter and the same again this winter.

  • A new yearlings called Krampus and Orli Marley.
  • Bolly, who has been coming to Slimbridge since the winter of 2013. For the last three winters he had a mate called Goldie but has a new mate this winter, called Bollinger. Bollinger arrived on 14 January during Slimbridge's Wild Winter Weekend.

  • Individual named Cameley, who has now been renamed Lightyear due to his ring 'BUZ'.
  • Esther Rumsey - a yearling, this is her first winter at Slimbridge. She flew in during a morning feed and has been named after one of Slimbridge's young volunteers and upcoming conservationist, who loves spending time at Slimbridge.

Esther Rumsey credit Steve Heaven and WWT.JPG

Esther Rumsey, credit Steve Heaven

  • On the morning of 12 December, Winkey and Winker arrived at Slimbridge after spending some time down in Somerset. Winkey is about 26 years old - the oldest Bewick's currently at Slimbridge. He first wintered at Slimbridge on 11 December 2001, with then mate, Tinkey. Winkey has been with new mate, Winker, since 2011. They tend to start their winter in the UK in Somerset, before visiting Slimbridge.

Winkey & Winker.JPG

Winkey & Winker, credit Steve Heaven

  • At 1.50pm on 3 January, pair Gastro and Roux arrived at Slimbridge. Gastro first wintered at Slimbridge during 2018/19, he returned the following winter with mate Roux. They have no cygnets as of yet.
  • On 10 January Stowey and Timsbury arrived. Stowey first wintered at Slimbridge on 2 Dec 2018 and, apart from last winter, has returned ever since. It's Timsbury's first time to Slimbridge and he is Stowey's first mate. Both Bewick's swans are named after places in Somerset. Another arrival on 10 January was a new swan, named Grubby, for their messy appearance!
  • On 17 January, Arkadi arrived at around 2.10pm. As well as his individual bill pattern, Arkadi can be ID'ed by his ring number BSL. Arkadi first wintered at Slimbridge on 29 Dec 2010. He has spent 8 winters with us over the years. In this time he has brought back 5 cygnets with different mates. Arkadi's mate Kritsa arrived at Slimbridge on 22 December 2022 with two cygnets but hasn't been seen since 1 January 2023. We hope they reconnect soon, and most likely got separated on migration.

Total numbers of swans

On the morning of 14 December, 16 new Bewick's swans arrived on site with a 'swan shower', including 6 cygnets.

16 December - 80 swans on site, including 15 cygnets.

19 December - 105 Bewick's swans on site, at least 25 of these being cygnets.

21 December - around 110 Bewick's swans on site, at least 25 being cygnets.

22 December - around 115 Bewick's swans on site.

28 December - 129 Bewick's swans have been identified in total. Even more encouraging is the number of cygnets to have been brought back to Slimbridge this season now stands at 28, meaning that 21.7% of the flock this season are cygnets. Whilst this is good news for the Slimbridge wintering population, we won’t know the full extent of how the 2022 breeding season panned out, until all countries along the flyway report on the annual breeding success data. The Northwest European population of Bewick’s Swans have experienced several poor breeding seasons over the years, however 2021 also appeared a good breeding season for our birds with 25.8% of the flock containing cygnets. Successful breeding seasons are desperately needed for this declining population of birds.

20 January - 137 individuals swans have been identified in total, including 28 cygnets.

20221210-_DSC4644 (1).jpg

Cygnet Bewick's swan - credit Sarah Freeman

27 February update - 110 Bewick's swans were still on site, 18 of these being cygnets.

8 March - Bewick's are beginning to leave with only 72 swans counted on site, including 17 cygnets.

15 March - 7 swans left at Slimbridge, 4 being cygnets.

20 March - All Bewick's have left Slimbridge for the season.

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