GRACE ON THE WING
A winter visitor each year, the beautifully elegant Bewick’s swan, Cygnus columbianus bewickii, confronts one of nature’s greatest migrations, travelling thousands of miles from Western Europe to arrive in the UK. They are the smallest of the swan species to visit the UK and are not much bigger than a Canada goose, with a maximum length of approximately 50in (127cm) from bill to tail and a wingspan of 77in (195cm). They are recognised for their white plumage and bill, with markings that are proportionately more black than yellow in comparison to the similar Whooper swan. Named after the engraver Thomas Bewick, who specialised in illustrations of birds, these swans are commonly found in eastern England, near freshwater, and can be seen during the winter months, returning north in early spring.