Romantic swan couple keeps experts guessing at Welney WWT nature reserve

A heart-warming love story which astonished conservationists last year is continuing to keep experts guessing at a Fenland nature reserve.

Whooper swans Romeo and Julietta had been due to make the 1,100-mile journey back to the remote wetlands of Iceland to breed last spring, but an injured Julietta was unable to make the trip.

In a rare act of devotion, Romeo stayed by her side and they became the first whooper swans to breed at Welney - the first recorded breeding in Norfolk since 1928.

Now, with both his parents injured, it is not yet clear whether their cygnet, Junior, will migrate to the Icelandic breeding grounds this year.

'It's very exciting to see what will happen,' Emma Brand, of the Wildfowls and Wetland Trust (WWT), said. 'The cygnet is completely able-bodied, but it will be a bit daunting.


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'If he had hatched in Iceland, Junior would have already made one migration with his parents. We will have to wait and see whether he has that natural instinct to go.'

Junior, who hatched last summer, could find another family group to fly with before striking out on his own in Iceland.

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The swans will start to leave WWT Welney from the middle of next month, so there is still time for visitors to enjoy the spectacle of feeding time.

There will also be daily half-term activities this week, including a nature trail and the chance to make garden feeders.

Samantha Lee, public engagement officer at the reserve, said: 'The swan feeds are a really unique experience and in this cold weather, with the birds brought closer to the hides, you really don't need specialist equipment to be able to enjoy them.

'It's incredible to see swans returning to Welney each winter and to get to know some of the birds really well is a privilege.'

For more information on the swan feeds and other activities at WWT Welney, call the centre on 01353 860711 or visit www.wwt.org.uk/welney.

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