Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Friday, 1 January 2010

Martin Mere's oldest swan returns home

The Wanderer
The Wanderer was first ringed in Iceland in August 1988

A 21-year-old male whooper swan which is estimated to have flown 40,000 miles (64,000 km) in its lifetime has returned to Lancashire.

Nicknamed the Wanderer, it is the oldest whooper swan to have visited Martin Mere, run by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, near Burscough.

The birds spend the summer breeding in Iceland and fly to England for winter.

The Wanderer is one of hundreds of swans which have made the mere their home this winter.

Centre manager Andy Wooldridge said: "We are part of an international ringing project for the whooper swans and this now allows us to identify swans, learn about their characteristics and create family trees for them.

"It is always exciting to hear the new stories every year and a joy to welcome back the Wanderer."

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