Page last updated at 01:03 GMT, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

'Supersonic' swan completes trip

Supersonic Bill
Supersonic Bill is the first south of Scotland swan to return

The first swan from southern Scotland being tracked on the journey to Iceland and back has completed its voyage.

Supersonic Bill was one of 50 birds fitted with GPS satellite transmitters earlier this year to monitor the progress of their migration.

The whooper swan completed the journey of about 500 miles (800km) from Iceland to Scotland in just 14 hours.

A number of other birds are expected back at the Caerlaverock reserve near Dumfries over the next few days.

The research project has been organised by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) in conjunction with Collaborative Offshore Wind Research into the Environment (COWRIE).

It hopes to allow offshore wind farm developers to operate their projects in a more environmentally-friendly way.

The public has also been able to follow the birds' progress via the internet.

'Bit tired'

Data received on Supersonic Bill - who was named by pupils at Cargenbridge Primary - showed that he appeared to accelerate as he got closer to "home".

Reserve warden Richard Smith said: "He covered the final 25 kilometres in just 15 minutes before flying onto the whooper pond here at Caerlaverock to be greeted by me with a barrow of grain.

"Not suprisingly, he looked a bit tired but otherwise not bad given that he was in Iceland only the day before."

As well as the Dumfries and Galloway site, other WWT centres at Martin Mere in Lancashire and Welney in Norfolk have been involved in tracking the birds.

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