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Page last updated at 09:33 GMT, Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Disabled swan could break records

'Crinkly' the swan at WWT Slimbridge
If 'Crinkly' returns this year it will bring her frequent flyer tally to 20,000 miles

Bewick's Swans have begun their annual migration from Arctic Russia to Gloucestershire, with visitors keeping an eye out for one swan in particular.

Crinkly, so-named because of her crooked neck, could break records if she makes it back to WWT Slimbridge for the winter.

Thirteen of the swans landed on Sunday, 1 November, 2009 with around 300 more expected to follow.

Their arrival traditionally signals the start of a cold snap.

Given her deformity, it will be a major achievement if a swan so un-aerodynamic collects 20,000 air miles - a feat we have never witnessed before.
Julia Newth

First into Slimbridge was Dario - a regular since 1999. He was followed by Dylan and Deena, who are sponsored by The Queen.

Over the coming days some 3,500 swans will land in Britain, to spend winter at the charity's reserves, which include WWT Welney in Norfolk and WWT Martin Mere, Lancashire.

Spotters are out on the lakes today trying to see if the reports of Crinkly's arrival are right.

For all of the birds, alighting at the reserves is a safe ending to a 1,850 mile flight from frozen Russia to the UK wetlands many first visited as cygnets.

But for Crinkly another successful return this year will bring her frequent flyer tally to 20,000 miles - an achievement never previously recorded by a disabled swan.

Julia Newth, WWT's wildlife health research officer, said: "This year, we're especially keen to know if Crinkly is on her way.

"Given her deformity, it will be a major achievement if a swan so un-aerodynamic collects 20,000 air miles - a feat we have never witnessed before, during studies of more than 10,000 swans dating back nearly 50 years.

"If she makes it, we plan to celebrate. So we're hoping the public will keep a look-out and let us know if she's spotted."

Anyone spotting Crinkly is asked to post a comment on the WWT website where Julia Newth is writing a regular swan diary: www.wwt.org.uk/swandiary.




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