Sir Peter Scott’s daughter Dafila feeds the swans at Welney as the centre welcomes first visitors of the autumn to floodlit feeding

WWT Welney Wetland Centre celebrating the start of the swan season as these incredible birds make t

WWT Welney Wetland Centre celebrating the start of the swan season as these incredible birds make their migrations to us. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of wild swans had a special treat at WWT Welney Wetland Centre on Friday night as they were fed their evening meal by Dafila Scott.

Special guests including the deputy mayor and mayoress of Ely, as well as the mayor and mayoress of Downham Market were in attendance.

Dafila, daughter of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust’s founder, Sir Peter Scott, stepped out onto the main lagoon with the famous Welney wheelbarrow and scoop. Earlier in the afternoon Dafila had spotted four of the rarer, Bewick’s swans, towards the back of the lagoon. Dafila has had a close link to the Welney Centre over the years, studying the Bewick’s swans on the Ouse Washes for her PhD.

Special guests Councillor Ian Lindsay, deputy mayor of Ely with Suzanne Lindsay and Councillor John Fox, Mayor of Downham Market with Margaret Fox, were able to enjoy watch the feed taking place from the comfort of the centrally heated hide.

The first public floodlit feed took place on Sunday, with a good crowd enjoying commentary from the guide.

Louise Clewley, warden said: ‘The floodlit feeds are a fantastic chance see a real life swan lake. Swans that have been out on the fields feeding throughout the day, fly back to the reserve at dusk to roost on the safety of the water.

“At the start of the season, water levels are normally so good that the swans are extremely close to the hide. It also means that the birds are not spread out across the whole reserve so the number on the main lagoon at its best.”

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Visitors can enjoy a range of events at WWT Welney to get closer to these amazing birds and hear about the journeys they make to spend their winter in havens like the Ouse Washes. These include:

• Commentated wild swan feeds, daily at 3.30pm or floodlit 6.30pm feeds every Thurs-Sun

• Swans awake Sat 28 & Sun 29 November, 6.30-9am

• Swans and stars, Sat 21 November, 5.30-8.30pm

• Swan ring reading workshop, Sat 14 November, 10am – 4pm, free to attend.