Bird lovers asked to help track the progress of swan numbers
Bird lovers living in Wiltshire have been asked to tweet their first sightings of the season’s cygnets to a charity.
The Canal & River Trust is monitoring the swan numbers on the Kennet and Avon Canal, between Reading and Bath.
The trust is aiming to record the progress of the birds as they nest, lay eggs and look after their newborn.
The first cygnets in Caen Hill Lock Flight in Devizes are expected in May after one pair of swans was already seen setting up their nest.
The famous Wiltshire lock flight has in the past been home to up to three pairs of swans and the local community, along with visitors, has helped the trust’s ecologists and local lock keepers to look out for them.
The new project is being run nationwide and it is aiming to encourage interest in one of the most iconic waterway birds, the mute swan.
The Canal & River Trust website has plenty more information on just how you can get involved and offer your assistance.
Oda Dijksterhuis, ecologist for the Canal & River Trust, which looks after 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales, told the BBC: "With the Kennet and Avon Canal stretching 87 miles, we can't follow every family ourselves.
"We need people's help to get a complete picture, so really want you to tweet your own swan stories and photos, sharing with others the fantastic highs and a few inevitable lows.
"Like any new parent, swans can get a bit protective, so do please take an interest and get involved, but also remember to give the mums and dads their space and, importantly, keep your dogs on a lead if you are around them."
The Kennet and Avon Canal comprises three waterways and was built to transport goods from Bath to London.
The Kennet Navigation opened in 1723 from Newbury to Reading.
Four years later it was followed by the opening of the Avon Navigation from Bristol to Bath, and the section from Bath to Newbury opened in 1810.
Picture: Tim Simpson