A FLURRY of Arctic swans has arrived in Gloucestershire after a 4000km slog to Slimbridge.

Among the visitors is the legendary Croupier, aged 27, he leads one of the biggest Bewick’s swan families ever studied.

Researcher Steve Heaven helps conserve the Bewick’s swans, which have been in decline in Northwest Europe since the 1990s.

“Sadly, there’s a serious side to this as the number of Bewick’s swans in Europe has dropped by over a third,” he explained.

“But, it’s always a fantastic spectacle over the Christmas period.”

Around 60 of the flight have arrived at the wetland centre over the last few nights - they join Indri, the first of the Bewick’s to arrive at the reserve.

“The arrival of Bewick’s swans is a harbinger of cold weather and it feels truly wintry here with chilly, clear days and more migratory birds,” added Steve.

Since their arrival, the Bewick’s have become part of one of the most intensive wildlife studies in the world.

Researchers will identify each individual swan by the unique pattern of yellow and black on its beak.

The study has run for more than 50 years and recorded the life histories of nearly 10,000 swans in that time.

Visitors can see the swans at Slimbridge Wetland Centre throughout winter - swan supper evenings also offer a chance to see floodlit swans over dinner.