HELLO MUM! The first fluffy baby swans have hatched at Abbotsbury Swannery this year and if legend is to be believed, the arrival of the first cygnet marks the start of summer.
The newest arrivals at the Swannery have been emerging from their eggs and scores more will make their appearance over coming weeks.
The Swannery is the only place in the world where visitors can walk through a colony of mute swans, see cygnets hatching and participate in mass feedings.
The Abbotsbury swans have this year established 96 nests, with an average of five eggs to a nest.
As the little ones hatch amid the current blustery weather, the proud and protective parents are keeping them carefully huddled underneath.
But sharp-eyed visitors can get a glimpse of the early birds as they snuggle in to their nests.
Swanherd Dave Wheeler said: “As the wind has got up, the parents will tend to keep the babies huddled under.
“The first ones are always very special and we are keeping a close eye on them if the weather is a bit wet and windy.
“We can look forward to cygnets hatching throughout May, with the frequency increasing and reaching a peak for the next bank holiday weekend towards the end of the month.”
Swanherds feed the adult swans twice a day on wheat grains while the cygnets are fed three times daily on chick crumb, a crushed pellet full of protein. Their parents also feed the cygnets algae, other vegetation and grubs.