Attempt to follow swan migration preparations in Arundel

A series of test flights took place in Arudel today (July 14) ahead of the first ever attempt to follow the migration of the Bewick swan from air.

Sacha Dench at Arundel Wetland Centre
Sacha Dench at Arundel Wetland Centre

Sacha Dench, leader of the expedition ‘Flight of the Swans’, came to WWT Arundel Wetland Centre to prepare for her journey to find out why the bird’s numbers are declining so dramatically.

She plans to travel the distance alongside the swans in a paramotor – a wing of fabric from which Sacha will dangle with a propeller strapped to her back.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

When speaking about the reason behind the expedition, Sacha said: “There are loads of different issues the swans may face, but none of the problems on their own are enough to cause such a huge drop in their population.

Sacha Dench at Arundel Wetland Centre

“When I’m following the swans I will be able to get data that no one has got before, as well as being able to speak to all the communities along the way.

“The people that will help us on the journey are the same people that need to know about the Bewick swan.”

Sacha is due to set off on her mission in September in the Arctic, once the Bewick swans take flight.

She will have to stop every three hours to refuel.

Sacha Dench at Arundel Wetland Centre

Flying at the same speed and height as the swans, Sacha will experience the wonders and dangers the swans face including heavy storms, sea crossings and extreme cold.

She will share their view with the world in real time using the latest digital camera technology and satellite communication.

“To prepare for the first stretch of the journey we I have been preparing myself for the cold conditions in a simulation room,” said Sacha.

“I have also had to take part in an intense first aid course, and next week I will be with thr RNLI practising what to do if I land in water tangled in my paramotor.”

For more information, visit’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at

2) Like our Facebook page at

3) Follow us on Twitter @Chiobserver

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Chichester Observer - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.