Swans arrive from Russia to winter in Hokkaido

A flock of swans has arrived from Russia at a river in Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido to spend the winter.

Whooper swans began arriving at the mouth of the Osaru River in Date City in early October, about a week earlier than usual.

Around 100 swans, including young ones, have gathered in their wintering place.

Some dip their necks into the water to look for waterweed. Others fly in groups to nearby rice paddies and farm fields to hunt for grains.

Local birdwatcher Shinohara Morio says the number of swans will likely increase to around 400, and they will return northward to Russia in late March.