Cygnet signals start of summer

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THE weather phenomenon known as El Nino has been blamed for leaving a trail of destruction around the world, but in a small corner of rural England it has been responsible for one happy occasion.

One of the 1,000 swans kept at Abbotsbury Swannery, near Weymouth in Dorset, has hatched the earliest cygnet born there for 600 years.

The mild weather caused by El Nino caused the cygnet to break out of his shell four weeks early.

John Houston, of the Sub-Tropical Gardens nearby, said: "The first baby swan of the year is always eagerly awaited in Dorset, as local tradition says it signals the start of summer."

Elsewhere the bank holiday weekend looks set to be cloudy and overcast.

A spokesman for the Met Office said there would be some sunshine in the central and southern regions but showers were expected. "Temperatures will be average for the time of year - around 12 or 13C - but on the whole it will be pretty nondescript," he said.

For those heading abroad, Heathrow airport was handling 147,000 passengers on Saturday and 155,000 on Sunday, with New York, Amsterdam, Dublin, Paris and Edinburgh the main destinations.