Rain welcomes the newly hatched ducklings, goslings and cygnets at Arundel Wetland Centre
Although we despise the downpours, it’s been ducky weather for the newly hatched youngsters at WWT Arundel Wetland Centre.
Downy Duckling Days on the May Bank holiday weekend is the perfect time for families to watch the antics of new cygnets, goslings and ducklings at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve.
“The rain has soaked the ground, forcing worms and invertebrates to the surface to be an easy meal for young wildfowl just learning to feed.” said Reserve Warden Paul Stevens.
The lapwing chicks on the wet grassland need plenty of muddy edges to paddle in to learn to look for food. In April, several clutches of these wild chicks hatched from the nine nesting pairs of Lapwing currently on the wetland reserve.
Four fluffy, white swan cygnets have made the staff at the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust reserve very happy.
Workers waited all winter to see if a new male black-necked swan would pair bond with the female already in the collection of rare wildfowl at Arundel Wetland Centre.
The couple produced four eggs mid- March and all four hatched on April 16. The cygnets can be seen riding around on their parents backs, sheltering under their wings when it gets chilly.
The new nene goslings are also using mum’s wing as an umbrella when the rains gets heavy.
Hatched on April 14, the three new Hawaiian geese have very protective parents.
“Regular visitors are used to the friendly Nene geese eating grain right from the palm of their hand” said Warden Paul Stevens. “They may be shocked when these geese turn to hiss and chase them away from their youngsters.”
The two Nene goslings that hatched in an incubator indoors in mid March are now seven weeks old now. “They are just getting their flight feathers and losing their fluff” said Ground supervisor Sam McKinlay, “they look like gangly teenagers”.
The two goslings were from the batch of six nene eggs rescued from outdoor nests in February when the temperatures plummeted to -7 degrees. These two are still being reared indoors but are spending ever increasing time outside until they are acclimatized.
Discover new life with your family this spring at Arundel Wetland centre during Downy Duckling Days on May 5-7. During the May Bank Holiday weekend children can play the Pochard Pentathlon – 5 feats of conservation that explore the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trusts efforts to save the Madagascar pochard, the rarest bird in the world. By completing events like the Egg Collection Race and the Swan Lift children collect punches on a Pochard Pentathlon Passport. The Pond Explorer is open for dipping daily and the children’s crafts room is open each afternoon. The centre is open from 9:30-5:30 each day. Call 01903 881530 for more information.