Whilst the UK’s sporting elite prepare for the Olympics; nature’s athletes compete for much higher stakes.
The reserve at WWT Welney is now brimming with courtship displays and competitions for territories, so everything is at stake! From boxing hares to tumbling lapwing, every effort is put into catching the eye of the ladies and successfully raising young. Visitors can witness these spectacles and many more as the season progresses.
Spring is one of the most dramatic seasons of the year at WWT Welney with everyone looking their best and in prime condition to display their unique talents. Lapwings are the wetland counterparts of the likes of Olympic hopeful, Beth Tweddle, displaying great skill with their aerial acrobatics. Whilst on the ground female hares box with the overeager males to let them know they need to wait a little longer.
These first signs of spring will shortly be followed by birds of endurance such as the Arctic terns and black-tailed godwits passing through or the common terns and swallows that stay for the summer. These are the marathon runners of the bird world, some using wetlands in the UK as re-fuelling stations whilst for others WWT Welney is the finish line as they stay for the summer.
Then there are the synchronized swimmers such as the great crested newt whose elaborated courtship dance is solely done beneath the surface of the water. Visitors can explore underwater habitats from Easter onwards at the pond-dipping stations.
Emma Brand, Events & Marketing Officer for WWT Welney comments “Spring is a fascinating and exciting time to visit wetland reserves and to learn more about the vital role habitats like these play in our lives as well as those of the birds and animals living there”.
“There is always something to see at this time of year as thousands of birds like black-tailed godwits pass through on migration, whilst breeding animals such as hares, lapwing, water voles and avocets take centre stage as the courtship rituals begin”.
WWT Welney is one of the best places to get close to the drama and excitement of wetland wildlife with panoramic views across the Fens from the visitor centre’s cafe. Whilst over on the reserve six purpose built hides allow views over the Ouse washes wetlands and the recently created dragonfly ponds give visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the sounds of the washes at ground level.