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Behind the scenes at our centres

Posted on 19 May 2020

If you’re wondering what our favourite residents are up to during lockdown, here’s a sneak peek from those busy taking care of the animals. If you’re missing the cheeky antics of our otters or the welcoming peck of a goose you’re in for a treat…

And we’re told they miss us too. Well most of the time!

There are also some that are simply not as appreciative as they could be of all the work going into caring for them. Like this Andean goose at WWT Washington…

We’re pleased to tell you that our otters are behaving themselves during lockdown

The otters at London wetland centre get the day off to a good start by making their bed.

Meanwhile at Slimbridge, the coming together for family mealtimes is important for Flow and Haha in this time of uncertainty…

Interaction with their keepers is a key part of the daily routine - no social distancing required. Our otters at WWT Washington are clearly enjoying the attention.

Remember the cape barren geese at Slimbridge and Martin Mere?

If you visited back in February you may have been lucky enough to see the first cape barren gosling to hatch at Slimbridge since 2014.

Like all the chicks at our centres the cape barren gosling is getting bigger every day. The striking black and white markings remind us of a fluffy humbug!

The gosling is losing those trademark fluffy feathers and is growing up fast. It’s nearly as big as mum and dad now.

We’ve found out our gosling is a boy. He’s almost fully grown now and is busy learning from mum and dad how to fend for himself.

And we’re pleased to report that the three cape barren goslings at WWT Martin Mere are thriving. They’re also keeping our staff on their toes…

Need a little something to look forward to after lockdown?

Our new Waterscapes Aviary and Wetland Theatre was due to open this summer as part of our Slimbridge 2020 project, but sadly this is now postponed. But here are some photos of what you can look forward to visiting next year.

And as part of this experience we have some weird and wonderful new birds for you to meet, like this pelican. Perhaps you can tell us what he’s up to? Because we’re really not sure.

And how about these spoonbills? Check out that awesome beak, the perfect tool for chowing down on your favourite fish. We can’t wait to introduce you to these amazing birds.

And while we are on the topic of food, I bet you didn’t know…

There are ducks that enjoy lettuce. Good to know if you’re feeding ducks in your local park, it makes a tasty change from stale bread crusts (we’re told oats and peas also go down well).

And ducks that eat meat. The black-necked grebes (well, sort of ducks) at Arundel enjoy a bit of everything it seems. Burger anyone?

At all our centres animals are still busy nesting and rearing their young.

From the tiny adorable harvest mouse busily readying her nest for new arrivals

…to this picture of perfect family harmony from the black-necked swans at Llanelli

… to one of the most magnificent birds in the world, the Japanese crane, gently caring for her eggs at Martin Mere.

And, how could we forget about the flamingos!

The Carribbean flamingos at Llanelli were certainly up for celebrating the first ever International Flamingo day last month. Check out our fabulous flamingos showing you how it’s done.

And if you need a bit more to fill the flamingo sized hole in your life, catch up on our last FB live at WWT Washington with the Chilean flamingos.

How about our less showy residents?

The water voles at Slimbridge seem pretty content with life under lockdown. They’re usually super shy so it was great to spot Louise (she lives with her sister, Thelma) snacking on some willow.

Living Collections Supervisor, Rosie Griffin, tells us that they are being spotted more during the day when they venture out for the food they like to nibble on like willow, hawthorn, reeds and rushes.

Like all of us they’re getting some well-deserved extra treats at the moment. With staff giving them tasty greens like romaine lettuce, which they’re enjoying.

If you’re out and about you might spot one along waterways, nibbling on lower hanging vegetation. It's the perfect time of year to spot water voles in the wild as they are much more active. In normal circumstances we would be busy surveying them now.

Don’t mistake them for brown rats though!