A mighty year for new life on Wader Lake

We're very excited here at Washington Wetland Centre as we continue through what is turning to be a very successful summer breeding season around our wild reserve.

There are LOTS of youngsters around pretty much everywhere you look, whether that be chirping fledglings in Hawthorn Wood to wading birds on Wader Lake. Reserve placement Kate Ferguson has given us some of the highlights with locations* if you fancy trying to spot them for yourselves:

Grey Wagtail

There has been a regular male and female with young around the gully and saline lagoon foxgate areas.

Willow tit

There are potentially three different broods seen on site which is very exciting for this red-listed species. The Orchard (6 chicks seen), gully (2 chicks seen) and the pines on the inner circle (2 chicks)


Currently a new adult nesting on one of the islands at Saline Lagoon. 2 broods at Wader Lake. The first brood has two chicks, which are coming into their proper black and white plumage now and are regularly seen either around the east island of Wader lake seen from Princes Trust Hide. A second brood of 3 can be seen best from Paddy Fleming hide or Northumbrian Water Hides.

Oystercatcher and young.jpg


There are four broods of lapwing at varying ages. The first brood has 2 chicks (these were first seen on 18th May so are getting on now!) and are best seen from Paddy Fleming Hide. The second has 2 medium-large chicks near the east island. The third has 2 very young chicks on the open mud directly opposite Paddy Flemming Hide. The fourth brood has 2 very young chicks seen very well directly outside Northumbrian Water Hide.


They keep hiding but at the moment we have about 11-15 chicks regularly seen on Wader Lake at any one time, which are from 8 different broods. The oldest avocet hatched on 24 May and is starting to come into its proper plumage. It's best seen from Paddy Fleming Hide. There are also 3 new avocets nesting on the far island of Wader Lake (presuming they are going for their second attempt at nesting).

Avocet chick.jpg


There are blackcap fledglings seen in Spring Gill Wood and Amphibian ponds areas.

Tawny Owl

There have been 3 chicks seen around our woodlands at the west of our reserve.

Common Tern

There are 5 chicks seen so far, they only recently started hatching in the last week or two so plenty more to come!

C tern with young.jpg


There are active with chicks on Corner Meadow and Saline Lagoon with at least 3 chicks seen between those 2 broods.

Grey Heron

There have been approximately 55 chicks seen in total across 37 different nests. In general the herons nesting to the left of the Heron hedge have younger juvenile herons/chicks in the nests because some of these herons had to build new nest sites due to a lot of their original nest sites been lost during Storm Malik. So there are still plenty of juvenile Herons to be seen, particularly on this half of the Hedge.

Grey heron with chicks 2022 - Ian Henderson 966x644.jpg

Other birds thought to be nesting on site include willow warbler, sedge warbler (all at amphibian ponds) and swallow (toolstore)

Ready to visit?

If you've been inspired to explore Washington Wetland Centre and spot youngsters for yourself, find out more and plan your visit online.

Plan your visit