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Reserve update - bringing wetland wildlife to you

Posted on 24 Jul 2020

Welney Wetland Centre is now re-opened for pre-booked visits only. We have a smaller than normal team on site at present, but will continue to bring the reserve to you on the website and social media until you are able to visit.

Water levels are dropping on the pools revealing lovely muddy edges, any stormy showers passing through are just topping the pools up again after dry spells to keep the mud nice and moist. Highlights this week included visitors reporting spoonbill at the weekend. Summer birds still on site with hobby, cuckoo and little ringed plover. Birds passing through on migration have included ruff, greenshank, green sandpiper, common sandpiper and dunlin. Redshank, adult and juveniles, can be seen on the pools as can increasing numbers of lapwing and black-tailed godwit. Snipe have started to become more visible on the pool edges this week and we have had sightings of bittern, whilst water rail have been heard calling. There are still young birds to be seen including a gadwall with ducklings seen at Lyle hide, moorhen with chicks on the main lagoon and around the visitors centre ponds. The two swallow pairs from the North wing hide are now on second clutches of eggs after the first broods successfully fledged. The whooper swan pair and their five cygnets are still going strong and have been seen on the main lagoon again this week as well as their regular haunt of the pool at reedbed hide.

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Wildflowers are in bloom throughout the site, stands of yellow loosestrife at Lyle, Friends and the end of the summer walk are now seeing yellow loosestrife bees visiting. Dragonflies and damselflies should be out in force more next week with calmer, sunnier conditions, but we have still seen the first darters, and Southern hawkers this week, with brown hawkers still on the wing too.

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Earlier in the month we featured on National TV with The Fens: A Wild Year - this week is was the turn of regional news as BBC Look East came to do a feature on what it has been like since reopening to visitors and how special it is that black-tailed godwits have managed to fledge three wild chicks at Welney this year, but how vulnerable the species and their wetland home remains. Without headstarting through Project Godwit this year, the population has not had the boost of headstarted youngsters that we have been able to provide for the past three years, so fingers crossed we are able to repeat this again next spring.