This Spring visitors of all ages can enjoy a range of great events from Wetland Detectives to Birdwatching with experts.
Look out for the star species: terns, black-headed gulls, bats, black-tailed godwit, oystercatcher as well as snowdrops and ducklings. Also listen out as migrating birds return full of bird song. Other key lookouts include:
- Countless numbers of wildfowl, including many thousands of brent geese, pattern the Strangford Lough sky, waters, salt marshes and fields, creating an unforgettable natural spectacle.
- Woodland paths are lined with beautiful blossoming wood-sorrel guiding you through the trees. At night, the distinctive trefoil leaves fold up completely.
- Most of the lakes and ponds host families of ducklings, from tufted ducks to mallards to shelducks – there are always babies to see.
- Wigeon start to gather in larger numbers, with the males showing off their striking pale stipe down the top of their heads and their delicate, little blueish/grey bills.
- Lapwing, also known as ‘pee-wit’ due to the call they make, can be seen in large flocks flying high showing off their rounded wings; an easy identifier of the species.
There’s a range of events to suit everyone.
- Enjoy an exhibition of renowned Scottish wildlife artist Archibald Thornburn (Sat 4 – Sun 26 March) in the GraffanGallery. Painting mostly in watercolour, his widely reproduced images of British wildlife, with their evocative and dramatic backgrounds, are enjoyed as much today as they were by naturalists a century ago.
- Last Wednesday of every month join WWT Castle Espie experts as they take a closer look at a variety of birds on the wetland reserve whilst they are at their most active.
- Wetland Detectives, Thur 6 - Sun 16 April: Enjoy a day out of exploration and discovery that will put all senses to the test. ‘Quack the clues’ to succeed as a Wetland Detective and complete the Easter trail. Investigate tracks, uncover natures hidden secrets and discover more about the wonderful wetlands with activities such as pond dipping and mini-beast hunting.
The centre has recently reopened its doors closed in October 2022, following The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) guidelines, and has worked in partnership with DAERA to take measures to protect the birds at the centre. In order to continue to protect the birds in their care, the resident collection bird section of the site will be temporarily closed with a new visitor path providing access to the rest of the reserve site. Visitors can still see some of the wetland superstars from around the world from the Kingfisher café.
Paul Stewart centre manager WWT Castle Espie said:
“It’s starting to look a lot like Spring right across WWT Castle Espie. From wildfowl to woodland; the sights and sounds of this beautiful and important place is blossoming and ready for visitors to enjoy. Especiallythis Easter, families can enjoy our Wetland Detectives event and Mums go free for Mother’s Day. Whilst our resident collection bird section remains temporarily closed, but can still be viewed from our Kingfisher Café, there is still lots to do and see and we look forward to welcoming visitors this WWT Castle Espie Spring.”
We have a lot more Spring activity ideas HERE