Martin Mere celebrates best year for hatchlings

WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre has announced that it has had a remarkable year for hatchlings, marking it as one of the most successful years in the centre’s history for new life across its collection.

The wetland centre in Burscough is home to over 70 species of birds from around the world, including flamingos, storks, swans and geese, and allows visitors to get a closer look at a diverse range of waterfowl they may not get to see in the wild.

Milestones for the centre, in particular, are the trumpeter swans and Bewick’s swans. Both sets of proud parents hatched cygnets for the first time in over 10 years.

Hannah Slaney, Living Collection Manager, said, “Our team are absolutely ecstatic over the success of our swans. The trumpeter swan successfully bred for the first time in over 10 years, and the Bewick’s swan for the first time in over 20.

“The parents are very protective of the youngsters, and not much intervention has been needed as they’re doing such a good job.”

Greater Flamingos

Martin Mere’s most striking birds, the Greater Flamingos, have had another successful year of breeding, with the chicks now thriving at around 1.5 months old.

The chicks will stay easily identifiable for a long time. They hatch with white-grey, downy feathers, and straight bills, taking them several years to get their signature pink feathers and hook-shaped bills.

The white storks (main image) are another species on their way to a great track record. Arriving in 2020 as part of an initiative to rehome injured storks from Poland, they bred two chicks for the first time in 2022, and have continued their success for a second year.

Both stork parents will work together to build a nest, and they can be an impressive six feet wide and six feet deep.

Bar-headed gosling

The team has also been celebrating the arrival of bar-headed goslings. In the wild, this species of goose flies across the Himalayas from India to spend the summer breeding in central Asia. Flying over mountains might sound like something geese do every day, but at altitudes in excess of 20,000ft the bar-head must cope with pressures that would threaten the lives of most humans whilst they were sitting still, let alone travelling by wing.

Nick Brooks, Centre Manager at WWT Martin Mere, said, “We are overjoyed to have such remarkable success in breeding this year. These achievements serve as a testament to the ongoing dedication of our living collection team.”

WWT Martin Mere is inviting visitors to come and see the hatchlings at the centre. Open each day, there is a range of summer activities to enjoy a full day emerged in the wonderful wetland world.

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