Better late than never…… Duckling season begins at WWT Martin Mere (VIDEO)

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Better late than never…… Duckling season begins at WWT Martin Mere
WWT Martin Mere is heralding the start of spring and downy duckling season with Nene goslings hatching at the centre.  The nene goslings usually hatch mid-March but the recent cold weather has ensured things are running a little late this year.
The Nene (also known as Hawaiian Goose) is popular at the centre for being one of the birds that will actually take bird food from the hand and is an enjoyable attraction for children and adults.
The Hawaiian goose represents WWT’s greatest conservation success story by breeding the birds in captivity and releasing them in the wild. The reintroduction programme started at Martin Mere in the 1980s when just three eggs were delivered to the centre and there are now approximately 60 Hawaiian Geese in the grounds.
The gosling, born on Tuesday 2 April, can currently be seen wandering around the South American area of the gardens, and it has already attracted a lot of attention from families visiting the Centre.

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Centre Manager, Andy Wooldridge, said: “With having such a harsh winter, the birds are laying their eggs slightly later than usual but I am pleased that duckling season has finally begun. It is always a joy to see the goslings. We are really hopeful for a successful breeding season this year.”
Sometimes known as Lava geese, Nene’s are the only waterfowl adapted for life on lava flows. An estimated 25,000 Nene’s used to inhabit the Hawaiian islands, but following the arrival of Europeans in 1778 their numbers immediately began to decline. The introduction of the mongoose in 1883 then seemed to seal their fate as it prayed voraciously on eggs, chicks and adults alike.
By 1907, the Nene was recognised as a protected species, but this seemed too little too late and only 20 or 30 birds survived by 1949. A major re-introduction programme was launched which saw Sir Peter Scott bring over two of the only remaining Nene’s in the world from Hawaii, then WWT went on to release more than 200 of them back to the wild over the years helping to save the Nene from extinction.
WWT Martin Mere is open every day from 9.30am to 5.30pm and parking is free of charge. Situated off the A59, it is signposted from the M61, M58 and M6.  The Centre is also accessible via the Southport to Manchester and the Liverpool to Preston line by train from Burscough Rail Stations.  Visit the web site to find out what’s on all year round at Martin Mere and the other eight centres.

Photos by Martin Birchall



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