A spotlight on wetland wildlife - April 2021

April started with warm temperatures but northerly winds soon set in and brought cool air and very little rainfall. This resulted in our wetlands experiencing different weather to recent springs, with bird migration not quite as early as it would have been in warm southerly winds.

However, even in cooler temperatures, spring was still blossoming all around us, new life emerging and summer migrants gracing our shores. Join us as we give a warm welcome to all…

Signs of spring

We saw catkins and blossom coming out at Caerlaverock.

And spring migrants beginning to arrive.

With the increased sunshine, life stirred from its winter slumber; these two great white egret certainly were appreciative.

The dry weather meant it was perfect conditions for a skylark dust-bath!

Birds were on the move, with Slimbridge being visited by both spoonbill and osprey in the first week of the month.

New life is all around

By mid-April, our sites were open to the public once again and there was no shortage of young wildlife to spot.

Have you ever seen a duckling run that fast!?

Incredibly, Welney staff witnessed a pair of bittern mating – not many of us can say the same!

The sunshine also brought out invertebrate life at Castle Espie.

The wonder of spring is everywhere - these toad tadpoles were spotted at Steart Marshes.

The wonders of migration

Migrant arrivals continued, with a garganey seen at Slimbridge...

And wheatear.

April can bring some scarcer visitors to our wetlands, such as this common scoter at Martin Mere...

A spotted redshank at Welney...

And a bar-tailed godwit in the grounds at London.

All of these species, in their summer plumage, will be en-route north to their breeding grounds.

Many of our more common migrants were now back on their breeding territory

While over at Castle Espie, rather excitingly we could be looking at breeding Mediterranean gull and sandwich tern this year.

In May, we look forward to most of our migrants having arrived and begun breeding. There will of course be many more youngsters to see. And after the near-drought of April, May will of course see just a little more rain…

See for yourself

Experience our wonderful wetland wildlife this spring. You can book your ticket for your local centre here: