As the days begin to shorten and the blackberries begin to ripen, a feeling of rest descends over the countryside. The busyness of the spring and summer is over and the natural world is beginning to think about rest and recuperation. For us too, life seems to settle back into a rhythm as the leaves turn, we take a deep breath after the fun and busyness of summer holidays and allow ourselves to slow down and take time, to wander through the days a little more.
At WWT we enter autumn with a feeling of anticipation as we wait for the first migratory birds to arrive for the winter. There’s always a feeling of joy as familiar faces arrive, often with new arrivals in tow. As well as welcoming back our migratory birds there are lots of other events and activities to enjoy at our centres over the next few months, here are a few of the highlights.
Make it an autumn of discovery at WWT Arundel with family pond dipping sessions that can lead to all kinds of exciting discoveries. Or take a canoe safari where you can spot water voles and kingfishers along a discovery trail that will help you get to know all the amazing creatures that live on our wetlands. And for those of you looking to slow down while you take in the wildlife, we’re running some mindfulness workshops at the centre this autumn too.
In the year that WWT celebrates its 75th birthday we’re delighted that Dafila Scott, the daughter of Sir Peter Scott, will be exhibiting her paintings at WWT Caerlaverock this autumn. There will also be a 50th Anniversary Historical Trail where you can discover more about the reserve and its history. You’ll learn about our founder, Sir Peter Scott, find out how the ponds, fields and hides got their names and how the wildlife has changed over the years.
Just as wetlands offer sanctuary to thousands of animals over the colder months, they also make the perfect place to safely escape the everyday. At WWT Castle Espie autumn is a spectacular time of year. The first of our migratory birds arrive, having flown vast distances and our reserves transform into an impressive patchwork of rich textures and dazzling colour displays, as leaves turn amber, fruits and berries emerge from the hedgerows and fairy tale fungus sprout underfoot.
Are you brave enough to try our spooky trail and discover the creatures lurking at WWT Llanelli this Halloween? Pick up a trail map at the admission desk to find the feathered and furred and the slimy and scaly around our site, as you uncover amazing facts about these very special creatures along the way. Find them all and a sticker lurks for you back at the admission desk. What Lurks Beneath trails are also running at WWT Caerlaverock, Welney, Arundel, Martin Mere, Washington and Castle Espie.
Ever wondered what wetlands are like at night? Experience the night time habitats of owls, geese and otters on our IllumiNature experience at WWT London. Walk past reed beds, lagoons and the grazing marsh and see larger-than-life illuminations of iconic wetland wildlife. Along the route, play in the immersive tunnels, hop along the responsive lily-pads, create colourful shadow animals and enjoy a multitude of other opportunities to interact with nature and light.
The arrival of thousands of pink footed geese at WWT Martin Mere is always an incredible sight. Watching their winged shapes emerge in a darkening sky as dusk falls is breath-taking. This year we’ve planned something special for those of you that love the pinkies as much as we do. We’ll be opening for special dawn and dusk access on certain days so you can watch the birds at close quarters and at their most spectacular.
Our experts at WWT Slimbridge are on hand this autumn to help you improve your birdwatching skills and give you lots of helpful tips to help you on your way. Whether you’re keen to know more about identifying birds, using equipment or how to make the most of your days our on the reserve, there’s something for everyone from the most experienced to the absolute beginner.
During the autumn months the wildlife at WWT Washington is spectacular. You’ll find passing migrant birds dropping in to rest and refuel at Wader Lake and colourful woodland birds gathering at Hawthorn Wood feeding station, while our stunning scenery is awash with rich seasonal hues. Enjoy encounters with some of the world’s most dramatic and rare waterbirds, as well as bats, insects, amphibians, Eurasian cranes, Chilean flamingos and our cheeky Asian short-clawed otters, Musa, Mimi and Buster.
Hares are rarer than they should be in our countryside. But the beautiful Lady Fen at WWT Welney seems to hold the secret to just what a hare needs to thrive. We’re lucky to have regular sightings of these impressive creatures during the year from their amazing boxing displays in the spring to the sight of them bounding over the wetlands in the autumn sun. You might also spot a roe deer, catch the impressive sight of a glossy ibis, see birds of prey circling overhead or the glint of an egret in the reeds. All in one stunning landscape - pretty special, we’re sure you’ll agree.