The Reedswamp exhibit is closed for restructuring work. We've also had to temporarily restrict some activities, including hand feeding. Find out more here.

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Arundel News

Busy breeding season  is underway at Arundel

Busy breeding season is underway at Arundel

Head Keeper Sam McKinlay and the Collection Team once again have their hands full with breeding season underway among the threatened and endangered birds they care for at Arundel Wetland Centre. The Keepers have many species to track and will house the hatchlings and their families differently, depending on species, size and threats. Obvious nests in exhibitsBirds like the Bewick’s swans pair build a big nest and hatch their eggs outdoors in the exhibits they live in. The pair at Arundel are currently sitting on eggs for a thirty-two day incubation period. The Keepers will be watching to see if there are cygnets hatching from mid-June. Bewick's swan on nest next to the Icelandic Lake exhibit May 2022Tucked away in nesting boxesSome ducks nest in their exhibits inside green wooden boxes built by the Keepers at the wetland centre. These boxes vary in size and shape for the species using them and make it easier to check on the birds regularly. Keepers have an eye on the bufflehead ducks and hooded mergansers. Both species have chicks pipping in the shells, about to hatch any minute! These young families will quickly be moved into the netted duckery enclosure after they hatch to benefit from extra protection. Eggs in a nest of buffleheaded duck (above) are about to hatch!Special treatment for endangered speciesThe eggs of some endangered species are placed in incubators and the youngsters reared in tanks by our Keepers. These scaly-sided merganser chicks (pictured above) hatched in May – here Padme is 7 days old while Obi is 3 days old. Scaly-sided mergansers and Meller’s ducks that breed at Arundel Wetland Centre are part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) to maintain healthy population of healthy animals in Europe. This work is essential for conservation work with these species. All these birds are all the first wave of the breeding season which will have the Collections Team busy through till the end of the summer. The next wave may include red-breasted goslings, red shoveler ducklings and Philippine ducklings in the next month or two.Head Keeper Sam McKinlay working in the duckery enclosureWill they, won't theyThe Keepers are waiting to see if our pair of trumpeter swans lay eggs this year. The male is quite young (three years old) and the pair are not showing much interest in nest building despite being given logs for privacy and a tonne bag of nesting material! Trumpeter swan pairSome of the birds that hatch out this season at Arundel Wetland Centre may remain here while others may be moved to other WWT centres across the UK. Endangered species belonging to the EEP programme may even end up abroad in other countries as part of conservation programs.

New life & nesting birds to spot this May

New life & nesting birds to spot this May

The wetlands are awash with new life and nesting birds this May. Here are some tips of what to look out for during your spring visit. Nesting Kingfishers We have two pairs of kingfishers nesting onsite this spring. A pair of kingfishers have been spotted cleaning faecal sacs out of a nesting hole in the artificial bank on the Arun Riverlife lagoon. This indicates they are caring for at least one hatchling in the nest. Look out for them from the Discovery hide - the birds also spend time on the perches out in front of the bank. Below is footage of the kingfisher pair who nested on Arun Riverlife in 2021. They are in this same spot this year. Photo above of a kingfsher bringing fish to feed young is courtesy of visitor Mike Jerome. A second pair of kingfishers have been using holes in the Sand Martin nesting bank that sits on the large lagoon. The Sand Martin hide windows are closed but you may catch site of them through the glass. Swirls of sand martins Sand martins, swallows and house martins are stopping off at Arundel Wetland Centre now on their way northwards, returning from winter homes in Africa and Europe. Some sand martins stay and use our nesting bank attached to the Sand martin hide to raising chicks. The number of birds in this small colony has been increasing for the past four so we hope they will stay and nest again this year. The martins and swallows are easier to see on cloudy days when they are hunting flying insects that are pushed closer to the water by colder air. Look up while near the Sand martin hide and in the Wildlife garden. They are fast fliers! Sand martins at the Sand Martin hide nesting bank Photo: WWT Oystercatcher couples Two pairs of oystercatchers have arrived onsite again this spring. One pair are nesting on the large island in front of the Coastal Creek aviary. In previous years oystercatchers have nested on the gravelled roof of the Sand martin hide (see clip below), in the open space of the Tundra pen and in the middle of the construction zone for the Pelican Cove exhibit! The second pair is hanging about the the islands near the Sand martin hide. Look for lapwing chicks Lapwings have paired up and are nesting on the wet grassland in front of the Lapwing hide and Ramsar hides. Three chicks have been spotted across from the Ramsar hide. The work really starts now for the doting lapwing parents protecting their chick from crows, herons and herring gulls. The adults give a warning call when danger is spotted and the chicks crouch and freeze, blending into the grass and dirt. The parents fly at any attackers, mobbing them until the threat flies away. Lapwing chicks blending in, newly hatched out across from the Ramsar hide Photo: WWT Andy Burns Greylag goslings, coot chicks and mallard ducklings It’s the time for spotting fluffy ones of all descriptions across the wetlands. Greylag geese families are wandering the pathways, young goslings in tow nibbling the grass. Mallard ducklings bumble after their mums in the ditches and ponds. Fluffy, black moorhen chicks peep after parents to feed them in the Woodland loop. In spring what is a treat for our eyes can become a treat for larger wetland birds. Herring gulls, grey herons and birds of prey hunt chicks so it’s natural for them to make off with little ones from the ponds and ditches across the site. Want to visit to see what's springing out for yourself? Spontaneous days out are back and you no longer need to book in advance! But if you'd prefer to book your visit online and save time at the till, click below. PLAN YOUR VISIT

Top 10 to try during Easter holiday weekend

Top 10 to try during Easter holiday weekend

Our tips on things to try during your family visit this April.

New Play Park to Open for Easter holidays

New Play Park to Open for Easter holidays

A new play park will open at Arundel Wetland Centre just in time for the Easter holidays in West Sussex! This spring young visitors will be exploring bird boxes, wobbly lily pads and seesaws via a new pathway of balance beams, rope walks and a curved walkway with a scramble net. The new play area is a bespoke creation designed for WWT Arundel Wetland Centre by Studio Hardie, a company near Lewes that fuses art, design, engineering, architecture and craft. The firm have also created projects for English Heritage and The National Trust. In fitting with its natural surroundings the play park will be constructed from natural materials. Wood for the project has been Sussex sourced and harvested. The metal slide from the existing play area has also been incorporated into the design. The new play park replaces the existing Pond Skater Play Area which will close Monday 21 March to allow staff and contractors remove the existing structures. The new play equipment will be installed the following week to reopen as a brand new Pond Skaters play area by Sat 9 April. Arundel Wetland Centre Manager Tim McGregor said, “We are very excited by the design of the play park. We can’t wait to welcome families in and we hope they love it. We want to hear their feedback!” Families love the existing Pond Skaters play area but we are sure an update will be welcomed

Reedswamp exhibit works

Reedswamp exhibit works

We are restructuring our Reedswamp exhibit this by removing silt out of the pond, adding more land area for geese to graze and removing the foot bridge. In early March we dropped the water level in preparation for works. On Thursday 10 March the exhibit's ducks and geese were caught up for their spring health checks then moved into other exhibits as their temporary homes. Moving into the Lakes & Forests exhibit directly across the pathway are marble teal, Baikal teal, swan geese, magpie geese, red shoveler and Chiloe wigeon species. Our Icelandic Lake exhibit will temporarily reopen to house the white-headed ducks, ferruginous duck, Orinoco geese and Philippines duck species. The wooden footbridge in the exhibit is of age and must be rebuilt or removed. Our Keepers find the bridge difficult to manoeuvre around when they are required to enter the water to work with the ducks in the exhibit so we are removing it. This Reed Swamp exhibit area will be fenced while works are underway. The pathway, which also runs alongside the Lakes & Forest exhibit, will be fully open. The project is scheduled to be completed in May and the birds will be reintroduced when vegetation regrowth is advanced enough to support them. Wetland plants grow quickly in spring so the exhibit shouldn't sit empty for long.These marbled teal will find a temporary home in the Lakes & Forests exhibit.

Toad Patrol!

Toad Patrol!

Prowling Mill Road at night, protecting the small and vulnerable - its Arundel Wetland Centre's Toad Patrol!Milder, damp weather has signalled its migration time to Sussex toads. This can put them in danger as they make their way across country roads to return to the ponds they hatched out in as tadpoles. Arundel Wetland Centre’s Reserve Manager Suzi Lanaway and volunteers return under darkness when conditions are right to rescue toads trying to cross. Female spotted on the road by Toad Patrol torchesThe patrol isn’t just made up of volunteering wildlife wardens – staff from the Retail, Catering and Learning teams have all volunteered for this local Toad Patrol. Mill Road in front of the wetland centre is an active toad crossing point, listed with the Department of Transport on the registry of amphibian crossing points. There is a major influx of toads returning to the safety of the ponds of the wetland reserve in early spring every year. It isn’t just toads that benefit from these road rescues. WWT Arundel Toad Patroller Lizzy Pearce said “Last night we helped 134 toads, 13 palmate newts, 14 smooth newts and 1 common frog over the road to safety!” Toads travel at night to avoid being eaten by crows and other predators. In damp, mild weather toads will travel up to three miles to return to breed in the waters where they were spawned. Common toads are recognised as being of priority importance for the conservation of biodiversity under Section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. During daylight hours the Keepers at Arundel Wetland Centre also look out for toads trying to get through the wetland reserve’s perimeter fence during their daily checks. Head Keeper Sam Halpin said, “We picked up over 100 toads off the fence line today. Our team had to get into waders and rescue four toads from the sluice gate as well.” Pair rescued by during daytime fence checks by Grounds teamMany roads in Sussex will have volunteers out to help toads at this time of year. Reserve Manager Suzi Lanaway said “Drive slower down country roads, look out Toad Xing road signs and volunteers in Toad Patrol jackets. I hope motorists will keep an eye out for toads on these warm, rainy nights.” Members of the public who would like to help ‘Toads on Roads’ in their area can contact Froglife.org for more information.

Top 6 things to do this Feb half term at Arundel Wetland Centre

Top 6 things to do this Feb half term at Arundel Wetland Centre

February is a great time to explore nature looking for signs of spring. Here's our TOP 6 things to do during a visit to our wonderful wetlands! 1. Puddle Jumping Wear your wellies and jump into nature! Perfect your form and jumping style at the Practice Zone puddles zone before entering our competitions at 11 am & 2.30 pm each day. It’s great fun and the perfect rainy day activity too. Head to our picnic area at competition times and sign up on the spot before you jump. Included in your admission price. 2. Make a mud painting Drop into the Outlook In building with our friendly Learning Team to try painting with mud. No artistic skills are required! Plus we’ve some colouring sheets for those who don’t appreciate earth tones! Drop into the Outlook In build between 10-10.45am or 1-2pm. Included in your admission price. 3. Drop into the discovery hide This wildlife hide on the water overlooking the Aryn river life lagoon is a perfect place for families to spot the top 10 wild birds of Arundel Wetland Centre. Bring your binoculars or camera to zoom in on the ducks to identify who is who. Look out for a pair of kingfishes on the perches at the nesting bank! Open from 10am-4pm 4. Wander the Reedbed Boardwalk Submerge yourself in this pathway of towering reeds. The meandering wooden walkway is perfect for buggies and wheelchairs. Benches allow you to pause and soak in the sights and sounds of this peaceful place. There’s a nice sheltered spot in the reed chamber if you get caught in a rain shower. 5. Suss out our ‘Secret Spots’ We’ve got a few hidden gems on site - secluded places children love to discover! At the very end of the Tranquil Trail - down the wood chipped path from the Lapwing hide is a woven den called the Willow Arbour. The second is in the Wildlife garden where you can find a little glen with a carved wooden chair and a circle of tree stump seats. These are lovely spots for sensory play- close your eyes for one minute and count on your fingers how many different sounds of nature you hear! Secret spot in the wildlife garden. 6. Meet the Keepers at Pelican Cove Each day at 2 pm you can meet one of the WWT Keepers who care for the 30 species of threatened and endangered ducks and geese at Arundel Wetland Centre. The friendly keepers will introduce you to our huge Dalmatian pelicans and answer any questions you have about the birds they care for. Meet at the feeding bay at Pelican Cove, daily at 2pm. Included in your admission price. Bonus: Get onboard a Boat Safari A stunning way to see wetlands is from the water. Take a 15 minute ride with a wildlife guide along wet meadows, carr woodland and channels of reeds. Book your boat safari at the admission desk for £3 per person, maximum 6 people per boat. WWT Arundel Wetland Centre is open daily from 10 am-4.30 pm in February. The Water’s Edge Café is open for hot and cold snacks and drinks from 10 am – 4 pm, while the WWT shop is open until 4.30 pm. All pathways are buggy and wheelchair friendly, either paved or non-slip boardwalks. There is no longer a need to book your visit with us but if you’re not already a member and would like to, please proceed to book your tickets online. BOOK NOW

Conservation Project: make a dormouse box

Conservation Project: make a dormouse box

Build a dormouse box at home and donate it to our Reserve Team to help us continue to survey our dormouse population at Arundel.

Its National Nest Box week!

Its National Nest Box week!

Love birds? National Nest Box week starts on Valentine’s Day, Mon 14 Feb. Show garden birds some love by putting up a new nest box in any outdoor space you have! Attracting birds to your green space is an easy way to connect with nature. Get outdoors, close your eyes for just a moment and listen for birdsong. Being attuned to what birds are doing can give meaning and rhythm to our own lives. Birdy Behaviours In February birds begin to pair up and look for nesting spots for the breeding season. Watch for nesting activities like birds carrying twigs, moss or feathers in their beaks. Listen out for male birds singing to establish their territory. Reserve Warden Suzi Lanaway said: “As natural nesting places disappear birds rely on nest boxes in gardens. With birds searching for nesting sites mid-February it’s a good time to get a nest box up to support nesting birds.” Wardens at WWT Arundel check all our nest boxes in February, replacing damaged nest boxes and moving unused ones to new spots. Many boxes are used as roosting spots for birds and hidey holes for small mammals over the winter months.

Our Puddle Jumping championships  are back this Feb half-term

Our Puddle Jumping championships are back this Feb half-term

Jump into nature and make a splash this February half term!

Lagoon project to restore nesting islands to be completed end of January

Lagoon project to restore nesting islands to be completed end of January

The Arundel Lagoon project will improve nesting habitat for oystercatchers, ringed plovers and terns at the Sand Martin hide.

Enjoy wild wetland winter days out  this holiday season

Enjoy wild wetland winter days out this holiday season

We're open every day except Christmas Day

Marsh Harrier roost at Arundel

Marsh Harrier roost at Arundel

In 2017 The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust wardens were excited when two marsh harriers began flying into the far reedbeds at Arundel Wetland Centre in the late afternoons. In 2018 the number of marsh harriers regularly hunting and roosting on the reserve increased to six, then to eight in 2019. This number is holding strong for 2021 according to Reserve Manager Suzi Lanaway. Suzi spends some chilly hours in the hide on a Sunday once a month to do the official count for the monthly Harrier Roost Survey run by The Hawk and Owl Trust. In recent years the eight birds at Arundel are the largest roosting population recorded in Sussex and the fifth largest concentration of marsh harriers in the Essex-Kent-Sussex area. Suzi Lanaway said: “The steady number of harriers on our wetland reserve is great news because it shows we have the balance right for managing our wetland habitats.” The presence of the marsh harriers also indicates the Arun River Valley to be a healthy ecosystem as a whole. To support a large number of hunting raptors like the marsh harrier there must be a multitude of small birds, fish and mammals in the area - to support that population there must be hoards of healthy plants and insects to feed on.” It is easy for visitors to see the marsh harriers in the Arun River Valley. The birds arrive at Arundel Wetland Centre around 3.45 pm in the afternoon, flying low over the reedbeds before landing in the reeds to spend the night. The marsh harriers often make a few passes before landing. The best views are from the Scrape hide and the Reedbed hide and you will need binoculars. Look out for little egrets and pied wagtails roost in numbers at Arundel Wetland Centre as well. Visitors must be back in the visitor centre when Arundel Wetland Centre closes at 4.30 pm. The wild birds, ducks and geese currently around the reserve can be found on our sightings page HERE

WWT celebrates 75 years & 45 years of Arundel Wetland Centre

WWT celebrates 75 years & 45 years of Arundel Wetland Centre

From pulling birds back from extinction to creating wonderful new nature friendly habitats - the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) celebrates 75 years of ground breaking conservation work and sharing the wonders of wetlands and wetland wildlife. WWT Arundel Wetland Centre shares the birthday, first opening its doors 45 years ago on November 10 1976. WWT founder Sir Peter Scott planned the exhibits, hides and natural areas at Arundel Wetland Centre with Andrew Dawnay the first warden and general manager. When the reserve opened in 1976 there were only two wildlife hides and a port-a-kabin at the gate to take tickets which cost 50p for adults and 25p for children. In its 45 years Arundel Wetland Centre has had a huge number of achievements including: Reintroduction of water voles between 1999 -2005 joining up local populations on the Mill stream ditches and the Arun RiverRestoring wet grassland habitat, crucial for breeding lapwingCreating nesting banks for breeding kingfishers and sand martinsMaintaining SSSI reedbeds for summer warblers and roosting marsh harriers in winterReintroducing threatened triangular club rush Described by Sir David Attenborough as the “patron saint of conservation”, Sir Peter Scott founded WWT on the banks of the River Severn in 1946 with just 1,000 members and one site at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire. Since then, the charity has grown to ten UK sites including Arundel Wetland Centre created and helped to protect thousands of hectares of wetlands around the world, and is now supported by more than 180,000 members. Building on the passion of Sir Peter Scott, who championed wetlands and wildlife while recognising their value to people, WWT is drawing on over seven decades of experience to ensure wetlands are put centre stage in the fight to meet global challenges. It aims to inspire one million people to take action for wetlands by spreading the word about the many benefits of these amazing habitats not just for wildlife but for people’s everyday lives. The charity plans to achieve both these aims through many conservation projects throughout the world and its Wetlands Can! campaign. This focuses on the creation of 100,000 hectares of healthy wetlands across the UK to help combat the nature, climate, and mental health crises. WWT is calling for a ‘blue recovery’ where this ambition is incorporated into national and international policies to protect the planet, including strategies to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. “Sir Peter Scott was an extraordinary man and in 1946 he had a vision – to create a safe haven for wild birds while at the same time bringing people closer to nature,” said WWT Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Peberdy. “He understood that people and nature are part of the same intertwined ecosystem. He realised – ahead of his time – that our wealth, our health and our emotional wellbeing all depend on the natural world. He appreciated that showing people how amazing wetland nature is can ignite a passion to preserve it. “At WWT today we still hold these principals at the heart of everything we do. We may be a much larger charity than we were when we started back in 1946, but we still believe fervently in wetlands and what they can do, – for wildlife and for humans, and increasingly for the planet. If rainforests are the lungs of the planet, then wetlands are the lifeblood. As much as we need air to breathe, we need water to live. The conservation of our wetlands is essential to life on Earth.” In its 75 years, WWT has had a huge number of achievements and hit many milestones. These include: Restoring and creating wetlands on every continent and along critical global flywaysBuilding a global network of over 350 wetland sites and organisations that share WWT’s passion for wetland protection and engagement.Working on action plans for over 30 threatened and declining wetland species and the wetlands on which they dependThrough understanding their value for wetland birds, helped protect over 700,000 hectares of the UK’s most important wetlandsHelping more than two million children to discover the magic of wetland wildlifeProviding a safe haven for 15 million migratory birds to spend the winter at our UK sites “When we look back we realise what an enormous amount we have achieved” said Kevin Peberdy. “But of course the work isn’t done and we now look forward to taking Peter Scott’s philosophy of creating a world where healthy nature thrives and enriches all of our lives and applying it to the situation today. “None of this would be achievable without our incredible staff, volunteers and supporters and it is them I would like to thank as we join millions of other people around the world to work to ensure the future of the planet. “It won’t be easy but all of us here at WWT will think of our remarkable founder Peter Scott as we try to do our best for the wildlife and the habitats that he so loved”.

Arundel Wetland Centre joins National Lottery Days Out

Arundel Wetland Centre joins National Lottery Days Out

Arundel Wetland Centre joins the National Lottery Days Out campaign to offer discounted and free entry this autumn.