Ducks turn from drab to fab at Welney Wetland Centre

Mallards are flocking to Welney Wetland Centre.

Mallards are flocking to Welney Wetland Centre. - Credit: Archant

Ducks are flocking to the WWT Welney Wetland Centre, in anticipation for their autumn makeover.

Mallards are flocking to Welney Wetland Centre.

Mallards are flocking to Welney Wetland Centre. - Credit: Archant

“Drab, dishevelled males are arriving back after a hectic summer on their breeding grounds,” say the centre.

“Having travelled thousands of miles, they can rest and refuel without worrying about winter’s cold grip just yet.

Mallards are flocking to Welney Wetland Centre.

Mallards are flocking to Welney Wetland Centre. - Credit: Archant

“This gives them time to grow their new brightly coloured feathers, making themselves ready to attract female attention next spring.

“As winter pushes further south, huge flocks of birds make their way to the UK to escape the cold; the team at WWT Welney monitor the species of wildfowl that use the reserve, and last winter there were numbers of 18,000 wigeon, 3,000 mallard and 7,000 teal across the Ouse Washes.”

Mallards are flocking to Welney Wetland Centre.

Mallards are flocking to Welney Wetland Centre. - Credit: Archant


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Leigh Marshall, centre manager of WWT Welney, said: “When you think of the journey these birds have just embarked on, covering a huge distance to spend their winter with us, it makes the preparation work that we do over the summer months incredibly important.

“On our reserve we have pools of water right in front of the hides giving visitors the perfect chance to watch the ducks feeding, preening and resting up close.

Wigeon in summer

Wigeon in summer - Credit: Archant

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“This gives people who are new to bird watching the chance to familiarise themselves with the different species.

“One top tip is to look towards the bottom end of the duck, for a solid coloured patch called the speculum, which is a different colour in each species; purple-blue for mallard, black and white for wigeon, blue for shoveler, white for gadwall and green for teal.”

Wigeon males in winter.

Wigeon males in winter. - Credit: Archant

For more information visit www.wwt.org.uk/visit/welney

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