Stunning aerial displays of new visitors to WWT Welney
- Credit: Archant
People can enjoy stunning aerial displays as thousands of black-tailed godwits from Iceland make WWT Welney Wetland Centre their winter refuge.
These flocks of godwits undertake the same migration as the whooper swans, spending their summer months breeding in the Icelandic wilderness and returning to the UK each winter to escape the cold.
Emma Brand, marketing officer, said: “Watching these birds as they take to the sky is amazing. They move just like starlings, grouping together to evade birds of prey. But when the sun is shining, the white wing bars on these particular birds catch the light and shimmer, making them look like shoals of fish.
“You don’t have to be an expert at bird watching to enjoy the sight of thousands of birds filling the view from the hide windows. With a centrally heated hide and a telescope to get that look at their finer details Welney offers the best setting to enjoy winter wildlife.’
Dr Jennifer Gill, University of East Anglia, said: “Welney is an incredibly important site for Icelandic black-tailed godwits, and the sightings of individual godwits that we have marked over the last 20 years have contributed hugely to our understanding of how migratory birds select sites throughout the range, and the consequences of those site choices for those birds.”
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Conservation projects track the godwits and as a result some of the individuals sport a variety of coloured leg rings.
Observing visitors to wetland sites like WWT Welney means scientists can follow the lives of these birds.
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Two individuals spotted this winter were first ringed in 1998 and have both been spotted in the UK and Iceland.
WWT Welney is open from 10am daily and provides opportunities to get closer to the wildlife with guided activities.