Going quackers for fluffy ducklings . . .

DUCKLINGS have been taking their first faltering waddles at WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre, outside Comber, Co Down.

The popular Downy Duckling Tours have returned and will take place every Saturday and Sunday in June at noon, 2pm and 3pm, and on a Wednesday at 3pm. Families will have a unique opportunity to see and discover how ducklings develop inside an egg and break free from the shell into a young bird that you can meet whilst exploring the duckling nursery.

We will take you to our egg room to see the incubators, where we will use a technique called candling to show you ducklings developing inside their eggs at different stages – from one week of development all the way through to ducklings trying to hatch! If you are lucky enough to come on a day when a duckling has just hatched in our hatching incubator, you will be able to meet it up close!

You will also tour our indoor duckery and finally visit the outdoor duckery, where our older ducklings enjoy five star accommodation with a heated coop and their first swimming pool!

Rearing ducklings in our duckery helps us to save rare birds from extinction. Here at WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre, we are breeding endangered Hawaiian geese (Nene), critically endangered Laysan ducks, and many more. Due to the late spring these ducklings haven’t hatched yet, but there will be others in the duckery for you to see. The work of WWT’s aviculturalists in places like our duckery has allowed them to develop skills they are now using all around the world to save the world’s rarest species, including the Madagascar pochard and spoon-billed sandpiper, both critically endangered.

Tours are included in price of admissions, due to popular demand pre-booking is essential. WWT members are also required to book their space although they will not be charged. WWT members must arrive promptly 15 minutes before tour otherwise there space will be reallocated.

Also another date for your diary; Saturday 15 June, Fathers Go Feral is a Father’s Day event with a difference. Now into the 6th year this one books quickly. A chance for dads everywhere and their kids to learn about bush craft, camp out under the stars in WWT Castle Espie’s Wetland Centre’s woodland and learn more about nature. Starts at 7pm on Saturday 15 June; adults £30; children £20. Booking is essential with the centre in advance.

WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre is open daily from 10.00am to 5pm. Access to the car park, shop, Loughshore Café and Art Gallery is free.  For more information on these and other events please call 028 9187 4146 or visit wwt.org.uk/castleespie