The Martin Mere Column - A new addition

The new arrival at Martin Mere
The new arrival at Martin Mere

A Cape Barren gosling has hatched at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre heralding the start of the new life season.

The gosling, a little boy, was hatched on Saturday 5 March and he is growing well. It has been over 10 years since Martin Mere last successfully hatched a cape barren gosling and he has very distinctive black and grey markings on his body and black patch around his eyes.

Grounds manager, Steve Nasir, said: “These 2 birds were paired together when our WOW exhibit opening in summer 2013. They have tried a couple of times to breed unsuccessfully so we are delighted that they finally have a gosling. They are being excellent parents protecting the little boy and keeping him warm. It has been at least 10 years since Martin Mere last hatched a cape barren gosling and it is a great achievement for the team. He is going to be a big attraction over the Easter holidays – especially with his black and grey ‘humbug’ markings”.

Cape Barren geese is a very large goose that is found in Australia, hence why they tend to nest in our winter. They can often be referred to as a pig goose due to the grunting sound they make. They are bulky birds with grey plumage, pink legs, blackish flight feathers and a black and green bill.The Cape Barren goose is 75 to 100 cm long, weighs 3 to 7 kg and has a 150 to 190 cm wingspan with the males are somewhat larger than females.

The gosling can be viewed in our WOW exhibit in the waterfowl gardens. Come along and see our little gosling over Easter whilst you are also taking part in our GIANT duck hunt, pond dipping, den building and much more. It is 50p to enter the duck hunt and all explorers get a certificate and a chocolate treat. For more information visit www.wwt.org.uk/martinmere

WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre is open every day from 9.30am to 6pm during the spring months and parking is free of charge. Situated off the A59, it is signposted from the M61, M58 and M6. The Centre is also accessible via the Southport to Manchester and the Liverpool to Preston line by train from Burscough Rail Stations.

Visit the web site http://www.wwt.org.uk/martinmere/ to find out what’s on all year round at Martin Mere and the other eight WWT Wetland Centres.