News & Events
Over 100 pairs of Little Terns have nested on Fort Bank close to the main channel in Wexford harbour. These beautiful birds -the smallest of the five terns that nest on the shores of County Wexford every summer- are raising their newly-hatched chicks on the sand bars. They are very easily disturbed so we ask people to keep away from the Fort Bank in July and early August while the chicks fledge.
NPWS Ranger Tony Murray said: “The Little Terns’ eggs and chicks look like seashells on the beach, so anyone could easily trample on them. The last time a colony was located here, the birds failed to breed due to disturbance by people entering the breeding area. Dogs pose an even bigger danger so we are urging dog owners to take particular care”.
“The number of birds using Wexford Harbour has been very significant over the last two years, making this one of the biggest colonies of Little Terns in Ireland. We hope that, with the cooperation of the public, hundreds of chicks will successfully fledge in the coming weeks.”
Please take care not to approach and disturb nesting birds at this important time. Please read and follow any signs that have been set up in the nesting areas.
Little terns on Fort Bank, their nests are simple scrapes in the sand and both eggs and chicks are camouflaged and easily stepped on.
Tern chicks in centre of picture: note how small and easy to miss they are and do not approach.
Join us in Wexford Wildfowl Reserve this July and August for a series of twice-weekly family-friendly wildlife events.
Every Tuesday between ten and midday we are pond-dipping for water minibeasts and netting for insects and spiders in the Snipe Field, Ardcavan. Park in the parking area close to Ardcavan beach (but please leave room for tractors and trailers turning the tight corner!) and follow the signs down the lane. Nets, jars and all equipment are provided.
Every Thursday between ten and midday we are pond-dipping for water minibeasts and netting for insects and spiders in the Raven Nature Reserve. Park in the Raven car park (Culleton’s Gap) and follow the signs down the lane to the first clearing. Nets, jars and all equipment are provided.
And we have guided tours of the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve visitor centre, observation tower and hides every week day afternoon at (or around) three.
Watch this space for our HERITAGE WEEK events (August 19th to 27th).
All or events are FREE, no booking is required, and suit families with children of all ages.
Join us during the Easter holidays for family-friendly wildlife-themed activities.
In the Wexford Wildfowl Visitor Centre, North Slob, Ardcavan, the guided tour runs each day from Sunday to Thursday (Good Friday and Easter Monday excepted) at 3 including Sunday 9th and Easter Sunday 16th.
Try pond dipping and bug discovery in the picnic area any time on Sundays to Thursdays; nets, jars and supervision are provided on request. Throughout the Easter break, visitors are invited to family-friendly wildlife detective challenges; follow the Wild Goose Chase to learn about our geese and other birds, and use the clues to identify the birds our nest boxes are designed for.
Pond dipping and bug discovery will be held on Wednesdays 12th and 19th in the Raven Nature Reserve Curracloe from 10 am to 12 noon. Nets, jars, trays and identification charts are provided. Park in the Raven car park and follow the signs to the first clearing.
As we hail the coming of spring –always welcome and never too early for our liking- we also say goodbye to our wintering flocks of migrant birds.
We especially hail and bid farewell to our Greenland White-fronted Geese. Warm winds from the south carry them northward and many have already gone. By early April, they will probably all have departed on their 15 to 20 hour flight to Iceland. They will burn off weeks’ worth of accumulated fat only to fatten up again and take off for their summer breeding grounds on the far side of Greenland. Then, the land will be truly green and the Geese can nest and rear their young through the summer.
Come and see them before they go. There is a guided tour every weekday at 3 and binoculars are available to borrow on request any time at reception.
March to December 2017
Visit the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve Interpretive Centre for a guided tour. These are held at 3pm every weekday (Monday to Friday). Learn the history of the North Slob and Wexford Wildfowl Reserve from its reclamation from the sea in the 1840s to the establishment of the reserve for thousands of the migrating Greenland White-fronted Goose and flocks of other birds. Bring binoculars if you have them, some pairs are provided. No fee and no booking are required, just come along and enquire at reception. This tour is both indoors and outdoors, most of the itinerary (apart from the observation tower) is wheelchair accessible. This tour is catered to all ages.
As Winter turns to Spring (and yes, it does eventually) our flocks of Greenland White-fronted Geese turn north, to Iceland first, then Greenland for the Summer. Already hundreds have left in advance of the rough weekend weather, and more will go during any spell of suitable wind. Soon, by late April, all will be gone so drop in anytime to see them enjoy their last meals before departure.
Thank you to all who came to visit the centre and to those who came especially for our GOOSE WEEK events.
The first Greenland White-Fronted Geese of the 2015/16 wintering season, two adults and a juvenile (hatched and reared in Greenland this summer), were seen by Ayln Walsh and Andrew Butler on Wednesday 7th October (early but not exceptionally so). The latest count (15/12) is about 5,900 Greenland white-fronts on the slob which is about 2,000 down on what we would expect for this stage in the season. Many are reported on the east coast of Britain and on the Norwegian coast, with perhaps more in Europe. Islay hasn't recieved any more than usual. This is mainly due to the stormy weather conditions, which were preceded by mild weather on the staging grounds in Iceland. Hopefully they will make their way to us soon.
As of 18/12 there are about 2,000 Brent Geese from Arctic Canada on the slobs. We also have about 190 Whooper Swans, 2 Bewick's Swans, 13 Barnacle Goose and 5 Pink-footed Goose. More Whitefronts will be coming over the next months and we will keep track of their numbers. As the winds turn northerly over the Goose stopover grounds in Iceland, they will start on the 15 to 18 hour flight to Ireland arriving at any hour of the day or night.
"Janey, I'm bushed. Will we ever get there?"
Recently we have been treated to regular sightings of hunting Peregrine, Merlin, Kestrel, Hen Harrier and Buzzard. Both Short and Long-eared owls are also around. The numbers and variety of Ducks is also increasing, with Pintails seen on the main channel on 6th November and a North American Ring-Necked Duck seen on November 10th.
There are also large flocks of wintering waders in the fields (hence the raptors), including Golden Plover, Curlew and one of my favourites, Lapwing.