News & Events
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.
Heritage Week Events at Wexford Wildfowl Reserve 2016
August 21st to 27th All events are free and family-friendly, no booking required
Bug & Butterfly Discovery at Wexford Wildfowl Reserve Visitor Centre – Sunday 21st, 2pm to 4pm. Insect capture and identification for all the family, nets, jars and identification leaflets are provided.
Shore Walk along Ardcavan Beach - Monday 22nd, 2:30pm to 4:30pm. Guides will help identify and discuss animals and plants of the seashore. Dress for the weather.
Bioblitz at Wexford Wildfowl Reserve - Tuesday 23rd, 9am to 4pm. Help identify and record as many species of animal and plant life to be found in Wexford Wildfowl Reserve, from the obscure to the familiar, the rare to the everyday.
Nature Walk at Raven Wood Nature Reserve - Wednesday 24th, 9am to 12 noon. Walk the length of the Raven Nature Reserve to see the different forest and sand dune habitats and their plant and animal life. Strong footwear and outdoor clothing required.
Pond Dipping and Bug Discovery at Raven Wood Nature Reserve -Thursday 25th, 11am to 1pm. Insect capture and identification for all the family, nets, jars and identification leaflets are provided.
Bug & Butterfly Discovery at Wexford Wildfowl Reserve Visitor Centre – Friday 26th, 11am to 1pm. Insect capture and identification for all the family, nets, jars and identification leaflets are provided.
Bat Walk & Talk at The Pump House, Wexford Wildfowl Reserve - Saturday 27th, 8:30pm to 11:30pm. After a presentation on Irish bats in the Pump House lecture hall, a walk to see bats as they emerge from their roosts. Bat detectors and monitors will pick up their high-pitched calls. Bring torches and wear outdoor clothes and strong footwear.
Guided Tour of Wexford Wildfowl Reserve Visitor Centre and Hides – 3pm each weekday all summer and autumn to the end of October. Ask at reception.
Saturday 22nd to Sunday 30th October 2016
The first cold northerly winds only blew for about 15 hours on Tuesday 18th October but they still brought hundreds of Greenland White-fronted Geese directly down from Iceland with them, along with 40 to 60 Whooper Swans. So our Goose Week celebrations should actually feature some geese.
Celebrate the return of the Greenland White-fronted Geese to Wexford Wildfowl Reserve during the Wexford Opera and Fringe Festivals (and school holidays!) in October. Join us for a week of goose-themed events, all free and family-friendly.
We open our observation tower early (7am) on Tuesday 25th and Thursday 27th to see the geese fly in to the fields of the reserve. Those same two days we bring nets and jars to the Raven Nature Reserve for pond dipping and bug discovery, and to look for traces of our native Red Squirrels, 2 to 4 pm.
We stay open late, to sunset (5.30pm) on Wednesday 26th and Friday 28th to see them fly off to their roosts.
On Saturday 28th, the last day of summertime, we walk the length of the Raven Nature Reserve to watch the Geese take off from their overnight roosts on the sandbanks in Wexford Harbour to fly off to the fields of the Slob. Booking is required and outdoor clothes and footwear are necessary. 6am start at the Raven Nature Reserve barrier gate, the walk lasts until about 10 am.
In our visitor centre every day, we have treasure hunts and quizzes and a book sale. Come and see Dave Daly’s Wildlife Art Exhibition in the pump house (Saturday 29th to Sunday November 6th).
Weekly Summer Family Events in Wexford Wildfowl Reserver
Join us each week for family-friendly investigations of wildlife and nature.
Each weekday afternoon at 3, we lead a guided tour of Wexford Wildfowl reserve visitor centre and grounds. Learn of the history of the reserve and how farms and fields reclaimed from the sea became a winter haven for thoudands of Greenland White-fronted Geese. Bring binoculars and a bird book if you have them, we provide some. Enquire at Reception at 3. This service runs through the summer and autumn up to the end of October, by when, the geese will be here. All ages welcome.
During July and August, we host twice-weekly outdoor pond-dipping and bug discovery events.
Every Tuesday (except Heritage Week Tuesday August 23rd) join us in the Snipe Field Ardcavan any time from 10 to midday. Park in the Ardcavan parking area (please leave space for agricultural traffic turning the corner) and follow the signs over the bridge and right, down the lane and into the Snipe Field.
Every Thursday,(including Heritage Week August 25th), join us in the Raven Nature Reserve any time from 10 to midday. Park in in the Raven or Curracloe Beach car parks and follow the signs through the barrier gate down to the first clearing.
Nets, trays, pooters, jars and identification charts are provided. Let your children investigate the variety of insect life in ponds, fields and bushes. Stay for as long or as short as you like. These events are weather dependent, if in doubt call 076 100 2664 or 087 2646433.
We also have a series of events planned for Heritage Week; August 20th to 27th, check the Heritage Week website and watch this space!
Daily Guided tours of Wexford Wildfowl Reserve.
From Monday June 13th, visitors to Wexford Wildfowl Reserve are invited to a guided tour of our Visitor Centre every weekday from 3 to 4 pm.
Meet at Reception in the Visitor centre at 3 pm and a Guide will lead you around the grounds, hides and the observation tower. Learn the hstory of the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve, it's role in conservation, the wildlife that lives on the Reserve and its keystone species; the Greenland White-fronted Goose. It was for this bird that the Wildfowl reserve was established in the 1960s and a third of its entire population spend every winter here.
Binoculars will be provided but visitors are welcome to bring their own telescope, binoculars and bird guides.
This daily event is free, no booking is required and it runs every weekday from June to the end of October. The weather will vary and some of the itinery will be out of doors. Some of the itinery is not accessible to wheelchairs.
For more information, contact the Education Office
Phone; 076 100 2664 or 087 2646433
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.