Washington Wetland back with a bang in 2022 after bird flu setback

Washington Wetland Centre is open again and raring to go after bird flu forced it to close.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 5:47 pm

The popular wildlife sanctuary shut in December after the Government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency confirmed an outbreak of avian flu there. However, the reserve is now open again having taken every relevant precaution to protect the birds.

Washington Wetland, run by the Wetland and Wildfowl Trust, was just one victim of bird flu. Dr Christine Middlemiss, the UK's chief veterinary officer told in December of a “phenomenal level” of the disease in the UK.

A human case in the south-west of England was confirmed on January 6. But the Pattinson centre has a clean bill of health.

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Grey herons are just one of the highlights at Washington Wetland Centre.

Manager Gill Pipes said: “We’re so happy to be open to the public once again, after what was a very difficult time for our team.

“Cases of avian influenza are widespread in Great Britain and after confirming a case within our collection birds in December, we worked closely with the relevant government agencies to take measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

“Protecting the birds in our care and those seeking winter refuge on our reserve is always our utmost priority and we were grateful for the support and understanding of our loyal members and visitors while we were closed.

“Thankfully, we’re now able to welcome them back, with one small section of site remaining closed temporarily in order to comply with safety measures to protect the birds.

The wildlife haven is open again and raring to go.

"Our expert team continues to take excellent care of all our animals, including our flamingos and other birds, within this closed area.

“We very much look forward to seeing our members and visitors back on site once again. Their support is invaluable and makes a real difference to wetlands, wildlife and us as a team.”

Winter highlights include bullfinches, long-tailed tits, siskins and redpolls using feeders at the Hawthorn Wood hide, as well as teal, shoveler, shelduck and the elusive kingfisher from the hide at the Saline Lagoon.

Nesting grey herons return in January and sightings of snipe, teal, wigeon and curlew, along with lapwing on Wader Meadow are among ther great sights. Visit www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/washington for times and admission details.

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