Spring is in the air at RSPB Saltholme with the first arrivals of beautiful new born lambs.
Visitors can see the cute animals up close from today and take part in a host of family activities for Lambing Live.
The nature reserve is celebrating the event, which had to be cancelled last year following a series of devastating dog attacks that killed more than 50 of their flock.
Many were in lamb. Two German shepherd dogs were identified and their owners taken to court.
Caroline Found, Saltholme’s Visitor Experience Manager, told the Mail: “We are definitely seeing this as a bit of a celebration which marks the end of that horrible period we had.
“It’s great to see the flock looking good and fantastic to see the first of the new lambs.
“We are looking forward to lots of families and visitors coming to enjoy it with us.”
This year, 32 of the reserve’s flock of Shetland sheep are lambing. So far, three have each had twin lambs and Saltholme is expecting to welcome about 60 furry new faces in total to the reserve near Billingham.
The Lambing Live event runs from today until April 23.
As well as witnessing the lambs taking their first steps in the lambing shed, the reserve is celebrating the new arrivals with craft activities and nature trails.
Visitors can take part in Sherlock Sheep’s Quest, enjoy sheep craft workshops and other fun activities throughout the Easter holidays.
Helpful guides will be on hand to provide plenty of information and answer that all important question: ‘boy or girl?’
There is also other wonderful wildlife to enjoy on the reserve near the mouth of the River Tees.
Dave Braithwaite, Saltholme’s site manager said: “With spring well and truly on the way, it’s only a matter of time before we’re welcoming back our returning breeding birds and enjoying the joyful yellow of early flowers.”
Will you be the one to spot Saltholme’s first sand martins, as they carefully choose and excavate their nest burrow in its sand martin bank?
Saltholme is offering a Lambing Live Family Activities pass for £5 to non-RSPB members and £4 to members. For those who just want to see the lambs the charge is 50p per person.
The reserve’s usual entry fee of £5 per car to non-members applies.