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Feeling festive at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands

Last modified: 09 December 2014

Fieldfare in frosty bush

Image: Graham Catley

With Christmas just around the corner, there’s a festive song in the air at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands nature reserve – but it’s not only the iconic robin holding a beautiful tune.

Staff and volunteers at the reserve near Neston can be found humming festive favourite ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ and are now inviting visitors to join in – with a twist. After rewriting the classic tune to include the winter birds found on the reserve and incorporating it into a fun family trail, the team at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands are encouraging families to enjoy the ‘Twelve Birds of Burton Mere’ trail.

Dan Trotman, Visitor Development Officer at the RSPB Dee Estuary reserve, said: “We are challenging families to come along and follow the trail, discovering all about the wonderful wildlife that calls the reserve home. December is a magical month at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands and we are sure you’ll have fun finding the clues and singing the tune as you explore the nature trails. Not forgetting there’s also free Christmas-themed craft activities for families to enjoy throughout the festive period, so there’s plenty of fun to be had.”

The ‘Twelve Birds of Burton Mere’ trail will run until Sunday 4 January (excluding 25 December) and participants can drop-in anytime between 9.30 am and 4 pm. It is free to take part, but the normal admission charge of £6 applies to non-member families.

There is also a special treat for visitors this month as all ages are invited to plant a tree for Christmas on the reserve. This rare opportunity to plant a tree in the Gorse Covert Woodland follows work by the reserve wardens to clear young non-native sycamore trees from the woodland. Now, 50 saplings of oak, rowan, birch and elder have been kindly donated by a local RSPB member to fill the gaps and visitors are invited to help plant them.

Dan said: “This is the perfect opportunity for visitors to physically join in with the conservation on the reserve and help to provide a home for nature.  It will be wonderful for people to know they have helped contribute to a growing wildlife haven and watch as the woodland develops over time.”

The Plant a tree for Christmas event takes place on Saturday 20 December, from 10 am-1 pm, and costs £2.50 per tree (£2 for RSPB members). Booking is not required, but trees will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Normal entry charges apply for non-members to access the rest of the reserve.

Dan added: “Despite the short days, December is a fantastic time of year to visit the reserve, with many of our most secretive residents, such as snipe and water rails, coming out around the pool edges during colder spells. It’s a great time to try and spot them, as well as the masses of ducks and our more familiar woodland birds which you’ll be helping for years to come by planting a tree here.”

For more information on these and other events, visit for details.

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