News archive

November 2019

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Did you contribute? Gardenwatch preliminary report

Did you contribute? Gardenwatch preliminary report

Gardenwatch was launched on BBC Springwatch in May 2019, and asked people for information on garden features and wildlife across the country. The responses have given us fascinating new information on how people help wildlife in their gardens, and where there is still more that can be done.

The report covers 31 different wildlife-friendly garden features and practices, from feeding Badgers to leaving long grass to grow. A number of recommended practices are not as widespread as they could be, and some of these are things that people can start doing right away.

Right now the leaves are beginning to fall from trees across the UK, providing important food and cover for a myriad of invertebrate life and shelter for Hedgehogs, however, according to the Gardenwatch results, over half of us remove the leaves from our gardens, in effect removing a resource that will help to underpin other wildlife. Worms feed on fallen leaves, pulling them into their underground tunnels - more leaves means more worms and more food for birds such as Blackbirds and Song Thrushes.

Whilst leaves can provide cover for Hedgehogs, as winter progresses the cover given by leaves becomes less effective as they naturally break down. At this stage we can help our Hedgehogs by providing a Hedgehog house, but only 17% of people that took part in the survey do so. This is something we can all do and autumn is a great time to do it.

Autumn is a tough time for many of our insects, particularly those that are stocking up larders with nectar for their young to use during the winter months, or to sustain those insects such as Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies that hibernate through the coldest months. Right now Ivy is flowering and is a key source of nectar. 83% of respondents said that they had climbers in their garden but there were fewer in northern England and Scotland.

Over two-thirds of people taking part have at least one nest box for birds in their gardens but only 6% have a bat box - this Halloween when we are thinking about denizens of the night we could help bat in the area by putting up a box, either under the eaves or in a nearby tree.

Kate Risely, Garden BirdWatch Organiser at the BTO, said "This is a fascinating look into the gardening practices of over 100,000 people. While many respondents are already doing fantastic things in their gardens for wildlife, we hope that this report will inspire people to do one more simple thing, such as create a log or rock pile or leave an area of long grass"

In future this information on wildlife-friendly practices will be linked to the results on garden wildlife from the other Gardenwatch 'missions' on birds, invertebrates and mammals, in order to help us understand how important these features really are for wildlife.

To view the preliminary report, please visit

Monday, 4 November 2019

North West Bird Watching Festival, returns in November to WWT Martin Mere

North West Bird Watching Festival, returns in November to WWT Martin Mere

Running Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th November. Hear from a wide range of guest speakers, including wildlife presenter Nigel Marven, wildlife author Kate Bradbury and underwater cameraman and photographer Jack Perks.
Alongside exhibitors selling everything from books to wildlife holidays, there'll be a wide range of activities including bird ringing demonstrations, guided reserve walks and much more. Local rescue centre Corio Raptor Care will be at the centre with a number of rescued birds of prey and local wildlife artist Chris Shields will be doing a live illustration drawing of the centre's swan lake.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Naturetrek wildlife holidays

Naturetrek wildlife holidays

We are once again holding our annual series of wildlife travel talks around the UK, and are very excited to be doing this at Martin Mere Wildfowl & Wetland Trust for the first time, on Wednesday 6th November 2019. The afternoon is an opportunity to come and meet us, discuss holiday plans and enjoy a series of illustrated presentations by our expert wildlife tour leaders on some of our most popular wildlife destinations.

During the afternoon (5pm - 8pm) we will be covering a variety of wildlife holiday destinations and complimentary light refreshments of tea, coffee and biscuits will be served half way through. The reserve's Mere Side Cafe will also be open, should you wish to purchase food and drink before the event. There is parking available at the reserve.

The program for the afternoon will be:

12.00noon onwards: client access to the reserve (free of charge if not already a member)
4.30pm - 5.00pm pre-presentation chat
5.00pm - 6.15pm: presentation
6.15pm - 6.35pm: refreshments break
6.35pm - 7.30pm: presentation

The speakers and destinations covered will be:

Sara Frost - Azores, Maldives and Switzerland. (Additional expertise - Cetaceans, Scotland, Indonesia and Nepal)

**Tim Melling - Polar Voyages and Kamchatka. (Additional expertise - Morocco, Brazil, Europe, Canada and China)

Peter Dunn - Spain, Yellowstone and Monterey Bay. (Additional expertise - USA, Canada, Baja California, Poland, Iceland and Polar Cruises)

Our aim is that this will be an interesting and entertaining evening and everybody is most welcome!

**Entry is by (free) ticket only. To register please email or ring naturetrek 01962733051