Places to see birds

The Dee Estuary - RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands

The Dee Estuary - RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands
Egret at BMW - Laura Bimson

In 2011 a transformation was unveiled. A little known RSPB reserve called Inner Marsh Farm became a shining beacon for birders in the Northwest. Burton Mere Wetlands was open for business.
Before Inner Marsh Farm Reserve was created, the Inner Dee marshes off Denhall Lane were already well known birding hot spots. The grazed saltmarsh attracted huge flocks of wintering lapwing and lesser numbers of golden plover. In flood during the autumn tides, good numbers of migrant waders could be seen, especially curlew sandpiper, little stint, spotted redshank, ruff and large numbers of wildfowl, Bewick's Swan, Wigeon and Teal being the main species. In 1986 the RSPB purchased arable fields at Inner Marsh Farm, and a complex of freshwater pools and flood areas were developed. In 1988 Burton Point Farm was purchased and the reserve opened in June 1992. In 2006, an additional 194 hectares of saltmarsh and the adjacent farmland at Burton Marsh Farm was bought. In 2008 Burton Mere fisheries was purchased, this led to the creation of the reserve today, and a name change.
The new heated visitor centre has a large picture window giving panoramic views over the new wet grasslands and pools. The visitors centre has a helpful staff of volunteers who are always happy to give advice on what to see and where to look for it. A "what's about" notice board is maintained. Hot and cold drinks/snacks are available, and there are Toilet Facilities on site.

Water rails are regular seen in the reed edges under the centre, a Sand Martin bank has been built, and it is hoped the extensively planted reed bed will attract bitterns and bearded tits. Corvids, herons and egrets (little and great) roost in the woods adjacent to the fisheries at the back of the reserve. Records of birds of prey have increased including visits from both hen and marsh harriers, merlin, peregrine, hobby, sparrowhawk, buzzards, kestrels, barn and short eared owls.
Bird feeding stations are dotted around the reserve and attract high numbers of finches, tits, nuthatches and gt spotted woodpecker.
Other wildlife you might just see be lucky to see are resident harvest mice, water voles and brown hares.
There are two main hides : the reception building and Marsh Covert hide - and several viewpoints. More screens to come in the future.
There are three nature trails currently:

Gorse Covert Woodland Trail (600m) meanders through woodland that is full of bluebells and birdsong in the Spring. Autumn offers a burst of colour. It can get muddy in wet weather.

Burton Mere trail (900m and fully accessible) A splendid stroll around the old mere (fisheries) which in summer is covered in lily pads with dozens of dragonflies. If you're lucky you may see a kingfisher.

Reed and Fen trail : leading to the Marsh Covert Hide and fully accessible, this trail is sandwiched between our new reedbed and wet woodland - in spring it is a wall of warbler song. In 2014 a trail extension has been made which now means you can walk around the back of the mere until it joins the Old Inner Marsh Farm reserve path which takes you to the 'bench viewpoint' and over to Burton Point .

Take your National RSPB Membership card with you