Places to see birds

Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust - Martin Mere Reserve (Please don't mistake for RSPB reserve)

Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust - Martin Mere Reserve (Please don't mistake for RSPB reserve)
Whooper Swan - Laura Bimson

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Martin Mere reserve needs no introduction really but if you haven't been yet, then you must, especially in winter when the Whoopers are in.
As a renowned refuge for wintering wildfowl, the reserve covers 376 acres, making it one of Britain's most important wetland sites, visited by thousands of migrating wildfowl in the autumn and winter.
It is also home to 100 species of tame birds, many on the endangered list and part of breeding programmes, including ducks, geese, swans, cranes and flamingos.
Many of the birds in the waterfowl gardens such as the Nenes or Hawaiian geese will nibble grain directly from your hand, you'll never have enough!

The over wintering flock of Icelandic breeding Whooper Swans has now reached 2480 birds. (Whoopers breed in Iceland and migrate to Britain for the winter, often flying at altitudes of over 29 000 feet whilst on migration, and enduring temperatures of minus 28 degrees Centigrade.) The tumbling flocks of Pink footed Geese can reach as many as 27,500 birds at dusk. In 2012 a small wintering flock of around 50 - 70 Barnacle Geese were observed.
Watch the swans and mixed wildfowl feeding from the swan link hide at 3pm, what a cacophony.

As for the smaller wildfowl, waders and geese, typical birds seen include Mallard, Pochard, Widgeon, Shoveler, Ringed, Little ringed and Golden Plover Oystercatcher, Sanderling, Little Stint, Coot, Moorhen, Water Rail, Garganey, Wigeon, Gadwall, Goldeneye, Tufted~duck, Barnacle, Brent, Canadian and Greylag geese. Pintail and Shelduck are found in large numbers, Teal being the most numerous on the reserve. Ruff also winter here and Lapwings year round, which also breed in the fields in summer alongside Redshank and Avocets.

Throughout the year, in the fields and at the feeding stations you can observe Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Brambling, Goldfinch, Meadow pipit, Reed Bunting, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Chiff Chaff, Skylarks,Tree Sparrows, Pheasant, Starling, Robin, Blackbird, , Swift, Swallow, House and Sand Martin, Sedge and Reed Warblers, Cuckoo, Yellow Wagtail and Wheatear...Just to name a few!!
A special reserve bird is the Kingfisher, often seen in and around the Ron Barker Hide.

Inevitably Raptors are also attracted to the reserve, Buzzard, Marsh & Hen Harrier, Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine and Sparrowhawk are hunting visitors, as well as 5 types of Owl; Barn, Little, Tawny, Long and Short eared.

Butterflies to be seen on the reserve include Brimstone, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Red admiral, Small Copper and Common Blue, Orange-tip, Green-veined White and Speckled Wood. Dragonflies, Southern and Brown Hawker, Black-tailed Skimmer, as well as Common Darter. Common Toads and Smooth Newts also breed and live on the reserve.

In 2004, an additional 155 acres of carrot field was bought from a local farm, this has been converted into 62 acres of reed bed and 44acres of wet grassland, wet woodland, dry grassland, hedgerow and copse. It is hoped that as the new wetland matures the mere will resonate to the sound of booming bitterns, and the pinging of Bearded tits. The new Woodend wetlands have already played host to large numbers of wintering Whooper swans, the first breeding Avocets and Corn Buntings and the first breeding Little Grebes in a quarter of a century. The management of this site includes a grazing herd of English Longhorn cattle - beautiful beasts that keep the reserve in tip top condition.

Something a little different but well worth a visit is the Otter enclosure. Martin Mere has a breeding pair of Asian short-clawed otters, Ned and Thai, These endearing animals are fascinating to watch as they play, forage and swim. Arriving in 2009 this loving pair have had 2 litters, 6 babies in total, their first born now living at other WWT centres. The best time to visit the enclosure is at the feeding times at 11.30am and 2.30pm.

Avocets at the mere, wow.. upto 86 counted in spring 2013!
Other recent highlights in 2012 were reserve visits from Bittern, Montague's Harrier, Red Phalarope, Common Crane and Cetti's Warbler.

Full facilities including cafe, visitor centre and shop on site.

Entrance fees applies, unless you are a member of the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust

WWT Martin Mere
Fish Lane, Burscough
L40 0TA T: 01704 895181