Trip reports

Visit to WWT Martin Mere

Visit to WWT Martin Mere
Feeding time at Discovery hide [Photo: Peter Berrill]

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Heading towards our breakfast stop at Knutsford Services we were forced into an emergency stop at Sandbach Services, when one of our party was taken ill.

Peter and his wife were looked after by a First Aider and an ambulance was called for.

Upon arrival at Martin Mere we were greeted and briefed by the visitor centre staff and most of our party made their way to Ron Barker hide. On Vinson's marsh a large raft of teal faced into the choppy water but failed to reveal the reported green-winged. Many whooper swans, greylag and pink-footed geese fed on the grassland where a single barnacle goose was seen. A marsh harrier was found nestled out of the wind in the reedbed and a peregrine was sheltering behind a tussock on the grassland. The peregrine subsequently produced a couple of stunning flypasts failing to catch any prey but putting the teal and lapwing into the air.

The wind suddenly increased as we passed Raines observatory and by the time we reached the Discovery hide the rain was horizontal. The view from the hide was down to a few feet, the rain smashed into the windows and the now galeforce wind whipped the surface water off the mere. A WWT member of staff had not seen anything like it in the twenty years she had worked there.

When the storm had abated we moved on and passing the In Focus binocular shop saw a brown rat take a moorhen from under the feeding station.

At the Janet Kear hide the sheltered feeders were alive with chaffinch, greenfinch, reed bunting, great tit and long-tailed tit. In the distance a group of pintail moved quickly out from the edge of the mere followed by a single black-tailed godwit which passed overhead. A sparrowhawk glided into view and perched briefly in a nearby tree.

Popping into the Harrier hide we picked up tufted duck and gadwall and at United Utilities hide the locals were scanning the flocks of pink-foots for a reported beany but without any luck.

Back at Discovery hide just in time for the Warden's talk and the three-thirty feed where we added goldeneye, pochard, shelduck, mute swan and ruff to our lists.

Just as we were about to depart six common partridge were spotted in the field opposite the reserve giving good views through the coach windows.

Peter was kept under observation in hospital for most of the day but has made a complete recovery.

Peter and Lesley Berrill