You can now book your guided boat tour online before you visit . Glide along on an electric boat learning all about Martin Mere whilst spotting for kingfishers, fish, tawny owls and herons. The boat seats 8 and can accommodate wheelchairs. Click on Canoe safari on the experience page to start your wetland adventure.

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Martin Mere news

 First Cuckoo Arrives

First Cuckoo Arrives

The sound of a cuckoo is probably the most recognised bird song in the country and it has been a delight to hear one calling over our reed bed in the last few days. While us humans love hearing the two syllable call, the sound strikes fear into the smaller birds nesting on our reserve. This is because the cuckoo is a brood parasite, which tricks other birds into raising its young. At Martin Mere the most frequent bird to be conned by the cuckoo is the reed warbler. The reed warblers and other birds are well aware of the cuckoo’s parasitic habits and, if you see a cuckoo flying over the reserve, you will probably see it being attacked by smaller birds trying to drive it away. However, when a cuckoo finds a suitable nest it will lay an egg alongside the host species’ eggs. Once the cuckoo chick hatches out, it then goes about emptying the nest of the host species eggs to ensure that it has the sole attention of its unwitting host parents. With only one mouth being fed by the host parents, the cuckoo soon outgrows the nest, as it is twice as big as the parents themselves. However, the cuckoo will still be fed outside of the nest for quite some time. A great example of this happened at Martin Mere in 2020, when a young cuckoo took up residence for almost a week outside our Gordon Taylor Hide. This provided some great photo opportunities for many visitors, as a pair of reed warblers shuttled to and fro to feed their over-sized, imposter offspring. Once fledged, the cuckoo will start its migration south. A British Trust for Ornithology tracking project has seen cuckoos fitted with satellite tags for the last ten years and this has shown that British-born cuckoos head for an area around the Congo Basin. At the end of April, the project recorded PJ, a cuckoo fitted with a satellite tag back in 2016, returning to his breeding grounds in Suffolk for his seventh summer. PJ had started his journey north from the Congo in late February, made a non-stop Sahara crossing on the 4th April and arrived in Spain a few days later. By the 24 April PJ was back on his territory in Suffolk. Our Martin Mere cuckoos will have made similar journeys, such is the attraction to have your kids raised by somebody else.

Four Greater Flamingo chicks hatch at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre

Four Greater Flamingo chicks hatch at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre

Staff and volunteers at WWT Martin Mere are celebrating after 4 Greater Flamingo chicks hatched at the centre last week. Flamingos are a firm favourite with visitors, often displaying their courtship routines and getting up close to visitors, so the new arrivals are going to be a big hit. The new chicks can be seen sitting on the impressive nests built by their parents. Unlike their pink parents, Greater Flamingo chicks are actually grey when they hatch and won’t get their pink feathers until they’re around two to four years old. Centre Manager Nick Brooks said "We're thrilled to see the safe arrival of four Greater Flamingo chicks. It’s a tremendous achievement by all who help to look after our flamingo flock. Flamingos are very friendly and sociable birds, you can get very close to them here at the centre and it has been a couple of years since our visitors have been able to see flamingo chicks so we know they are going to be a huge hit.” Martin Mere is home to around 60 adult Greater Flamingos and it’s exciting to see the flock grow in size. There are another 16 eggs on nests at the centre so staff and visitors will be eagerly watching over the next few weeks to see how many more hatch over the next couple of weeks.Visitors are invited to come and see the adorable chicks for themselves this May and June. As well as the new arrivals, over May Half Term the theme is ‘Bugs’ and visitors can get up close to a variety of bugs and insects, take part in pond dipping, bug hunts and moth trap openings. In addition come face to face with GIANT bugs on and around our canoe safari. Picture by Gary Gray

Lapwing chicks  hatch at Martin Mere

Lapwing chicks hatch at Martin Mere

The call of the lapwing is an amazing evocative sound of the spring and summer. They whirl through the air crying, “pee-wit” declaring that this are of the field is theirs. Lapwings are beautiful waders with broad black wings that look like Ping-Pong bats, they have an iridescent green back and a long thin crest on their head. Martin Mere is a great stronghold for the lapwings as we have nice short grass which they love for their nests so they can see any predators approaching. They normally ay 4 eggs and they are laid in a shallow depression in the grass. The eggs are amazingly camouflaged!! After 26 days the eggs hatch into the cutest chicks you’ve ever seen, little bundles of fluff. The chicks are self-reliant straight away and can feed themselves. They can be seen running around the grass and on the mud hunting for insects. Mum and dad will be nearby to brood the chicks if they are cold or chase off any predators. We have around 30 pairs at Martin Mere and most years they fledge around 1 chick per pair which sounds low but is really good productivity for lapwing. The reserve looks amazing at the moment, on woodend marsh there are lots of passage waders including common sandpipers, ruff in breeding plumage and dunlin. We have 3 pairs of marsh harriers that can often be seen skydancing as they are displaying to each other. The reedbed is alive with sound as many of the summer warblers have come back from Africa and are shouting away. The chorus includes reed warblers, sedge warblers, reed buntings, Cetti’s warblers, willow warblers, water rail and bearded tits. It is the perfect time to get out into nature and enjoy the sounds of the summer!

Duck race Day at Martin Mere

Duck race Day at Martin Mere

On your marks, get set, go...WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre is making a splash this bank holiday weekend with the annual rubber duck race on Monday, May 2, at 12 noon, 2pm and 4pm.

Can you ‘quack the case’ this Easter?

Can you ‘quack the case’ this Easter?

You’ll go quackers for the Easter Duck Trail being held at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre this Easter. Get everyone together for a fun-filled, family day out and go in search of the bright yellow ducks hiding around our amazing wetlands! Pick up a trail card and crack the clues for this Easter hunt with a difference, discovering more about our real life ducks along the way. Our feathered friends are particularly colourful and special this time of year as they show off their bright breeding feathers. You won’t want to miss them! As well as the duck trail there will be other quack-tastic activities to enjoy and new spring arrivals to meet as you bring your brood to meet ours. Delve into the ponds to see what creatures they can find in pond dipping; take to the water in our award winning canoe safari and boat tours adventure; get crafty in the craft room; den building; splashing in water play; balancing on stepping stones; seeing adorable otters and have a wild walk adventure! Centre Manager, Nick Brooks, said: “Bring all the family and escape to our wonderful wetlands this Easter! With the days getting longer and warmer it’s the perfect chance to explore the great outdoors. Our wide variety of duck species are fascinating at this time of year, particularly with male ducks displaying their bright breeding feathers. The Easter Duck Trail is a brilliant way for visitors to discover more about our real-life ducks and is great for getting children outdoors and connected to nature.” Click here for all the activities happening over the Easter holidays

Black swan cygnets hatch at Martin Mere

Black swan cygnets hatch at Martin Mere

Three black swan cygnets have hatched at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre just in time for Easter! The cygnets hatched on 18 March and can be seen with their parents in the Weird or Wonderful area of the grounds. Nick Brooks, Centre Manager, said: “Even though Easter holidays are a little bit early this year, we are already seeing lots of activity with moorhens, mallard and shelduck, all nest building. It is great that all the families visiting us over Easter will see these cute cygnets.” The black swan is a large black waterbird with a distinctive red bill, a species of swan which breeds mainly in the southeast and southwest regions of Australia. The male is slightly bigger than the female, with a straighter bill, which is the only way to tell them apart. We will leave the cygnets to be reared by their parents. The black swan cygnets are just one of the main attractions for the Easter Holidays. Visitors can go quackers searching for 25 GIANT yellow ducks in our annual Easter Duck Trail as well as delving into the ponds to see what creatures they can find in pond dipping; take to the water in our award winning canoe safari and boat tours adventure; get crafty in the craft room; den building; splashing in water play; balancing on stepping stones; seeing adorable otters and have a wild walk adventure! Click here for further details of activities over Easter. Everything you need for a great family day out this Easter.Photo credit: Bruce Falcon

Easter has it all, as Winter turns to Spring

Easter has it all, as Winter turns to Spring

Easter is traditionally the busiest time of year for Martin Mere and it’s also great time to see a great mixture of wildlife on the reserve. There will still be a variety of winter wildfowl on the mere and this usually includes a few whooper swans that have decided to linger a bit longer, before setting off on the journey to their breeding grounds in Iceland. While the winter birds are gradually leaving, they are replaced by migrants from further south. At Martin Mere, avocets are the first signs of spring and they started to arrive in mid-February. During April, the avocets have well and truly set up their territories and are usually on nests, on the islands at the back of the mere. Their noisy neighbours, the black-headed gulls will also be squabbling amongst each other over the best piece of real estate for a nest. And, in between the avocets and black-headed gulls, it is worth keeping an eye out for our returning pairs of common terns and Mediterranean gulls. The first warblers, such as chiffchaff, blackcap and whitethroat will have returned by Easter and can be heard singing from bushes and trees throughout the grounds and reserve, while sedge, reed and grasshopper warblers start filling up the reedbeds. The first swallows, house and sand martins should have been seen by the first week of April and, by the end of the month, we may have heard our first cuckoo and maybe even a booming bittern. It really is a lively time on the reserve and a day list might go over 70 species. Meanwhile, Spring sees the birds in the wildfowl collection also getting a bit frisky with each other. And, first out of the stalls this year are the Black Swans, which have just hatched cygnets in the last few days and which you’ll be able to see throughout the Easter Holidays. Of course, also in the grounds, our almost legendary Easter Duck Trail will return over the whole school holiday period for the kids to enjoy. And, our canoe safari will also be open. With increasing kingfisher, water vole and little egret sightings, the canoe safari can really get you up close to nature. Martin Mere really does have something for everybody and we hope you enjoy a visit to us for a fabulous wetland wildlife experience this Easter.

A Wild Guide to Spring

A Wild Guide to Spring

Spring is an amazing time of year to discover wetland wildlife. This guide is here to help you make the most of your day and have an amazing wetland adventure.

There is a volunteering role for you!

There is a volunteering role for you!

Volunteers are at the heart of WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre – without our volunteers we couldn’t do what we do. We have around 150 volunteers in a wide range of roles, from helping to keep our grounds and reserves in tip-top condition, to welcoming visitors as they come to our centres, there’s a volunteer role for everyone! Here at Martin Mere Wetland Centre, we’re looking for volunteers to join our family so we’re holding a Volunteering Week from 7th – 13th March where you can come and find out what’s here for you and how you can help. You can meet the teams and get behind the scenes to find out more about the variety of roles available here. We’ve got lots of opportunities for our Visitor Services Team, Grounds Team and Education Team. To volunteer with us, you don’t need any expert knowledge, just a keen interest in people and wildlife, a flexible approach and a ‘can-do’ attitude. In return for donating your time to us, you get free entry to all 9 WWT Wetland Centres, 25% discount in our café and shop, free social events throughout the year and free training. Volunteering is also a brilliant opportunity to meet new people, share your skills with others and develop new skills – all whilst working in our beautiful wetlands. Dorothy, one of our family activities volunteers has been volunteering for 4 years, “I started volunteering at Martin Mere in July 2018 and to say I’m enjoying myself would be an understatement. I’ve gone from being a boring old woman to someone who feels valued and useful. I’ve met some lovely people and the staff and volunteers are friendly and helpful. "I’ve had the opportunity to help with a variety of activities and I’ve learned such a lot that I’m positively buzzing when I go home to tell my husband what I’ve been doing. I would definitely recommend volunteering at Martin Mere to anyone, even if you can only spare a few hours.” Our staff will be available 2- 4pm every day from 7th – 13th March. If you’d like to book a specific time to talk to one of us, please email info.martinmere@wwt.org.uk. For a full list of the opportunities available, click here.

Make a Splash at Martin Mere’s Puddle Jumping Championships this February Half Term

Make a Splash at Martin Mere’s Puddle Jumping Championships this February Half Term

This February half term (12 – 20 February) families can grab their wellies, get outside and jump into nature at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre’s puddle jumping championships.. Families should get in early to maximise the fun. Children (and the adults in the party) can perfect their splashing techniques before the main event at 2pm. Then see who can make the biggest and best splash at daily competitions. Winners will be announced throughout the half term and lucky ‘super-splashers’ will receive fantastic prizes! As well as splashing about in puddles there’s lots of other fun activities to join in with for that extra challenge. Each day you will also be able to make a fun mini-raft, will yours float?We will also be undertaking pavement chalk drawing activities and decorating seed pots in the craft room to take home and grow wildflowers. Nick Brooks, Centre Manager from Martin Mere Wetland Centre said: “We know children love jumping in puddles and there’s nothing better on a wet day than putting on your wellies and getting muddy. Our puddle jumping championships are the perfect opportunity for guaranteed family fun whatever the weather. As well as being great fun to jump in, puddles are also mini-wetlands that small wildlife use to feed, drink and bathe. Almost half of the world’s plants and animals depend on wetlands, they really are amazing so come and see for yourself and have lots of fun outdoors. We know that children who enjoy getting closer to nature often grow up to be adults that love the outdoors. So through these championships we’re gently nurturing a love that may help protect wetlands and the wildlife that depend on them for years to come”. To find out more visit wwt.org.uk/martinmere or follow #puddlejumping.There is no additional charge to take part in the puddle jumping championships and the competition takes place at 2pm each day.

Rarities keep the checklists ticking over

Rarities keep the checklists ticking over

In January, Martin Mere is certainly the place to come for all birdwatchers to start their annual list of birds with some big daily totals possible. Recently, the winter has been even more exciting, with two birds turning up on the reserve that are so rare in the North-west (and even in the UK) that they didn’t even make it onto our checklist. First of all, on New Year’s Eve, a Slavonian Grebe was seen on the mere. Frustratingly, for year-listers, it had gone the next day. However, with all the water bodies across the reserve, it is still worth keeping an eye out for this rare winter visitor. Better news comes from the spotting of a Green-winged Teal which is still present on site. This bird is a native of the Americas but a few make it to the UK every year. It only really differs from our common teal by having a white stripe on its side. So, with it hanging out with over 2000 Eurasian Teal, you need to play the ornithological version of “Where’s Wally” to spot it. One family of birds you will not fail to see on the reserve at the moment are birds of prey. A record 10 Marsh Harriers have been hunting on the reserve and one lucky photographer captured seven of them in one shot! A much scarcer Hen Harrier has been regular over the last couple of days and a pair of Peregrines has been seen every morning. Buzzards, Merlins and Sparrowhawks are also seen every day at the moment and a photogenic Kestrel is hovering and perching within a few yards of the Ron Barker hide throughout the day. With several thousand ducks and our regular flocks of Whooper Swans and Pink-footed Geese, the mere is a bustling place at the moment, especially during the daily swan feeds from 3pm. Add in the small songbirds that are around the site, with specialities such as Brambling and Willow Tit at our feeders, and it really is a great time to visit Martin Mere and get those checklists adding up.

Find Forays of Finches at our Feeders

Find Forays of Finches at our Feeders

At Martin Mere, we have a number of feeding stations around our reserve and they are currently buzzing with activity, providing excellent opportunities for wildlife photographers to get some good shots. There are two families of birds that are the most noticeable at all our feeding stations: finches and tits. The most common finch at our bird feeding stations are the Goldfinches and, at our Janet Keir Hide, you can sometimes see around 30 at any one time. Greenfinches and Chaffinches are the next most common, with the Chaffinches usually preferring to stay on the ground to pick up scraps underneath the feeders. Uncommon but regular finch forays to the feeders come from Bullfinch, Redpoll and Brambling. The Brambling can only be seen in Britain in the winter, as it migrates to us from its breeding grounds in Scandinavia and Russia. A couple of Brambling have been present at the Janet Keir feeders every day for the last few weeks and are pleasing a lot of photographers. These birds feed alongside the similar Chaffinches underneath the feeders but look for a bird that is more orange than the pinkish-brown of the chaffinch. Always entertaining, the four members of the tit family that frequent the feeders are blue, great, coal and long-tailed. Whereas the first three species come and go as individuals, the Long-tailed Tits always visit in big groups for a few minutes and then disappear. Another rarer bird from this family is the Willow Tit and patient watchers will be rewarded with a sighting of one of these birds at the Janet Keir Hide. Unfortunately, the willow tit is becoming a rare bird, with the UK subspecies being the fastest declining bird in the country. Its population has reduced by 94% since the 1970s. A whole host of other birds can be seen at our feeders, including Nuthatch, Tree Sparrow and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Sparrowhawks are also often seen trying to snatch the smaller birds for their own lunch. We just hope they all miss the Willow Tit. Feeding birds in winter is a great way to attract birds to your own garden. We have a wide range of feeders and food in our shop and can offer specialist advice on what may be best for your property. Feeders make a great Xmas present and you’ll help the birds make it through the cold winter.

WWT Martin Mere launches free school visits

WWT Martin Mere launches free school visits

WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre today launches Generation Wild - an ambitious initiative helping 9000 local children from less advantaged communities in the North West to make long term and meaningful connections with nature, through storytelling and adventure. The ground-breaking project, created in partnership with theatrical producers, puppeteers, and schools, will invite local primary school children in economically deprived areas* for a free visit to seven WWT Wetland Centres across the UK, including Martin Mere. On the visit they will take part in an immersive experience and meet ‘Ava’, an extraordinary creature who is part girl and part bird. Charlotte Levene, Generation Wild Project Manager said of the scheme: “We know that when children connect with the outdoors and nature, it improves their physical and mental wellbeing and behaviour, yet research shows that 75% of UK children spend less time outside than prison inmates.[1] Chris Whitehead, Learning Manager adds: “Just as importantly, if children don’t experience nature, they won’t come to love it and if they don’t love it, they won’t take action to protect it – Generation Wild aims to inspire the next generation of conservationists.” The children first meet Ava in a digital storybook in the classroom and then in ‘real life’ at Martin Mere as they stumble across an enormous nest and are introduced to her in a live, interactive puppet show. The children are then given a ‘translatorphone’, where Ava’s animal friends guide them through a nature trail, revealing her incredible backstory and helping her on a journey back to the wild. Every pupil will be given a voucher for a free, return visit to WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre with their family to continue Ava’s journey. Meanwhile, back in the classroom or at home, children, teachers and family members can continue to follow Ava’s journey via an interactive website. Chris continues; “We’re particularly aware that children from disadvantaged communities have even fewer opportunities to interact with nature and often feel like nature isn’t for them. Through Generation Wild, we are keen to remove some of those barriers by making the natural world more accessible, familiar and fun, while instilling the belief that nature is for everyone over the long term.” The children will be encouraged to complete activities in school, at home and in the local area, in the hope of becoming a ‘Guardian of the Wild’ – the idea being that the children and families continue engaging with the natural world beyond the classroom and their initial visits. Class teacher Cath Pinkney[PR1] , whose school was one of the first groups to experience Generation Wild said, “I’ve been a teacher for ten years and this was the most interactive and informative trip I’ve ever been on - the children and adults alike were engaged the whole way through.” She continued: “The resources linked perfectly with our science objectives and the children were fully absorbed in Ava’s transformation and loved meeting her in the nest. The children are already planning some of the activities and that level of engagement is rare.” Children from the school echoed Cath’s enthusiasm; with pupil Josie Mathew-Penty, saying: “It was the best trip I’ve ever had - I’ve already completed some of the activities and can’t wait to get my Guardian of the Wild badge in assembly.” Another pupil, Paramveer Singh-Kapoora added: ”I couldn’t believe it when we saw Ava in the nest - we only just learnt about her the day before, and there she was,” while his classmate, Eltigani Hassoun, added: “I’m going back at the weekend – my mum says we can go again because we’ve learnt so much.” The project will also be the subject of new PhD research, between Cardiff University and WWT, examining how engagement with nature and wetlands in particular, can enhance children’s wellbeing and influence their views about the natural world. Dr. Kersty Hobson from Cardiff University, who is part of the academic team overseeing the research explained ’We are really excited to be collaborating with WWT and Martin Mere on this ground-breaking piece of work that will give us a deeper understanding of the best ways to engage children and instil a life-long love of nature, particularly amongst communities that often don't have regular access to nature experiences' Generation Wild has been funded through an anonymous charitable foundation with additional funding provided by the ScottishPower Foundation Melanie Hill, Executive Officer and Trustee at the ScottishPower Foundation, said: “We are passionate about supporting environmental causes which make a positive difference to communities and help young people achieve their full potential. Generation Wild does all of this in an innovative, interesting and engaging way and we are so proud to be part of this.” *Eligibility is based on the percentage of pupils receiving free school meals, ensuring that the project reaches those most in need

75 year milestone for charity

75 year milestone for charity

From pulling birds back from extinction to creating wonderful new nature friendly habitats - the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) which runs WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre celebrates 75 years of ground breaking conservation work and sharing the wonders of wetlands and wetland wildlife with over 40 million visitors at its sites across the UK. Described by Sir David Attenborough as the “patron saint of conservation”, Sir Peter Scott founded WWT on the banks of the River Severn in 1946 with just 1,000 members and one site at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire. Since then, the charity has grown to ten UK sites including WWT Martin Mere, created and helped to protect thousands of hectares of wetlands around the world, and is now supported by more than 180,000 members. Building on the passion of Sir Peter Scott, who championed wetlands and wildlife while recognising their value to people, WWT is drawing on over seven decades of experience to ensure wetlands are put centre stage in the fight to meet global challenges. It aims to inspire one million people to take action for wetlands by spreading the word about the many benefits of these amazing habitats not just for wildlife but for people’s everyday lives. The charity plans to achieve both these aims through many conservation projects throughout the world and its Wetlands Can! campaign. This focuses on the creation of 100,000 hectares of healthy wetlands across the UK to help combat the nature, climate, and mental health crises. WWT is calling for a ‘blue recovery’ where this ambition is incorporated into national and international policies to protect the planet, including strategies to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. “Sir Peter Scott was an extraordinary man and in 1946 he had a vision – to create a safe haven for wild birds while at the same time bringing people closer to nature,” said WWT Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Peberdy. “He understood that people and nature are part of the same intertwined ecosystem. He realised – ahead of his time – that our wealth, our health and our emotional wellbeing all depend on the natural world. He appreciated that showing people how amazing wetland nature is can ignite a passion to preserve it. “At WWT today we still hold these principals at the heart of everything we do. We may be a much larger charity than we were when we started back in 1946, but we still believe fervently in wetlands and what they can do, – for wildlife and for humans, and increasingly for the planet. If rainforests are the lungs of the planet, then wetlands are the lifeblood. As much as we need air to breathe, we need water to live. The conservation of our wetlands is essential to life on Earth.” In its 75 years, WWT has had a huge number of achievements and hit many milestones. These include: Restoring and creating wetlands on every continent and along critical global flywaysBuilding a global network of over 350 wetland sites and organisations that share WWT’s passion for wetland protection and engagement. Working on action plans for over 30 threatened and declining wetland species and the wetlands on which they dependThrough understanding their value for wetland birds, helped protect over 700,000 hectares of the UK’s most important wetlandsHelping more than two million children to discover the magic of wetland wildlifeProviding a safe haven for 15 million migratory birds to spend the winter at our UK sites “When we look back we realise what an enormous amount we have achieved” said Kevin Peberdy. “But of course the work isn’t done and we now look forward to taking Peter Scott’s philosophy of creating a world where healthy nature thrives and enriches all of our lives and applying it to the situation today. “None of this would be achievable without our incredible staff, volunteers and supporters and it is them I would like to thank as we join millions of other people around the world to work to ensure the future of the planet. “It won’t be easy but all of us here at WWT will think of our remarkable founder Peter Scott as we try to do our best for the wildlife and the habitats that he so loved”.

Winter birds of prey at WWT Martin Mere

Winter birds of prey at WWT Martin Mere

Winter is starting to set in the mere is full of ducks and waders which also attracts a variety of birds of prey. Peregrine falcons are seen most days, they fly really high and the flock of lapwings see them as soon as they arrive and fly up into a swirling flock to confuse the peregrine. Go down to the Janet Kear hide and we have birdfeeders that attract a wide variety of small birds and mammals. A sparrowhawk can often be seen sat in the tree waiting for a rat or mouse to come out or it can be seen darting through the trees trying to catch a blue tit unaware. We had a great year for Marsh Harriers with 3 pairs breeding on site and fledging 4 youngsters, over the winter more marsh harriers come onto the reserve as it’s a great place to hunt and roost in the reedbed, a stunning male has been seen just this week. Look out at dusk as the harriers come into roost and you might see a hen harrier amongst them the males are a stunning grey with a white ring around the base of the tail. While you sit in the United Utilities hide scan the fence posts for a buzzard they can often be seen rain or shine sat looking for a hunting opportunity. Another bird of prey to look out for when you are scanning the fence posts is the merlin they are really small and when they fly they are very direct they know exactly where they are going and they like to fly the quickest way there possible. Kestrels are a stunning orange colour and can often be seen near the Janet Kear hide waiting for a rat or mouse to come out under the birdfeeders. The kestrels hoover keeping their head perfectly still, they can see in infrared, when the mice are running around they pee constantly and this shows up to the kestrels like a trail. A visit to Martin Mere in the winter is an amazing experience and some days you can see 7 species of birds of prey, but I feel just seeing one of these amazing birds is a fantastic experience. For further information, please visit www.wwt.org.uk/martinmerePictured is a sparrowhawk by Nick Brooks