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

Whooper Swans now back from Iceland

Whooper Swans now back from Iceland

At Martin Mere, in October, we always celebrate the return of the pink-footed geese but, as we head into November, we look forward to welcoming back our whooper swans. The swans usually start arriving in large numbers in the first half of November and build to a peak in January and February. This year, some of the whoopers arrived earlier than usual and we have had up to 150 birds for the last three weeks. Just like the pink-footed geese, the whooper swans that winter in West Lancashire also come from Iceland. They are cousins of our resident Mute Swan but, instead of having a red bill, have a yellow bill, with the patch of yellow differing between individuals. It is the different patches of yellow which has enabled us to identify individual birds by recording their bill patterns. This allowed their movements, to and from Iceland, to be monitored year to year and also allowed for family ties to be identified between birds. Nowadays, the birds are studied through the use of plastic leg rings, printed with large numbers. Our monitoring staff and volunteers keep track of the birds and enter the ring numbers into a database for record keeping. Visitors to Martin Mere can also make use of the database in our Discovery Hide, where an interactive display allows visitors to enter the ring numbers they can see. Once a ring number is entered, details of the bird’s life history are displayed; including when the bird first came to Martin Mere, which bird it is mated with and how many offspring it has produced over the years. It is really easy to read the rings, especially when they come right up to the hides at our daily swan feeds, which start at 3pm every day and which are one of the best winter wildlife spectacles in the UK. In other bird news, visitors to our Bird Fair turned up a number of good birds including snow goose, great egret, bittern, willow tit and brambling, as well as the continued starling murmuration and the pink-footed geese coming in to roost. Both the bittern and the great egret were even seen within the fenced are of the Martin Mere wildfowl collection in the Wild Walk area. This is a first for the site and, with little egret and grey heron, now takes the number of species of herons seen in the grounds to four.

Starling Murmuration Returns

Starling Murmuration Returns

Lots of people have taken advantage of our late night openings to see the thousands of pink-footed geese coming to roost for the night. We also now have the added bonus of a murmuration of starlings coming into our reedbed every evening. To see these spectacles, access to the Martin Mere nature reserve will be free of charge from 5.30 to 7pm on Sat 23rd, Wednesday 27th and Saturday 30th October. Up to 20,000 starlings have been wheeling around, before flying into the reeds to spend the night. It is the wheeling and reeling around that is known as the murmuration. Murmurations are one of nature’s wonders, as thousands of starlings move as one large mass, forming a multitude of patterns in the sky. This behaviour lasts for up to an hour, with the mass of starlings getting bigger and bigger by the minute as birds join in from all directions. It is believed that the murmurations offer each bird greater protection from predators, as the individual odds of getting picked out by a predator become much greater if you are surrounded by 20,000 others, than if you are on your own. Furthermore, the flocking behaviour is thought to make it harder for any predator to pick out and concentrate on catching a single bird. However, scientists remain befuddled on how the thousands of birds move as one unit and don’t bump into each other. Studies have even included references to particle physics and one study found that each individual bird’s movement affected seven others around it, which is what makes the starlings look like a twisting, morphing cloud. Murmurations are bigger in the autumn and winter as British starlings are joined by migrant birds escaping colder weather in Europe. However, starling numbers in general are in decline and many murmurations aren’t anywhere near as big as they were ten or twenty years ago. The decline is thought to be as a result of modern farming practices and insecticides reducing the starling’s food supply. Many murmurations take place at the same sites every year but, at some, they can be more sporadic. At Martin Mere, we had a fantastic murmuration in November 2017 but, until this year, had not seen a repeat. So, if you want to see this spectacle at Martin mere, you need to come soon, as it may not be repeated for a few years.

A wild guide to winter

A wild guide to winter

It’s that amazing time of the year when the winter waders, ducks, geese and swans arrive at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre. Everyday at 3pm, there are wild bird feeds from the Discovery hide, that also include a wardens talk to learn about the species. At 3.30pm the feed takes place at the Raines Observatory. As you head out of the door and walk up towards the discovery hide, you have the option to turn left or right to walk along the nature trail. Turning right takes you to a woodland area towards the Ron Barker hide, whilst turning left allows for views across the mere, Janet Kear hide and the reedbed walk.Below is a summary of what wildlife you are likely to see whilst you explore this winter.The MereSiting in the discovery hide viewing the vast expanse of water on the Mere is very relaxing and gives you a glimpse into the lives of these fascinating birds. A bird of prey flies over disturbing a flock of lapwing they fly into the air swirling and darting to confuse the predator.We get a huge variety of winter water birds that have travelled huge distances to spend the winter at WWT Martin Mere. At the daily swan feeds, you can see up to 1000 Whooper swans up close. They have come all the way from Iceland with their cygnets, who are only months old when they make the migration. Mad to think they have flown all that way!! The cygnets are a lovely dark grey colour and that will fade over the winter as they moult through to their stunning adult white plumage.Also at the swan feeds you’ll see pintails, these are stunning ducks, the males are grey and cream with a chocolate brown head and a long thin tail which is how they get their name. Look out for wigeon feeding amongst the swans, they are also grey, have a pink chest, red head and a bright yellow Mohican and they don’t quack they whistle. My favourite are the pochards these are diving ducks. The males are grey with a red head, black chest and bottom and they are perfectly designed for diving under the water to feed on the grain we throw into the water. The pochard come to us all the way from Russia to escape the cold and enjoy the lovely food we provide at WWT Martin Mere, but you won’t see many female pochard at the swan feeds, that is because the female pochard go to Spain for the winter, which sounds like a much better idea!!Look out for colour rings on the swans there is a touch screen interactive in the discovery hide where you can type in the numbers and find out all about the birds how old they are, their names and where they’ve been seen.Reedbed walkThe reedbed walk is a feast for your senses through sight and sound. Spend the time simply stopping and listening and enjoy being immersed in nature.The reedbed walk is accessed from the lower level of the Harrier hide. It is one mile in length and can be muddy underfoot so good walking boots are advised. There are a number of benches out on the walk for a rest and the opportunity to spend some peaceful time in your surroundings.Several marsh harriers, peregrines, kestrels and barn owls have been seen across the reserve with at least one little egret seen daily and an infrequent great white egret. You may also see gadwall, mallard, tufted duck, pochard, little grebe, reed bunting and blackcap as you walk around.The species in the reedbed can be very elusive and are often heard and not seen, so you need to take your time and simply listen whilst out there. There are at least 9 cetti's warblers so it's worth listening out for their signature call. You may also hear water rails, bearded tits and chiffchaffs. Time to brush up on your bird call identification! The swan feeds take place daily at 3pm from the Discovery hide and 3.30pm from the Raines Observatory. You don’t need to book in advance and they are free to watch. Normal admission charges apply to enter the centre. For more information visit www.wwt.org.uk/martinmere

Free Entry for Goose Spectacular

Free Entry for Goose Spectacular

The nights are drawing in and that can only mean one thing: the Pink-footed Geese, or pink feet, are returning to Martin Mere. There is just a small trickle of birds at the moment, but, within the next couple of weeks, numbers will start to build into the hundreds, the thousands and then the tens of thousands. Every evening throughout October, the birds fly in to roost at Martin Mere, providing what is one of the best wildlife spectacles in the UK. In order to allow local residents the opportunity to see the geese coming in, Martin Mere will once again be open free of charge, from 5.30pm to 7pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout October. The sight of up to 50,000 pink feet landing on the mere in front of a glorious sunset is something not to be missed. The pink feet breed in Iceland and eastern Greenland and also in Svalbard, in the Arctic Ocean. The Icelandic and Greenland populations return to Britain to spend the autumn and winter, whereas the Svalbard population winters in the western parts of continental Europe. Around 200,000 pink feet spend the winter in Britain every year. As we move through September, the geese will start to congregate in large groups in southern Iceland waiting for the optimum conditions to fly south to Britain. When we see a north wind blowing from the arctic in late September and October, we know we will get large numbers of geese arriving at Martin Mere, as they take advantage of a strong wind behind them. The geese do not all come at once and there is a stream of them throughout October, with Martin Mere being an important stopover, a bit like an avian motorway services. Many of the birds will rest up for a few days, or even a few weeks, and then continue to North Norfolk, where more than 100,000 birds feed in the arable farmland on post-harvest cereal stubbles and sugar beet tops. However, many of the birds will actually stay throughout the winter in the North West, with up to 50,000 in West Lancashire and on the Fylde. We have been monitoring the populations of pink-footed geese for over 20 years. So, if you’d like to find out more about the birds please visit our website at https://monitoring.wwt.org.uk/our-work/goose-swan-monitoring-programme/species-accounts/WWT.org.uk and remember to pay us a visit this autumn for a sight you will not forget.Would you like an early morning experience to see the geese leave the roost - our Dawn Flight events take place on Saturday mornings in October. You must book in advance and the event includes a full English breakfast. Book today.

A wild guide to Autumn

A wild guide to Autumn

September is a month when millions of birds are on the move. As the days start to gradually become colder and shorter, birds move from north to south and Martin Mere is a great place to see signs of this migration taking place.As you head out of the door and walk up towards the discovery hide, you have the option to turn left or right to walk along the nature trail. Turning right takes you to a woodland area towards the Ron Barker hide, whilst turning left allows for views across the mere, Janet Kear hide and the reedbed walk.Below is a summary of what wildlife you are likely to see whilst you explore this autumn.Wild nature reservePink-footed geese return to Martin Mere in the autumn in huge numbers as they use the centre as a ‘service station’ to refuel in order to continue with the migration.Up to 40,000 geese may use the reserve as a safe roosting point, flying in and out if the reserve as weather and food dictates, creating a magical display of feather and flight.Many duck, geese, swans and other wetland birds spend their summers breeding north of the Arctic Circle. A trickle of the ducks and geese will now start to appear at Martin Mere but the main arrivals and passage through Martin Mere for these species will be in October and November. However, for the group of birds collectively known as waders, September is the peak month for seeing both a variety of species and large numbers on our reserve. Any day in September could bring around 20 different species of waders, including uncommon birds such as little stint, spotted redshank and both green and wood sandpipers; these birds using Martin Mere as an avian motorway services, breaking up their long journeys.It is always worth keeping your eyes peeled, as anything can turn up at this time of year and, in past years, rare birds from North America, such as pectoral sandpiper, wilson’s phalarope and long-billed dowitcher have turned up.While our breeding avocets start to dwindle in numbers, as they fly further south for the winter, we see a massive build up in the number of black-tailed godwits using the reserve. Around 500 birds have been present in the autumn for the last couple of years and, while some will eventually continue their journey south, a few will stay for the winter at Martin Mere. Numbers of ruff and lapwing also start to increase and these three species, along with the noisy oystercatchers, will be the most noticeable waders around the reserve for the next six months.It is not just the larger birds that are migrating through at this time of year and it is worth keeping an eye open for smaller birds, either on the ground, or perched on fence posts and wires. Wheatears, whinchats and yellow wagtails are frequently seen on the reserve, taking a break from the long flight back to Africa.And, with all this activity, our birds of prey are never far away, looking to pick off what they can. Marsh harriers, sparrowhawks and buzzards are currently a common sight and a migratory hobby has been seen for the last week or so, along with a newly arrived pair of noisy ravens.Reedbed walkThe reedbed walk is a feast for your senses through sight and sound. Spend the time simply stopping and listening and enjoy being immersed in nature.The reedbed walk is accessed from the lower level of the Harrier hide. It is one mile in length and can be muddy underfoot so good walking boots are advised. There are a number of benches out on the walk for a rest and the opportunity to spend some peaceful time in your surroundings.Several marsh harriers, peregrines, kestrels and barn owls have been seen across the reserve with at least one little egret seen daily and an infrequent great white egret. You may also see gadwall, mallard, tufted duck, pochard, little grebe, reed bunting and blackcap as you walk around.The species in the reedbed can be very elusive and are often heard and not seen, so you need to take your time and simply listen whilst out there. There are at least 9 cetti's warblers so it's worth listening out for their signature call.You may also hear water rails, bearded tits and chiffchaffs. Time to brush up on your bird call identification!The North West Bird Watching Festival takes places on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 October. Click here for further information.

North West Bird Watching Festival returns

North West Bird Watching Festival returns

WWT Martin Mere’s annual extravaganza, the North West Bird Watching Festival, returns this October and it’s an event not to be missed. Join us in Lancashire on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 October to hear from a wide range of guest speakers, speak to optic experts, discover waterfowl and bird ringing, browse exhibitors selling books, birdwatching holidays and enjoy the spectacle of the autumn migration. Open from 8am, the event is timed to watch the spectacle of thousands of pink-footed geese leave the roost before heading for breakfast in Mere Side Café. The centre is open until 7pm on the Saturday to watch up to 30,000 pink-footed geese return to the roost, making this a full day out to enjoy from dawn till dusk. There’ll be a range of talks on throughout each day, with topics including Dan Rouse's Brilliant and Bizarre birds, a Year in Extremadura, Spain: Surviving the Pandemic by David Lindo, from dream to reality: the creation of Gorse Hill Nature Reserve and 75 years of conservation with WWT. Throughout the weekend, there’ll be guided reserve walks each day, a walk with David Lindo, photography workshops with Alan Hewittthat will be full of tips and tricks for getting the most out of your camera , waterfowl talks and feeds, guided boat tours and ringing demonstrations on both waterfowl and smaller species. Optic demonstrators include Viking Optics, Leica, Kowa, Zeiss and Swarovski, all on hand to give you all the advice you need and the opportunity to try out products. The weekend will be a great opportunity to network with like-minded people and meet some of the best experts in the industry. Tickets for all speakers and activities are available to collect on the day. No pre-booking is required. Normal admission prices apply but the event is free to enter if you are a WWT Member. For full details and a list of all the guest speakers visit: www.wwt.org.uk/nwbwf

Marsh Harriers Breed For First Time

Marsh Harriers Breed For First Time

When you are walking on the Reedbed Walk or looking over the reserve from one of our hides, it is always worth looking out for birds of prey. At this time of year, their presence is usually indicated when a large flock of birds, such as lapwings, avocets or black-headed gulls, take to the sky making a racket, warning everything in the area that a predator is about. You may even see some birds dive-bombing the predator. This behaviour is known as “mobbing” and the birds do this to drive the predator out of their area. Scanning through a cloud of panicked birds will usually reveal the culprit that has scared them into flight; it will usually be a buzzard, sparrowhawk, peregrine or, at the moment, most likely a marsh harrier. The reason that marsh harriers are a common sight on the reserve at the moment is because this species has bred at Martin Mere this year. This is the first confirmed breeding of this species on our nature reserve. And, like the number 76 bus, two breeding pairs turned up at once. Each of the pairs has raised two young and so, with eight birds on site, a visit to Martin Mere over the next few weeks almost guarantees a sighting of this special bird. The marsh harriers are very attractive birds with the female and young birds being a rich chocolate brown colour with a cream-coloured head. The male is not so uniformly coloured but can easily be identified by grey wing patches and black wing tips. Perhaps the best way to identify the harriers is to look for a large bird that is gliding over the wetland with its wings held up in a distinct, shallow V shape. With migration now under way, our home-bred marsh harriers will also be joined by birds from further afield. Through the use of wing tags, we have previously been able to identify marsh harriers from Norfolk that have spent time on the Martin Mere reserve in autumn. Many other birds will now be migrating through the reserve, which makes the next couple of months one of the most exciting times of the year to visit the reserve. It’s not just the marsh harriers that will be on show – almost anything can turn up.

Are you ready for a wetland adventure this summer?

Are you ready for a wetland adventure this summer?

Families can discover the wonder of wetlands this summer, with an adventure-packed day out at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre. Enjoy splashing, dipping, playing, feeding, paddling and getting up-close-and-personal hand feeding some of nature’s most wonderful wildlife. But first, we need your HELP! We have lost some of our ducks and we need your help to find them. 25 giant ducks have been hidden around our wetlands and we need you to find them all and identify their names in order to win a tasty treat in our GIANT Summer Duck Hunt. Centre Manager, Nick Brooks said: “This summer is going to be a perfect time to get outdoors with your family, have some fresh air, connect with nature and have a great day out. It is great to be able to offer events such as the duck hunt and activities like the otter talk and feeds again and we know that they are a firm favourite with our visitors.” There are lots of activities for the whole family to enjoy, including having a go at pond dipping, taking to the water on the canoe safari, hand feeding our amazing wetland birds, watch our cheeky family of otters during their feeds, going on a wild walk adventure and take on the balance beam trail, stepping stones, den building and zip wire in our adventure playground. Check out our top ten list of things to do on your visit at Martin Mere this summer! After such a hard day of playing and exploring, you can relax with an ice-cream of hot drink from our Mere Side Café or kiosks, relax in the craft room whilst the kids get creative or enjoy browsing our retail shop for a souvenir. Book online today To help keep everyone safe we’re carefully managing the number people who visit on any one day and are asking everyone to book in advance, so we can give you the best possible experience. Book your visit

Top ten things to do at Martin Mere this summer

Top ten things to do at Martin Mere this summer

Are you ready for a wetland adventure this summer?

Wildflowers bloom at Martin Mere

Wildflowers bloom at Martin Mere

There is so much wildlife to see at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre at this time of year, but it is often forgotten that it is also an amazing time to come and see an array of wildflowers both on the reserve and as you walk through the grounds. With more than 97% of wildflower meadows being destroyed since the 1930’s it has never been so important to conserve and appreciate these areas. At Martin Mere, we have nearly 150ha of wet grassland meadows which hold some very interesting and rare plant species including: Golden Dock, Whorled Caraway, Tubular Water-dropwort and Fine-leaved Water-dropwort. We also have some stunning orchids which add a flash of colour to our grasslands species; such as early marsh and bee orchids. The Whorled Caraway is a speciality of Martin Mere, which is the only remaining site in England outside the south-west to host this flower, which requires wet, unimproved pastures. In 1975, the plant was confined to just one of our fields. But, with careful management, the plant has very slowly colonised more fields on the site. The plants are currently flowering and a whole field of whorled caraway can currently be seen from the Gladstone Hide. The Whorled Caraway derives its name from the way its leaves form a circlet - or 'whorl' - around the base of its stem. Like other caraway species, it is a member of the carrot family but unlike other caraways its seeds have no culinary or medicinal use. Possibly the most attractive flower on site is the bee orchid, which gets its name from its main pollinator - a species of solitary bee. The flowers mimic the appearance of the bee, drawing them in with the promise of love. As the bees attempt to mate with the plant they pick up pollen and then transfer it to the next plant when they try and mate again. Unfortunately, the right species of bee doesn't occur in the UK, so Bee Orchids self-pollinate themselves. The structure of the flower allows pollen from the anthers to automatically drop down onto the stigma to ensure pollination. A field full of Whorled Caraway can be seen from the Gladstone Hide and Bee Orchids are dotted around the grass banks which surround the Harrier Hide. Both species are currently flowering but to see them, you better visit Martin Mere very soon, or you’ll have to wait another year.

Breeding gulls and avocets makes this a great time to visit Martin Mere

Breeding gulls and avocets makes this a great time to visit Martin Mere

It's impossible not to see our black-headed gulls at this time of year. There are over 500 pairs currently breeding on islands in the mere and many have already hatched young. The colony makes a lot of noise and you can experience this best at the Discovery Hide, where you should also be able to pick out some of the youngsters. Nesting in amongst the gulls are around 15 pairs of avocets, some of which have also already produced young. While the black–headed gulls can be seen year-round at Martin Mere, the avocets spend the winter further south, either on the estuaries and wetlands of the south west, or even further south in France and the Iberian Peninsula. With its contrasting black and white plumage, long legs and upturned bill, the avocet is one of Britain’s most striking and elegant-looking birds. You may see it moving its bill side to side through the water, which it does to filter out small invertebrates on which it feeds. Avocets frequently nest in and around black-headed gull colonies, as the gulls provide added protection for them against marauding crows, birds of prey and larger gulls. However, the avocets need to be watchful, as the black-headed gulls themselves are not averse to dining out on an unguarded avocet egg. Some predation always occurs but, in the wider scheme of things, the added protection the avocets get from nesting beside the black-headed gulls is worth a few eggs going to them. Also nesting around the black-headed gulls are three pairs of common terns and a small number of Mediterranean gulls. Keep your eyes peeled when looking through the gulls as you may see these birds too. It’s also always worth checking through all the birds on the reserve at this time of year, as almost anything can turn up. Last week provided a good example of this as two spoonbills arrived. Who knows what else may turn up in the next week or so? Photo credit: Nick Brooks Book online today To help keep everyone safe we’re carefully managing the number people who visit on any one day and are asking everyone to book in advance, so we can give you the best possible experience. Book your visit

WWT Martin Mere thanks its pandemic volunteer stars

WWT Martin Mere thanks its pandemic volunteer stars

At the start of National Volunteers Week June 1 - 7, Martin Mere Wetland Centre, run by the charity The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) has paid tribute to its army of volunteers who helped the site get through the past, difficult year. From testing water samples to answering the phones, many of the more than 100 numbers of volunteers put their fears about Covid-19 aside to help make sure Martin Mere came out of the pandemic in as strong a position as possible. At the same time, volunteers have spoken about how their work has helped with their own mental health. At Martin Mere this includes Southport-based Di Bond. Di has been volunteering at Martin Mere since 2015. She said her partner died in 2014, and she wanted something to occupy her mind. “I didn’t feel ready to give up altogether,” she added.Starting from day one on the front desk giving out information and greeting visitors, Di has always enjoyed the social element of the role. This also includes taking people on guided tours of the grounds – which she has been given training to do.Although Di has not been able to work through the lockdowns, she did return to Martin Mere for a couple of months last year and is now back at work again. “It’s absolutely wonderful to be back, it brings some sort of normality into your day,” she said. “The schools are coming back now and it’s really good to see the children arriving, so excited.”Di also said how beneficial volunteering at Martin Mere was for her wellbeing. “You build up real friendships in your team, people who all have a common interest,” she added. “There is a real sense of community”. Nicola Stanford, Head of Volunteering at WWT, said the centre was immensely grateful to all its volunteers, including those who carried on working right through lockdowns but also those who have not yet been able to return but have expressed a readiness and willingness to come back when they can “We really couldn’t have done it without them,” she said. “It has obviously been an incredibly tough year for everyone and Martin Mere is no exception. “When it comes to things like wildlife you can’t just lock up and go home, so to know we had people all around the country willing to carry on helping where and how they could, even while our own staff were often on furlough and unable to come in, was extremely reassuring. “As well as helping on the reserves they also helped keep things ticking over in other areas – from answering phones, to logging requests – which meant we were in a good position for when it came to our re-opening. “I really want to pay tribute to all of them both those who have returned and those waiting to come back and say a huge thank you for all the work they have done, both before, during and since the end of the lockdowns over the past year. And as things hopefully start to get back to normal”. As well as helping Martin Mere, many of the volunteers have spoken about how the work they do is also beneficial to their own mental health. WWT recently launched a new scheme called Blue Prescribing which aims to promote wellbeing in people experiencing mental health problems. Dr Jonathan Reeves, WWT’s Principal Research Officer (Health and Wellbeing) said there was growing evidence that being in nature can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. “So many of our volunteers speak about how volunteering with WWT makes them feel better – not just because they feel like they belong to a community of like-minded people but also because being outside, around nature and in particular by wetlands really is a mood-booster,” he said. “This has been particularly important over the last year, so it’s great to know many of our volunteers were able to keep working either between or even in some cases through all the different lockdowns.” If you are interested in volunteering at Martin Mere please click here to have a look at the current vacancies.

New species fly into Martin Mere

New species fly into Martin Mere

WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre have welcomed a new species to our collection this week with the arrival of 12 Inca Terns. This uniquely plumaged bird breeds on the coasts of Peru and Chile and is native to the same region of South America as the ancient Inca Empire, from which they get their name. It is a large tern, approximately 40 cm long and the sexes are similar, both sporting a unique Salvador Dali moustache and striking red-orange beak and feet. The length of a bird’s moustache can be a signal of reproductive health and performance. Although it is a type of tern, it is an unusual bird and scientists have put it in its own genus under the tern and gull family. The Inca tern breeds on rocky cliffs, nesting in a hollow, or burrow, or sometimes the old nest of a Humboldt Penguin. It lays one or two eggs, which are incubated for about 4 weeks, and the chicks leave the nest 7-8 weeks after hatching. Our eagle-eyed visitors will notice that one of the birds isn’t quite as brightly coloured as the others and this is a juvenile bird that is only a year old. The terns feed primarily on small fish, such as anchovies. The species spots its prey from the air, diving into the water to grab meals with its pointed beak. It’s population in the wild is estimated to be around 150,000 but this represents a population decline over the last fifty years, with the principal factors for the drop in numbers being overfishing and ocean pollution. The Inca Terns can be seen flying around our WOW aviary with the spoonbills and avocets. Listen out for their calls that sound like a mewing cat. We think they will become a big favourite of our visitors. Photo credit: Gary Gray Book online today To help keep everyone safe we’re carefully managing the number people who visit on any one day and are asking everyone to book in advance, so we can give you the best possible experience. Book your visit

May Half Term

May Half Term

There’s a fantastic day ahead of you at Martin Mere Wetland Centre. Enjoy splashing, dipping, playing, feeding, paddling and getting up-close-and-personal to some of nature’s most wonderful wildlife.

A wild guide to Summer at Martin Mere

A wild guide to Summer at Martin Mere

Summer 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. As you head out of the door and walk up towards the discovery hide, you have the option to turn left or right to walk along the nature trail. Turning right takes you to a woodland area towards the Ron Barker hide, whilst turning left allows for views across the mere, Janet Kear hide and the reedbed walk.Below is a summary of what wildlife you are likely to see whilst you explore this summer.Reedbed walk and Gordon Taylor hideThe reedbed walk is a feast for your senses through sight and sound. Spend the time simply stopping and listening and enjoy being immersed in nature. The walk is accessed from the lower level of the Harrier hide and the exit is next to the United Utilities hide. It is one mile in length and can be muddy underfoot so good walking boots are advised. There are a number of benches out on the walk for a rest and the opportunity to spend some peaceful time in your surroundings.The reedbed walk is always a hive of activity for birds but what makes it so special in the summer in the large number of insects and wild flowers that can be seen. June onwards brings hundreds of butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies to Martin Mere. The reedbed walk along with wild walk, the area by Ron Barker hide, canoe safari and the eco-garden are the best places to see the variety of insects at the centre. This summer we have already spotted the Wall butterfly that is a declining species, peacock butterfly, orange tips, green-veined whites, brimstones, red admiral, large and small white butterflies. Dragonflies begin to appear across the reserve with the warmer weather with large numbers of Banded demoiselles flying. We have also had Azure, Common blue, Large red and Blue tailed damselflies across the site along with four-spotted chasers dragonflies.If you love orchids then the reedbed walk is the place to visit from May onwards. See Bee Orchids and many other species as you walk along the reedbed walk and the main nature trail. A treat for your senses with scented wild flowers as you walk.Secretive species within the reedbed means that you will often hear them before seeing them. Sit down and listen out for the loud booming bittern trying to attract a mate, bearded tits, great crested grebes, reed warbler and sedge warbler and the signature call of the cetti’s warbler. Don’t just focus on the reeds, look up to see marsh harriers, peregrines, kestrels flying above. You may also see gadwall, mallard, tufted duck, pochard, little grebe, reed bunting and blackcap as you walk around.The Gordon Taylor hide is located on the reedbed walk and the hide gets you up close to the wildlife including nesting avocets, lapwing, little ringed plovers and waterfowl ducklings, but it isn't just the birds, keep a sharp look out for Roe deer and stoats.Janet Kear hideA lovely hide to sit and watch perching birds as they collect bird food from the feeders. Regular sightings at this time of the year include chaffinch, greenfinch, reed bunting, tree sparrows, blue tits, long tailed tits, great tits and greater spotted woodpeckers.The nature trailThere are two viewing platforms, plus the Discovery hide, Raines Observatory and Hale hide that overlook the expansive Mere and surrounding marsh and grassland. Unfortunately the Gladstone hide is currently closed. The woodland walk leading up to the Ron Barker hide offers the chance to sit on the benches and quietly listen to bird calls or view perching and song birds using the feeding stations such as goldfinches, long-tailed tits, redwing, fieldfare, mistle thrushes and robins.There are toilets located opposite the Raines Observatory that include an accessible toilet.You may have to look twice from some of the hides as our herd of long horn cattle graze closer to the hides in summer with their new calves. Our wetland lawn mowers help to keep the wetlands in tip top condition for our wetland migratory birds and as such you will see an abundance of avocets, lapwings, gulls, terns, oystercatchers, redshank, snipe and reed bunting to name just a few – but do keep a look out for resident kingfishers and hunting barn owls as they fledge from the nest boxes. Click here to go to the latest sightings for Martin Mere Book online today To help keep everyone safe we’re carefully managing the number people who visit on any one day and are asking everyone to book in advance, so we can give you the best possible experience. Book your visit