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There’s always a bit of magic at Martin Mere, from its playful otters to its dancing flamingos.
And if they don’t grab your attention, some of the world’s most eye-catching ducks, geese and swans will.
We’ve never been more aware of the need to get out into the great outdoors to help us all stay physically and mentally healthy, and at Martin Mere you can do all of that, while getting close – and even hand-feeding – to some of the incredible creatures that have made it their home.
So what are you waiting for?
One is the wetlands where you can discover some of the most amazing water birds (plus those super-cute otters) and find out how WWT’s conservation work around the world is helping to protect wetlands and the wildlife that depends on them.
The other is the wild nature reserve that not only attracts birds, but also insects, wild flowers and mammals at this time of year.
And here’s what you can look forward to in each…
The flamingos are a definite must-see on any visit, with their striking pink plumage and dancing displays – who said the Strictly team had all the moves?! The flocks at Martin Mere are Greater and Chilean flamingos and you can actually see their pink feathers sparkle in the sun!
Of course, you might want to keep your eyes on your picnic when you’re around the geese – friendly nenes (Hawaiian geese) and honking ross’s geese – who are known to walk up to you to see what food you may have. So if you don’t fancy sharing, it might be worth saving your sarnies for another part of your trip.
In the wetlands, you can also meet the Asian short-clawed otters, the smallest of all 13 species of otter worldwide, who’ll probably be twisting and diving into the water and, a bird you might actually hear before you see it, the white storks. Because they have no voice box, the white storks have adapted by creating a clacking noise as they throw their heads back, so keep your ears and your eyes open for them.
And don’t forget Martin Mere’s scariest birds – the colourful mandarins, noisy white-faced whistling ducks – or the spur-winged goose, the new Inca Terns with their ‘Dali’-style moustaches and loads of other beautiful water birds from around the world.
This is where you really get the chance to channel your inner-Attenborough and you can just stop and wallow in the wonderful sights and sounds of nature on the reedbank walk.
It’s an absolute feast for the senses with so much to see and hear and you can get to it from the lower level of the Harrier hide (the exit is next to the United Utilities hide).
It’s about a mile long and it can be muddy, so it’s definitely worth putting on a decent pair of walking boots but, providing you’ve done that, you can just wander through nature’s playground and get some fresh air into your lungs.
Secretive species within the reedbed means you’ll often hear them before seeing them, but you can sit down and listen out for a collection of birds going about their daily lives as you do yours. See if you can hear the loud booming bittern trying to attract a mate, bearded tits, great crested grebes, the reed warbler and sedge warbler and the signature call of the cetti’s warbler.
You can see gadwall, mallard, tufted duck, pochard, little grebe, reed bunting and blackcap as you walk around the nature reserve, but just keep your eyes down – if look up you can see marsh harriers, peregrines, and kestrels flying above.
It’s worth mentioning that the Janet Kear hide is a lovely hide to sit and watch perching birds as they collect bird food from the feeders, and regular sightings at this time of the year include chaffinch, greenfinch, reed bunting, tree sparrows, blue tits, great tits and greater spotted woodpeckers.
In the fields from the Ron Barker hide you can also spot oystercatchers, lapwing, redshank, snipe and reed bunting feeding, as well as the resident kingfishers and hunting barn owls.
In fact, the Mere is a hive of activity right now, so why not set out on your own wildlife adventure and get nature in your sights this spring and summer?!
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