Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Martin Mere a walk on the wild side

My visit to Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust site at Martin Mere was long overdue, its only an hour or so from where I live in the UK so was about time I got a visit in.   In an earlier blog I shared a collection of photos from the display side of the operation.  However, there is also a long walk on the Mere side of the operation which has 5 or 6 specially built hides where you can view the wildfowl out on the wetlands from the relative comfort of a sheltered building.  If anything this was more exciting to me than the display birds allowing very good views of a whole host of wild birds.   I would encourage anyone to pay it a visit, it is worth the £11 entrance fee.  So on with the birds;

This map gives you an idea of the site layout, to the left are the display pens while running right up the centre and out to the right is a long path with the observation points dotted along.

Right in front of the first hide I entered was an artificial nest site which was being used by the Black Headed Gull and a single chick.  There were a good number of chicks around the site but then it was mid June.

A slightly closer view of one of the Black Headed Gull chick.

All over the site were good numbers of Moorhen.  These were also in the display area, I am not certain if they are actual exhibits or have wandered in there knowing they will get fed!

Snoozing Black Headed Gulls.

There were quite a few Eurasian Wigeon around the site

And a heck of a lot of Shelduck, I love the gelled hair look on this one, -- the wet head is not dead lol.

A visit to petty much any water in the UK will get you a Coot for your list.  At the far end of the path I noticed one of these building a nest which surprised me as I would have thought they would have been finished or very nearly by this time of year.

A duck I had not seen before is this Northern Pintail.  There were quite a few of these around the site, a nice bird, although nicer when they have their feathers smoothed back.
And another view of this lovely bird.

I thought this was a Starling, but will have to go back through the photos again as I'm not sure now I look again.

Scattered all over the area were small groups of Northern Lapwing which were feeding in the wetlands.  I discovered a large flock of these up on the Lancashire Moors on another outing, more of that anon.

At the far end of the long path I was sitting in one of the hides when this guy just casually walked in to pinch seeds dropped from the feeders.  The Pheasant is a fairly common sight around the county, though usually a little more wary.

A bird you don't often see at the feeders is a Greater Spotted Woodpecker.  They are reasonably common around the area but I must confess this is the first time I saw one this close.

The Chaffinch is an absolutely gorgeous bird and very common around the area.  They are very regular visitors to the feeders both here at Martin Mere and at those I have out at home.

There was a single pair of Mute Swans taking it easy by the waterside.  I thought there would be more about but maybe they are out in some of the inaccessible areas of the Mere.

Over the entire site I saw about a dozen Oystercatchers feeding out in the shallows, another very pretty bird.

As with all of the places I visited over the past few weeks there was a small number of Greylag Geese to be see, ok well 2 in this case.

A couple of Grey Heron were also on site although a little shy.  For the entire time I was there they stayed in the reeds.

There were a good few Tufted Duck around the pools.

At one end of the mere was a nesting Great Crested Grebe, its mate was swimming about the pond where the nest was.  At the main hide beside the entrance to the park were a small group of 5 juvenile Grebes unfortunately I did not get any printable photos of these zebra coloured youngsters.

A fine specimen of a Little Egret, I took about 20 photos of this bird but this was all that was usable.  It had spotted a small fish in the water and was running up and down the shoreline trying to catch it.. result 19 blurred photos!

A Goldfinch at the feeder.  Again a fairly common bird around this area but really pretty don't you think?

A common Woodpigeon putting his best foot forward.  When I was young I used to thing these were Cuckoos because of the cooing sound they make.  Of course that lasted until I heard a real Cuckoo which it turns out sounds nothing like these lol

A cute little Robin also taking a turn at the feeder.

Almost the last bird I saw on my walk was a Great Cormorant which was busily preening outside one of the hides.

As I mentioned before I had not been to Martin Mere before but would certainly recommend it. Other birds seen were a small flock of Avocet and a single Turnstone.  All in all a really fun day out.

© Bernard Bracken

No comments:

Post a Comment