Martin Mere, Lancashire: 16th November 2017.   Leave a comment

We recently have spent some time in Scotland, the main purpose of our visit has been to visit Margaret’s brother and sister-in-law who lives in Aberdeen.

To break the long drive north we spent a few hours at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Martin Mere in Lancashire.


Like many WWT reserves Martin Mere has an extensive collection of captive wildfowl, but interesting as they can be time was at a premium, so we concentrated solely on the lagoons where the wild birds are found.


Martin Mere has a large wintering population of Shelducks.


These are quite independent of the Shelduck population that winters in nearby Morecambe Bay.


There were good numbers of other duck species, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard and (above) Pintail.


Wigeon were also present in good numbers and could be seen grazing along the margins of the mere.


Martin Mere is a famous site for the Whooper Swans that fly to the UK from Iceland for the winter. Around a thousand roost here, but only a few were seen close to the hides ….


…. but many more were on a lagoon in the distance.


Even more impressive were the flocks of Pink-footed Geese that winter here.


About 25,000 were present in the area in mid November but larger numbers occur in October.


When Pink-feet first arrive from Iceland and Greenland they stop off at Martin Mere to refuel, some stay for the winter but around 70,000 continuing on to Norfolk. Other populations winter in Scotland. The reverse migration occurs in spring. We have noticed these movements between Lancashire and Norfolk whilst birding in Derbyshire.


The site of thousands of geese in the air was spectacular.


A view that I couldn’t resist photographing over and over again.


Pink-feet are quite rare in southern Britain, indeed the one that made it to the lakes near Ringwood, just over the border from Dorset became a bit of a local celebrity.


In mid afternoon the wildfowl are fed just in front of the main hide.  At the time we were some distance away and took this photo from another hide ….


…. however we had the sun behind us, the photographers in the pictures might have been close but the light for them would have been dreadful.


As the afternoon wore on more Whooper Swans flew in from the surrounding fields to roost ….


….accompanied by even larger number of Pink-feet. Martin Mere is also famous for hosting a spectacular Starling murmuration but time was pressing, we still had a three-hour drive to reach our B&B near Edinburg so that had to be left for another time.

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