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03 Oct 2014

Record geese numbers at WWT Martin Mere

Posted in All

2014 sept Mere Sunset1A record 45,800 Pink-footed geese have arrived at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre making this one of the best wildlife spectacles in the North West over the next few weeks.

But how do they get here? Many of us will see and hear the familiar sound at this time of year of the geese calling overhead in a V formation.  Pink-footed geese will remain in this formation throughout the 500 mile journey from Iceland with the senior geese taking it in turns to lead the group whilst the youngsters follow.  The older geese will recognize landmarks to help guide them to WWT Martin Mere and the surrounding area, both natural guides such as the Ribble Estuary and Morecambe Bay, and man-made structures such as the M6 motorway.

Reserve Manager, Tom Clare, said: “Geese have learnt to develop their identification skills so that they know where they are flying to. The geese will stay in this area for as long as they have a food source which is often grain on local fields.  Ultimately they will move on to spend the winter in Norfolk. It is not guaranteed how long they will stay for so it is best to visit over the next week to see this spectacle, which in my opinion is the greatest in nature.”

For many years, WWT and similar organizations have been placing neck rings on the Pink-footed geese to develop profiles. The oldest known goose was almost 41 years old and would have flown 40,000 miles in its lifetime.

IMG_9879Pictured is ULS and his partner ULT, which we know spent summer 2013 in Halslon, Nordur-Mulasysla in central Iceland and then stayed at Martin Mere throughout September and October 2013. Goose TXT has record dating back to 2009 allowing us to know that he spends his time between Faxagil, Hrafkelsdalur in Iceland, Cairneyhill Farm in Fife, Loch of Strathbeg in Aberdeenshire and WWT Martin Mere with his partner TFV.  You can follow these incredible journeys all winter at WWT Martin Mere.

WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 9.30am to 6pm and parking is free of charge. Situated off the A59, it is signposted from the M61, M58 and M6.  The Centre is also accessible via the Southport to Manchester and the Liverpool to Preston line by train from Burscough Rail Stations.  Visit the web site http://www.wwt.org.uk/martinmere/ to find out what’s on all year round at Martin Mere and the other eight WWT Wetland Centres.