WWT Martin Mere is one of the key places to go bird watching in Lancashire. With our variety of habitats we’re a great day out at any time of the year, but spring and summer are a favourite due to all the new life that springs up around the wetlands.
Start your day by heading down the nature trail towards Harrier Hide. As you pass hawthorn hedges, keep your eyes out for Whitethroats and nesting Goldfinches as they particularly enjoy these hedges. When you reach the Harrier Hide, head through the doors on the ground floor and out onto the Reedbed Walk where you can hear lots of reedbed species including Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers, Grasshopper Warblers, Cuckoo, Bittern, Water Rail and, new to the site in 2018/2019, Bearded Tits. In deeper waters, look out for Pochard and Crested Grebes with their chicks riding on their backs.
As you reach the end of the Reedbed Walk approaching the United Utilities Hide, look out towards Woodend Marsh as this is a great spot to see some passage waders; maybe an occasional Pectoral Sandpiper or Temminck’s Stint.
Walking back towards the main building along the nature trail, look out onto the mere. In the summer, it hosts breeding Black-headed Gulls, Common Terns and Avocets – keep a look out for any chicks! The nature trail overlooking the mere also offers great views of wildfowl including Shelduck, Pochard, Shoveler, Wigeon, and over summering Whooper Swans.
Pop into the InFocus shop on your way past for up-to-date wildlife sightings – they’ll be able to point you in the right direction of anything unusual or rare around the wetlands. Next, head towards the Ron Barker Hide. Along the way, look out for Tree Sparrows which nest along the nature trail. The single islands at the Ron Barker Hide host breeding Oystercatchers and Little Ringed Plovers. The exposed mud provides great feeding for passage waders so you may see over-summering Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits.
To round-up your day, you can take a walk around our grounds area which often has some interesting wild birds amongst the exotic captive collection. Great-spotted Woodpeckers breed near to the canoe safari and the rows of poplars are a favourite for Thrushes. Be sure to explore Wild Walk too as Willow Tits have been seen nearby. Finally, look up into the trees by the Janet Kear Hide as you will often see a Tawny Owl sat on the edge of the nest box.
At the end of your birding day, you will have earned yourself a tasty treat so head to the café overlooking Swan Lake and choose from our range of delicious cakes and hot drinks. If you need any birding books or bird care items for your garden, check out our shop before you leave for the day.Plan your visit to Martin Mere today.