At Martin Mere, we have a number of feeding stations around our reserve and they are currently buzzing with activity, providing excellent opportunities for wildlife photographers to get some good shots.
There are two families of birds that are the most noticeable at all our feeding stations: finches and tits. The most common finch at our bird feeding stations are the Goldfinches and, at our Janet Keir Hide, you can sometimes see around 30 at any one time. Greenfinches and Chaffinches are the next most common, with the Chaffinches usually preferring to stay on the ground to pick up scraps underneath the feeders. Uncommon but regular finch forays to the feeders come from Bullfinch, Redpoll and Brambling.
The Brambling can only be seen in Britain in the winter, as it migrates to us from its breeding grounds in Scandinavia and Russia. A couple of Brambling have been present at the Janet Keir feeders every day for the last few weeks and are pleasing a lot of photographers. These birds feed alongside the similar Chaffinches underneath the feeders but look for a bird that is more orange than the pinkish-brown of the chaffinch.
Always entertaining, the four members of the tit family that frequent the feeders are blue, great, coal and long-tailed. Whereas the first three species come and go as individuals, the Long-tailed Tits always visit in big groups for a few minutes and then disappear. Another rarer bird from this family is the Willow Tit and patient watchers will be rewarded with a sighting of one of these birds at the Janet Keir Hide. Unfortunately, the willow tit is becoming a rare bird, with the UK subspecies being the fastest declining bird in the country. Its population has reduced by 94% since the 1970s.
A whole host of other birds can be seen at our feeders, including Nuthatch, Tree Sparrow and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Sparrowhawks are also often seen trying to snatch the smaller birds for their own lunch. We just hope they all miss the Willow Tit.
Feeding birds in winter is a great way to attract birds to your own garden. We have a wide range of feeders and food in our shop and can offer specialist advice on what may be best for your property. Feeders make a great Xmas present and you’ll help the birds make it through the cold winter.