Slimbridge Wetland Centre

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Slimbridge Wetland Centre

Our wetlands are bustling with the arrival of overwintering birds. Join us and immerse yourself in the beauty of autumn, come rain or shine.

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Have a wild winter at Martin Mere Wetland Centre

Have a wild winter at Martin Mere Wetland Centre

At Martin Mere Wetland Centre we’re here for you and for wildlife 364 days a year, so don’t let a little thing like the weather put you off spending a day in the great outdoors. This Christmas holiday, throw on a coat, grab your wellies and head out for a wild winter adventure – we’re open every day apart from Christmas Day! Wetlands are incredible spaces teeming with wildlife all year round. Visit us this season and you’ll be amazed to discover that while a lot of animals do leave or nod off in the colder months, there’s still a lot that’s wide awake. Seasonal wildlife spectaculars include flocks of pink footed geese, lapwing and teal on our Mere and colourful woodland birds gathering at our Kingfisher and Ron Barker Hides. Learn more about the current highlights from our Guide in the Discovery Hide - every day between 12-3pm. The colder months are also the perfect time of year to see the Icelandic whooper swans which migrate to Martin Mere every winter. To celebrate these beautiful swans coming to visit, we’ve got a number of swan-themed activities at the centre, including our swan pipe experience, daily swan feeds and a swan-themed discovery trail. On the collection side of the centre we have a number of iconic wetland species including our cheeky Asian short-clawed otter family. Discover more about them during daily talks at 11.30am and 2.30pm and find out how WWT is working to save them and other wetland species. When you visit, you can hand-feed our characterful ducks, geese and swans or take a wintry walk amid stunning scenery. And once your wildlife-watching is done, there's tasty fare aplenty in our cafe, with festive treats, winter warmers and a new breakfast menu. Our site has excellent access and full visitor centre facilities including a well-stocked shop full of gifts, books and bird care goodies. Find out more on our website: https://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/martin-mere/experience/wild-winter/

North West Bird Watching Festival returns to Martin Mere

North West Bird Watching Festival returns to Martin Mere

WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre’s annual extravaganza, the North West Bird Watching Festival, returns at the end of the month and it’s not to be missed. Join us on Saturday 24 & Sunday 25 November to hear from TV presenters Miranda Krestovnikoff and George McGavin, wildlife photographer Alan Hewitt, the Orchid Hunter Leif Bersweden and WWT Project Godwit’s James Robinson. There’ll be a range of wildlife talks on throughout each day and our Reserve Manager will be giving a daily guided tour of the reserve, showing you all the best bits and introducing you to our most interesting birds and wetland animals. We’ll also have a number of stalls in our exhibition hall selling wildlife and birdwatching goodies, birdwatching holidays and much more. Local author John Dempsey will also be joining us to talk about his book Sandscape which features a large selection of stunning pictures of the Sefton Coast taken by some of the best photographers in the area. The photographs feature everything on this marvellous coastline, from the flora and fauna to aviation history. For the keen photographers, there’ll be daily interactive workshops on offer, full of tips and tricks for getting the most out of your camera. The weekend will be a great opportunity to network with like-minded people and meet some of the best experts in the industry. We’ll be opening our reserve at 8am so you can witness the stunning sight of the birds as they wake on the mere. Afterwards, head over to our Mere Side Café which will be serving a full English breakfast from 9am and lots of tasty treats throughout the day. Whether you’re a group of photographers, a keen birdwatcher or you just love the outdoors, there is something for everyone to enjoy. For full details and to book tickets, please visit our website: www.wwt.org.uk/NWBWF

Geese events

Geese events

Pink Footed Geese swimming on a lake at Martin Mere Over the next couple of weeks there will soon be the familiar sound of geese passing overhead – yes Autumn has officially begun, and WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre will soon be expecting the arrival of up to 30,000 Pink-footed geese after their journey from Iceland. Reserve Manager, Louise Clewley, said: ““the geese need perfect weather conditions to make the journey from Iceland but we would expect up to 30,000+ geese using the reserve by late September and throughout October.” From Wednesday 3 October, Martin Mere will be open until 7pm every Wednesday and Saturday A large group of pink-footed geese flying together. to allow visitors to watch the full spectacle of seeing the geese come into roost. Visitors need to have entered the centre before it closes at 6pm but the nature trail and hides will be open until 7pm.  Normal admission charges apply. On Saturday 6, 13, 20 & 27 October, experience the haunting sound and the thrill of an early morning hide visit with a warden. In past years at this time, the whooper swans have started to arrive back from Iceland and there will be thousands of pink-footed geese on the reserve – you can watch them as they wake and leave the roost. The event starts at 7am and includes a full English breakfast. The cost is £16 and you must book in advance by clicking here Seeing tens of thousands of geese “murmuring” and “honking” and ultimately taking off together is one of the greatest sights in nature and these events allow the community to take pride in the fact that the geese choose the North West to stop and rest. WWT Martin Mere is open every 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 centres.

Animal Magic

Animal Magic

WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre is flying open it’s doors on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 September for the annual wildlife spectacular: Animal Magic. Working with Exotic Zoo, regularly featured on Blue Peter, Animal Magic is the centres most popular family event, with over 5000 people attending last year. Meet an armadillo, go on a donkey ride, see meerkats, hug a greyhound, visit a petting zoo, watch Asian short-clawed otters play, get close to a variety of birds of prey or be scared by lots of reptiles and insects. Most of the displays will be indoors so whatever the weather you are guaranteed a great day out. Centre Manager, Nick Brooks, said: “‘Animal Magic is our most popular family event at the centre. We always try to do events at the Centre that provide a fantastic opportunity for our visitors to experience something new; where you can get very close to or stroke animals such as an armadillo and meerkats at one event; you can see all kinds of animals you probably wouldn’t come across in your day to day life and it is amazing to see so many children enjoy the experience.’ To help you plan your day... Have a go at free pond dipping at the Pond House to see what creatures you can see in the ponds.  There will also be a range of family craft activities for children between 11am and 4pm including making animal ears, some may include a small charge; Explore a hidden gem of wetland habitat: Wild Walk – meander through the muddy meadow, wander in the wet woods and get lost in a reedy ramble spotting wildlife and giant sculptures; You can also have a go on our award winning canoe safari and boat tour experience as well as build dens out of conifer and explore our brand new adventure play area. The event is taking place from 10am to 4pm and normal admission prices will apply to enter the Centre meaning that it is a completely free event for members. For information on these events and other activities happening at the centre visit www.wwt.org.uk/martinmere and click on events, or call 01704 891220. WWT Martin Mere is open every day from 9.30am to 6pm. 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 centres.

New Learn Zone

New Learn Zone

WWT Martin Mere launches new Learning Zone website for teachers planning ‘wild’ trips Teachers planning immersive, educational trips in the natural environment now have an invaluable resource at their fingertips, WWT Martin Mere’s NEW Learning Zone website  wwt.org.uk/learningzone The new site is a one-stop shop of unique resources and ideas for all ages. Teachers can use these resources to plan lessons in school as well as curriculum-linked trips to Martin Mere Wetland Centre, focusing on the natural world and outdoor learning. Educators who will find the website particularly useful include early years, special needs and primary teachers as well as secondary and tertiary geography and science teachers. New materials featured on the site include a wide range of hands-on self-guided resources to engage learners with wetlands and the wildlife around them and pre and post visit resources to inspire learners before a visit and extend their learning afterwards.  There is also information on the extensive range of guided sessions available, delivered by experienced learning staff and covering a wide variety of curriculum themes (included in admission price). In addition, the site lists WWT’s wide range of benefits for pre-schools, schools and colleges/universities and information on making the most of an educational visit (based on 70 years of experience!). Benefits include: Free familiarisation visits for group leaders Free adults (according to ratios) and essential carers Risk Assessments and safety information provided Bag storage Lunch spaces Free coach and disabled parking very near to entrances 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.

Wader migration

Wader migration

Pectoral Sandpiper at Slimbridge This week, a rare American visitor dropped into WWT Martin Mere in the form of a pectoral sandpiper. The bird dropped into the mere on Monday amid all the rainy weather and attracted a small group of twitchers. From now until the end of October, it is always worth keeping a look out for rare birds at Martin Mere. August is regarded as the month in which the north to south migration really starts and some birds can become picked up in weather systems and blown off-course, while they are trying to travel to their winter quarters. This can put birds, like the pectoral sandpiper, miles away from where they are normally found.  It has also been found that young, inexperienced birds can end up way off course without being carried by weather systems. Their inexperience can actually see them deliberately fly in the opposite direction to where they need to go, putting them hundreds of miles out of their species’ normal range. In August at Martin Mere, the most visible birds migrating through the reserve are waders While thousands of families migrate to Martin Mere in the summer holidays to enjoy the playground, otters and flamingos the waders migrate here for the mud. For the next few months the nature reserve will see hundreds of waders drop in. Some of the waders will stay for a couple of hours, others may stay a few days and there will be some birds that stay all winter. One of the most visible waders at the moment is the black-tailed godwit. Many of these long-billed birds are still in their bright summer plumage. Other waders currently being seen are lapwings, ruff, redshank and common sandpiper but we’ll also have visits from around another twenty species over the next few months. And, just as the pectoral sandpiper was probably blown off-course, the autumn hurricane season in America may even end up blowing a rare wader 3000 miles across the Atlantic to the mud of Martin Mere. Keep your eyes peeled! WWT Martin Mere is open 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 centres.

NW Bird Festival

NW Bird Festival

Whooper Swans on a very calm mere at Martin Mere See over 70 species of wild bird as well as special guest speakers TV presenters George McGavin and Miranda Krestovnikoff, wildlife photographer Alan Hewitt, the Orchid Hunter Leif Bersweden and Project Godwits James Robinson at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre’s annual extravaganza:  North West Bird Watching Festival on Saturday 24 & Sunday 25 November. Whether you’re a group of photographers, birdwatchers or you all just love the outdoors, there is something for everyone at this event in Burscough, Ormskirk. You can attend a range of wildlife talks and seminars; see hundreds of Whooper swans feed alongside shelduck, teal, wigeon and thousands of Pink-footed geese; pick up tips from optical seminars and workshops; see demonstrations; network with experts to learn more about our feathered friends; browse through lots of wildlife and bird watching goodies including clothing, books, paintings, wildlife holidays and much more; and round your day off with some delicious homemade cake at the Mere Side Cafe. As part of your group visit we can offer free coach parking, a £10 drivers voucher, free entry for the group organiser and reduced admission prices if you have more than 12 in your group.   Email groups.martinmere@wwt.org.uk for information on booking a group visit. Highlights for you and your group at the bird watching festival at WWT Martin Mere include: Having access to the reserve from 8am, offering your group the chance to watch and photograph tens of thousands of pink-footed geese and Whooper swans as they wake and leave their roost Seeing the award winning spectacle with hundreds of Whooper swans feeding right in front of them on the mere, as well as thousands of shelduck, wigeon and teal, at 3pm from the new 50m Discovery hide which also includes a warden’s talk Access to free ringing demonstration workshops allowing you to get up close to some wonderful species Walks with Reserve Manager Louise Clewley and Miranda Krestovnikoff to find the top ten species at Martin Mere at this time of year Testing your group’s birdwatching skills by seeing who can spot the most species at Martin Mere between 9.30 – 3.30 on Saturday 24 November to win prizes. For further event information, workshop bookings and a detailed list of exhibitors, please visit: www.wwt.org.uk/nwbwf. WWT Martin Mere is open for this event from 9.30am to 4.30pm 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 centres.

Learn a new skill this winter

Learn a new skill this winter

Over the autumn and winter, WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre is hosting a series of courses aimed at getting you engaged with nature.  From September onwards you can take part in courses that help increase your bird identification skills, photography skills and drawing and painting skills as well as giving you an opportunity to meet experts in these fields. Birdwatching Morning Join Andy Bunting from in focus to develop your bird identification skills in the field and receive expert advice on using the tools of the trade i.e. guides, binoculars and telescopes. Wildlife Photography A comprehensive all-day workshop with Andy Bunting from in focus, winner of the WWT Nikon Photograph of the Year Competition and BIAZA Wildlife in the Wild. The day is designed to help you understand some of the basics of photography and how they relate to your current camera, which will in turn allow you to improve your photographic results. You will look into the three parameters of shutter speed, aperture and iso rating, how they work with one another and how they affect your end results. Drawing & Painting Birds Join award winning local artist and illustrator Tony Disley for this one-day class exploring the process from drawing through to a finished painting. This class is designed for beginners with the aim of showing how to draw and paint a detailed and realistic painting of a bird subject. Practical demonstrations and tutorials throughout the day will help guide you to produce a small finished painting. All of these courses are available to book online by going to www.wwt.org.uk/martinmere and clicking through to the ‘what’s on’ section (September, October & December).  Places are limited at just 8 per session to ensure you receive one to one tuition so it is advised to book early to secure your place. 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.

Crowned cranes return

Crowned cranes return

A new pair of African crowned cranes have been released into WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre’s aviary. Grounds Manager, Steve Nasir, said: ”Crowned cranes are very popular with our visitors and we are very pleased to have a pair back at Martin Mere. The male is 6 years old and has been at Martin Mere for some time but without a partner so we were delighted when the opportunity to get a 5 year old female from Paignton Zoo came up.  The pair have been together for two months now and are getting on well.  They have been put out in our aviary and it is hoped that they will become a breeding pair – watch this space.” The pair of Crowned cranes can be viewed from the aviary within the WOW area of the grounds. African Crowned cranes are most notable for their stiff crown of gold feathers on the top of their head. They are about 1m (3.3 ft) tall and weighs 3.5 kg (7.7 lbs) with a wingspan of 2 m (6.5 ft). The chicks in contrast are orange in colour with lovely black markings on their back. 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.

Red-breasted Geese Goslings

Red-breasted Geese Goslings

Three Red-breasted geese goslings have hatched at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre. It has been 15 years since the centre last bred this species successfully. Martin Mere has had a very successful breeding season – in fact one of the best we have had, culminating in the hatching of three Red-breasted geese goslings.  You'll be able to see the whole family in a safe and secure enclosure next to our duckery, on the way to the Ron Barker hide. This strikingly-coloured goose breeds in Arctic Russia and winters around the Black Sea, especially in Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine. At the end of the last century, there were around 90,000 birds but numbers crashed by around half over the next few years and the species was classed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. WWT has long been involved with Red-breast conservation. We led the development of an International Action Plan, bringing together experts to identify threats to the species and devise conservation solutions. Since 2010, WWT has been heavily involved in ‘Safe Ground for Redbreasts’, an EU-funded €3-million project in Bulgaria to address the major threats to the species on their wintering grounds. 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.

Bionic Bugs

Bionic Bugs

Breaking news – GIANT Bionic Bugs are invading WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre this summer searching for the World’s Largest Bug Hotel. Have a bug-filled adventure this summer as Martin Mere is taken over by six giant Bionic Bugs from Saturday 28 July to Sunday 2 September. Meet a 6ft long dragonfly, 6ft wingspan butterfly, ant, grasshopper, 4ft buzzing bee, all brought to life with state of the art animatronics and sound effects. Centre Manager, Nick Brooks, said: “With the invasion taking place I guess I should tell you to remain calm and stay indoors - but actually I think it will be better to get outdoors and become very excited as we need families and children of all ages to visit Martin Mere and find these bionic bugs this summer. In 2017, Martin Mere received the Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Bug Hotel, standing at a massive 18.36 cubic metres, it is no surprise that giant bugs were going to attempt to move in – it’s going to be a buzzing day out for the whole family.” Grab your free bug book when you arrive, and start your bug-tastic adventure, collecting stickers for doing eight activities including spotting the GIANT bugs, having a go at bug hunts, glide along on the Canoe Safari or boat tour bug trail, delve into our Pond Zone, make bug crafts, learn about bugs in the food chain and take the your own bug picture. If you collect six or more stickers, you can get a special bionic bug sticker at the daily award ceremony at 3.30pm. For further information and a full list of activities visit wwt.org.uk/bionicbugs 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.

Bat & Barn Owl Nights

Bat & Barn Owl Nights

Popular Bat and Barn Owl nights return to WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre this summer. Every Friday in August (10th, 17th, 24th & 31st) join our reserve team and bat expert for this unique experience. The evening starts at 8pm until 11pm, with a walk out on the Marsh to search for barn owls as they hunt across the reserve. When the sun goes down, a local bat expert will teach you how to use bat detectors to track these fascinating flying mammals as you venture back to the building, getting a glimpse of the creatures that come out after dark on the reserve. Through surveys, Martin Mere has identified the presence of five different bat species using the Barn owl on fence post at Welney site including; Soprano Pipistrelle, Common pipistrelle, Noclule, Daubentons and Brown Long eared Bats. The specialist detectors are designed to amplify the sound of bats so that you can identify where they are and get a better look at them. You will be led over rough terrain in areas that are usually out of bounds to the public and the distance covered is approximately three miles. You are advised to dress warmly, with appropriate footwear for the outdoors. Reserve Manager Tom Clare said: “The Bat and Barn Owl nights, provide a unique opportunity to search for barn owls in the wild and use a bat detector to hear enchanting bat sounds. Early evening is a great time to spot barn owls hunting over the reserve and the bat walks are a fascinating experience.” Tickets are £14 per person. Places are limited for this experience and must be booked in advance. Book online today by visiting wwt.org.uk/martinmere and clicking on events. 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.

Special arrivals

Special arrivals

Seven Baer’s Pochard ducklings, one of the world’s rarest ducks, have hatched in the nursery at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre. In 2012 the world’s conservation authority, the IUCN, classified the bird as “Critically Endangered”, meaning it is just one step away from extinction, with fewer than 1,000 in the wild, making it rarer than the giant panda. Recently it was announced that a wild pair of Baer’s Pochard had successfully bred at Hengshui Hu National Nature Reserve in China, the most important site for the bird.  It’s the only confirmed report from anywhere in the world this year of successful breeding by this Critically Endangered duck. Steve Dilworth, grounds warden, said: “Breeding Baer’s Pochard’s is a great achievement for the centre as it is really important to maintain a healthy stock of these birds in captivity in the event of numbers further declining in the wild. This is the second time we have bred these birds and they are doing really well in the nursery.” The duckling nursery will be open every weekend until Sunday 15 July at Martin Mere, once the pochards get a bit bigger they will be on display in the nursery for visitors to come and see one of the world’s rarest ducks. In March this year, experts from ten countries visited Hengshui Hu to plan further conservation measures to help the Baer’s pochard. It was at this meeting that Hengshui Hu was nominated as the “Home of Baer’s Pochard” and as a direct result the local government, along with the nature reserve and the local university, declared the key part of the lake as a fully protected zone during the breeding season. 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.  http://www.wwt.org.uk/martinmere/  

Volunteering?

Volunteering?

A young girl being given a Dusty Duck log book at WWT Martin Mere. Volunteer your time and meet new people at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre is looking for enthusiastic volunteers of all ages to come and join our welcome and visitor activity teams The welcome team meets and greets all of our visitors, giving out day planners and centre information, as well as doing the otter talk and feed, white stork talk and feed and the flamingo experience.  Belinda Dargie, Office Manager, says: “The welcome team is a real team atmosphere and you can make some great friends on the day you volunteer – you just have to love talking to people and learning new things.” Visitor activities include helping out in our craft room, helping families do pond dipping and bug hunts as well as pumpkin carving and Sail to Santa later in the year. Learning Manager, Chris Whitehead, says: “By helping out on activities like these, you are really helping to get children engaged with nature and getting them to enjoy being outdoors – it can make a real difference.  No experience is necessary, you just need to enjoy meeting new people.” Chris continues: “We now have over 180 volunteers at Martin Mere. Nationally, we have over 900 volunteers, we quite simply couldn’t function without them.  Volunteering gives opportunities, allowing students to stand out on their university applications, whilst our mature volunteers can learn new skills and meet new friends.  In the past we have had volunteers as old as 89, which shows it is never too late to come and volunteer at Martin Mere.” For all vacancies, click here WWT Martin Mere is open every day from 9.30am to 4.30pm 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 centres.

Flamingo chicks!

Flamingo chicks!

Eight greater flamingo chicks have hatched at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre this week. Centre Manager, Nick Brooks, said: “It is always great to see flamingo chicks at the centre. They are very popular with our visitors. We do a flamingo experience every day at 1.30pm were we put up a scope and show visitors eggs, skulls, feathers and pictures - It’s a great talk and an opportunity to have the chicks pointed out. Our adult flamingos are actually as old as Martin Mere as they came from WWT Slimbridge 40 years ago. The fact that they still continue to breed is credit to our team of aviculturists and the care they show the birds.” The greater flamingos are one of six species of flamingos found in the world. They are the least vibrant coloured of the six species, being a pale salmon pink. Flamingos are very social birds which need to be kept together in a large group in order for them to be happy. At Martin Mere there are currently have 90 greater flamingos and they choose the same partners every year.  A single egg is laid by each pair and both the male and female take it in turns to incubate.  Incubation takes approximately 30 days and all chicks are parent-reared as these social youngsters benefit from being with their mum and dad as well as with each other.  In addition, adult flamingos produce a special crop milk to feed their babies on (- pigeons are the only other bird to do this).  The fluffy chicks grow very quickly (up to 2cm a day) and they are fully-fledged by the age of 3 months.  They are usually grey or white in colouring and it takes approximately 2 to 3 years to obtain full pink plumage. 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.