As part of my sentimental journey around the North West of England, we called into Martin Mere Wetland Centre, a Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve about 7 miles inland from Southport and a similar distance south of the Ribble Estuary.
Martin Mere according to Wiki used to be the largest body of freshwater in England until it was drained from the 17th to 19th centuries and in Arthurian Legend, Lancelot was abducted from its banks by a nymph. The remaining water is a fraction of its original size but provides a haven for migrating birds, and the most diverse range of visiting birds is in the Winter months, and whilst we were there, hundreds if not thousands of birds passed overhead in massive flocks. Around the mere and surrounding areas are a number of hides, one of which, the harrier, is spectacular, where you can watch the migratory birds fly in and out, as well as the birds of prey which are drawn to the potential banquet.
There are also a shed load of different species of non-migratory ducks and other birds living in smaller ponds around the site, grouped by their location of origin, that don’t require binoculars to appreciate.
If you think that Wapping has wildlife – forget it – this place has it in droves. To be honest, the Egyptian Geese excite me little now – I saw probably 15 species of goose in as many minutes here. At £12 an adult it’s pricey, but with a pair of binoculars you can have yourself, with a little patience, a very enjoyable day out.