20,000 Pink-footed geese arrive at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre
The autumn sound of geese calling whilst flying overhead has begun with 20,000 Pink-footed geese arriving at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre in the last few days, having made the 500 mile journey from Iceland to spend the next month in Lancashire.
In 2011, WWT Martin Mere had a record number of geese arrive with 36,000 of them roosting on site. Over the next couple of weeks numbers will steadily increase with an estimated 100,000 geese being in the local area. The geese spend the summer in Iceland and will ultimately spend the winter in the south after using the North West as a service station to rest and re-fuel for up to three weeks before continuing on their journey.
This time of year raises plenty of questions about how birds know where to migrate. Geese travel in large family flocks and that is how they learn flight paths, with the most experienced birds flying at the front of the V formation.
Assistant Reserve Manager, Tom Clare, said: “I had my most memorable moment at Martin Mere in the Ron Barker hide. As I looked out, the two marshes were completely covered in 25,000 geese. I waited to see them take off which is one of the greatest sights in nature. Late September and October is one of the best times of the year to visit WWT Martin Mere as it is amazing to see the geese fly in during the afternoon to roost on the mere.”
Over the last 30 years, there has been a massive increase in the number of geese travelling through Lancashire, which will often get 25% of the Icelandic population of Pink-feet (approximately 100,000).
Visitors also have the opportunity to watch the geese leave the roost in our special Dawn Flight events happening on Saturday 12 and 26 October. The events, starting at 7am, are £15 per person and include an English breakfast. To book onto the event, call Belinda on 01704 895181.
WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre is open every day from 9.30am to 5.30pm 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.