WWT Martin Mere says goodbye to Whooper swans as their migration back to Iceland begins
With less than 1000 Whooper swans counted at the last dawn count at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre, the next week is the last opportunity to come along and see these amazing birds on the mere before they migrate back to Iceland for the summer.
The swans fly away from Martin Mere to spend the summer months in Iceland where they have almost 24 hours sunlight in order to breed and give birth to their cygnets. Once the cold weather sets in next October, they will once again fly across the ocean to visit Martin Mere for the winter.
This winter has seen some amazing stories; Virginia, our oldest known swan, at the age of 24 (at least) was once again spotted, we rung a special anniversary swan called Ruby (XLM) and we had a family arrive after leaving a cygnet behind in Ireland which resulted in a lot of national TV coverage. Centre Manager, Nick Brooks, said: “every year we are never quite sure what amazing stories the swans will bring back with them. We have a lot of knowledge of individual swans; autumn is an exciting time to see which swans return back to us and if they have a family with them. It’s always sad to see them leave but Spring is a great time of the year to come along and visit.”
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to see these magnificent creatures as they feed everyday before they fly away in mid March. The feeds will take place at 3pm at the Swan Link Hide followed by a second feeding taking place at the heated Raines Observatory at 3.30pm along with a talk and a Q&A from one of our dedicated volunteers should you have any questions about these special birds.
As the swans are leaving us, the signs of spring are evident at Martin Mere. The screamers are sitting on 4 eggs that we are hopeful will hatch in the next week, the cereopsis are sitting on their second clutch of eggs, the Hawaiian geese are nesting, there are 60 avocets on the reserve and the Greater flamingos are nest building. As the new life season starts there will be ducklings, goslings, cygnets and chicks springing up around the centre for everyone to see and if you get a cracking photograph, enter it into our special 40 anniversary photography competition at wwt.org.uk/photocomp.
WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 9.30am to 4.30pm during winter months 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.
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