The Martin Mere column - Swan of those days

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WITH 1600 Whooper swans currently using the WWT Martin Mere reserve, over the next 4 weeks the swans will be preparing to make their way back to Iceland for the breeding season and Martin Mere is giving all of our visitors the chance to name one of these swans.

Swan T34 has had a total of 3 rings in the past and they have all been the colour yellow. She has visited Martin Mere every winter since 1999 when she was first ringed. It has been 5 or 6 years since she has been seen with a male whooper swan though, which shows that she is the spinster of the reserve. Martin Mere is offering visitors the chance to name swan T34 this winter.

Reserve Manager, Tom Clare, says: “Come along and have a look for a swan with a ring on its leg, write the ring number down and complete an entry form on the information desk for your chance to name this swan. Whilst you are at the desk you can also see and pick up swan bones and wings – you will be amazed to see how big these birds actually are”. The draw will take place on 1 March 2016.

In other news at the centre, we have had, to our knowledge, the earliest record of snowdrop in flower at Martin Mere. The earliest before was 3rd Feb and it is showing that spring is on the way, evident also in the distinct sound of the eider’s spring ‘ah-ooo’ call. Barn owls and kingfishers are continuing to be seen every day for those that are patient in the hide and the centre has been receiving some fantastic barn owl photographs through facebook and twitter.

The LEGO brick animals have now left Martin Mere to travel to Ireland. Centre Manager, Nick Brooks, said: “We have had a phenomenal response to the brick animals being at the centre with a record December and January with over 25,000 visitors coming to see them. I would like to thank everyone who came out in the wind and rain over the winter to help make this attraction a success.”

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.