A visit to the RSPB site at Burton Mere wetlands
Last week we made the relatively short journey from home (less than an hour in the car) to the RSPB Burton Mere wetlands site over in Neston. The site itself is on land that has been reclaimed from the Dee estuary and the wetlands are now home to a decent variety of wading birds and wildfowl.
It’s very easy to spend a few hours here and the site is really well set out and really well maintained. There is a series of raised wooden walkways along with well constructed blinds and hides. The site also has good parking, a place to purchase drinks and snacks and clean well maintained toilet facilities.
It’s a place I am certain we will return to several times before the year is out.
Down amongst the reedbeds
Amongst the reedbeds and at various times of the years are warblers, herons, egrets and kingfishers. We didn’t see egrets and kingfishers during our visit but we did see a decent variety of birds, including: sedge warblers, reed warblers, white throats, gadwalls, black tailed godwits and pied avocets.
Established over 35 years
The wetlands reserve itself was first established back in 1986 when a crop field that had been abandoned was purchased from the local council and developed into what is has now become.
I gather from reading some of the information on the official website that an ongoing priority for the RSPB is ‘managing the wet grassland for breeding lapwings in spring and summer, whilst smaller numbers of redshanks also nest here. This is achieved through seasonal cattle grazing and mowing to keep the grass short, removal of rushes and weeds like ragwort.’
Plenty to see and easy to get round
It’s easy enough to get around the site. Paths and walkways are well marked and well ordered. Whist visiting the birds we saw included avocets – which are described as one of the star birds of the wetlands site and that nest on one of the small islands.
I understand that in winter the water in the wetlands is held at a higher level and the area becomes a home to vast flocks of wildfowl and wading birds.
Further information on the RSPB web site states that ‘the pools and ditches provide ample food for little egrets, with one of the country’s largest colonies nesting in an adjacent woodland. Less common great white egrets and cattle egrets are regular visitors and are hoped to establish themselves on the estuary soon.’
All in all a cracking place to visit.
Photographing the birds at Burton Mere proved challenging and in truth and for a variety of reasons I was not altogether happy with the quality of the photographs that I returned with – I hope to do better next time.
Clicking on any of the images below will open a photograph gallery that you can click or scroll through.