The Martin Mere column - Startling starling display

The starlings arrive at Martin Mere
The starlings arrive at Martin Mere

WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre has seen the return of approximately 15,000 starlings at the Centre.

The birds disperse during the day but return to the Centre from 4pm onwards everyday with a fantastic ten minute spectacle, creating shapes in the sky as they prepare to roost for the evening.

Martin Mere hasn’t had a large starling roost at the centre since 2009 when up to 25,000 starlings used the reserve. Centre Manager, Nick Brooks, said: “We can expect numbers of these starlings to rise as we get closer to Christmas so we should see an amazing starling display. Everyone loves to see the birds as they create shapes in the sky and it’s great to see them finally return to the centre as our reedbed has become more and more established. This display should not be missed.”

The best views of the birds display is from the Harrier hide from 4pm onwards. Starlings spend a lot of the year in flocks. They are smaller than blackbirds, with a short tail, pointed head, triangular wings. They look black at a distance but when seen closer they are very glossy with a sheen of purples and greens.

WWT Martin Mere is also delighted to reveal that this year’s Autumnwatch is being broadcast from one of its fellow WWT centres, WWT Caerlaverock in Scotland, from 2-5 November 2015. Many of the autumnal wonders showcased on the programme can also be seen at Martin Mere including these starlings, pink-footed geese and Whooper swans. You will be able to follow the Autumnwatch blog at www.wwt.org.uk/autumnwatch to find out what is happening at Martin Mere and other WWT centres during this migration period.

In other news, over 200 Whooper swans are using the reserve and the annual swan feeds have started every day for visitors to get up close and see these swans feed every day at 3pm from the swan link hide and 3.30pm from Raines Observatory. The centre would expect hundreds to arrive over the next few weeks in time for the North West Bird Watching Festival on Saturday 21 & Sunday 22 November.

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. Visit the web site http://www.wwt.org.uk/martinmere/ to find out what’s on all year round at Martin Mere.