North West Bird Watching Festival 2018

Our shop at Martin Mere will be open for business as usual during the annual North West Bird Watching Festival on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th November.

There are plenty of activities planned so why not come along and make a day of it!

Below is information on the event from the WWT Martin Mere website:

TOURS AND TALKS

Mornings on our beautiful wetland reserve are magical, so why not come along and view the wildlife as the day begins? The reserve will be open from 8am. When you’ve worked up an appetite come and get your full English breakfast from the café, open at 9am.

A walk on the wild side

9am. (1.5hrs)

Take a walk with our new reserve manager: Louise Clewley. She will show you all the best spots on the reserve and introduce you to our most interesting birds and wetland animals. She will also explain how we manage their wetland habitat for them. There are limited spaces available so it is advised to book in advance.

Walk with Miranda Krestovnikoff

Sunday 25 November at 12noon (1.5hrs)

£4 per person

Photography Workshop with Craig Jones

11.30am & 2.30pm. (1 hour)

Dawn to Dusk – A journey of beauty

Craig will go through camera settings and compositions, showing you a usable workflow that works on the ground, with no secrets and no hidden settings. He will then take you from dawn until dusk with images and moving music to inspire you.

The beauty of photographing wildlife is that it is always changing and evolving, encountering the unexpected. In this environment, the photographer must learn to work with these changing environmental conditions and behaviors.The results are a better understanding of nature and your images will improve.

Once you’ve learnt the basics, you’ll be taken into the grounds of Martin Mere for a practical session, where you can put your new photography skills into practice.

Tickets are free but must be booked in advance.

Birding Languedoc

1pm (20 mins)

Join Philipa Benson from Birding Languedoc as she talks about Narbonnaise regional park as a new Mediterranean birdwatching and wildlife destination. Philipa’s 20 minute talk will inform you all about this new destination and all that it has to offer birdwatchers for both DIY birding and organised tours.

This talk is free but tickets must be booked in advance as space is limited.

Otter feeds

11.30am & 2.30pm. (20 minutes)

Come and watch the otters feed and learn more about how we care for these amazing animals. Our cute little critters are very photogenic so make sure you bring your camera with you.

White stork feeds

2pm. (20 minutes)

Learn all about the white storks at Martin Mere as well as getting up close to and taking photographs of these amazing birds; Where do they migrate to? When was the last time they were seen in the wild in UK?  You do not need to book in advance – simply come along to the eco-garden for 2pm.

Swan feeds

Discovery Hide 3pm & Raines Observatory 3.30pm

Every winter around 2,000 whooper swans arrive on the wetlands at Martin Mere. It’s a true nature spectacle right on your doorstep so why not join us at feeding time and see it for yourself. Our rangers will tell you all about the swan’s migration from Iceland, what they like to eat and why Martin Mere is the perfect wintering spot.

ACTIVITIES

Bird ringing

12.30pm – 2.30pm

Expert bird ringer and Martin Mere Reserve Manager, Louise Clewley, will demonstrate how the ringing is done and explain why it is such important work. Get your cameras ready for some great close ups.

How many birds can you spot?

Saturday 24 November 9.30-3pm

Team up for some fun with like-minded pals or challenge your own birdwatching skills in our competition. It’s free to enter and collect your entry form on arrival. Join us individually or as a team of up to four. Make sure we have your spotter sheet by 3pm. Then come and find out who our prize birder is at 3.45pm in the foyer.

Floodlit swan spectacle

Saturday 24 & Sunday 25 November 5-6pm

Come and see one of the world’s true nature spectacles in the cosy comfort of our Raines Observatory. Our reserve team will tell you all about the thousands of wild whooper swans that gather on the mere every night to feed.

The event costs £3 per person.

GUEST SPEAKERS

All of our talks take place in the lecture theatre. There are limited places so please collect a ticket when you arrive to confirm your place for the free talks.  £4 is payable for George McGavin and Miranda Krestovnikoff talk – this can be booked in advance clicking on the links below.  All other talks are collection on the day only.

Saturday 24 November

The Orchid Hunter

Leif Bersweden, author
11am

In the summer after leaving school, a young botanist sets out to fulfil a childhood dream –­ to find every species of orchid native to the British Isles. Battling the vagaries of the British climate in his clapped-out car, Leif Bersweden has just a few months to do what no one has ever done before: to complete this quest within one growing season.

His book The Orchid Hunter is a fantastic gateway into the compendious world of orchids, and will open your eyes to the rare hidden delights to be found on the doorstep.

Leif Bersweden was born in 1994 and grew up as a botanist in rural Wiltshire. He graduated with a degree in Biology from Oxford and is currently a PhD student at Kew Gardens. Leif is a published author and an accomplished botanical tutor, running plant identification training courses for The Species Recovery Trust. In a world where an interest in botany is becoming increasingly rare, he wants to help put plants back on the map and is endeavouring to help do this through his teaching, research and publications.

Rewilding in managed landscape: the past and future at RSPB Haweswater

Lee Schofield, RSPB
12.30pm

Rewilding is the large-scale restoration of ecosystems where nature can take care of itself.  Lee Schofield is the site manager at RSPB Haweswater, responsible for a landscape scale catchment restoration project in partnership with United Utilities in the Lake District. Come along to his talk to find out about the project at RSPB Haweswater.

Bugs Britannica

TV Presenter George McGavin
2pm

**£4 per person to attend talk**

No one loves creepy crawlies as much as The One Show’s bug man Dr George McGavin.  In the last ten years, George has been fortunate enough to travel the length and breadth of the UK filming some of the UK’s rarest and most interesting insects.  Join George as he talks about his experiences and answers the question – Why should we care about bugs?

The birds of Costa Rica – a friendly bite-size chunk of exotic rainforest adventure

Speyside Wildlife
3.30pm

Costa Rica makes a wonderful introduction to tropical birding, with loads of other wildlife too – sloths, butterflies, monkeys, reptiles and amphibians – there is so much to see – yet it is so very easy! With comfortable lodges and easy roads, it is a small country which makes it easy to get from lowland rainforest to high altitude cloud-forest or down to the dry north-west or the swamps of Tortuguero, with a whole new set of birds at each location.

After 18 visits Roy knows the country very well, so why not let him transport you there and introduce you to some of the fabulous birds – toucans, parrots, manakins, tanagers, Sungrebe, Sunbittern, Scarlet Macaws, hummingbirds galore and the incredible Resplendent Quetzal – a bird you just have to see!

Sunday 25 November

The Farne Islands: The Galapagos of the North

Alan Hewitt, Wildlife Photographer
11am

Alan’s favourite UK wildlife photography location is the Farne Islands on the Northumberland Coast. Each year thousands of Puffins, Terns, Guillemots, Razorbills and much more, make these small islands their temporary home during the spring breeding season. Join Alan on Sunday 25 November for a photographic journey of the ‘Galapagos of the North’

Alan is a freelance wildlife photographer, writer and widely published author from Northumberland in the United Kingdom. Alan also runs a range of wildlife photography workshops in the UK and African photo safaris in Kenya and South Africa. His editorial clients include magazines such as Digital Photographer, Bird Watching, Wild Planet Photo and various online magazines too.

Alan is a strong supporter of conservation of endangered species in the UK and further afield. His photographs have been used to support conservationof Lions in Africa and closer to home, Red Squirrels and Puffins in Northumberland.

Project Godwit

James Robinson, WWT

12.30pm

Project Godwit aims to secure the threatened population of black-tailed godwits that breeds in eastern England. James will talk about the early success of this ground-breaking project and why this species is a flagship for conservation in the fenland landscape. It is an exciting partnership between WWT and the RSPB with major funding from the EU LIFE Nature Programme, HSBC, Natural England and the Heritage Lottery Fund and we’ll hear about the people behind the story.

James is WWT’s Director of Conservation and has been working to save wetlands for almost 20 years. After completing a PhD on seabirds, he started his career at WWT undertaking research on wetland ecology before spending 14 years with the RSPB in Northern Ireland and eastern England. He returned to Slimbridge in May this year. He has been directly involved with Project Godwit at the RSPB and WWT and can tell the story from the very beginning.

Sandscape – the flora and fauna of the Sefton coast

10am 

Join John Dempsey as he talks about his book “Sandscape” which features a large selection of stunning pictures of the Sefton Coast taken by some of the best photographers in the area. The photographs feature everything on this marvellous coastline, from the flora and fauna to aviation history.

A Wildlife in Television

Miranda Krestovnikoff

2pm

**£4 per person to attend this talk**

Join Miranda as she takes you on a journey of 20 years of filming wildlife.  You will hear behind the scenes stories as well as all about the amazing wildlife that Miranda has come into contact with.

The birds of Costa Rica – a friendly bite-size chunk of exotic rainforest adventure

Speyside Wildlife
3.30pm

Costa Rica makes a wonderful introduction to tropical birding, with loads of other wildlife too – sloths, butterflies, monkeys, reptiles and amphibians – there is so much to see – yet it is so very easy! With comfortable lodges and easy roads, it is a small country which makes it easy to get from lowland rainforest to high altitude cloud-forest or down to the dry north-west or the swamps of Tortuguero, with a whole new set of birds at each location.

After 18 visits Roy knows the country very well, so why not let him transport you there and introduce you to some of the fabulous birds – toucans, parrots, manakins, tanagers, Sungrebe, Sunbittern, Scarlet Macaws, hummingbirds galore and the incredible Resplendent Quetzal – a bird you just have to see!

Exhibitors

  • A Rocha Trust
  • Birding Languedoc
  • Bird Watching and Wildlife Club
  • Bolton & Bury Swift Conservation
  • Country Innovation
  • Garrick Books
  • Hawke Optics
  • Heatherlea
  • In Focus – binocular and telescope specialists
  • Lancashire Badger Group
  • Lancashire and Cheshire Fauna Society
  • Northwest Ecological Trust
  • Parbold Wildlife Group
  • Preston Natural History Society
  • Ribble Bird Tours
  • RSPB
  • Second Nature
  • Speyside Wildlife
  • Susan Lambourne: Artist
  • Swarovski Optik
  • The Preston Society
  • Wader Quest
  • Wild Sounds & Books
  • Winnick Books

Click here to book talks and activities