An excellent site for winter wildfowl on Blackpool’s doorstep
MARTON MERE LAKE was formed after the last ice age when a huge block of ice melted, leaving a large wetland across much of what is now Blackpool. More recently, it has been declared a Local Nature Reserve and is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its bird life. It’s currently undergoing improvement work to create a new visitors’ centre, classroom in the caravan site, new hide, Sand Martin bank, scrapes and ponds. Winter visits provide a good variety of wildfowl and the extensive reedbeds have Water Rails and several pairs of Cetti’s Warblers. There are five hides on site giving views across the reeds and mere. The hide at the west end has feeders which provide close views of Coal Tits, Long-tailed Tits, Great Spotted Woodpecker and winter Reed Buntings. The extensive scrub and apple trees along the north side of the reserve have roosting Long-eared Owls and Fieldfare and Redwing. Wheatears visit the fields east of the dam and Whinchats are occasional migrants. The water attracts good numbers of Swallows, martins and Swifts. A small number of waders visit the scrapes, such as Common and Green Combine with a day out in Blackpool – a summer visit is good for a variety of dragonflies Sandpipers, Black-tailed Godwit, Snipe and Garganey. Woodcock are seen at dusk in autumn, and stay the winter. The Mere has a long list of rarities to its name, including American Bittern, Little Bittern, Laughing Gull, Ross’s Gull, Collared Pratincole, White-winged Black Tern, Alpine Swift, Ferruginous Duck and also Lesser Yellowlegs.