Tuesday was the sunniest day of our whole stay, and we decided to spend it at Martin Mere WWT, with a look at RSPB Marshside if time allowed. Martin Mere follows the standard WWT layout, with a collection of captive exotic wildfowl and a wider expanse of natural habitat beyond.
One of the first atttractions you reach on going through the doors is an enclosure of those ubiquitous Short-clawed Asian Otters. The otters were not on view but something else was - sitting all hunched up on the seating rail surrounding the enclosure was a Chiffchaff which had obviously flown full tilt into the glass panel above.
We checked out all of the displays, which as well as the usual array of ducks, geese and swans also included flamingos and screamers, and there was a walk-in aviary containing Avocets and a pair of African Crowned Cranes. I did take a few shots of the exotica but tried to concentrate on wild stuff.
If you go right at the way in you go through Tree Sparrow country. They are well catered for here, with tons of nestboxes and plenty of large feeder trays to keep the Cyrils out.
We decided there was time to visit the nearby RSPB Marshside, a newish wetland reserve near Southport, which featured in this blog way back in 2009. It has developed quite a bit since then, with more established water bodies and vegetation.
Sandgrounder's doubles as the visitor centre here, and was closed, it being well after 6pm. From the viewing slots adjacent to the hide we could see a female Avocet sitting quietly on her nest on a small gravelly island.