Marton Mere Nature Reserve
The gorgeous Marton Mere Nature Reserve is situated on the fringes of Blackpool town, and is run by the Blackpool Council. From late November to February, during winter, you can learn about the Long Eared Owls, which make their habitat in the reserve.
The owls are the main attraction during winter season, as they return to Marton Mere to mate and breed. There are guided tours to show you where they nest and it is wise to bring binoculars in order to see these birds up close. The Ranger Service maintains the area, which has been designated as a National Site of Specific Scientific Interest, particularly for the purpose of bird populations.
Protected Flora and Fauna
This wetlands reserve, is also host to many other important UK species of dragonflies, bats, and butterflies. There is unique flora too, in the form of rare orchids, yellow rattle, marsh woundwort and the pretty birdsfoot trefoil.
Some of the butterflies you might spot include the meadow brown, red admiral, and the common blue. The gatekeeper butterfly can also be identified in the wetlands, and predator birds like the marsh harriers, bitterns, water rails, whimbrels and the lively ospreys can be seen from the many hatch vantage points.
Around the wetlands themselves, you can spot within the reed habitat many nesting species of birds, including red warblers and reed bunting. The slightly smaller Breeding sedge warblers can be spotted in the reed banks too, with peregrines, sparrowhawks, long-eared owls, and merlins flying overhead at various times of the year.
The park is maintained by the Blackpool Council Ranger Service and a host of Volunteer Rangers who can be any age. An interest in conservation and wetlands, and the desire to help is the only qualification needed. The site, Marton Mere, is a lake that was formed over 10,000 years ago, or the end of the last Ice Age, and is one of only two in existence in Lancashire. As you can imagine, this makes it an important breeding ground and stopping point for the species who used it.
Before many people lived in the area, other marsh animals such as beavers, elks, wolves, wild boar and bear provided plenty of food and hunting for the local population. The education centre shows how you would have lived off the land, catching wildfowl, fish and making reeds into thatch for houses. Marton Mere Nature Reserve is an interesting and educational day out for all.