We love going to WWT Martin Mere in the autumn to see the wonderful proliferation of wildfowl – thousands of migrated pink-footed geese, whooper swans, and many more ducks and geese attracted to the plentiful food that is available. These photographs give a small sample from our recent visit.
Whoopers are biggest
Low autumn sun angle
Mass Shelduck takeoff
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These WWT reserves now play a valuable part in the global ecosystem. Such has been the human impact on the planet that we must now help the remaining wildlife to continue into future generations.
The featured image shows whooper swans and others in profile, shooting into the setting sun.
The bird called shelduck in UK is more accurately called the common shelduck, and occasionally males may be called sheldrakes. We see them in their hundreds during winter visits to WWT Martin Mere in Lancashire, and also on the local lakes in Cheshire.
This is a largish bird and actually looks a bit like a goose. In fact it seems that it lies somewhere between duck and goose.
What I can say, by direct observation, is that they are fearless in that they will be the birds feeding closest to the viewing panes at Martin Mere winter feeding time. Yet they are easily spooked, creating a spectular display as large numbers of these colourful birds suddenly arise as one and take off. Hunger soon wins and they gradually creep back in to reestablish their pole feeding position.
Some stay in the UK to breed in summer, but many more are winter visitors.
Shelducks are found across the world in various guises, hence the need for the prefix ‘common’ to distinguish this particular variant.