|Visitors on the path -Ron Thomas|
A birthday weekend extravaganza will be held at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands this month to mark the nature reserve’s third birthday – and everyone is invited to join the party.
As a special birthday treat, visitors to the reserve on Saturday 27 September and Sunday 28 September will receive free entry and there will be a variety of free activities for all ages to enjoy, including den building, crafts and guided walks.
Staff and volunteers will be on hand to help people uncover the wildlife which makes its home at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands and visitors can also gain tips on how to give nature a home where they live, before enjoying homemade birthday cake.
The reserve is home to many wonderful creatures, from kingfishers and common lizards to dragonflies, and now is the perfect time to witness a wildlife spectacle as large numbers of ducks and geese begin to move in for the winter.
Dan Trotman, Visitor Development Officer for the RSPB’s Dee Estuary nature reserve, said: “The birthday weekend is a fantastic way to celebrate the reserve turning three and a great opportunity for visitors to discover all that RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands has to offer.
“Since opening, more than 100,000 people have visited the reserve, enjoying the chance to get up close to nature and see wildlife they may never have come across before. Thanks to the recent addition of a new trail, people can now explore even more of the site, so whether you are looking for a relaxing walk, taking part in an event or wanting to marvel at the wonderful wildlife, there’s something for everyone.
“We hope as many people as possible will come and help us celebrate our third birthday as it is sure to be a brilliant weekend.”
The birthday event runs from 9.30 am-5 pm on Saturday 27 September and Sunday 28 September, with guided walks led by one of the wardens taking place at 10 am and 1.30 pm each day. On the Saturday, there will be a RSPB pin badge stall between 10 am-4 pm, with the full current range of pin badges to buy.
Please note there will be road closures around Burton from 11.15 am-12.15 pm on Sunday 28 September for a fun run event, so visitors to the reserve are advised to arrive before/after these times.
Burton Mere Wetlands is the gateway to the RSPB’s Dee Estuary nature reserve, with one of the newest visitor facilities in the country. From the comfort of the reception building, visitors can see nesting avocets and lapwings in the summer and huge flocks of ducks, geese and swans in winter. Water voles and badgers are resident here, whilst the summer months are alive with flickering colours from the countless dragonflies and butterflies.
Four miles up the road at Parkgate, the vast saltmarsh provides internationally important home for thousands of wading birds and wildfowl, but one of the biggest draws are the birds of prey and owls; hen harriers, peregrine falcons and short-eared owls are amongst the most captivating winter visitors. During exceptionally high spring tides, the saltmarsh becomes flooded and the resident harvest mice, field voles and the like can be seen fleeing the rising water.
Point of Ayr lies at the tip of the Welsh side of the estuary, where thousands of wading birds gather to roost at high tide, and a huge variety of migrant birds stop off to feed and nest on the saltmarsh. Natterjack toads breed in the sand dunes and the critically endangered Sandhill Rustic Moth thrives here.
A programme of events runs at all three sites throughout the year, please see: www.rspb.org.uk/deeestuary
Burton Mere Wetlands is open daily, with the reception building open from 9.30am until 5pm. The reserve is just 10 minutes from the M56, off the A540 (Chester High Road). For non-RSPB members, entry is normally £4 for adults (concessions £2), £6 for a family and £1 for children.