The highly anticipated sounds of over a thousand pink-footed geese filled the air during their arrival at Martin Mere.
Each year, the geese make the 500-mile journey from Iceland to spend the next couple of months in Lancashire to avoid the harsher winters. The first of the geese arrived over the weekend, with thousands more expected in the next few weeks.
As they travel, they’ll come in large family flocks and create a ‘V’ formation. This allows more experienced birds to fly at the front, with those newer to the long journey able to follow at the back and learn the flight paths for when they return each year.
Louise Clewley, Reserve Manager at Martin Mere, said, “The pink-footed geese will spend most of the winter period down south. However, they’ll take a break in their long journey here in Lancashire so that they can refuel for a few weeks before they continue.
“We make sure we’re ready for their arrival by creating the perfect habitat. This is achieved mostly by our Longhorn cattle who graze our grass to the right length for the species.”
Each day at dawn, the pink-footed geese will leave their roost to visit nearby farmers’ fields. As they set off, the sky will be filled with flocks of geese, creating an unforgettable, beautiful atmosphere. They’ll then return to the roost as the sun sets, ready to do it all again the next day.
To celebrate their arrival, Martin Mere is hosting a number of events so that visitors to get a closer look at the amazing birds, alongside other migratory birds that fill the mere in the colder months.
On 14 and 15 October, the centre is hosting a wildlife-filled weekend of guest speakers, exhibitors, and activities at the annual North West Bird Watching Festival. Opening early, visitors will have the chance to see the geese fill the sky as they leave the roost.
Those unable to attend the festival can experience the out-of-hours Dawn Flights event. Starting at 7am, gain exclusive access to the Discovery Hide with breathtaking views of the mere, and finish off the morning with a delicious full English breakfast in the Mere Side Cafe.
Each Wednesday and Saturday in October, visitors can also enter the centre free of charge after 5pm until 7pm as part of the centres Late Night Opening events.