Visits to wildlife rich wetlands

Date Posted: 31/01/2013

World Wetlands Day - RSPB wildlife-rich marshland expanses

As World Wetlands Day approaches, the RSPB has highlighted some of the UK’s most scenic and wildlife-rich marshland expanses – all good contenders for a group trip to the great outdoors.

Wetlands are found in almost every region of the world and are considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems. They provide habitat for a great number of water and land wildlife species and are an important landscape for many migratory bird species.

Visit for the day, participate on volunteering projects, or stay for the weekend at the following RSPB wetland reserves:

Burton Mere Wetlands, Cheshire

Set on the grass-hemmed Dee Estuary, this pool-scattered wetland region is home to large numbers of wildfowl and wading birds in winter and warblers in spring.

Straddling the border between England and Wales, the landscape boasts vast panoramas of painstakingly restored reed beds, fenland and farmland.

Lakenheath Fen, Suffolk

The Lakenheath Fen is a large wetland area of reed beds and grazing marshes, rich in pairs of reed warblers and sedge warblers, as well as bearded tits and marsh harriers.

Group travel organisers can choose from a selection of events, wildlife walks and bird safaris at the Fen, throughout the spring and beyond.

Valley Wetlands, Wales

Pretty reed-fringed lakes provide visiting groups with the opportunity to see wildfowl year round.

Tufted ducks, pochards, shovelers, gadwalls and grebes all breed at these Wetlands. Arrive in winter and you’ll see wigeons and goldeneyes with spring a good time to see reed and sedge warblers.

Greylake Reserve, Somerset

For close-up encounters with wetland birds and teems of other wildlife, this leafy reserve offers visitors superb views and easy access.

Groups will find reedy ditches, water-filled shallows and pools hemmed by boardwalks – great for spotting lapwings, snipe, curlews and redshanks as well as yellow wagtails, skylarks and meadow pipits.

RSPB - World Wetlands Day

Other wildlife includes dragonflies, water voles, otters and roe deer.

Beckingham Marshes, Nottinghamshire

Set on the River Trent floodplain this re-established wet grazing marsh habitat was lost after World War Two and is now home to lots of wetland wildlife – particularly breeding wading birds, such as lapwings and curlews - but also water voles, dragonflies and damselflies, amphibians and a variety of aquatic plant life.

Pulborough Brooks, West Sussex

Tucked within the sheltered Arun Valley in the South Downs National Park, this scenic reserve has wetland expanses where flooded meadows teem with ducks, geese and swans in winter and wading birds, such as lapwings and redshanks, breeding amongst the pools and ditches in spring.

In summer, butterflies and dragonflies take centre stage, flitting around the sunny hedge lined nature trail and ponds.

Newport Wetlands, Wales

Offering spectacular views across the Severn estuary, this haven for wildlife in Wales is renowned for its reedbeds of Cetti's warblers and bearded tits – within easy reach of the city.

Ducks, geese and swans visit the reserve in large numbers during the winter. Group travel organisers can take parties on guided walks and wildlife events at Newport Wetlands, throughout the year.

Salthome, Teesside

The panoramic views of this huge wetland can’t detract from the wide variety of wildlife that call Salthome home, or the brightly coloured sweet-smelling plants and flowers that bloom in the wildlife garden.

Cycle trails, walking paths and architecture-design hides are all available from which to see common tern, lapwing, peregrines, water rail and yellow wagtails.

TOP TIP: Get the most from your wander around wetlands

  • Spend some time by sheltered pools and at the water’s edge in late spring and summer to enjoy dragonflies and damselflies.
  • Wetland birds are active and visible throughout the day, so an early start is not essential.
  • Check for birds around the edges as well as on the open water.
  • Still water is the perfect place to stop and spend a few minutes looking below the surface - you could see newts, frogs and amazing pond life such as water scorpions and water boatmen.

For further group travel information visit www.rspb.org.uk.

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