LHB Blog

A girl, a blog and a cactus named Pudding

Martin Mere (#LHB_Travels)

Alternative title: Because wet cats don’t look like otters.

“Can I snaffle some otters?” I ask M, excited by the idea.

“Snaffle some otters?” He looks at me puzzled.

“Well, yeah. You have to take two because they hold hands while they sleep so they don’t drift apart …” I’m beginning to ramble a bit.

“No you can’t snaffle any otters” He says, but I barely hear him.

“… I suppose I could just have one and have a little tub of water by the bed for it to sleep in and it could hold my hand while it sleeps!” I’m already searching for mini bath tubs on Google for said otter.

“Ruebi … You can’t have an otter …” He says slowly, my bottom lip is out in protest as he continues “but you could always put Millie in the bath. Wet cats look like otters”.

Anyone want to risk putting my mischievous Bengal kitty step-daughter in the bath to test that theory? No? Me neither!  I value the skin on my arms too much.

So, what the heck is Martin Mere I hear you ask? Well, it is part of the Wildfowls and Wetlands Trust (WWT),  a conservation charity focusing on the preservation of wetlands and endangered species.

 

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Are we ready to step through the doors? Yes? Awesome! Let’s go!

 

We arrived just after feeding time for the otters (there were two slots, 11:30am and 2:30pm … We made the second one!) so watched them having a bit of swim before heading for some lunch. A girls gotta eat when there’s walking to be done!

 

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This was the view from the cafe!

 

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And I had reading to do while I waited for my ham and Lancashire cheese panini! Note to others: bring a pen! There are lots of birds to check off the list.

 

With full, happy bellies we set off around the reserve …

 

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Yes, we did have a sunny day here in Lancashire!

 

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“Don’t carry your mistakes around with you. Instead, place them under your feet and use them as stepping stones” – Unknown ❤️

 

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I could not resist the stepping stones! (Or the opportunity to take a photo of my awesomely stylish boots!)

 

Suddenly, out of nowhere … FLAMINGOS! (Ok so technically not out of nowhere as we had wandered over to the enclosure, but I wasn’t expecting so many of them).

 

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I think we caught them at nap time *shhhhhh*

 

Did you know that flamingos get their pink colour from the carotenoids in their diet (algae and brine shrimp)? Because I certainly didn’t! Thought that was quite fascinating.

There are various hides throughout the reserve so you can observe the wildlife without disturbing them, which was brilliant for capturing a glimpse of this Grey Crowned Crane:

 

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I always wanted a hair do like that!

 

Sadly Grey Crowned Cranes are an Endangered species. It was quite a humbling experience watching them pattering about in their enclosure.

There were so many other bird species to see … Far too many for me to remember the names of (I can’t remember the names of my colleagues half the time and there are far less of them).

 

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If anyone knows the name of this one (no, not Fred or Jeff) please let me know! … Wouldn’t look out of place at London Fashion Week with a pose like that.

 

You can even go for a bit of a canoe trip around the lake … Though I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to boats of any kind (as I’ve mentioned before) so I gave it a miss. This time. I have promised to return (with water wings in tow!) and paddle as though my life depended on it (while grinning my head off pretending I was born to do such things).

 

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First thing I noticed … Life jackets!

 

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This is about as near as I got to the water … Told ya. Wuss!

 

As we escaped from the call of the canoes we came across these mischievous little creatures:

 

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They made such a fuss and tried to nibble us through the fencing!

 

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I so shouldn’t have turned around! … They were EVERYWHERE! Drawn by the fuss of the others I suspect … Though I guess that’s the point, to get closer to nature.

 

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If you want to actually feed the birds (because that is totally one of the main reasons to visit Martin Mere) you can buy a bag of feed for a £1! There was loads of it! AND you can buy it from vending machines!

 

Despite my choice of footwear we took a walk around the Wild Walk …

 

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We just had to take a rest stop here to plan where we should wander next … There were so many choices!

 

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The reeds were so high we could barely see anything else (though I am 5’2″ so it’s not an experience that is new to me!)

 

There was one more place we wanted to go before feeding time at the otter enclosure.

 

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Anyone else think of Jurassic Park with this one? Was kind of expecting one angry Velociraptor to be glaring at me through the mesh!

 

No … Not battling with dinosaurs. But venturing into the Harrier Hide!

 

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How imposing and evil villain does this look! If I ever take over the world I NEED this as my headquarters!

 

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The perfect place to collect your thoughts (or make evil genius type plans) while observing the calmness of the wetlands.

 

It was soon time to wander back to the otter enclosure ready to watch them at feeding time … I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I absolutely love otters! They are beautiful, playful creatures (that in no way resemble a wet cat, d’ya here me M!) that I just want to take home and plunk in my bath tub.

 

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They all knew it was feeding time! They just didn’t know who was going to be feeding them …

 

The otters at Martin Mere are Asian Short-Clawed otters; they are the smallest of the species and they are ranked as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They live in a matriarchal structure which causes issues as the pups grow up when the daughters battle with the mother for status of alpha female. This has happened at Martin Mere with mother (Thai) being moved to a different residence. Father (Ned) still lives with his three daughters (Penny, Belle and Flick) but don’t ask me to tell them apart when it’s mealtime! Oh my word they were so hyperactive!

 

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Because nothing says “everything is awesome with the world” like an otter eating a mussel.

 

And because I know you lovely lot just can’t get enough of flamingos, here is a final photo for you:

 

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How gorgeous are they?!

 

How many of you now want to snaffle an otter? Or two? Or maybe a flamingo?

If you want to keep up with my travels away from the blog then you can do across at my Instagram page! Why not grab a cuppa, drop by and say hi!

R x

PS – If you want to learn more about Martin Mere Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and their amazing conservation projects you can by nipping to their website for a nosy! Or, even better, go and see for yourselves (ticket prices are on the website) … I highly recommend the carrot cake when you stop for coffee and a snack! (Oh man, that carrot cake was the stuff of dreams!).

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6 Comments

  1. I love a good Wetlands Centre! This one seems lovely too, though a little further away from us. We are so lucky where I live that river next to my house has a family of wild otter and I see them once a week or so. It’s always when I’m on my way to or from work though and I don’t have my bloomin’ camera – argh!

    You got some beautiful photos and have really got me in the mood to go to another WWT centre soon.

    Oh, I tweeted you about it but that duck looks like a black-bellied whistling duck from what I can see of it 🙂 Such a beaut!

    xo

    • Ruebi

      Thank you! I took the photos on my iPhone as I hadn’t packed my camera! Vowed that next time I would remember to take it. There were so many great photo opportunities with so many great subjects, though I definitely need to read up on the different species of birds as I spent a lot of time puzzling over the checklist and making mental notes to find the names later!

      It was the first time I’ve ever been to Martin Mere and absolutely loved it, there was so much to see and do … Plus is was a great excuse for me to do a lot of squealing over how cute the otters are! I just adore them. So jealous that you have a little otter family living near by.

      Which is your favourite Wetlands Centre?

      xx

  2. “Because nothing says “everything is awesome with the world” like an otter eating a mussel. ” 🙂 LOVE THIS. X

    • Ruebi

      I think I need that phrase on a t-shirt … It is now a life motto! 😀 x

  3. Looks a fab visit – and wow flamingos – or plamingos as my niece insisted on calling them, because they were pink!! Love the otters too, and seeing pictures of them sleeping holding hands is just so cute, but I think he’s right you probably can’t have a real one. Thanks for linking to #PoCoLo x

    • Ruebi

      Awwww … I really wanted an otter or two. Maybe one day! The fact that they hold hands is just so adorable but I bet that can give quite a bite after watching them at feeding time.

      And I love that your niece calls them Plamingos! I think she may be onto something there … How do we get them renamed?

      x

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