The days are drawing shorter and cooler but there are plenty of good reasons to get out and about in nature this autumn half term. RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands is a winter haven for huge flocks of geese and a range of birds of prey. This holiday, families are encouraged to don their winter woollies and wellies and head there to marvel at the autumnal sights and sounds on offer.
Dan Trotman, Visitor Experience Manager for RSPB Dee Estuary nature reserve, said: "At this time of year, the nature reserve's ancient woodlands burst into superb shades of red and bronze, whilst the reedbed gradually takes on its winter golden-brown hue. The pools are awash with great gatherings of ducks, whilst lapwings cover the grassland in their thousands."
"The best thing about this time of year is when the wetland is dominated by large numbers of birds. You don't have to be an avid birdwatcher to enjoy the spectacle of huge flocks of geese twisting and turning as they descend from the sky, or the swirling flocks of wading birds evading a hunting peregrine."
Visitors who stick around until dusk are able to enjoy views of elegant egrets and the chilling chatter of jackdaws gathering to roost. Adventurous families can build a den in the woodland or just let off some steam kicking the fallen leaves. Throughout the holidays, a seasonal quiz is perfect for families to explore the nature trails, or hire a Wildlife Explorer backpack filled with bug pots, binoculars and more, to help little ones see, hear and feel the wildlife even closer.
Dan added: "You can now treat the family to some hearty warming soup, a sandwich or even a hot dog for lunch! We've got a new catering van here most days of the week and picnic areas available if you want to bring a packed lunch. Or you might just fancy a hot chocolate in front of the roaring wood stove in our visitor reception."
Burton Mere Wetlands is open every day from 9.30 am-5 pm until the end of October, closing at 4.30 pm from 1 November. The seasonal quiz trail is available free of charge every day. The catering van is generally present Wednesday to Sunday each week, but phoning the reserve on 0151 353 8478 to check before your visit, is advised.
For further information on events and wildlife at RSPB Dee Estuary, visit www.rspb.org.uk/deeestuary.