Research: Potential Wildlife Sites (2)

In terms of more formal, organised wildlife sites, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust offers various preserved sites across the UK.

Of WWT’s sites, Martin Mere is the most practically accessible.

As I discovered with my previous research, all photographs taken are for non-commercial use, unless organised in advance. However, an initial visit might prove to be constructive for my photographic practice and the work produced from this could serve as promotional images. After this, I could begin to compile a general wildlife portfolio and perhaps discuss the possibility of permission for commercial purposes with WWT.

From this, I started to consider any recent or upcoming events at Martin Mere that may allow to me develop my general wildlife knowledge, technical skills and wildlife portfolio.

I noticed an event in mid November that might be of interest, the north west bird watching festival. Although, birds are a somewhat challenging subject, they contribute a significant proportion of British Wildlife. I also find them to be very compelling, expressing some of the most distinct and visually pleasing displays of animal behaviour.

North West bird watching festival – 23/11/2013 – 24/11/2013
Whatever the weather, The North West Bird Watching Festival is an enjoyable and informative day out. View the latest optical and camera equipment with a range of specialist organisations

The nature reserve will be open from 8am over the weekend.

A range of guest speakers
Reedbed walk around the reserve
A variety of workshops
Range of stands including outdoor clothing, birdwatching holidays, second-hand and new books, multimedia (DVDs, sounds, guides, CD Roms etc) and wildlife artists and photographers, optical manufacturers
Have lunch in the coffee shop or browse the gift shop
Please continue to check this page for a list of exhibitors.

Daily Activities

Come along from 8am

The reserve will be open from 8am for the North West Bird Watching Festival to allow visitors the opportunity to view the reserve and the wildlife as the day begins.

Talks and Walks

10am: Join a volunteer for a guided walk of the community reedbed walk (duration: 1 hour)

11am & 2pm: Take a walk with Graham Clarkson to search for Martin Mere species including pink-feet, whoopers, barn owl, harriers, dabbling and diving ducks (duration: 2 hours). There are limited places on this tour so please call to book your place on 01704 895181.
11.30am & 2.30pm: Watch the otter feeds and learn all about the animals (duration: 20 minutes)
1pm: Enjoy a guided tour around the waterfowl gardens (duration: 1 hour)
3pm: Experience the sights and sounds of swan spectacular when the swans are fed at Swan Link Hide
3.30pm: Watch a swan feed from the comfort of the Raines heated observatory and enjoy a warden’s commentary during the feed.

Guided boat tours

Take a peaceful 25 minute tour of our wetlands via a guided boat,watching wildlife and listening to geese flying overhead whilst enjoying peace and tranquillity.There is a charge of £2 per seat. Boats run every half hour between 1pm and 3pm. To pre-book your seat please call 01704 895181.

Guest speakers

All guest speakers will be located in the Lecture Theatre. You must collect a free ticket to attend a talk from the information desk and arrive 10 minutes before the talk commences.

10.45am – Jeff Clarke: A Night on the Tiles – The Ramblings of a Noctural Naturalist

Jeff Clarke is a freelance Environmental Educator and Ecologist based in the North-West of England. He leads to wildlife tours, runs training courses and workshops and also works with schools and other educational organisations. He is a regular broadcaster with BBC Radio Merseyside on their weekly Nature Watch slot on Saturday mornings and a popular speaker on the natural history society circuit. All of Jeff’s talks are laced with humour and keen observation. For more information about Jeff visit his website

12 noon – Dominic Couzens, author

Dominic Couzens is a British birder, author and journalist specialising in avian and natural history subjects. He contributes regularly to Bird Watching and BBC Wildlife magazines; and is also a professional field. trip guide. He has written over 20 books, 4 of which have received accolades from the Guardian and Times including best new nature book of 2008.

1.15pm – David Lindo: The Urban Birder

Tipped as the next Bill Oddie, David first appeared on our screens as a contributor on Springwatch where he took viewers for a guided bird walk around his garden in West London. He has appeared on numerous shows such as Daybreak and Countrywise, Countryfile and the One Show, sharing his
love and knowledge of urban birds and wildlife with the nation.

2.30pm – Kane Brides: ‘A Wild Goose Chase’ WWTs mission to save the Red-breasted goose

Join WWT scientist, Kane Brides to learn about the extraordinary lengths WWT are going to, to help save the endangered Red-breasted goose. At the end of the last century, there were around 90,000 birds but numbers have crashed at an alarming rate and the species is now IUCN red listed. Kane has been out on the species’ wintering range in Bulgaria to help monitor the population and to catch several birds in order to track and learn about individuals movements to and from the wintering grounds.

3.45pm – Maxwell Law, award winning photographer: Earth, wind & flight


Ringing demonstration and talk: Brian Hopkins: Free

Brian is the Chairman of the South West Lancashire Ringing Group and a volunteer at Martin Mere. He is an experienced ringer in this country and abroad. The workshop will include a talk to learn about why and how we ring birds as well as watching birds being rung. This workshop will take place in the Kingfisher hide.

Will are limiting numbers on this walk and you will need to book onto the activity when you arrive at the centre.

The workshops are taking place at 9.30am, 10.15am, 11am, 11.45am and 12.30pm.

Owl pellet dissection: Dr Alan Bedford: Free

Alan is a retired ecology lecturer from Edge Hill University. He’s been involved in bird survey work for the last 20 years, monitor lapwing nests for the RSPB at Marshside and has considerable experience at dissecting barn owl pellets in particular.

The workshops take place at 10am and 2pm. Places are limited on this workshop. You should book in advance by calling 01704 895181 to confirm your place. The workshop will last approximately 1 hour.

The Biggest Twitch: Bird Identification Workshops: Free

Join Ruth and Allen from the Biggest Twitch as they are stationed in the Raines Observatory, providing valuable information and tips on bird identification techniques and images from their travels around the globe.

Photography Workshops: Free

Get some photography hints and tips on these short workshops designed to allow beginners and SLR camera users to ask for advice and have a look at some of the instructors have taken. The workshops will last for approximately 1 hour.

The workshops will take place over the weekend at 11am, 1pm & 2.30pm. You must book in advance as we are limiting numbers per session. To book your place please call 01704 895181.

Saturday instructor: Martin Birchall

Martin Birchall is one of the country’s top award winning press photographers with more than 30 years front line experience.

Martin, who won the prestigious British Photographer of the Year award along with the regional title award, also represented the UK at the Fuji Film European Press Awards in Istanbul, the highest honour achieved by any UK press photographer. He was also Nikon Regional Photographer of the Year Merseyside and Cheshire Photojournalist of the Year has had six nominations for the British Picture Editors’ Association’s industry ‘Oscars’ and commended in the North West Guild of Editors photographer of the Year awards .

Martin is also a well-established lecturer in photography media studies.

In his career Martin has worked for the Press Association and was a staff photographer for many years at the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo. His pictures have appeared in regional, national, and international publications.

If you want to find out more about Martin’s workshops this year, log on to

Sunday instructor: Ron Thomas

I will be offering help and encouragement to “photographic” beginners and those who want to make progress into natural history photography using simple, down to earth and jargon free demonstrations/explanations. I will be showing how to use simple and low cost techniques to improve results and offering advice on how to move from taking “snapshots” to making images that you would be proud to hang on the wall for all to admire. My style is informal and helpful and I seek to point people in the right direction to get the best out of their own creativity.

I have been interested in the natural world since childhood and have been photographing many aspects of it since I was at school. For more than five years I have been providing photographic tuition in Wildlife Photography at various locations mainly on the Wirral but also in the North West and beyond. The courses that I run on Hilbre Island are designed to show participants how to plan for and deal with practical situations and how to learn from the tidal, seasonal and weather based rhythms of the Natural World. With over 30 years experience of taking pictures I am still excited by learning new things about the Natural World and also new ways to photograph it.

Confirmed exhibitors

Martin Mere shop

The shop offers a wide selection of souvenirs as well as a large and informative book collection. The bird feeding area offers a range of feeders, bird and insect homes and food, everything you need to create wildlife habitats in your garden.

in focus: binocular and telescope specialists

in focus are the UK’s leading specialists in binoculars and telescopes concentrating for the past 30 years on birdwatching and nature viewing. We have a huge range of equipment to suit any budget, covering those just starting to take an interest to the seasoned veteran.

in focus has had a permanent shop at Martin Mere for 14 years which is open 7 days a week for after sales support and service. It is staffed by local birders who work commission free and will be on hand to offer expert advice as you test binoculars and telescopes in field conditions.

As the WWTs optical partners all sales at in focus support the work of the trust.

For more information about what in focus can offer please click on the link below:

in focus website

London Camera Exchange

London Camera Exchange is the largest independent specialist photographic chain in the UK (as at 8th July 2013). Founded in the 1950’s the chain now numbers 28 branches. The values from the first shop in Guildford still permeate through the chain; enthusiast focused, knowledgeable staff, wide range of specialist stock, keen prices and willingness to “do the deal” on part-exchange items.
Each store within the Group has retained an element of individuality and carries the major camera brands and models plus a range of stock chosen by its local manager and staff rather than by remote and faceless buyers. As well as catering for most of the needs of a keen photographer, the shops devote a lot of space to other types of optical equipment such as binoculars, and telescopes. Part exchange enables those with a growing interest to trade up to the latest piece of kit while the range of used equipment in stock offers a good choice of great value for money older models.
Experience in both photo and optical puts LCE in a perfect position to give advice on the most suitable equipment for digiscoping and they can supply everything optical to enhance your hobby. A visit to London Camera Exchange with its helpful and knowledgeable staff combined with competitive prices could be a most rewarding experience

Viewpoint Optics

Viewpoint Optics is a specialist retailer of binoculars, spotting scopes, tripods and accessories. It has traded primarily from its retail premises in Dorking but since having become an approved optics for Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust in November 2012 it has since extended its reach and offers a personal retail experience by appointment at all of the Wetland centres in the UK. In addition they hold regular sport optics demonstration days at Arundel WWT every Friday and Welney WWT on a monthly basis.

You will also find Viewpoint Optics supporting numerous conservation projects and specialised sporting events around the country, throughout the year.

They are an authorized Swarovski UK Partner and represent all the major UK sport optics brands including Zeiss, Minox, Opticron, Hawke & Manfrotto.

If you are looking to simply observe or would like to try your hand at digi-scoping then Viewpoint are here to help you make an informed decision tailored to your budget.

A percentage of all of our sales is donated to the trust to support their on-going conservation programme.

Minox GB Ltd

MINOX GB Ltd are delighted to announce our attendance at the North West bird-watching Festival at the Martin-Mere Wetland centre on 23/11/2013 & 24/11/2013.

The MINOX brand is well-known among birding organisations and clubs throughout the country. Regarded as an innovative and forward-thinking manufacturer of Optics; our products are all designed in Germany (MINOX works collaboratively with the VW design team) and through the use of carefully selected components and glass we’re able offer a product to suit all budgets.

In conjunction with our Retail Sport Optic Partners Viewpoint Optics Ltd, MINOX will be presenting a full range of Optical Instruments; binoculars, spotting-scopes, monoculars, wild-life cameras and accessories such as CULLMANN camera bags and tripods.

Subbuteo Natural History Books

With over 20 years experience, Subbuteo Natural History Books are the specialists in ornithology, natural history and travel books. We pride ourselves on being able to source any ‘in print’ title, from anywhere in the world, and our knowledgeable and friendly staff are on hand to advise customers of the most suitable books for them, whether it be for travel, for home-based studies, or gifts for friends and family.

Heatherlea Birdwatching

Heatherlea organise high quality birding and wildlife holidays in Scotland and around the world.

Do you want to see Capercaillie, Golden Eagle, Dotterel, Ptarmigan, Black Grouse, Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill, divers in summer plumage and much, much more?

With our own expert guides and 5 stars for our Wildlife Experience, you are guaranteed exciting wildlife watching whenever you come to Scotland.

All holidays are fully inclusive – no hidden extras!


Nikon will be displaying a product range from binoculars and fieldscopes to SLR cameras including the new EDG fieldscope range.


Marchwood is an optical specialist distributer with over 30 years experience in the trade. COME and see Marchwood at the North West Birdfair we will have Optical products from Meopta Bresser National Geographic Forest Optics and a full display of Stealth Gear Clothing and photographic Hides and much much more.

Swarovski UK Limited

Swarovski Optik manufactures high quality optics using the latest cutting edge technology and innovative design. All of our latest products together with our complete range of high quality binoculars, telescopes and photo adapters will be available for demonstration. You can be sure of perfect peace of mind and perfect viewing experiences with a Swarovski binocular or telescope.
For further information visit our website


WildSounds is a leading international supplier of bird and other wildlife books, audio & multimedia guides and Field Recording Equipment. We also stock Trail Cams, Jigsaws and many other gift items.

Second Nature

Buying and selling out-of-print/antiquarian books on natural history,particularly on birds and mammals.We have large stocks of New Naturalists and Poysers amongst many other sought-after classic works.

Bird Watching Magazine

We are Britain’s best-selling consumer birdwatching magazine, and aim to provide birdwatchers of all ages and abilities with the advice, expert guidance, news, views and reviews that they need to get the maximum enjoyment from the hobby. Find out more at

Outdoor Photography Gear

UK designers and manufacturers of photography equipment. Products include Neoprene camera lens cover, rain covers, bag hides, camera protection supplies, photographers beanbags, luggage, clothing suitable for wildlife watchers and photographers.

Ribble Bird Tours
We have been organising wildlife watching holidays since 1998 and been on over 250 tours, visiting 40 countries on 6 different continents. There are 30 destinations planned for 2013. Why not come and join us?

Lancashire and Cheshire Fauna Society

An organisation committed to the recording and publishing of information on the fauna of the region, principally the Birds of Lancashire but also many other faunal groups. An update on the bird atlas is in the pipeline as is an atlas of the dragonflies of the county.

The Society is a registered charity run totally by local volunteers. The latest Lancashire Bird Report will be available on the day.

Garrick Books

I sell books on all aspects of natural history esp, birds, c.f.tunnicliffe books & prints also Peter Scott books bought and sold.

Lancashire Walks and Wildlife Magazine

Lancashire Walks and Wildlife is a monthly magazine offering information on how to get the most from your Lancashire countryside, with six picturesque, cut-out walks through the county’s rich landscape in every issue and a detailed look at the region’s diverse wildlife. All this plus reviews, expert advice and opinion, photography tips and competitions.

Robert Fletcher: Wildlife Artist

The Robert Fletcher range of wildlife cards, prints and originals portrays his unique use of pencils and crushed pastels. His portrayal of misty woodland scenes in particular, have earned him widespread recognition.

Maxwell Law Photography

Maxwell is a freelance photographer creating images of the natural world. “I have a passion for photographing birds, and capturing particular dynamic images drives my photography. I work at creating images of wildlife, landscapes, people, flora, and buildings in natural and abstract form.
I have worked very extensively with people in group settings, which helps in putting people at ease when undertaking weddings, photo-journal shoots, Camera club presentations and workshops.”

Bird Watching & Wildlife Club (Grant Arms Hotel)

The BWWC provide quality wildlife breaks based at the Grant Arms Hotel in Grantown-on-Spey. The BWWC Team are on hand to provide a programme of events (Guided Walks, Wildlife Briefings, Talks, etc.), advice on wildlife hotspots and information about local guides and companies offering wildlife trips and excursions. Our local knowledge ensures that you can make the most of your holiday whilst remaining free to create your own itinerary.

Lancashire Badger Group

To protect and preserve Lancashire’s badgers and their setts from persecution and criminal activities by means of regular monitoring and by educating the public of the existence of badgers in their area. Also increasing awareness of the needs of badgers and to the mutual benefits of badgers co-existing peacefully with the public.


The RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. We belong to Birdlife International, the Global Partnership of Bird Conservations organisations. The RSPB is not only about birds, but our reserves and conservation work help a wide variety of animals. You can find out just how by checking out our website at

Gorse Hill Nature Reserve

Gorse Hill Nature Reserve near Ormskirk (L39 7HB) was developed and is managed by the Northwest Ecological Trust, an independent local charity, to create and preserve habitats for wildlife. The 100+ acre site provides woodlands, wildflower hay meadows, hedgerows, ponds and reed beds to support a growing and rich diversity of wildlife, including great crested newts and over 50 bird species (many on the national endangered list).

Dee Estuary Voluntary Wardens

In 1986, the Dee Estuary Voluntary Wardens (DEVW) scheme was set up at the request of Natural England by Wirral Council to prevent disturbances to wading birds on West Kirby beach during the winter months. Wirral Council continue to support the DEVW in their role in what is probably the longest running scheme of its type in the country.

Wirral Council

Wirral Council owns and manages 1,500 hectares of countryside and 25 miles of coastline including areas on the internationally important Dee and Mersey Estuaries and North Wirral Foreshore. These areas are home to hundreds of thousands of waders and wildfowl during the winter months and are also important re-fuelling points for many migratory birds during spring and autumn.

Wader Quest

Wader Quest is raising awareness about the problems and threats facing the world’s waders and at the same time raising funds for the WWT Spoon-billed Sandpiper captive breeding programme.

Sarus Bird Tours

We run birdwatching and wildlife tours worldwide, with standard scheduled tours, as well as innovative Anytime tours for couples, and Euroshort tours for short breaks. Our tours offer excellent value, with expert leaders. ATOL 6563.

Wildlife Travel

At Wildlife Travel, we take life at a relaxed pace, with plenty of time on our holidays to enjoy the local wildlife and culture, with small, friendly groups and expert leaders. From the flowers of the Burren to the magical Galapagos Islands, we will be travelling to the four corners of the globe in 2014. Much more than just a wildlife holiday: ALL our profits are donated to nature conservation. Join us to discover a new world.

Sierra Trek

Sierra-Trek are based in the High Sierras of Andalucia. We are a young and small Anglo-Spanish nature travel company who specialise inResponsible Nature Tourism, one of our pivotal values together with Education and Conservation.

We professionally organise local expert-guided tours in Andalucia and beyond.

For more information visit.

 As a current member, I should free access to all these talks and workshops.

There is a great deal of scope and potential within this.

  • An opportunity to gain an insight into relevant nature organisations, publications and equipment suppliers.
  • A chance to see various relevant talks and workshops from professional and experienced wildlife photographers
  • An opportunity to visit the site during various feeds and general talks, thus allowing for practice and potential develop for my wildlife portfolio.
  • A potential for documentary photography, following the event through the perspective of a visitor (feeder and animal interaction, visitors interaction with the site etc…)

Featured Photographers:


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