Martin Mere Wetland Centre

Martin Mere Wetland Centre, A Day Out

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

Time flies when you’re having fun (or very busy at work), and perhaps especially when you have a day out at Martin Mere Wetland Centre. It’s huge, but well laid out, with a number of handy, and very well specified, public hides from which to mix with twitchers and shoot long lens wetland birds. I can hardly believe that it was the 9th of April 2013 that I was last there, it’s now nearly 7 weeks and I haven’t published any of my images yet.

Routes Round the Martin Mere Wetland Centre

The handbook, or walkabout guide, contains a route map, several suggested routes and some very handy information on a variety of species. There is a nature trail map, some photographic plates and a Wildlife check-list to tick off your sightings. The Marsh harrier, Whooper swan, Bewick’s swan, Pink-footed goose and Tree sparrow are filled in at the head of the list to get you started. We did in fact see a Pair of Marsh Harrier’s last time out, but not this visit. I think that my favorite part of the handbook is the fold-out back cover that contains 121 colored drawings of ducks, geese and other birds to help you with identification. WWT Martin Mere is one of nine unique wetland visitor centres in the UK run by the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust. All the paths have a tarmac surface so they are an easy walk and reasonably clean to lie on to get a good low angle for birds in ponds. Martin Mere Wetland Centre opens at 9.30 am and closes at 5.30 pm in the summer and 5.00 pm in the winter. The grounds are open for one hour after the building closes but visitors must then leave through the exit gates.

Images from the Hides and Ponds

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Post Processing…

Some time is inevitably spent trying to work out what I have photographed, not always with any success. I get swept along by the photography, so tend not to remember to take a note of the species names where those are noted at the pools. So for this reason I am indebted to Belinda Barker, office manager at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre, for putting names to quite a few of the images you see above.

Otherwise, getting the correct exposure is most of the battle with images of water birds. The brightness of the water or the sky tends to lead to underexposure which can mean blocked up blacks. Post processing involved the usual passage through Photoshop Lightroom 4 for tonal range, contrast and vibrance, with a brief foray into Photoshop to further improve the mid-tone contrast and some very careful multi-pass sharpening.

Best wishes,