I’ve driven past so many times, and today I finally went in. The RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands nature reserve straddles the border between England and Wales. It is a unique landscape. Many years of hard work have restored reedbeds, fenland and farmland.
I went there to see birds, but soon after my arrival was delighted to spot two rats. Just watching them for a few minutes revealed two very different personalities. The one seemed oblivious to me and just carried on feeding. The other was playing, running and hiding – maybe he was a youngster?
Rats have a bad image but they are extremely social and affectionate animals. They love the company other rats and humans too. Without companionship rats can tend to become lonely and depressed. It was lovely to see these two happily enjoying each other’s company.
As I walked towards one of the hides a weasel ran towards me then veered off the path to the security of the lush plantlife. I cursed not being faster with my camera.
Weasels are adaptable little mammals that live almost anywhere they can find cover and prey.
From the hide I spot a close relative of the grey heron – a little egret. I can just make out the egret’s long, feathery plumes which almost led to the birds’ downfall.
Back in the nineteenth century, before the RSPB managed to stop the grisly trade, beautiful birds like this one were killed in their tens of thousands to fuel the demand for feathers to adorn the fashions of Victorian high-society ladies.
This is a lovely haven for wildlife and it’s only 40 minutes’ drive from my home – and I get to enjoy a coffee and a biscuit too!