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Rostherne Mere - BirdForum Opus

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England, Cheshire


The 150ha National Nature Reserve of Rostherne Mere includes the 50ha lake and the surrounding mixed woodland and grazing land.

There is a narrow band of reeds around parts of the lake but it is generally too deep and steep-sided for dense growths of aquatic or emergent vegetation. The woodland extends right down to the water's edge around much of the lake and there are also large areas of scrub.

Although the lake is not ideal for feeding and breeding waterfowl it does form an important roosting site as it is less disturbed than most other waterbodies in the area and in severe weather this is often the last to freeze over.


Notable Species

Mallard and Common Teal are the most numerous ducks in autumn and winter although Gadwall are regular in good numbers and Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Wigeon and a few Northern Pintail also occur. Of the diving ducks Common Pochard is the most abundant with up to a thousand recorded at times and smaller numbers of Tufted Duck are present in autumn and winter. Canada Goose occurs in hundreds often joined by feral Greylag Goose and occasional Barnacle Goose or escapes of other species.

Scarcer waterfowl regularly recorded include Common Goldeneye, Smew and Ruddy Duck with one or two Greater Scaup or Goosander.

Bewick's Swan appears sometimes on passage or in winter but Whooper Swan is very rare. Great Crested Grebe breeds on the lake but reaches peak numbers in late summer and autumn when other species of grebe may appear, usually Little Grebe but occasionally one of the scarcer species. Great Cormorant is present all year and the winter roost can reach 300 birds, Water Rail occurs in the reeds in winter and in recent years a Great Bittern has regularly appeared.

Rostherne Mere is famous as a gull roost with more than 10,000 gathering in winter, mostly Black-headed Gull and Common Gull with small numbers of the larger species. Peregrine Falcon has become a regular feature of winter over the mere and surrounding area. Passage periods bring a few waders such as Common Sandpiper and Green Sandpiper and terns in small numbers including Black Tern.

Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler nest in the reedbeds and the woodlands hold a good range of birds such as Woodcock, Stock Dove and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, and passerines including Blackcap, Spotted Flycatcher, Eurasian Nuthatch, tits and finches. Common Buzzard is often seen over the woods.


Vagrants recorded in recent years have included American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal and Ferruginous Duck.


Birds you can see here include:

Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Great Bittern, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Bewick's Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Barnacle Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Smew, Goosander, Ruddy Duck, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Northern Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Eurasian Golden Plover, Northern Lapwing, Dunlin, Eurasian Woodcock, Jack Snipe, Common Snipe, Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Black Tern, Stock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Common Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Common Wren, Dunnock, Eurasian Robin, Eurasian Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Sedge Warbler, Common Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Nuthatch, Common Treecreeper, Common Jay, Common Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Siskin, Lesser Redpoll

Other Wildlife

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Site Information

History and Use

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Areas of Interest

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Access and Facilities

Access to Rostherne Mere is limited to permit holders but the public can visit the A.W. Boyd Memorial Observatory with permits available from the Manchester Ornithological Society, contact D.A.Clarke 1 Hart Avenue, Sale, Cheshire.

Guided tours can be arranged with the warden.

To reach the observatory turn south off the M56 at Junction 7 onto the A556 then take the second left. Park on the left opposite the T-junction past the church.

Contact Details

Tel: 01743 282000

External Links

Content and images originally posted by Steve