Birdwatching - Maer Lake

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Maer Lake, on the outskirts of Bude in North Cornwall, is a wetland meadow nature reserve managed by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Access to this twenty-five acre ornithological site is severely restricted, so that resident and visiting birds will be granted the peace and security to feed, roost and breed. The lake was first recorded in 1284 as 'La Mere' and appears to have been an area of wet grazing shared by local farmers in the post-Medieval period.

The Cornwall Wildlife Trust acquired the site in 1993, with the help of local charity, Cornwall Birds, and introduced a man-made sluice which caused permanent shallow flooding of a site which had previously only been underwater during winter floods and extreme weather conditions. This proved attractive to species such as Lapwing and Golden Plover, who like to roost on the resulting islands, while the shallow standing water created a thick, rich silt which is ideal for feeding waders such as Dunlin and Snipe.

Teal and Widgeon often winter on the reserve, which has garnered an international reputation as an important resting and feeding site for migratory birds which have blown across the Atlantic from North America. Rare Bewick's and Whooper Swans are frequent visitors, as are Long-Tailed Duck, Black Brant, Wilson's and Red-Necked Phalarope, Semi-Palmated Sandpiper, Spoonbill, Marsh Harrier and Citrine Wagtail. During one recent winter Golden Plover numbers exceeded 4000, with at least eight Jack Snipe present at the same time.

Viewing is strictly from the road, with Crooklet's Beach providing the nearest car park.