ON 2 February the National Trust for Jersey welcomed the Jersey public to the opening of its new wetland centre and bird hide.It overlooks St Ouen’s Pond and gives visitors an opportunity to not only view the interesting and diverse birdlife found at La Mare au Seigneur but to learn about the reserves significance to wildlife and about the rich history of the area safeguarded by the National Trust for Jersey since 1975.
The new centre is accessed by a tunnel, which takes visitors through a dune mound and opens out to give amazing panoramic views of the reed bed and pond and a unique perspective for budding birdwatchers without disturbing the waders and waterfowl from doing what they do.
In a week of weather that was predominantly rainy and windy, the sun shone for the opening, although seaweed on the surface of the Five Mile Road and the adjacent car park at Big Vern’s showed that not long beforehand hide tide had made a ‘wetland’ of the whole area.
The hide was well frequented with visitors, pointing their telescopes and binoculars through the firing slits in the thick walls of the former German bunker, which has now been converted into the bird hide.
Fortunately there were birds on the surface of the pond, happy to lend their presence to the occasion and provide a focus for all those telescopes.
And, considering that for many years the German bunker was derelict, the National Trust has shown what can be done with sufficient enthusiasm and commitment.