VISITORS to Ellesmere's Boathouse on Saturday could have taken an extra-special look at the island to see some very special guests, courtesy of a group celebrating its 30th year.

Ellesmere Heronwatch held its 2020 launch day for tagging how many herons have made the island on the Mere their home for the spring and summer, what nests are available and how many eggs are currently being incubated.

With visitors young and old coming to look through the telescopes or watch the specially-trained cameras, Edward Bevan, from the group, admitted he was delighted with how it started.

"We were there until 3.30pm but we’re there every day, keeping an eye on them," he said.

"I’ve lost count for how long I’ve doing this but it’s got to be at least 25 years. The group had been going for 30 years though – this is our 30th year.

"That’s something to be very proud of and we’re really pleased because it just goes to show the importance of what we’re doing each day."

Edward, who was joined by wife Amanda and volunteers Anna Gallen, Christina Fraser and Sue Tuerena, says the values that drove the group to start three decades ago, still drive them now.

And he feels that with wildlife and conservation high on peoples' priorities, a chance to work on a project like Heronwatch should appeal to all.

"The original idea was to educate and entertain the general public and that’s what we still do today," he said.

"We hear so much about wildlife and the environment because it’s a big part of our lives now but to see it for real can be quite new for some people.

"If they come down, there is a telescope for them to see the birds and we have the cameras too, plus our volunteers are all experts and can answer your questions.

"On a good day it’s clearer and you can get closer to the island by the Mere.

"The public don’t always know they are there on the island and there are bits you can’t always see so the cameras are very important."

Anyone wishing to discover more or log their own heron sightings can head to or join their Ellesmere group at Ellesmere.Heronwatch on Facebook.