Blog

01/11/09
What does the idea of spectacular wildlife events evoke? Television has brought into our living rooms the great migrations on the Serengeti, encounters with gorillas and Artic penguin colonies. However, if you live in the UK you donít have to go quite so far to see, first hand, some very memorable events.

Being a maritime country we benefit from a comparatively mild winter and this attracts hundreds of thousands of migrating animals that over-winter and others that come here to breed and produce young. It would be easy to write a book about each of these many natural history events. I will write some event specific articles over the next few months. In this article I will just give you some hints and starting points for further research so that you can be in the right place at the right time to get a chance to experience British wildlife at its best. As with all wildlife nothing can be guaranteed but knowing some of the hotspots and the right time of the year to visit combined with a bit of luck gives you a chance of some wonderful experiences.

Your local Wildlife Trust will always be happy to give you advice about what is going on in their areas and when to see them.

Red Dear an Fallow Deer Rut - October - try deer parks where the animals are easier to approach, Bradgate in Leicestershire and Bushy Park and Richmond Park in London are popular.

Geese winter tens of thousands of birds moving between roosts to feeding grounds - October to February - Pink-footed Geese North Norfolk and the Wash, Brent Geese Stangford Lough Northern Ireland and Barnacle Geese Solway Firth.

Swans winter flocks moving between roosts and feeding grounds - October to February - Whooper Swans Ouse Washes with regular late afternoon feeds at the Wetlands and Wildlife Trustís reserve at Welney.

Starlings form winter roost flocks that number in the hundreds of thousands - October to February - Shapwick Heath or Westhay on the Somerset Levels, Titchwell RSPB reserve Norfolk and Brighton Pier East Sussex.

Breeding sea bird colonies, Puffins - June-July - Farne Isles Northumberland and the isle of Skomer Pembrokeshire. Gannets - Bass RockEast Lothian and Bempton Cliffs East Yorkshire.

Grey seal colonies - Donna Nook Leicestershire and Blackeney Point Norfolk.

Waders flock in large numbers at the head of big beaches on high spring tides - look for high tides early in the morning rather than during the middle of the day - Settisham RSPB reserve.

Dolphins - spring and summer - for close encounters without need for a boat try the Moray Firth Ross-shire.

Some websites worth including in your research are:
The Wildlife Trusts of UK
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
The Wetlands and Wildlife Trust
Wild about Britain
The British Deer Society