Dazzling displays

Smew © Chris Cook

Far from the quietest months of the year, autumn and winter sees gatherings of ducks like wigeon, teal, shoveler and pintail in their finest attire of the year – all in a bid to win over a partner. Add to this the aerial acrobatics of winter wader flocks at Spurn and there’s plenty to get wrapped up and go and see.

WHAT CAN I SEE?

Get your bird ID guide out and prepare tick off the waders, ducks and geese - during the colder months you can easily see a large number of species as waders gather to over-winter on mudflats and saltmarshes and waterfowl flock to over-winter on lakes. Not to mention the thrill of a swirling starling murmuration at dusk!

WHERE CAN I SEE WADERS?

The mudflats of the Humber Estuary attract over-wintering waders including golden plover, knot, curlew, grey plover, dunlin, black and bar tailed godwits and redshank. Visit YWT Spurn, YWT Kilnsea Wetlands, YWT Welwick Saltmarsh and YWT Paull Holme Strays for excellent views.

WHERE CAN I SEE WATERFOWL?

Huge numbers of over-wintering waterfowl join our resident ducks, geese and swans during the colder months on our lakes and wetlands. Ducks such as teal, pintail, widgeon, smew, golden eye, shelduck, shoveler and pochard can be seen alongside greylag and pink footed geese, and Berwick's, whooper and mute swans. Visit the Lower Derwent Valley, YWT North Cave Wetlands, Tophill Low and Hornsea Mere for excellent views. 

WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE A DAY OF IT?

There are so many fantastic winter birding sites in Yorkshire most within a reasonable drive of one another. You could easily spend a couple of days visiting all of the sites listed above - why not consider a long weekend away, the perfect antidote to the short days and long nights of winter.

Take a look at the Wild Days Out self guided driving routes which bring together the best of the region's wildlife watching sites.