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30th January 2015

Where to see the best UK Wildlife in the Winter

Although a great many species of birds have forsaken the UK and migrated south for the winter there are still many places around the country where British wildlife can be seen.

Along The Wash, situated on the coastal areas of Lincolnshire and Norfolk, there are thousands of pink-footed geese which can be seen at dusk each evening as skeins of them return to their roosts after spending the day foraging for food further inland. The Wash's mudflats and sandbanks gives these birds protection from foxes and other predators. Further round the Norfolk coast at Blakeney Point can be seen one of the largest contingents of grey seals and their pups in the UK. These photogenic creatures are best observed by taking a boat trip from Blakeney for around ten pounds per person.

Red squirrels can be spotted around the Lake District and Cumbria and also at Brownsea Island in Dorset where they were reintroduced a few years ago. Poole Harbour separates them from grey squirrels which can carry disease fatal to their red cousins. As they do not hibernate, winter is a great time to see them amongst trees which have shed their summer foliage. Further north in the Peak District on the Eastern Moors are a herd of around 130 red deer, which look magnificent against a snowy backdrop, particularly the stags. Bird watchers can spot rare breeds around the country including hen harriers at Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire and visitors to the Cairngorms in Scotland may well see a ptarmigan close to the ski centre. At the Slimbridge bird reserve in Gloucestershire over a hundred of the rare Bewick's swans spend the winter there.

Over in Wales off the coast of Pembrokeshire around St David's there are large numbers of harbour porpoises which are a joy to watch. Mothers with their calves can be spotted regularly as well as Risso's dolphins which frequent the area in winter.