Wonderful winter wildlife in the East of England

From the arrival of grey seal pups to the mesmerising displays of starling murmurations, winter can be a special time of year for wildlife spotting and it's thanks to your support that we can help give nature a home. Here are some of the best places to enjoy wildlife encounters in the East of England.

a white seal pup sits on shingle with the blue sky behind

A colony of grey seals at Blakeney Point 

In 2001 just 25 seal pups were born on Blakeney Point, now it has the largest grey seal colony in England, with over 3,000 born each winter. The first grey seal pups tend to arrive in November, with the last being born in January. It's quite the spectacle and the best way to see them is by boat, with regular trips leaving from Morston Quay.

Brent geese in flight

Brent geese at Copt Hall Marshes 

The Blackwater Estuary is home to a wide range of wildlife. It can be seen as a barren landscape, but look a little closer and you’ll see it’s teeming with life. The most visible presence during the winter months are the thousands of overwintering birds, like Brent geese.

Hen harrier in flight

Rare hen harriers at Wicken Fen 

Hen Harriers are our nation’s rarest bird of prey and winter is the best time of year to catch a glimpse of them coming into roost over Sedge Fen at dusk. Look out too for short-eared owls on Burwell Fen and other winter wildfowl. Why not visit one of our hides on the reserve and see what makes an appearance?

A murmuration of starlings

Starling murmurations at Dunwich Heath 

Although we can't guarentee you'll see this wildlife spectacle, keep your eyes peeled above the cliffs at Dunwich Heath this winter. In recent years we've witnessed some amazing murmurations, where thousands of starlings gather in the skies above their roosting sites at dusk; contracting and expanding, dancing in what can only be described as aerial ballet.

Silhouettes of the geese coming in to land with an orange

Skeins of pink footed geese on the Norfolk Coast 

The Norfolk coast is teeming with birds that have migrated to Britain's "warmer" climate from further north and east at this time of year. The twice daily flights of the pink-footed geese are an iconic Norfolk winter spectacle.

Goldfinch searching for food

Flocks of finches at Sheringham Park 

The arrival of winter is heralded by flocks of colourful finches. Look out for goldfinch, chaffinch and brambling in particular. In amongst them you'll spot nuthatch, great spotted and green woodpeckers - all of which are very vocal and visible at this time of year.

The Fieldfare, a winter migrant bird

The return of thrushes to Ashridge 

Flocks of fieldfare and redwing (both winter thrushes) descend on the woods and hills of Ashridge from late autumn, where these birds gorge on berries to get them through the cold winter months. Look out for them during winter, before they migrate back to their breeding grounds in Northern Europe.

Brent Geese

A wildfowl refuge in the Norfolk Broads  

The Horsey Estate can be found in the Norfolk Broads and in winter it comes into it's own. The Mere is a winter wildfowl refuge, supporting some of the largest populations of wild migratory water birds. Thousands of geese and ducks migrate here and their daily flight as the sun sets is a real treat.


Spot the waders at Pin Mill 

Listen out for the Oystercatchers and other wading birds down on the estuary and saltmarsh at Pin Mill. In the winter, if you're visiting during the morning, you may even be lucky enough to catch site of hares running across the heath.

When you take a closer look at nature, it helps us watch over wildlife

Thanks to your support, when you join, donate, visit or volunteer, together we can look after special places for ever, for everyone.