Winter wildlife in the East of England

It may sometimes appear that there's little wildlife to see during the winter, but in fact there's plenty to see when you know where to look in the East of England. Your support means that together we can continue to care for these habitats and help give nature a home.

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 2000 born each winter. The best way to see them is by boat, with regular trips leaving from Morston Quay. The first pups tend to arrive in November, with the last being born in January.

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.

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.

Brent Geese

A wildfowl refuge in the Norfolk Broads  

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

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 Sedge Fen at dusk. Look out too for short-eared owls and other winter wildfowl. Why not visit one of our hides on the reserve and see what makes an appearance?

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.

Oystercatcher

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 mornings you may even be lucky to catch site of hares running across the heath.

Canada geese about to land on Claremont Lake

Ducks take a fancy to Ickworth’s lakes 

Cormorants, Indian diving ducks, Egyptian Geese and other over-wintering wildfowl can often be seen down at the Fairy and Canal Lakes at Ickworth during the winter.