The autumn is slowly giving way to winter and whilst you may think the birding would get dull its simply not true. If you take a look out of the kitchen window you might see the Robin and the Blackbird that have spent all summer in your garden, but truth be known these are more likely to be their continental cousins. “Our” birds tend to move south for the winter reaching the south coast of the UK or even as far south as Spain, whilst they are replaced by birds from Scandinavia, Germany and the low countries. The soul aim is to find areas with enough food to sustain them through the winter months and with the UK having more frost free days than countries further north or on a similar latitude to the East it makes an ideal wintering place.
Many other species come across the North Sea with big numbers of Starling and Wood Pigeons starting to be recorded at coastal watch points and then moving further inland. Early morning can see streams of birds heading inland to pastures new. Some birds move from the country side to urban environments where temperatures are higher and a good food resource, in the shape of food we put out intentionally for them, can be found. Great Tits, Blue Tits, and some of the finches are among those species that grace our gardens in the winter in search of food. A star bird you might get on your berry bushes is the Waxwing, Britain is in the midst of an eruption with over 6,000 birds present and several flocks have been recorded in East Anglia.
Ducks also head to our shores, this time in search of frost free lakes and reservoirs where they can feed. Alton Water near Ipswich is starting to see an increase in the number of Tufted Duck, Great crested Grebe and Pochard, these will soon be joined by Goldeneye, Slavonian Grebe and maybe even a diver species.
Some of our upland birds move down in altitude and head to the coast to spend the winter, these include Twite, Snow Buntings, Shorelarks, Hen Harriers and Merlin. The East Anglian coast has long been a great place to spot many of these species.