It may be cold outside, but the even the chilliest months offer an exciting opportunity to explore the great outdoors. From frozen wetlands to flocks of migratory geese swooping across the sky, a natural winter wonderland is waiting to be discovered by you and your young ones.
Wild Winter Guide
This winter, The Wildlife Trust is encouraging more families to get outside and spend some time immersed in the British countryside. My Wild Winter is an online wildlife and activity guide jam-packed with ideas and information, plus places to go and things to do.
With hundreds of nature reserves across the country, and a number of reserves in the Surrey area, there are plenty of fascinating places to visit without needing to stray too far from home.
Make your own bird cake
Here, television wildlife presenter Nick Baker as he demonstrates how to make a bird cake for your garden:
Look out for winter wildlife
Fancy doing some winter wildlife spotting? The Wildlife Trust suggests keeping a eye out for these nature signs:
- Ducks, geese and swans all visit the UK in winter.
- Look out for large flocks of migratory geese, especially at the coast.
- Winter is the best time to spot footprints in mud and snow, great for practising your wildlife tracking skills.
- Listen for woodpeckers drumming on trees in January and February.
- Tawny owls call more in winter than at other times of year. Listen for the familiar twit-twoo.
- Look out for starling ‘murmurations’ where hundreds of birds swoop through the sky together before settling down to roost for the night.
- Snowdrops flower in late winter – one of the first signs that spring is on its way.
- Redwings and fieldfares look a bit like thrushes and they visit the UK in winter. They love eating juicy red berries on rowan and hawthorn trees.
The Wildlife Trusts’ Stephen Trotter, said: “Keeping warm and finding food are the top tasks for many creatures at this time of year. With food in short supply, many animals venture out into the open which can make it easier for us to spot wildlife in winter.
It’s a great time to look for animal tracks too – in the snow, frost or mud! What an opportunity! We’d love for young curious minds to escape the central heating, see how cold their noses can go, and explore and discover their local winter wildlife.”
So, dig out those wellies, wrap up your little ones and head out for a winter adventure – who knows what you might find?