List of YWT Nature Reserves (A-Z)


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Winter Highlights

Mega-flocks of geese, waders and ducks at wetlands and estuaries, starling murmurations and the possibility of waxwings dropping by make winter a great time for bird watchers

Mega Flocks

Our wetlands come alive in winter as thousands of geese, ducks and waders come to over winter on flooded grasslands, reedbeds and lakes. Staveley (near Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire), Potteric Carr (Doncaster, South Yorkshire), Wheldrake Ings (near York, North Yorkshire), Bolton-on-Swale Lake (near Catterick, North Yorkshire) and North Cave Wetlands (near Brough, East Yorkshire) are all great places to visit to observe the spectacle of mega flocks. (Photo: Geese over Wheldrake Ings - Credit Jono Leadley)


Starling mumurations are a spectacular sight and the last couple of years has seen a mumuration of thousands of these glossy birds gathering over Potteric Carr during the winter evenings. Potteric Carr is particularly special for its bitterns and hearing their evocative boom over the reserve on a quiet morning is something not to be missed. (Photo: Starling Mumuration at Potteric Carr - Credit Adrian Gray)

Grey Seals

Grey seals come ashore to pup during November and December, and whilst not quite in Yorkshire, Donna Nook in Lincolnshire is one of the best places to view these marine mammals and their undeniably cute offspring. (Photo: Seals at Doona Nook - Credit Kirsty Brown)

Flocks of tits and finches

Woodlands may seem quiet in winter, but on closer inspection you will find roving flocks of tits and finches flitting amongst the branches as they gather in feeding flocks, possibly to avoid predation. As you walk along the boardwalk at Askham Bog (York, North Yorkshire) or through Chafer Wood (near Ebberston, North Yorkshire) look out for this flocks, and if you walk quietly you may even spot a roe deer. Come February, woodlands become dotted with delicate snowdrops, a welcome sign of warmer weather to come. (Photo: Long tailed tit - Credit Bob Coyle)