When to Watch Wildlife

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PMcS 2006

 

Wildlife sites


The following web sites detail areas that are especially good for wildlife:
  Natural England designated SSSIs and other important sites
  Natural England's National Nature Reserves
  Nature Reserves owned by Wildlife Trusts
  RSPB Bird (Nature) Reserves
  Woodland Trust Reserves and other woodlands
  Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
  The BBC's wildlife and geology walks throughout Britain
  Wildlife sites recommended by Naturenet
  Wildlife sites recommended by Teachernet
  Bird Life - top bird sites

You can find interesting wildlife just about everywhere, as long as you know what to look for and when.  From the centre of cities, with their flocks of pied wagtails and starlings wielding between the roof tops, to National Nature Reserves with rare plants and habitats, wildlife finds a foothold.

Even the most unexpected places can actually be worth a special visit.  Graveyards can be excellent places for mammals, lichens and even ancient flower rich grassland that has survived from when the site was once farmed.  Canals and footpaths, parks and gardens, road verges and even sewage works all have surprises to yield.

For birders (i.e. bird watchers) a seemingly uninspiring local reservoir is often seen as their "local patch" and frequent visits provide them with occasional rewards such a rarities flying through and winter visitors.

Of course there are also areas which are specifically managed for wildlife, usually by a Trust or Government body.  These sites are now national treasures.  There are also fabulous areas for wildlife, that, whilst still managed as part of an economically viable farm or estate, have been recognised as of particular importance to wildlife.

These may have been designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) (by English Nature) or Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) (by local Wildlife Trusts).  SSSIs are given special legal protection and SNCIs are also afforded some protection within the planning system.

Most nature reserves have been setup as they provide particularly important areas for a specific group of animals, such as wetland wildfowl or support outstanding examples of one or more habitat.  Therefore it pays to do some research before you visit in order to find out when best to visit and what you are likely to see when you go.

To find national and locally designated sites go the the web sites below.  You may find that by visiting your local wildlife trust web site you can access better information than can be found below.  While you are at it why not join your local Wildlife Trust and go on visits and walks with fellow enthusiasts?  Or you may wish to help manage a local site through the Trust or the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers!

It is important to note that a wildlife designation does not automatically mean that a site has public access, and hence you should always keep to footpaths unless otherwise stated.

So get out there and explore wildlife for yourself!

 


 

All images and text are copyright PMcS 2006