At long last, the seasons have changed and some genuine cold has taken the place of the continuing wet of early winter. This has brought big changes to our local reserves, the best places to watch our wetland waterfowl and their predators. They have flooded fully, so there is plenty of water for the ducks and several are busy places, fun to visit, as the winter populations of waterfowl arrive from abroad. They all have their pluses but perhaps I might select a couple that are particularly worth visiting. Possibly the most spectacular, Greylake National Nature Reserve, on Sedgemoor, has two hides overlooking wet grazing and a large lake. Wigeon, Teal, and Shoveler are everywhere and waders such as Snipe and Black-tailed Godwits are regular visitors. Every so often the whole lot take to the air, as a bird of prey sails overhead. One day recently, a friend watched five species of predator within half an hour, including Peregrine falcon and Marsh harrier.
Catcott Lows is even more convenient, in that the car park is right alongside the main hide. It is notable for very large numbers of Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler, with numbers of Pintail on a good day. A Great white egret patrols the far margin of the lake and often comes in close, while harriers and peregrines are seen regularly. You never can tell what will be spotted, from Glossy ibis to Spoonbills. For the nature lover, this is the season to visit the Somerset Levels.