For many creatures winter is a sign to head south in search of warmer weather and at RSPB Leighton Moss in north Lancashire, this means the arrival of some special residents - flocks of starlings and a variety of ducks en masse.
The Silverdale nature reserve is home to a great number of different creatures, from the majestic red deer to the charismatic otter and during the colder months visitors are also treated to a fantastic array of winter birds. At this time of year ducks such as pintails, teals and wigeons migrate in their thousands, from breeding grounds in the Arctic to RSPB Leighton Moss and Morecambe Bay nature reserve. The journey can take weeks but plentiful food awaits them when they arrive in October and November.
This year, staff members at the nature reserve also expect to welcome thousands of starlings. Many people will recognise this common bird as a regular visitor to their gardens, but during winter, the UK sees a massive swell in their numbers as more travel here from colder climes in northern Europe.
Fran Currie, Visitor Experience Manager said: "Leighton Moss is a magical place in autumn and winter. Our team of staff and volunteers work hard all year to make sure that there is plenty of feeding areas for the ducks that travel hundreds of miles from their breeding grounds to spend the colder months here. To learn more about these fantastic ducks and how to identify them, why not come along to one of our Birding for Beginners events!"
The next Birding for Beginners event will take place on Sunday 27 November from 8-10.30 am. It costs £15 (RSPB members £12) and includes a breakfast bap and a brew. Booking in advance is essential by phoning 01524 701601.
Fran added: "Visiting the reserve at dusk is also a great experience at this time of year. Those who do can expect to be wowed by spectacular starling displays. The recent State of Nature report shows that sadly, these well known garden birds are in decline in the UK, so it is a rare treat to witness thousands of them swirling above the reedbed before going into roost."
For more information on other wildlife spectacles and events at the reserve, visit rspb.org.uk/leightonmoss