Winter wildfowl in Suffolk

Flock of shovelers (Anas clypeata), gadwalls (Anas strepera) and teal (Anas crecca) - Bertie Gregory/2020VISION

With Suffolk’s network of rivers, lakes, ponds and marshland, the county is brilliant place for winter ducks and geese. Some of the best reserves to visit to enjoy the sight of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of birds feeding and resting together are Lackford Lakes, near Bury St Edmunds, and Carlton Marshes, near Lowestoft.

Winter wildfowl to look out for:

Ellen Shailes, Broads Warden: 
What: wigeon, teal, pintail, gadwall, pink-footed geese and others 
Where: Carlton and Oulton Marshes

Visitors can see large numbers of wigeon and teal on the new Peto's Marsh habitat at Carlton Marshes. Mixed in with a few hundred wigeon and teal are often pintail and gadwall. At Oulton Marshes there are regularly groups of 500 or more pink-footed geese with as many as 1,200 at times. To get a raised view over the marshes, head to the river wall along the Waveney at Carlton Marshes and the river wall along the Oulton Dyke at Oulton Marshes. 

Mike Andrews, Visitor Officer, Lackford lakes: 
What: goldeneye, tufted duck, pochard, wigeon, gadwall, lapwing, shoveler, teal, shelduck, snipe, kingfisher and others 
Where: Lackford Lakes

The place to look for our water birds at Lackford has been the sailing lake and the slough.  These areas continue to hold large numbers of water birds. On the sailing lake look out for goldeneye, tufted duck, pochard, wigeon and gadwall. The slough is good for lapwing, shoveler and teal. The odd shelduck is also present in this area. We have had an explosion of snipe over the last few weeks and around 30 are present on the slough – best viewing from our short stay viewing hide (Bernard’s).  Kingfisher is also showing well on the slough area (Paul’s and Bernard’s hide is best). Other locations worth checking for water birds is Hawker pool for goldeneye and Long Reach from Bess’s hide. 

If you can’t get to Lackford Lakes or Carlton Marshes / Oulton Marshes, then why not try one of the following reserves where you’re likely to be able to see large communal flocks: Mickle Mere (near Ixworth), Castle Marshes (near Barnby), Lound Lakes (near Blundeston), Alde Mudflats (near Snape), Hen Reedbeds (near Southwold), Dingle Marshes (near Dunwich), Hazlewood Marshes (near Aldeburgh), Snape Marshes (Snape), Trimley Marshes (Trimley St Mary).