Mark Blake, Senior Reserves Manager for Somerset Wildlife Trust tells us where the special places are for wildlife this winter.

AT this time of year, when the mornings are getting crisper, the days shorter and we dig out our winter woollies again, it’s harder to get inspired to go out and about to explore. And as the landscapes across the county look more fragile and bare, and wildlife heads for hibernation, it’s understandable to wonder if there’s any wildlife to see at all - but there is, if you know where to look for it.

Our wetland reserves, Westhay Moor and Catcott, which sit within the Avalon Marshes area of the Somerset Levels, are unique and special places for wildlife.

If you take a trip to our Westhay Moor reserve you might like to visit to our newest Hide - the North Hide. Set right in the middle of the reedbeds, it’s a wonderful place to catch a glimpse of an otter, see the peaceful gliding of the regal great crested grebe or the flash of a kingfisher. And this time of year you can see the incredible aerial show of starlings as they fill the skies.

At Catcott Lows you can enjoy stunning views across the marshes to Glastonbury Tor, and perhaps see a peregrine or marsh harrier. The jewel in Catcott’s crown is the spectacle of thousands of wintering birds taking refuge there.

Acting now to rebuild Britain’s wetland bird breeding populations is more important than ever, as populations of many species has collapsed due to habitat loss over the years. England's lapwing population declined by 80 per cent from 1960 to 1998.

But the good news is, you can help support our vulnerable wetland birds by joining in our Big Give Christmas Challenge 2017, as all donations on, from today until noon on December 5 will be matched and therefore make double the difference.