The temperatures may have plummeted recently but if you wrap up warm, this is a wonderful time to get out and enjoy Cumbria’s winter wildlife. You’ll see a myriad of migratory wildfowl over-wintering on our milder shores, and you could be treated to the superb spectacle of large flocks of wading birds.

Here are some suggestions for great places to see them.

Despite its proximity to industry and traffic, Siddick Ponds Nature Reserve, near Workington, is a great site for birdwatching. The large reed beds and extensive open water habitat attract a distinctive community of birds, including teal, goldeneye, shoveler and pochard. In winter and spring the male pochard is very distinctive with a bright reddish-brown head, black breast and pale grey body.

With excellent views over Morecambe Bay, the limestone promontory of Humphrey Head Nature Reserve is a great place for watching birds on the estuary. Curlew and redshank can be seen and as you look down on the wader roost on the saltmarsh at high tide, you may be treated to the dramatic spectacle of large numbers of knot and dunlin.

Hodbarrow RSPB Reserve is the North West’s largest open water lagoon. The reserve occupies the site of a former iron-ore mine which has since flooded. You can see large flocks of wintering wildfowl including redshank, knot and black-tailed godwit, whose winter colouring is a subdued greyish-brown. They are distinguished by their long beaks and legs.

Once a true island, Foulney Island is connected to the mainland by a causeway. It is a wonderful location to view winter birds such as brent goose, wigeon, knot and dunlin. You might also see long-tailed duck, Slovenian grebe or the occasional diver on the sea, amongst thousands of eider. Eider are heavy ducks and are renowned for their very soft breast feathers which they use to insulate their nests.