With so many locations to visit, we are truly spoilt for choice in the North West and although you might think most wildlife would be hard to see at this time of year, there are still plenty of animals and plants to enjoy even in the heart of winter.
For example, if you are walking
along a river or even a stream, there are a number of different ducks that can be seen in winter much more easily than in summer. They are seeking out the warmer conditions of towns, cities and their surroundings.
The goosander is one of these ducks. Low lying in the water with a white (male) or grey (female) body, this handsome duck also sports two head colour versions – one is emerald green (male) and the other is a dark orange-brown (female).
But the really interesting thing about this duck only presents itself when you look at the beak. Instead of a short, flat beak like that of a mallard, the Goosander has a long, thin grey beak with a hooked tip.
This gives us the biggest clue about what it eats. Like over river birds such as a heron or kingfisher, a long, thin beak heavily suggests that this duck is a fish-eater.
Watch them long enough and you may spot one diving, looking for fish underwater. In winter Goosanders form small flocks, making it easier to find food and evade predators.
If you have any questions or pictures of your wildlife, you can leave a comment below or email a picture and you could be featured in our future blogs! You can email us at: