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During the winter months there are many opportunities to go bird watching to see waterfowl, shore birds, birds of prey and winter migrants. Winter is also a great time to watch large numbers of birds flocking together including gulls, starlings and wading birds.

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If you go bird watching in winter it is important to dress appropriately to protect you from the elements and keep you warm and dry.

Socks and shoesthermal socks are essential and it is best to choose long socks that fit snugly around your legs. Shoes or boots should be insulated and waterproof for walking through snow and puddles. Your footwear should also have good grip for slippery conditions.

Outerwear – choose a thin, insulated, waterproof coat. Although a thicker coat may seem warmer the bulk will impede your movement and may get uncomfortable over time. A neutral coat will ensure you remain inconspicuous and don’t frighten away the birds.

Hat – a lot of body heat is lost through the head so a hat is essential for winter bird watching. A waterproof hat will keep you dry and one with a brim will double as a sunshade. If you are not used to wearing a hat choose one that you can fold up and put in a pocket if you don’t feel you need it.

Gloves – gloves do not need to be bulky. Thinsulate gloves are lightweight but will keep you warm or choose fingerless gloves if you find that gloves make handling cameras and optics difficult. If you use a touchscreen phone to assist you bird watching you can buy gloves interwoven with conductive material so you can use your phone.

Base Layers - base layers made of synthetic or natural fibres will help regulate your body temperature. Even on a cold day if you are wearing insulating top layers you will probably still sweat and base layers will wick away moisture from your skin keeping you warm and dry.

Underwear – thermal underwear adds an extra warm layer. Make sure your underwear is comfortable and made from fabric that can draw swear away from your skin. Wool or synthetic materials such as polyester have good wicking properties to keep you warm and dry.

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