Whenever I stand on the sea wall at RSPB Wallasea Island, with the dust-muddied estuarine water lapping at the sea aster, looking at an egret silhouetted against clouds resting on the tide, mottling the sun, I feel wholly wild.

Inside all of us is a wild thing. It gnashes, it gnaws and it roars, like an encroaching tide, desperate to be sated, longing to be let out. The beast within that we dampen in our day-to-day living is just craving the wilderness – the very thing that makes it whole.

It is our reserves like Wallasea, and others across the east that enable us to unleash our wild thing. Whether the sights and sounds shake you, calm you, chill you or fill you – our wild places make you feel. We need to feel. We need time for ourselves. Most importantly, we need to connect.

Our wild thing needs to connect with the landscape, because it is our wild thing that moves us to care and make a difference. Our wild thing empowers us to take action and speak up with for nature. Ultimately, our wild things and the places that make them enrich our lives.

If you have been taming your wild thing, make sure you unleash it this autumn. Here's a list of places for the big kids among us to unleash our inner wild thing, and the top #wildthings you can see this autumn:


RSPB The Lodge

  • Be amazed by the golden autumn colours
  • Explore the prehistoric banks and ditches of the Iron Age hillfort
  • Discover the fantastic fungi around the reserve


RSPB Ouse Fen

  • Look for the large flocks of wigeons, teals and lapwings that will spend winter here
  • See how many different ducks, grebes and swans you can spot on the lakes
  • Combine a visit with a riverside walk along the Great Ouse

RSPB Fen Drayton

  • Watch starlings, rooks and jackdaws roost near car park at dusk
  • Look for migrating wading birds on muddy shores
  • Small birds feeding on ripe hedgerow berries


RSPB Wallasea Island

  • Autumn migration begins with sightings of godwits and other waders
  • Catch sight of roosting waders such as knots, dunlins and oystercatchers at high tide
  • Wander along the sea wall and absorb the tranquil atmosphere

RSPB Canvey Wick


RSPB Rye Meads

  • Time to welcome back the autumn migrants - will you be the first to see a redwing or fieldfare?
  • Watch out for well-camouflaged snipe feeding in the cut reeds
  • As the evenings draw in, it's possible to see flocks of starlings and buntings swirling over the reedbeds before going to roost


RSPB Frampton Marsh

RSPB Freiston Shore

  • At high tide, see roosting flocks of wading birds as they migrate south from their Arctic breeding grounds
  • Keep an eye out for the first returning wigeons on the lagoon
  • Look out for black-tailed godwits as they return from the short Icelandic breeding season


RSPB Strumpshaw Fen

  • Stroll through stunning autumn woodland
  • Look out for bitterns, bearded tits and other shy wetland birds
  • Watch out for otters hunting in the pools and river

RSPB Titchwell Marsh

  • See hundreds of birds resting on the reserve as they migrate south from the Arctic
  • Look out for v-shaped squadrons of pink-footed geese arriving from Iceland and Greenland
  • As daylight hours shorten, enjoy the browns, golds and oranges of our autumnal landscapes


RSPB Minsmere

  • Witness the impressive red deer rut on the heath in October
  • Explore seasonal trails in search of migrants
  • Look and listen for bearded tits 'pinging' in the reedbed

RSPB Lakenheath Fen

  • Look out for migrant birds such as fieldfares and redwings
  • Listen to bearded tits 'pinging' as they feed on the reed heads
  • Watch out for roe and muntjac deer in the poplar woods