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The UK’s Best Bird Watching Spots

April 11, 2022
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UKs best bird watching spots

The UK is home to some 574 species of birds. They are attracted to our diverse habitats and are a spectacle to behold all year round. If you’re a beginner at bird watching, you might not know where to start. If this is the case, or you’re just interested in finding a new spot to admire birds, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 bird watching spots in the UK.

We’ve ranked them in terms of facilities available, birding amenities, and whether they are family-friendly or not to ensure that you know what to expect before you visit.

1.    Loch Garten

The first bird-watching spot on our list is Loch Garten in Abernethy, Scotland. It’s an ancient spot covered in woodland and centred around an expansive loch, with a great garden centre on-site.

Loch Garten

Terrain: Loch and Woodlands

Spot these birds

  • Crested Tit
  • Goldeneye
  • Osprey
  • Scottish Crossbill
  • Capercaillie
  • Wild Greylag
  • Pink-footed Geese

 Find out more here

 

2.    Minsmere Nature Reserve

Owned and maintained by the RSPB, Minsmere is a peaceful, coastal nature reserve that is packed with wildlife to enjoy.  It’s located in Southwold, Suffolk, and has a range of facilities and bird watching amenities, including hides, viewing points and binocular hire.

Minsmere Nature Reserve

Terrain: varied, including wet grassland, lowland heaths and reedbeds

Spot these birds

  • Avocet
  • Bearded Tit
  • Bittern
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Nightingale

 

Find out more here

 

3.    South Stack Cliffs Nature Reserve

Located on Holy Island in Anglesey, South Stack Cliffs is home to a nature reserve run by the RSPB. Puffins, guillemots, and razorbills breed on the iconic cliffs in spring, making this a popular spot for bird watchers and photographers alike. It is also home to the rare chough.

This site is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and an Area of Outstanding National Beauty, so is definitely not one to miss.

South Stack Cliffs

Terrain: heathland, farmland, coast, cliffs and ocean

Spot these birds

  • Chough
  • Guillemot
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Puffin
  • Razorbill

 

Find out more here

 

4.    Arne Nature Reserve

Located in Poole Bay, Dorset, Arne Nature Reserve is another stunning coastal reserve with plenty to do and see. Its historic, ancient woodland makes it home to a variety of wildlife, including a vast array of birds.

Arne Nature Reserve

Terrain: heathland, ancient woodland

Spot these birds

  • Spoonbill
  • Dartford Warbler
  • Nightjar
  • Avocets

Find out more here

 

5.    Coombes Valley Nature Reserve

If you’re in Staffordshire, Coombes Valley Nature Reserve is a must-visit spot – especially in thr spring and early summer, when migrating birds such as redstarts, wood warblers and flycatcher’s breed. The steep valley and woodlands make the perfect playground for our feathered friends, as well as other wildlife.

Coombes Nature Reserve

Terrain: oak woodland

Spot these birds

  • Common Raven
  • Pied Flycatcher
  • Woodcock
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Finches
  • Redwings
  • Fieldfares
  • Wood Warblers

 

Find out more here

 

6.    Blacktoft Sands

This gorgeous reserve on the bank of the River Ouse is home to numerous species, including raptors, waders and warblers. There are several hides and trails available for easy bird-watching.

Black Toft Sands

Terrain: Reedbed, shallow lagoons

Spot these birds

  • Avocet
  • Bearded Tit
  • Bittern
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Hen Harrier

 

Find out more here

 

7.    Caerlaverock WWT Centre

Caerlaverock WWT Centre is a brilliant wetland site run by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. It has wide-open spaces and a range of facilities available. It has a range of wildlife viewing areas which makes it perfect for bird watching, and several species can be seen all year round.

Caerlaverock

Terrain: Wetland

Spot these birds

  • Barnacle Goose
  • Whooper Swan
  • Greater Scaup
  • Pink-footed Goose
  • Little Egret

 

Find out more here

 

8.    Castle Espie WWT Centre

You can find the Castle Espie Wetland Centre just on the border of Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland. It is a popular location for different wildfowl species and brent geese, making for dramatic skyline displays. Castle Espie is also home to a collection of exotic ducks and geese.

Castle Espie

Terrain: Wetland

Spot these birds

  • Red-breasted Goose
  • Greenland white-fronted goose
  • Brent Goose
  • Nene

 

Find out more here

 

 

9.    Gigrin Farm

Gigrin Farm is in Wales and is best known as a Red Kite feeding and rehabilitation centre. Flocks of birds make for beautiful, dramatic scenes, and there are a range of facilities to take advantage of. This site is especially popular with photographers and has several hides available to book in advance.

Gigrin Farm

Spot these birds

  • Red Kite

 

Find out more here

 

10.    Dungeness Nature Reserve

Dungeness is the third most biodiverse area in the country and has a range of habitats, including wet grassland and shingle. Thousands of nesting seabirds and wintering wildfowl call Dungeness home.

Dungeness

Terrain: shingle, freshwater, wet grassland, wildflower meadows

Spot these birds

  • Bittern
  • Smew
  • Little Ringer Plover
  • Slavonian Grebe
  • Wheatear

 

Find out more here

 

Why Not Bird Watch Closer to Home?

As much as we’d love to, we can’t make it to a bird-watching location or nature reserve every day. Sometimes, you have to bring the birds to you. Attract a range of different species by setting up a paradise for garden birds in your own back garden, with a range of wild bird food, bird baths and feeders. Make sure you visit the birds at your local parks and green spaces, too.

 

Method

Scores out of 10 are based on the number of facilities and features available at each site.

 

Sources

https://www.wanderlust.co.uk/content/best-birdwatching-spots-uk/

https://www.holidaycottages.co.uk/blog/rspb-birdwatching-spots-uk

https://www.birdspot.co.uk/days-out/10-uk-bird-watching-spots

 

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