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Best Places to Go Birding in the United Kingdom | Optics and Lab Equipment

Best Places to Go Birding in the United Kingdom

Last Updated: 22.10.19


Bird watching is a hobby that can be enjoyed by anyone, as all you will need are your top of the range binoculars and a good location. In the informative article below, we will explore some of the best places you can go birding in the United Kingdom together with your trusty pair of Nikon binoculars.



Cley Marshes

A good choice to start out our list is the Cley Marshes Bird Reserve which is the oldest county Wildlife Trust in the United Kingdom and it is a very big draw thanks to its large population of rare breeding and visiting birds. Some of the birds you may find here are avocet, marsh harrier, spoonbill, bittern, and bearded tits.

There are also many wintering visitors such as brent geese, wigeon, wading birds, and pintail. Thus, this location is best to visit all year since you will have something new to see no matter the season. There is also a modern eco-friendly visitor center quite close to the reserve where you can shop for a souvenir and have a warm cup of coffee.

There, you will be able to chat with other bird watchers and you can even visit a few indoor viewing areas from where you can look through your pair of binoculars while enjoying a warm and delicious cup of tea. The wide windows look out to the western side of the reserve and all the way to the land defenses and the sea.

Another advantage of this location is the fact that you can take your entire family with you since young children, even if they are not yet big fans of bird watching, will have lots of activities to do nearby.

Do keep in mind that seeing as this is a nature reserve, pets are not allowed, and if you want to take a picture, you will need to choose a model that is not noisy and avoid flash photography altogether.


Minsmere Nature Reserve

This is another great location to consider, especially since it is house to many species of birds, plants, insects, and mammals so that you will never get bored while exploring it. Minsmere is very close to the coasts, so you will not be too far from the beaches of Suffolk. The reserve consists of areas of lowland heath, reed bed, shingle vegetation, and lowland wet grassland.

In the center of the reserve, there are four bodies of water named West and East Scrape, and South and North Girder. There are seven bird hides that you can find along the network of trails for you to observe the resident and visiting bird life.

If you want to take your family with you and you have kids, you can enjoy walks along the shorter paths, while older bird watchers can stride out along the longer and wilder trails. Kids can enjoy the Wild Zone natural play area, where there are tons of activities for them to enjoy.

There is also a child-friendly café, where you can find all that you need ranging from child’s lunch boxes and tasty snacks to hot meals prepared using local fare. The reserve also has high chairs and baby change facilities available for you to use so that you can let your entire family join in on the fun.

The best time you can visit this place is during May and June, but there are tons of activities going year-round, it’s just that you may find fewer birds if you visit in another time of year.



Slimbridge Wetland Centre

Slimbridge is a bird watching reserve run by the WWT and it encompasses around 325 acres. It is accessible to any bird watcher and the center aims to give visitors a truly memorable experience that will get them closer to nature than ever before.

Here you will find the largest population of wintering European white-fronted geese in the United Kingdom. The best period to visit this place is during November – March, since the reserve shelters up to 350,000 wildfowl over the winter, together with flocks of geese, swans, and ducks.

Slimbridge is also the breeding ground for waders during the warmer months so that even if you go visit outside of our recommended window, you will still find plenty to observe and do. During the summer, you can take a Land Rover safari and sight brown hares, dragonflies, grass snakes, otters, and uncommon flora such as orchids.


Caerlaverock Wetland Centre

The Caerlaverock is an expansive WWT managed nature reserve and it is one of the most popular bird watching spots in the British Isles. Here you can take the Sir Peter Scott woodland trail and spot a huge variety of birds all year round. You can find sights of curlews, snipe, black-tailed godwits, single green sandpiper and some little grebes.

Hides are spread out across the park and from there you can observe the birds as they go about their business without disturbing them. The best time to visit this place is during October – March so that you can witness the winter migration spectacle.

If you do come during the spring or winter, you will witness the beautiful Lochar Water River with its breathtaking flower-filled meadows, butterflies, dragonflies, and orchids along the banks.



Whisby Nature Park

The Whisby Nature Park is run by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and it is popular for its large population of nightingales. This species of birds is on the Red List of UK birds, which means that unless urgent action is taken, it will soon be very close to extinction. The numbers of nightingales have dropped by 90% in the last 50 years.

The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust organizes guided nightingale walks in late April, but there are also Warblers, terns, and swallows that flock to the woodland, meadows, and lakes.

Thus, if you want to admire these beautiful birds and take action to save them from extinction, visiting and support the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust is one sure way in which you can make a difference.



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