With Winter in full swing we reveal the best places in Britain to see everything from tree sparrows to ospreys. So you can figure out which destination suits your taste in birds best.
Caerlaverock WWT Centre, Dumfries and Galloway
As winter is not setting in the Scottish borders, so do thousands of ducks, geese and swans. They come from as far away as Iceland and Spitsbergen, in the Arctic Ocean, to enjoy the relatively mild winter in the British Isles. Whooper swans travel in family parties and enjoy the daily feeding sessions that take place at dusk throughout winter. Nearby, Mersehead RSPB reserve holds huge numbers of barnacle geese. The best time to find these here are from October to March.
Castle Espie WWT Centre, Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland
On Northern Ireland’s north-east coast, a short drive from Belfast, Strangford Lough is one of the UK’s most important wildfowl refuges. Famous for the scarce pale-bellied form of the Brent goose, which migrate here each autumn from Canada, it is also a winter home for thousands of ducks and waders. The Castle Espie WWT centre is the perfect introduction to this avian wonderland: with hides, guided walks and family facilities. The best time to find these here are from October to March.
Exe estuary, Devon
Take a cruise along the English Riviera. Here is a winter trip to see one of the most beautiful birds in Britain, the avocet. Symbol of the RSPB, this stately black and white wader is also one of our greatest conservation success stories. The Exe estuary is home to about 25,000 wintering birds. A boat trip is the ideal way to experience these wild creatures where they really belong. Cruises depart from Exmouth or Starcross and last for about three to four hours.The best time to find these here are from November to February.
Farne Islands, Northumberland
When it comes to great wildlife spectacles, we don’t have to travel to far-flung, exotic locations. Britain’s seabird colonies are some of the biggest and best in the world. If you head to the little port of Seahouses, an hour or so north of Newcastle, and take the short boat trip across to the Farne Islands. Watch puffins loafing around their burrow entrances, get mobbed by terns, and enjoy a chorus of kittiwakes calling out their name. The best time to find these here are from May to July.
Gigrin Farm, nr Rhayader, mid-Wales
In the1970s, red kites were one of our rarest birds, found only in a handful of valleys in the heart of Wales. Today, thanks to a reintroduction programme, they can be seen in many parts of Britain. To watch them where they truly belong, visit this delightful farm, whose owners feed the kites every afternoon. The sight of these acrobatic birds swooping down to snatch pieces of meat is truly astonishing. Luckily for the bird watchers amongst us here you can see these birds all year round.
Isles of Scilly, Cornwall
These warm and welcoming islands off the tip of Cornwall have long been a destination for twitchers eager to see rare birds. But the islands offer a lot more, including seabirds in summer, and a range of spring and autumn migrants. Avoid October if you want to miss the crowds: a trip in late April or May will be just as productive, less frenetic, and with better weather.The best time to find these here are from April to October.
Loch Garten, Scottish Highlands
This year is the 50th anniversary of the launch of RSPB’s Operation Osprey, set up to guard the nest of this rare bird of prey. They also took the far-sighted decision to make the location public. Since then, more than 3 million visitors have enjoyed watching these magnificent fish-eating birds. In the surrounding Abernethy Forest, watch out for Britain’s largest and most impressive gamebird which is the capercaillie.The best time to find these here are from April to August.
So now you have the best destinations to find the rarest birds all that left to do is plan your motorhome holiday and get going.
We also recently announced that we now have motorhomes for sale as well. So no matter what your preference is get your motorhome plans sorted. That way you get to see some of the rarest birds around this year.