Best time to visit England

Birdwatching in England

Watching birds in their natural habitat is a popular pastime in England

Best time: May–June | November–March


At the end of the 19th century in England, a new hobby appeared—to observe birds in their natural habitat. Participants of this activity became more and more, and in 1901 it got the name "Birdwatching."

The best time of year to become acquainted with birds in England is spring when they sing and are of a brighter colour. But it is equally interesting to see birds in early autumn when many of them gather in packs before flying south.

In some of the cities of England, there are national parks or zoos where you can see interesting and rare birds. Do you want to see them in the wild? Here are some best spots for birdwatching in England: Exminster Marshes and Bowling Green Marsh, Exe Estuary, Exeter, and Devon are the popular sites for birdwatching from November to February. At the Exe Estuary reserve, you can find avocets, wigeons, cettis, and black-tailed godwits.

Slimbridge is another interesting destination for such a hobby. Meet the Bewick’s swans or starlings, and flocks of geese and ducks in winter. Summer is a best time of the year for waders.

Discover the Minsmere Nature Reserve from May to June to see wild fowl and many other animals and rare flora such as wild orchids, for example.

Practical info

What is the ideal time for observing birds in England?

The period of May to June and November to March is optimal for birdwatching in England. During this time, there is significant bird activity and mild weather, making it easier to watch them in their natural habitat. Birdsong is most abundant in spring, while in autumn, many birds gather in groups before heading south. Show more

Which are some of the favorite birdwatching sites in England?

Exminster Marshes, Bowling Green Marsh, Exe Estuary, Slimbridge, and Minsmere Nature Reserve are among the top birdwatching spots in England. Birdwatching is best in Exminster Marshes and Bowling Green Marsh between November- February. You can observe various birds at Exe Estuary, including avocets, wigeons, cettis, and black-tailed godwits. Bewick's swans and other wintering wildfowl can be seen in Slimbridge, while rare flora and fauna can be observed in Minsmere Nature Reserve from May to June. Show more

What bird species are commonly sighted at the Exe Estuary?

The Exe Estuary provides an excellent opportunity to watch a diverse range of birds. Avocets, wigeons, cettis, and black-tailed godwits are some of the birds commonly observed. In winter, their feeding activities provide exciting observations. The estuary's mudflats and salt marshes offer a perfect habitat, making it a prime destination for bird enthusiasts. Show more

When is the optimal time of year to view Bewick's swans in Slimbridge?

The winter season is the best time to observe Bewick's swans in Slimbridge. These swans travel to the UK from the Arctic in October to enjoy the milder climate. Many are ringed, providing insights into breeding and survival rates. Additionally, Slimbridge is an excellent place to see flocks of geese and ducks in the winter. Show more

Which other fauna and flora are observable at Minsmere Nature Reserve?

Explore Minsmere Nature Reserve for a fascinating array of flora and fauna. Its habitats include woodland, heathland, and wetlands, where visitors can watch rare and endangered butterfly, bird, and animal species. Late spring and early summer afford the opportunity to see wild orchids and other rare flora. The reserve is also home to red deer, red foxes, and otters. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin