Great places to see birds

Cumbria has an array of birds that live here all year round, pass through on their migratory routes, breed or over-winter on our shores. You can see many of these at any number of our nature reserves, but here are our top 10 nature reserves for birds and what you might spot on each one.

South Walney

Dunlin. Photo Damian Waters/ Drum Images

In spring and summer, lookout for breeding gulls, eider, ringed plover, oystercatcher and skylark. Winter brings great gatherings of waders including redshank, greenshank, oystercatcher, knot and dunlin. Winter wildfowl include teal, tufted duck, pochard and red-breasted merganser. Other winter visitors include short-eared owl, merlin and twite. South Walney is very important for spring and autumn migrants when many chats, warblers, wheatear and other passerines pass through.

Dunlin. Photo: Damian Waters/Drum Images


Where? Near Barrow-in-Furness, GR: SD 255 620
 

Foulney Island


Look for breeding arctic, common and little terns as well as eider, ringed plover, oystercatcher, meadow pipit and skylark. Winter brings large numbers of curlew, dunlin, knot and oystercatcher. Offshore, look for great-crested grebe, red-breasted merganser, cormorant and common scoter.

Great-crested Grebe. Photo: Steve Waterhouse

 


Where? Near Barrow-in-Furness, GR: SD 246 640
 

Barkbooth Lot

 

On the open fell look for scrubland birds such as whitethroat, willow warbler, garden warbler, linnet, yellowhammer and tree pipit. Woodland-edge species include redstart and redpoll, while in the woodland there are great-spotted and green woodpeckers, pied flycatcher, nuthatch, buzzard and marsh tit. If you’re very lucky you may see a hawfinch.

Pied Flycatcher.  Photo: Margaret Holland

 

Where? Near Crosthwaite, GR: SD 418 909
 

Drumburgh Moss

 

Spot breeding waders, warblers, reed bunting, yellow hammer, linnet, cuckoo and other wildfowl. In the winter see hen harrier, short-eared owl, teal and snipe

 

Cuckoo: Photo Amy Lewis

.

Where? On the Solway, west of Carlisle, GR: NY 255 586
 

Thacka Beck

Kestrel:  Photo Elliott Neep

 

Watch large numbers of feeding swallows and martins, sparrow hawk, kestrel, reed bunting, finches and warblers including sedge warbler, garden warbler and whitethroat. Snipe, brambling and kingfisher head here in winter.

Kestrel: Photo Elliott Neep


Where? Gilwilly Industrial Estate, Penrith, GR: NY 507 306
 

Bowness-on-Solway

Willow Tit credit Harry Hogg

 

Breeding warblers, willow tit and bullfinch; redwing and fieldfare feed here in winter.

Willow Tit.  Photo: Harry Hogg

 

Where? On the Solway, west of Carlisle GR: NY206 617.
 

Dorothy Farrer’s Spring Wood

Tawny Owl Steve Waterhouse

 

In spring and summer appreciate the pied fly catcher, redstart and wood warbler. There is also tawny owl.

Tawny Owl.  Photo:Steve Waterhouse


Where? Staveley, near Kendal, GR SD482 984
 

Eskmeals Dunes

Oystercatchers Steve Waterhouse

 

In the spring and summer you will find breeding ringed plover, oystercatcher, stonechat, grey partridge and skylark. In the colder months there is an array of wintering wildfowl and waders, like wigeon and goldeneye.

Oystercatchers.  Photo: Steve Waterhouse

 

Where?  Near Ravenglass GR: SD 082 950.
 

Foulshaw Moss

 

In winter, look for hen harriers and wintering snipe. Stonechat and tree pipit breed here and, in late spring, spot osprey.

Stonechat. Photo: Amy Lewis


Where? Near Witherslack GR: SD 458 837
 

Humphrey Head

Peregrine Falcon. Neil Aldridge

 

Peregrine regularly breed here. Look also for wintering waders, like shelduck, curlew and redshank on the salt marsh.

Peregrine. Photo: Neil Aldridge


Where? Near Grange-over-Sands, GR SD 388 746
 

 

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