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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Is Slimbridge wetlands the Mecca of bird spotting in the Uk?😄 (3 Viewers)

Amazed that no-one so far has mentioned Minsmere. Some years ago it would have been tops, in England at least. Has it gone downhill ?
I remember Minsmere from the 70's and 80's and in those days it was great. I visited in May 2019 and it's now a Black-headed Gull hatchery. It sucked, apart from the Otters.
 
For me, simply the most beautiful and amazing birding locality in Britain, and indeed probably in Europe, is Skomer Island, particularly in May or June.

As well as the obvious seabird attraction, and who can't like puffins strutting their stuff by day and tens of thousands of Manx Shearwaters crashing in at night, there is also the stunning landscape and the very nice blue mat of bluebells studded by gulls in their colony with Short-eared Owls quartering and perhaps a Cough ot two overhead.
 
Yeah the Islands of Scotland are 100% on my to do list! As a holiday overall not simply a birding destination.

Any particular time of year you would recommend?

I’ve always found it quite tricky to find anywhere on the internet that rents cottages for a reasonable price in the peak seasons!
Late May to late June is best for most places as you've got all the breeding birds around and you'll probably find that's when we get the best weather. Plus you've got loads and loads of daylight so you can be out until 10-11 pm and it'll still be light.
 
The main problem is it being rammed with grockles and the car parks being full. It does still have a great array of birds most of the time.

John
As we have a much smaller population in Scotland than in England, I'm used to only seeing a few people at a time when out and about at our nature reserves, but there was a time last year when I went to Lochwinnoch and it was so busy that it reminded me of visiting some of England's reserves. Made me realise how lucky we can be when we're not having to jostle with lots of others at reserves.
 
If I was to put one day above all others, it would be an all day boat trip landing on the Farne Islands - both Inner Farne & Staple Island. I would probably go mid week before the schools have broken up say the second Tuesday in June. I am smiling already.

😀

I do not believe that option will be available in 2024 but let's hope that by 2025 it will become possible again.

Inner Farne - https://ebird.org/checklist/S38222581

Staple Island - https://ebird.org/checklist/S38513093

All the best

Paul
 
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If I was to put one day above all others, it would be an all day boat trip landing on the Farne Islands - both Inner Farne & Staple Island. I would probably go mid week before the schools have broken up say the second Tuesday in June. I am smiling already.

😀

I do not believe that option will be available in 2024 but let's hope that by 2025 it will become possible again.

All the best

Paul
I've been there once and I know you can only land on certain islands. But are there trips that take you around/near the islands where the Roseate Terns nest? Still have these on my to see list and I thought that would be a good opportunity if such a trip exists.
 
If I was to put one day above all others, it would be an all day boat trip landing on the Farne Islands - both Inner Farne & Staple Island. I would probably go mid week before the schools have broken up say the second Tuesday in June. I am smiling already.

😀

I do not believe that option will be available in 2024 but let's hope that by 2025 it will become possible again.

Inner Farne - https://ebird.org/checklist/S38222581

Staple Island - https://ebird.org/checklist/S38513093

All the best

Paul
I have to agree Paul. I had nearly made it to the Farnes many times and never made it but on a trip back in 2019 it was incredible.

Farne Island part 1

Lunga in the Treshnish Islands is a mini Farne‘s.
 
The seabird Islands are true spectales, but if you want number of species then North Norfolk is King. I once got 89 species in one hour at RSPB Titchwell.
A decent second. Mid May. A few nice waders but otherwise.... Surely you can do 100 with a bit of effort? 😀

All the best

Paul
 
If you see somewhere termed the 'Mecca of...............' , avoid it like the plague
:)
I would usually wholeheartedly agree with you!

However I’m lucky enough to work a 4 on 4 off shift pattern so can (and would choose to) visit on a random weekday in mid winter when most people are exchanging breaths for earth credits at their desk! So can avoid the weekend swell!
 
All the best birds show up in midweek too. At least that's the case at Lochwinnoch when I see the reports and the birds are gone before I can get there at the weekend.
 
As Slimbridge is just over an hour away from landlocked Worcestershire, it is a great place (IMHO) to go at this time of year. However, I'd probably opt for RSPB Frampton or, as has previously been mentioned, the North Norfolk coast as better sites in general as top wetland sites. Spurn/Kilnsea is also a good shout at certain times of the year, although a bit further to go from my point of view for a day trip.
 
What’s everyone else’s own personal favourites? I’m hoping to get a list of places to line up for visits this year!

The RSPB reserve at Rainham, Essex, will not impress anyone who has visited the destinations above, but it's one of the closest to Central London and I've had some very enjoyable days there - flocks of godwits and avocets in October, and especially hobbies hawking insects in May and September. Nothing that can't be seen, and seen better elsewhere, and/or closer to you. But special because close to me. I look forward to being back in the spring.
 
RSPB Insh Marshes near Kingussie is my local reserve and one of my favourite places, as well as birds there are moths, butterflies and orchids at the right time of year. A late autumn visit to Islay is a great time to go as the accommodation is pretty cheap and as well as loads of Geese there are White-tailed and Golden Eagles, Choughs and loads of other species. I often holiday on either the Outer Hebrides or Orkney and late May or June are definitley the best times for birding, but also the weather is often really good and the midges aren't quite as bad as later in the year.
 

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