Birdwatching around our campsites
Twitching, birding or ornithology? Call it what you may, our Club Sites and the surrounding areas are wildlife havens, making them great bases for a birdwatching holiday. Our campsite staff have given us the lowdown on the species you might spot around our sites and the best birdwatching spots to visit during your stay with us.
Theobalds Park, Hertfordshire
Within an hour’s drive of London, Theobalds Park is a great base for spotting both urban and woodland birds. More than 300 different species of bird have been recorded over the course of a year in the city. Parks in London are thriving with wildlife so take some time to stop and see what you can spot. Why not take a picnic along and enjoy a break from the crowds? Waxwings, bramblings and chaffinches can often be seen. Green Park also has resident tawny owls.
Theobalds Park itself has regular ring-necked parakeets visiting. Putting out a nut feeder will attract them to your pitch, allowing for great photograph opportunities like the one above.
The Lake District is a great location for birdwatching due to the differing landscapes. The sea cliffs, reed beds, mountains and nature reserves on offer are all hot spots. RSPB Haweswater surrounds a reservoir offering rivers, bog and woodland. Until recently it was home to England’s last golden eagle. Pied flycatchers, dippers, peregrine and redstart can all be seen on the reserve.
Bassenthwaite Lake, the only actual lake in the Lake District, is home to world-famous osprey. With a wingspan of nearly five feet, the birds use the area around the lake as breeding ground. Keswick Club Site and the surrounding areas are home to chaffinches, skylarks, goldcrests, blue tits and coal tits making the site a great location for twitchers.
With 1,600 breeding pairs in the UK, red kites have a conservation status of green. With a reddish brown body and forked tail, the distinguishable bird can be spotted circling the site. Dippers are also seen around the river - speak to site staff about walks from the site. If you’re interested in specifically spotting red kites, our Rhandirmwyn Club Site is within driving distance of the Red Kite Feeding Station where you can sit in a bird hide just feet away from the birds. Buzzards and ravens are often seen at the station.
Tarland by Deeside, Aberdeenshire
On-site you can see nuthatches, wrens, great spotted woodpeckers and red kites. Swallows nest in a garage on-site several times a year and the site is abundant in other wildlife such as bats and red squirrels. There’s a bird hide within walking distance - ask the site staff for details of how to get there. To see ospreys, head to Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve, just a ten-minute drive from the site. The reserve attracts a wide range of not only birds but also insects, moths and otters so you’ll see a variety of animals during your visit no matter the season.
For those looking to spot puffins, RSPB Fowlsheugh is around an hour’s drive from Tarland – worth it to see the breeding seabirds during the spring and summer months. Spring and early summer is the best time to see puffins at Foelseheugh whilst March and July plays host to razorbill.
With an amber conservation status, nightjar are a real treat to see around our Sandringham Club Site. The golden pheasant is an introduced species to the UK with a relatively low number of breeding pairs which you may also be able to see around Norfolk, with sightings often around Wolferton. The males are a vivid mix of yellow, red and blue whilst the females are a brown/cream mix.
RSPB Snettisham is around a ten-minute drive from the site, with thousands of wading birds making use of the lagoons and marshes. If you’re camping at Sandringham from late summer onwards, Snettisham is well worth a visit to see the wading birds being forced to take flight as high tide covers the mudflats.
Cheddar Mendip Heights, Somerset
RSPB Greylake is a 40-minute drive from our Cheddar Mendip Heights Club Site. Yellow wagtails, which are on the red conservation list, start arriving in April and migrate to Africa for the winter. Marsh harrier, the largest of all harriers can be spotted here, hunting over the fields.
Another great base for exploring the Lake District, a few species spotted on-site include rooks, crows, blue tits, great tits, chaffinches and jays. Egrets, cormorants, oyster catchers, herring gulls and plovers can be seen at the estuary.
Take a walk off the site and you may be able to spot great spotted woodpeckers, common buzzards, grey herons and tawny owls. Ask one of the site staff for recommended walks.
Loch Ness Shores, Inverness
From our Loch Ness Shores Club Site it’s just a half-hour drive to RSPB Loch Ruthven, surrounded by woodland providing the perfect habitat for some very special birds. The loch is home to the majority of the breeding slanvonian grebe population which are on the red conservation list with just 30 UK breeding pairs. Black-throated divers, curlew, osprey and red-throated divers can also be seen on the reserve.
The spectacular Abriachan Wood is just under an hour’s drive from Loch Ness Shores. Extensive grassy paths and wooded walks are great for birdwatching on the move. Some of the species to look out for are spotted flycatchers, willow warbler, crossbill, redstart and black grouse.
Kingsbury Water Park, West Midlands
RSPB Sandwell Valley makes for a great family day out when staying on our Kingsbury Water Park Club Site and is just a 30-minute drive away. Conservation efforts are really put in around winter here to help out water birds. Goosanders, shovelers and wigeons as well as breeders like lapwings and little-ringed plovers call Sandwell Valley home.
Another option is RSPB Middleton Lakes, just a ten-minute drive from the site. Wander through the pathways and discover a range of different habitats. Grey herons, kingfishers, lapwings and barn owls are all commonly seen.
Kingsbury Water Park itself, right next door to our campsite, is a birding oasis, attracting lots of different species. Cattle egret, Siberian chiffchaff, cormorant, sparrowhawks, marsh harrier and many more have been spotted at the park.
Camping on the boundary of Dartmoor National Park means you’re close to a wide variety of breeding species. The moorlands and woodlands the park offer support a unique community of birds. Birdwatchers visit Dartmoor National Park to see birds that they can’t see elsewhere such as the cuckoo. Black and red grouse, peregrine falcons, chaffinches and wading birds are among other species to look out for.
The woodland of Dartmoor National Park is classed as temperate rainforest which is fantastic for migrant birds such as redstart and pied flycatcher.
RSPB Blean Woods is just a ten-minute drive from our Canterbury Club Site. Lesser-spotted woodpecker, nightingale, nightjar and sparrowhawk are regulars over the seasons.
Sandwich and Pegwell Bay, around 20-minutes from the site is a great for seeing coastal birds such as wading birds, migatory geese and merlins. Quail, lapwing, puffin and many more species can be seen at various times of the year.
Camping on the Suffolk coast puts you near to RSPB Minsmere. Coastal lagoons, reedbed pools and lowland heath attracts bittern, avocet, marsh harriers and nightingales. Accessible toilets, a picnic area and café make this a great place for a family day out. Enjoy a walk along the nature trails or visit the discovery centre to take part in family-friendly activities.
The RSPB website is a great resource of information. Spotted a bird and struggling to identify it? Take the RSPB bird identifier test.