Places you can hear birdsong

After the long winter, migrating birds return from milder climates to spend summer in the UK. Spot chiffchaffs from mid-March, swallows and house martins from mid-April and swifts in late April or early May.

a bearded reedling sitting on a reed stem

Blakeney Point, Norfolk

Blakeney Point is a key site for birdwatchers, particularly as it’s been designated as one of the most important sites in Europe for nesting terns. These are joined by several species of song bird in spring including swallows, sand martins and the meadow pipits that live among the marram grass.

Sandwich Tern

Brownsea Island, Dorset

During spring the island provides a home for a huge range of bird species. Listen out for the noisy call of the black-headed gull and watch the peacocks showing off on Church Field, or see terns and gulls nesting on the lagoon.

Flock of birds on Strangford Lough

Castle Ward, Northern Ireland 

Follow the secret shore trail to the bird hide which overlooks Strangford Lough, one of the best places to spot birds such as grey heron, redshank, and curlew.

A family uses binoculars to look out from the bird hide at Crom

Crom, Northern Ireland

One of Ireland’s most important nature conservation areas, at Crom you can watch winter birdlife depart and migrants arrive from the south. The bird hide on the shores of Derrymacrow Lough is equipped with binoculars, identification guides and notebooks to record what you see.

Couple walking

Danbury Common, Essex

The woodlands of Danbury and Lingwood Commons have a commanding position on one of Essex’s highest ridges – a whopping 107 metres high. Visit in spring for a peaceful wander through the trees through the trees, and if you’re lucky you might even hear nightingales singing nearby.

Couple walking in the formal garden at Fenton House

Fenton House and Garden, London

This 17th century merchant’s house is a hidden gem just off Hampstead’s bustling high street. Take a stroll through the peaceful gardens and you’ll be able to hear birds such as robins, blackbirds and song thrush chirping away – not to mention the flocks of parakeets that live on the heath.

A Chough feeding near Lizard Point

Lizard Point, Cornwall

As well as the famous choughs (Cornwall's 'national' bird) the Lizard peninsula also provides homes for many species of songbird including Blue Tits, Chiff Chaffs and Redstarts.

A pied flycatcher on a twig

Longshaw Estate, Derbyshire

The Longshaw Estate includes ancient woods, parkland and heather moorland, providing plenty of habitats for birds. We’ve also installed feeders outside the café which are frequented by finches, blue and great tits, nuthatches and siskins. So while you’re polishing off a cuppa and a slice of cake, you can watch our winged residents enjoying a snack of their own.

A pair of nightjars at the New Forest Northern Commons

New Forest, Hampshire

The New Forest’s heathland commons are fantastic for dawn and dusk choruses. We do lots of important conservation work in the area to help support the growth of local bird populations, including rare species such as the nightjar. Keep an ear out in the evening and you may be lucky enough to hear one among the trees.

Swans and cygnet glide along the creek at Newton National Nature Reserve

Newtown National Nature Reserve, Isle of Wight

If you’re listening out for incredible springtime birdsong, then Newtown National Nature Reserve is the place for you. From woodland and meadows to marshes and coast, diverse habitats here ensure a wide range of bird species. Highlights include oyster catchers, peregrines, curlews, golden plovers, kingfishers and starlings.

Fulmar over the sea

Souter Lighthouse and the Leas, Tyne and Wear 

Returning seabirds including Kittiwakes, Fulmars, Cormorants, Shags, Razorbills and Guillemots bring the cliffs and rock stacks of The Leas back to raucous life. Skylark breeding season also begins in April – listen for their song as they ascend above cliff top grasslands, one of the most joyful sounds of spring.

Great tit sitting on a tea cup at Stackpole Quay, Pembrokeshire

Stackpole, Pembrokeshire

The unspoilt coastline of the Stackpole Estate attracts all sorts of birdlife. Take a seat outside the tea room at Stackpole Quay to listen to them singing from the trees.

A Ring Ouzel bird, found in Snowdonia, Wales

Sticklebarn, Cumbria 

Spring often sees people start to visit the fells of the Lake District and the birds do the same. The chiff chaff is usually the earliest warbler to arrive back in the valley and its song can be heard commonly from mid-March onwards. Listen out for the Ring Ouzel which is found on the higher fells and often only given away by its ‘tac-tac’ call. The Cuckoo is also often heard but rarely seen - this elusive bird arrives in the valley around mid-April.

Wicken Fen - Bird Watchers and Sunset over Sedge Fen

Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire

The dawn chorus at Wicken Fen is spectacular. If you can get out of bed early enough, you will hear Cuckoo calls joined by wrens, songthrushes, blackbirds and the reed-bed specialists: reed and sedge warblers. Later in the day the fens are alive with skylarks – the voice of the UK’s spring time.

Bird watching tips