As its bird feeding month, here at Group Leisure we’ve found five of the best places for groups to go bird watching and where to feed those beaks.
Bird watching – and bird feeding – is a great group activity and the UK is home to some of the best sites to spot different species of birds.
1. Holkham Nature Reserve, Norfolk
Holkham Nature Reserve is great for birdwatching all year round and is a popular spot for wildlife. In the summer, flocks of larks, finches and pipits are usually seen, as well as pink-footed geese, peregrines, harriers, blue tits and pipits. In the fields, either side of Lady Anne’s Drive, hordes of wildfowl such as white-fronted geese, brent geese and wigeon are often spotted, too.
2. Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust
The Isles of Scilly are home to birds, plants and lichens, insects and mammals. Both local and migrant birds are popular throughout the islands. including local thrushes and sparrows and the more rare species. Visitors from Africa, like cuckoos, are usually spotted in the summer, as well as wheatears, warblers and blackbirds. Waders, thrushers, redstarts and flycatchers migrate to the islands in autumn – some staying for winter and some just passing through.
3. Farne Islands
This group of islands off the coast of Northumberland is a habitat for seals and many species of seabird. Over 100,000 seabirds make the Farne Islands home each year, with many birds arriving later in the summer due to the lateness of the breeding season over the last few years. There’s usually around 90,000 puffing burrows on the islands, but pied wagtails, swallows and arctic terns are also visible. In November 2015, a surf scoter was seen flying over the islands, which is only the second time this American sea duck has been seen on the islands.
4. Gigrin Farm
At Girgrin Farm in Wales, groups can visit the Red Kite Feeding Centre, where hundreds of Red Kites are fed every day. Buzzards, ravens and crows also swoop in for food during this time, and the farm has five large hides with disabled access for visitors wanting to take cover or take photos. The 200 acre farm is also home to magpies and offers discount and pre-booked catering for groups.
5. Norfolk Birding
Groups can take a birding tour with Norfolk Birding in both Norfolk and Scotland as a specialised way to see the wildlife. Norfolk tours run all year round, whereas tours in Scotland include the Islay February tour, the Highlands May tour and the Outer Hebrides tour. The Outer Hebrides tour, for example, is for Scottish speciality species. Main target birds usually seen include corncrake, golden gagle, white-tailed eagle and, up close, short-eared owl, hen harrier, Red-necked phalarope, skua’s, terns and seabirds.