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    Some UK’s bird-watching locations

    ArticleBird AdviceWednesday 14 December 2011
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    UK

     

    Meet some fabulous locations from estuaries and marshes to islands and nature reserves

    Insh Marshes, Speyside, Scotland
    This National Nature Reserve in the Highlands, close to Kingussie, is one of Europe's most vital wetlands, with interesting beaked fellows to see, whatever the time of year.
     
    What to spot
    Whooper swans and greylag geese come to stay from October till March, when the marsh is flooded. In spring, half of the UK's goldeneye population nests here. Other star spots include snipe, wigeon, redshank and curlew (they of long curvy beak fame). In summer, watch the lapwings ganging up on crows who dare to get too near their nests.
     
     
    Exmouth, Devon
    The mouth of the River Exe, and the cliffs of the Jurassic Coast east from here, shelter all kinds of our feathered friends.
     
    What to spot The RSPB reserve in the estuary has winter acovet flocks you can see on an RSPB boat cruise. Elegant little egrets haunt the rivermouth year-round, and the beautiful goldfinch visits in autumn. Along the coast from the rivermouth, at Sandy Bay, there is a kittiwake colony in the towering cliffs, and the Royal Marines, who have a firing range near to the colony, have set up a 'kitticam'.
     
     
    Wildfowl and Wetland Trust Centre, Barnes, London
    In a meander of the River Thames, in Southwest London, lies this 42-hectare reserve, sheltering all manner of birds that come and go with the seasons. The excellent visitor centre has a great cafe.
     
    What to spot 
    Summer sightings in 2008 included little egret, garganey, black-tailed godwit, and hobby falcons regularly strut their stuff. In spring, there were sanderlings, stone curlews and avocets, and wading birds such as lapwings are starting to breed on the reserve. Sand martins nest here, too. Just place yourself in a hide, relax, and watch them come and go.
     
     
    Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, Wales
    Slap-bang in the middle of Wales, this family run, 200-acre upland sheep farm has stunning views over the Wye and Elan Valleys.
     
    What to spot 
    Gigrin was just a humble sheep farm until 1992, when the RSPB approached the owner with a view to opening the place to the public as a red kite feeding station. Back then, few kites would visit. These days, it's the most famous red kite feeding spot in the UK. Every afternoon you can see them swoop for food in a spectacular aerial display.
     
     
    Ramsey Island, Pembrokeshire, Wales
    Beyond the beautiful St David's peninsula, this rocky little island, with its dramatic cliffs up to 120 metres high, is further west that St Agnes in Cornwall. Just two miles long, it teems with birdlife.
     
    What to spot 
    The island one of the best places in Wales to see choughs, and peregrines nest on the cliffs, as do ravens. There are hundreds of guillemots from late winter to July. You can take a tourist boat to stroll among the feathered magic, from Easter to the end of October.
     
     
     
    Rutland Water, Rutland
    This huge reservoir, just east of Oakham, Rutland's county town, opened in 1976 and is one of Europe's biggest artificial lakes. The trail circumnavigating it is 25 miles long, and much of the western part of the water, and surrounding woods, are a nature reserve.

     

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