Welcome to my guide to bird watching in Gloucestershire, an area with an excellent choice of habitats to watch British birds and the opportunity to see some rare species.
To whet your spotting appetite, you have the chance of seeing or photographing the following in Gloucestershire of the Forest of Dean.
- Nesting area of the Peregrine Falcons at Symonds Yat Rock
- Wildfowl at Slimbridge wetlands trust who has a visitor centre and lots of migratory birds.
- You can see kingfishers and heron when walking the banks of the local rivers.
- Woodpeckers at RSPB Nagshead
Bird Watching Locations
Nagshead is a nature reserve near to Parkend in the Forest of Dean. This is a great place to see a variety of species in their natural habitat throughout the seasons.
The site includes ample car parking, toilets, a visitor centre and viewing points or hides to help you observe. RSPB Nagshead has a visitor centre that is open at the weekend from Easter until September. The site is open from dawn until dusk for visitors. The entrance fee is free, but donations to the RSPB are very welcome.
Eagle-eyed spotters can see flycatchers and redstarts in the spring months or all three British species of woodpecker in the summer. Autumn at RSPB Nagshead enables you to see nuthatches, and the winter brings goshawks and treecreepers. Other more common species hall RSPB Nagshead home too. Some stars of the site include;
- Wood Warbler
- Tree Pipit
- Spotted Flycatcher
- Pied Flycatcher
- Lesse Spotted Woodpecker
Breakheart Quarry Birdwatching
- Woodpeckers including the Green Woodpecker and Great Spotted Woodpecker.
- Tawney Owl
- Willow Warbler
- Wood pigeons
- A variety of tits, including the great tit.
Newent Lake Birdwatching
Newent Lake is on the former grounds of Newent Court and is a fantastic place to go birdwatching and wildlife spotting. The lake is home to a variety of freshwater fish and birds. Birds you can easily spot at Newent Lake include mallards, coot, moorhen, kingfishers and herons.
The trees surrounding the lake are home to nuthatches, robins, great spotted woodpeckers and more.
Gloucestershire Visitor Centres
Places to visit to learn about birds, including sanctuaries for birds of prey and many other conservation sites.
The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust in Slimbridge is a very educational place to visit to learn about a variety of birds. The reserve is home to a variety of migratory birds, including species of duck, geese and swans. WWT Slimbridge is in a beautiful location between the Severn Estuary and Gloucester-Sharpness Canal.
The site is a great place to visit for the family of those very interested in wildlife and has a great focus on education. You can get up close with some resident birds and even feed some. The habitat is beautiful and they even have a section you can paddle into the reeds to be at one with nature.
The centre is ever changing as new species arrive and leave throughout the seasons. Some highlights of visiting are;
- Sand martins and swallows in March.
- Common cranes settle down to nest in March
- Cuckoos in April
- Kingfishers nesting and laying eggs in April, the site has a dedicated hide to observe a kingfisher if lucky.
- Migrating birds, including ruff and a variety of sandpiper species migrate here in the summer.
- In August, teal arrives for winter and many other arrivals.
- In the winter at dusk, you can observe starlings doing their usual acrobatics over the site.
International Centre For Birds Of Prey
For anyone interested in seeing birds of prey and learning more about them, the international centre for birds of prey is the pace to visit. A place where the highlight is the flying demonstrations of many birds of prey. For more about the Eagles, Falcons and Owls, visit their website.