About us Blogs SWLT Top tips for birdwatching For many people, bird watching is a passion, pastime or mission. You can do it almost anywhere and you don’t need to know how to identify birds to feel the excitement and pleasure with each glimpse. As a casual birdwatcher, you can do this from your front room, your garden or your local green space. You never have to go far to see or hear the nation’s favourite, the robin. Many birdwatchers start in their back garden as a young child or as an adult, where birds can often be encouraged. Putting up a feeder with some good quality bird food will almost always attract garden birds if there is shelter, such as trees or hedgerows nearby. Sunflower hearts will be scoffed by goldfinches and peanuts will be devoured by tits. To see a wide variety of birds, you may have to go further afield and explore more habitats, which will all be home to a typical array of birds. Each of our sites will offer something slightly different when it comes to the birds that live there. For example, if you would like to see waders and ducks, you should visit a site such as Porth, Roadford or Lopwell; these all have water and exposed mud which are crucial to these types of birds. A marshy habitat, for example found at Crowdy Reservoir, can find you snipe, grasshopper warblers and skylarks. A mix of coniferous and broadleaved habitas, which can be found at Fernworthy Reservoir, can reveal long tailed tits, gold crests and crossbills. Hedgerows, which are found at many of our sites, will support blackbirds, sparrows, tits and dunnocks. Usually, the best time and condition to bird watch is in the morning when the weather is kind and clear. Throughout the summer months it can pay to bird watch in the evenings to try and spot birds such as nightjars and owls on heath, moorlands or in open woodland habitats. In these broad habitats, keep an eye out for specific attributes. These can include oak trees which have produced acorns – where you will often find corvids such as the jay. Trees which provide berries in October/November such as hawthorn will likely have the first hungry fieldfare and redwings. These birds migrate here to the UK for the winter and are a sure sign that winter is on its way. If you consider yourself a more serious bird watcher, a good pair of binoculars and a bird book will serve you well. The BTO website offers information on bird watching and the RSPB website hosts a great bird identification tool and an online platform to buy binoculars (if you get the chance to try the binoculars before you buy, take that opportunity as they are an investment for any bird watcher!) Lastly, if you need any skill for bird watching, its patience and lots of it.