Animals and Nature


BIRDWATCHING (and listening!) in Somerset

BIRDWATCHING (and listening!) in Somerset


Somerset is among the most rewarding places for birdwatching anywhere in Britain. There is such a wide range of habitats - from intertidal and wetland to woodland and moor. While the numbers of species in the country as a whole are declining, in Somerset they are increasing. As well as our resident populations, the county’s special landscape attracts visitors from overseas and this means that whatever time of year you choose, there is always something special to see. Add to this the fact that new species are nesting for the first time in centuries here or being re-introduced and you can see why the area is so important for birds and wildlife.
In the winter, the internationally important Somerset Levels are a draw for migrant wading birds including wigeons, teals, shovelers and Bewick's swans. These months also see and hear the famous starling murmurations. (Ring the starling hotline 07866554142 for more details)
On the coast, Bridgwater Bay is a major feeding and roosting site for waterfowl and waders such as Shelduck, dunlin, curlew, grey plover and avocet. Nearby, the newly created Steart Marshes area is the largest new wetland reserve in the country with flocks of waders and rare raptors. Year round on the Levels you can see bittern and marsh harriers which are scarce elsewhere.
All you need for birdwatching is information on the best places to go (see links). You don’t have to buy expensive equipment or to walk for miles. Our local reserves are easily accessible and have hides so that you can see the wildlife but it can’t see you. Don’t be put off by thinking you have to have telescopes and long lenses – you can enjoy the company of birds just by keeping your eyes open or listening for their distinctive voices. Once you start, it can be hard to drag yourself away as you watch or hear them hunting, courting or just spuddling about. These are perfect places for children to learn to recognise the different shapes, sizes and sounds of the birds around them and perhaps begin a lifelong fascination for them.
Follow these links for some of Somerset’s top nature reserves:


BIRDWATCHING (and listening!) in Somerset

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