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Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa ©Adrian Winter

Birding Lancashire

Lancashire is blessed with a wealth of estuaries from the Mersey in the south to Morecambe Bay in the north, taking in the Alt and Ribble in between. Together they hold hundreds of thousands of waders and tens of thousands of wildfowl.

Inland are a good selection of freshwater marsh sites with two in particular renowned nationally, Leighton Moss (RSPB) and Martin Mere (Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust). Martin Mere stands in the middle of the south Lancashire moss-lands, winter home to over 25,000 Pinkfeet geese and several hundred Bewick and Whooper Swans.

Further east are the Pennine Hills which sweep close to the coast north of the Ribble. Here is a good selection of breeding moor-land birds such as Hen Harrier, Golden Plover, Raven, Ring Ousel, Dunlin and Twite, with Dotterel seen on spring passage.

Top Sites

Forest of Bowland

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An area of great scenic beauty with narrow valleys and steep fells. The fells are well stocked with Red Grouse along with Golden Plover, Curlew, Dunlin and Short-eared Owl. In the wooded riversides are breeding Oystercatcher, Snipe, Woodcock, Red-breasted Merganser and Goosander.

Leighton Moss

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This RSPB reserve just a mile from Morecambe Bay is famous for it's breeding Bittern and Bearded Tit. Other breeding birds include Marsh Harrier, Water Rail, and five species of duck. Unusual migrants may occur in spring and autumn such as Osprey, Spotted Crake, Black Tern, Wood and Green Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and Geenshank.

Lune Estuary

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The estuary flows into Morecambe Bay and has several important roost sites for both waders and wildfowl. Good views can be had at Sunderland Point on the north shore and the footpath along a disused railway between Glasson Dock and Lancaster on the south shore.

Martin Mere

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The grounds of this Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve include a large mere, several marshy fields flooded in winter and a varied collection of captive wildfowl. Over 10,000 Pinkfeet Geese roost here in the Autumn and in mid-winter the spectacular sight of hundreds of Bewick and Whooper Swans greet the visitor.

Mere Sands Wood, Rufford

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Nationally important for Teal and Gadwall, being in the fourth richest tetrad in the (provisional) Lancs Breeding Bird atlas. Annual records of Osprey, Quail, Bittern, etc. There is a Visitor Centre, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, which gets 40,000 visitors a year.

Pendle Hill

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Well known for it's spring passage of Dotterel, the birds arrive mid-April and usually stay for a month. Ring Ousel and Whinchat also pass through, more would stay but for disturbance from Ramblers. Grey Wagtail and Dipper breed in the streams


Peter Crooks

Additional Material


County Recorder

Steve White

102 Minster Court, Crown Street, Liverpool L7 3QD

0151 707 2744


Number of Species

Number of bird species: 354

County Bird - Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus [… at least it is the logo of the county Bird Club]

Useful Reading

A Birdwatchers' Guide to Lancashire

by Ken Lawson | Lancashire County Books | 1994 | Paperback | 124 pages, 26 b/w photos, 8 maps |

ISBN: 1871236320

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Atlas of Breeding Birds of Lancashire and North Merseyside 1997-2000

by Robert Pyefinch & Peter Golborn | Hobby Publications | 2001 | Hardback | 408 pages, 8 col plates, b/w illus, maps |

ISBN: 1872839088

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birdwatching Walks Around Morecambe Bay

by John Wilson & David Hindle | Carnegie Publishing | 2007 | Paperback | 150 pages, olour photos & B&W Illustrations |

ISBN: 9781874181378

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birdwatching Walks in Bowland

John Wilson and David Hindle Carnegie Publishing | 2007 | Paperback | 133 pages, 32 page colour section |

ISBN: 9781874181408

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where to Watch Birds in North West England & Isle of Man

by Allan Conlin, Dr J P Cullen, Pete Marsh, Tristan Reid, Chris Sharpe, Judith Smith & Stephen Williams | Christopher Helm | 2008 | Paperback | 287 pages, 30 line illus, 50 maps |

ISBN: 9780713664218

Buy this book from NHBS.com


Blackburn Bird Club


Blackburn Bird Club was founded in 1991 for people with a shared interest in birds. The Club puts on a number of events every year to enable members to learn about and enjoy watching birds.

Chorley and District Natural History Society


We are the Chorley and District Natural History Society. We are a charity operating in Chorley, Lancashire.

Cuerden Wildlife Explorers


A Youth Group (8 to 14 years) involved in a variety of wildlife activities...

East Lancashire Ornithologists' Club


Sightings from the oldest bird club in Lancashire - founded 1955. The area consists of the whole of the Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle and Ribble Valley Districts and those parts of Blackburn with Darwen not in the Irwell catchment.

Fylde Bird Club


The Web Site of the Fylde Bird Club in West Lancashire. Includes Club details (membership meetings etc); Recent Reports, Site Guides & Surveys…

Fylde Naturalists' Society


The Fylde Naturalists' Society is a group of people from the Fylde area of Lancashire interested in the countryside and the study of it's Flora and Fauna.

Lancashire & Cheshire Fauna Society


The society was formed in 1914 and has been a registered charity since 1971. Its aims are to record and publish data on all the faunal groups that occur in the region…

Lancashire Wildlife Trust


We hope you enjoy visiting the reserves listed below and wish to return in the future, especially if you would like to participate in active conservation work!

Lancaster & District Birdwatching Society


Lancaster & District Birdwatching Society has a membership of about 200 and currently meets at the Unitarian Church, Scotforth Road, Lancaster. An Annual Report and a Winter Programme are sent to members in August/September. A programme of summer activities/ surveys/ census work is also circulated.

Leighton Lapwings RSPB Phoenix


This is the website of the Leighton Lapwings RSPB Phoenix.

North Lancashire Ringing Group


The North Lancashire Ringing Group traces its roots back to 1957, when two of the present members started ringing in the area. It was formed to study the birds of the Lancaster and District Birdwatching Society's area, using ringing as a research tool. At the moment we have 12 members, who operate at several sites within the area…

Preston Society - Birdwatching & Natural History


We are a society that meets each Monday evening from September through to March to enjoy a programme of talks based around a wide variety of natural history subjects…

Rossendale Ornithologists' Club


Programme of meetings etc.

RSPB Bolton Local Group


This is the website of the Bolton Local Group. RSPB local groups are a great way to meet friendly, like-minded people in your area while learning more about birds and wildlife.

RSPB Lancaster Local Group


The group's aim is to support actively the work of the RSPB in the local community and to involve RSPB members and the wider public in the Society's conservation, public affairs, education, fundraising and other activities. Regular field outings are held in a variety of locations in the Lancaster area, some jointly with the Lancaster and District Birdwatching Society. So, if you would like to have fun and meet like minded people contact us and help make a difference for birds and wildlife…

RSPB Wigan Local Group


The Wigan group has members with all levels of knowledge from beginners to experts. We hold easy going walks at local bird sites on the second Wednesday and selected Saturdays of every month. Indoor meetings (illustrated talks about birds and environmental issues) at St. Anne's Parish Hall, Church Lane, Shevington, on the second Tuesday of each month from September to April at 7.45pm. Everybody is welcome at all of our events…


Abbreviations Key

Lancashire Wildlife Trust - Local Wildlife Sites


Local Wildlife Sites (LWS's) are wildlife-rich sites on land selected for their local nature conservation value. They vary in shape and size and contain important, distinctive and threatened habitats and species.

LWT Heysham Nature Reserve


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Large numbers of migrant birds occur on the reserve in certain types of weather conditions, usually east or southeast winds with poor visibility. The number of migrants are certainly enhanced by the lighthouse effect produced by the power stations many floodlights…

LWT Mere Sands Wood


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The reserve is owned and managed by the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside. The reserve covers 42 hectares (105 acres) and is made up of lakes, mature broadleaved and conifer woodland, sandy, wet meadows and heaths. Sand on the site proved to be of value for glass making and extraction companies quarried the site between 1974 and 1982. During this period, the Trust members and the local community worked with the County Council to require the extraction company to landscape the site into a nature reserve once the extraction was completed…

Marton Mere Local Nature Reserve


Satellite View

Marton Mere is a quiet refuge surprisingly situated on the outskirts of Blackpool. The reserve is an SSSI in recognition of its bird population, but it also supports important populations of dragonflies, butterflies, bats and orchids. The site contains open water, reed beds, grassland, scrub and some pockets of woodland. There are footpaths through the reserve providing access to the bird hides.

RSPB Leighton Moss Nature Reserve


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Leighton Moss is the largest reedbed in north-west England, and home to some really special birds such as breeding bitterns, bearded tits and marsh harriers. You might see deer too, not to mention butterflies aplenty.

Three Owls Bird Sanctuary


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Wild Bird Hospital and Nature Reserve - Established 1962…

Worthington Lakes


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The lakes, made up of three reservoirs built to supply Wigan with drinking water, are fed by the River Douglas which originates on the moors above Rivington. The natural course of the river was diverted to create the reservoirs in the mid 1800's and disappears into a tunnel for half a mile before reappearing to continue its journey to the Irish Sea. Today Worthington Lakes are part of a 50 acre country park, with a nature reserve, accessible footpaths and an Environmental Education Centre…

WWT Martin Mere


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Step into a wilder world where wilderness and family-friendliness combine. Come and enjoy each season, from ducklings to migrating swans - you’ll be amazed at how close you can get to fantastic wetland wildlife

Forums & Mailing Lists

Rossendale Birds Forum


Sightings and discussion forum

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Pal


Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris

Tour Operator

Taking you to the best wildlife sites in Lancashire and beyond.

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…


Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2004 - Eco-bird Race - Brockholes Quarry


After starting out last year with the eco-bird race concept at Frodsham Marsh, Cheshire this year I took part in an eco-bird race with Lancashire birder and wildlife artist Tony Disley on his local patch of Brockholes Quarry…

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Bond Hotel - Blackpool


...We specialise in providing fully accessible holidays where your mobility, learning disability or mental health will never restrict you. Our 62 bedrooms are both comfortable and flexible, and come equipped with any specialist equipment you need to make your stay relaxing. Whilst you’re here with us you can also enjoy a range of organised coach trips to locations across the Fylde Coast and beyond, all departing from and returning to the comfort of our hotel...

Capernwray Country House - Nr Carnforth


Planning a weekend trip, walking, diving, wildlife observing, or just relaxing. Capernwray House has the answer with its array of nearby activities…

Chadwick Hotel - Lytham St Annes


For over half a century the Chadwick Hotel has held a reputation for first class service. Today this charm and warmth of its heritage and tradition of superb cuisine are perfectly combined to create one of the finest hotels in the region. Peter Standfield sales@thechadwickhotel.com 01253 722705


Heysham Bird Observatory

Observatory Website

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The observatory was set up in 1980. It involves ringing,'vis mig' counts (including seabirds) and general monitoring in the Heysham Nature reserve/power stations/harbour area…


Another Bird BLOG


Lancashire bordering BLOG with excellent pictures – mostly birds in the hand…

Austin Morley - Austin's Birding Blog


All the wonderful birds and wildlife of Lancashire, Cheshire, North Wales and further

Birds2blog - Pete Woodruff


Accounts of my birding days mainly in Lancashire, with some posts relating to birds/birding issues, and with other aspects of wildlife covered on occasions, and all accompanied by excellent credited photographs…

Daves Birding BLOG


Lancashire birder Dave Rishton’s records of his visits to his favourite birding haunts in East Lancashire and elsewhere…

Jon Carter - Birding Aldcliffe & Beyond


Welcome to Aldcliffe - an area of the Lune Estuary in Morecambe Bay, North Lancashire….

Mike Watsons Foto


I manage to escape from the Birdquest client desk on two or three tours a year and apart from occasional private trips I spend most of my spare time birding in Bowland, 15 minutes from my home…

Zac Hinchcliffe


Trip reports and interesting occurrences at my Home in Preston, Lancs and Local Patch…

Other Links

Birding in the Lancaster area


A Guide for newcomers to the area to the rich variety of Birdlife in Lancaster and District with useful Links to Birding Sites, rambling and Lake District Information.

Birds of Sunderland Point & Birdwatching Information Pages


Sunderland Point and the adjacent Middleton Sands are together one of the richest bird watching areas in the North of England. Given the right timing and state of the tides, a spectacle of up to 50,000 birds can be almost guaranteed. (Try counting them!) These pages have information about the Lancaster & District newsletter as well as Sunderland point. There are also a number of trip reports accessed through the Trip Report pages of Fatbirder.

Lake District Osprey Project


The Lake District Osprey Project is a partnership between the Forestry Commission, Lake District National Park and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) with fantastic support from many volunteers. The partnership aims to ensure the continued success of breeding ospreys at Bassenthwaite; to assist with natural colonisation elsewhere in the Lakes; and to provide visitors to the Lakes with the opportunity to see and find out more about ospreys and other wildlife sharing their habitat.

Lancaster Birding


All the latest news…

Naturenet Lancashire


Info on local parks & reserves etc.

Pennine Photographic & Binocular Centre


Based in Rochdale England, Pennine Photographic and Binocular Centre offer unbiased advice on all your photographic and optical needs. We are authorised dealers for such brands as Opticron, Leica, Swarovski and Zeiss binoculars and scopes. Our dedicated first floor optical showroom displays a wide range of astronomical telescopes and accessories as well as night vision equipment. We pride ourselves on our friendly service, fast mail order and keen prices. Visitors always welcome or check our website for details.

UK Bird Seed


Quality wild bird seed for all seasons

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Frank Clark – Bird & Nature Photos


Bird and other nature photos…

Photographer - Gordon Yates


Gordon is best known for his wildlife films and in the last thirty years he has produced thirty films on birds ranging from his local Pennines, to his beloved island of Islay in Scotland, Iceland and more recently Greenland and Spitzbergen. It was while in Spitzbergen in 1997, camping in search of the Ivory Gull, that he had a life and death encounter with a Polar Bear…

Photography - Richard Steel - Wildlife Photographic Journals


Photographic BLOG