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Little Owl Athene noctue ©Richard Bedford Website

Although as far from the sea as any county in Britain, most of the birding in Northamptonshire and the surrounding area revolves around water. A large percentage of the major reserves in Northamptonshire are man made reservoirs, hosting thousands of wildfowl in the winter months.

The main sites that are worth visiting when you are in Northants or the surrounding area include, Pitsford reservoir, Hollowell reservoir, Stanford reservoir, Thrapston gravel pits and Summerleys Nature reserve.

There is also a variety of woodland that is worth visiting, Crossbills, Hawfinches and Treecreepers can be found in the woods at the right time of the year. Rare and scarce birds that have appeared in the past include Bohemian waxwing, Eurasian Thick-knee, Sociable Plover, Bridled Tern, Pallas's Sandgrouse, Parrot Crossbill and Woodchat Shrike.

Top Sites

Badby Wood and Fawsley Park


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Comprising of largely deciduous trees, near the wood is Fawsley Park, comprising of two lakes attracting large number of Mute Swans in the winter. In spring the wooded areas host Redstarts and Wood Warblers as well as all the common woodland species.

Boddington Reservoir

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A medium sized lake with mature trees, reed beds and scrub attractive to Sylvia warblers. Winter is productive for the large numbers of wildfowl. In spring and autumn waders and terns are likely to be seen.

Daventry Country Park & Reservoir


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Residents include Great Crested Grebe, Shoveler, Canada Geese, Pochard and Tufted Ducks. In the winter sea ducks are likely to occur including Long tailed Duck , Eider, Common and Velvet Scoter. Large plover flocks in winter.

Ditchford Gravel Pits

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Possible the best birding site in Northants, the site has attracted Sooty Tern, Red Rumped Swallow, Alpine Swift, Broad Billed sandpiper, Night Heron, Ringed Billed Gull and Sabines Gull. Reliable site for seeing Water Pipit, up to half a dozen in the winter.

Hollowell Reservoir

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Attracting Scaup, Velvet Scoter, Great Northern Diver and Red Necked Grebe in the deep water near the dam. The winter gull roost can be productive, Mediterranean Gull, Iceland and Glaucous gull may be found in amongst the large numbers of Black-headed Gulls and Common Gulls.

Pitsford Reservoir

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A man made lake attracting a large number of wildfowl in the winter, Waders in spring and autumn. Red Breasted Merganser and Smew regularly turn up in the winter months. The gull roost can hold rarer species. Such as Yellow-legged, Mediterranean and Iceland Gull.

Summerleys Nature Reserve and Earls Barton Gravel Pits


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Summer Leys is an example of how to create the right conditions for a variety of wildlife. This important wetland within the Upper Nene Valley Special Protection Area is made up of flooded gravel pits, flood meadows, species-rich neutral grassland and mature hedges. Wading birds use the scrape and the shallow lake margins. Oystercatcher, ringed plover, little ringed plover and redshank stay to breed, whilst whimbrel, turnstone and common sandpiper pass through during migration. One of the most obvious breeding bird species is the common tern; numerous pairs nest in a colony on the islands where they are safe from predators. During the winter large numbers and a wide variety of ducks can be seen, including teal, wigeon, shoveler, pochard and tufted duck. They are joined by large numbers of golden plover, sometimes over a thousand, which roost on the islands and fly out to nearby fields to feed.

Thrapston Gravel Pits and Titchmarsh Reserve

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Hosting nearly five thousand wildfowl every winter, including Coot, Moorhen, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Goosanders and lesser Numbers of Goldeneye. There is the chance of seeing American Wigeon and Blue winged Teal if you are lucky.


County Recorder

Mike Alibone

25 Harrier Park, East Hunsbury, Northampton NN4 0QG

07950 707697

northantsbirds@ntlworld.com or mike@alibone.fsnet.co.uk

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 315 species + 16 races

County Bird - Little Owl Athene noctua
[because of the UK introduction scheme commenced by Lord Lilford in Northants in the 1880s]

Useful Reading

Bird Report Northamptonshire

Bird report available from Alan Coles, 99 Rickyard Road, Northampton NN3 3RR.

Where to Watch Birds in the East Midlands

by Rob Fray, Christopher Helm 2006 See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 0713675306

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Guides & Tour Operators

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

Birding Pal


Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Trip Reports


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.


Banbury Ornithological Society


Founded in 1952, the Society studies the bird life in the twelve 10km squares surrounding Banbury and includes parts of Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire. Fieldwork is the core of BOS activity, however, the Society also holds regular monthly meetings, publishes a monthly newsletter and Annual Reports, manages 5 bird reserves and is pro-active in local conservation matters…

Northamptonshire Bird Club


The Northamptonshire Bird Club is for people interested in wild birds who live in or near Northamptonshire, England. The club holds monthly meetings which usually consist of an illustrated talk about some aspect of wild birds and birding. In addition we organise field trips to good birding sites. There are monthly car trips to places like the East Coast. The exact locations are decided based on the time of year and where good birding is likely. We also run an annual foreign trip and often a trip to more distant parts of the UK. These can be anything from a long weekend to a full fortnight…

Northants Ringing Group

D M Francis, 2 Brittons Drive, Billington Lane, Northampton, NN3 5DP

The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire


Charles Rothschild, Northamptonshire landowner, banker, expert entomologist and pioneer of nature conservation, set up the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves (SPNR) in 1912, the forerunner of The Wildlife Trusts partnership. And the first nature reserve was at Woodwalton Fen, near Huntingdon, bought by Rothschild in 1910 and now at the heart of our Great Fen Living Landscape.


Wild Woods at Rockingham Forest


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Nightingales can be heard in some of these woods in summer time, as can many warblers, and you may also see various birds of prey, including the wonderful red kite…

Rockingham Forest Trust


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Rockingham Forest Trust is a registered charity which was formed to promote a thriving countryside in Rockingham Forest. Its primary concern is environmental management: explaining what makes the Forest special and working with local people to conserve its landscape, traditions and rural way of life.

Wild Woods at Top Lodge Car Park


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Red Kite viewing…

Forums & Mailing Lists

Birding Northants

Mailing List

To post to list: birdingnorthants@yahoogroups.co.uk

List contact: birdingnorthants-owner@yahoogroups.co.uk

To subscribe to list: birdingnorthants-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk

This group is for birders to share bird sightings and discuss bird related topics within the county of Northamptonshire, UK.


David James Wildlife Diary


I've had a love for wildlife all my life, but since 2005 I have taken wildlife watching to another level and apart from my family it has become my principle passion in life. I love it all from birding, twitching and mammal watching to chasing butterlfy's through a meadow trying to get a photo…



I have been a fan of all things natural throughout my life and took up wildlife photography seriously in 2010. I use a Nikon D300s with either a Nikon F4 300mm and 1.4 T.c. or a Sigma 150-500mm. Much of my work is from my local patch, Titchmarsh LNR in East Northamptonshire and surrounding areas…

Northamptonshire Birding


I am a retired police officer who has maintained an avid interest in wild birds and other wildlife all my life. I am familiar with most of the well-known birdwatching sites in the county of Northamptonshire and with Eleanor have travelled extensively throughout the UK. The wonder of migration and the challenge of bird identification stimulates much of my interest. I am licensed to catch and ring wild birds and am a voluntary warden at Pitsford Reservoir. Here my regular tasks include the maintenance of wild bird feeding stations and committing to survey work such as Wetland Birds (WeBS) and Common Bird Census (CBC)...

Other Links

Birdline East Anglia


What's about? Simply phone 09068 700245. Please report your bird sightings to phone/text 07941333970 or e birdnews@birdlineeastanglia.co.uk - Calls to 09068 700245 cost 60p/min from a BT landline other networks may vary…

Gosling's Wildlife


Welcome to the Gosling's Wildlife Website. Here you'll find pictures, writings and a host of other things related to the Gosling Family's interest in the natural world…

Northamptonshire Wildlife


A selection of the 310 species of Birds to be found in Northamptonshire…



IIsham, Northants: Full time bird rescue, involved in breed and release schemes. Safewings set up the very first wild bird veterinary fund solely for the purpose of treating injured wild birds. Not open to the public, not a charity, work is self funded and covers a wide area in regard to bird rescue…

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Barry Boswell


Website of British and European birds photographed by Barry Boswell…

Photographer - John Finlayson


I have been a fan of all things natural throughout my life and took up wildlife photography seriously in 2010. I use a Nikon D300s with either a Nikon F4 300mm and 1.4 T.c. or a Sigma 150-500mm. Much of my work is from my local patch, Titchmarsh LNR in East Northamptonshire and surrounding areas…

Photographer - Phil Manning


Mainly UK Birds and Wildlife Photography

Photographer - Richard Bedford


Welcome to my site. Here you will see only bird images, I've tried expanding to wildlife in general but bird photography is my true passion and I have to give it 100% of my time. Although I'm quite enthusiastic, there is a serious side to my character. Conservation is important to me. I have given much of my work to the various county Wildlife Trusts, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and The National Trust. Further work has been given to various Barn Owl Trusts and local authority environmental departments…