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Birding Cheshire

Cheshire is a county in North West England, bordering Merseyside and Greater Manchester to the north, Derbyshire to the east, Staffordshire and Shropshire to the south and Wales to the west. Cheshire’s county town is Chester; the largest town is Warrington. The county covers a boulder clay plain separating the hills of North Wales and the Peak District of Derbyshire (the area is also known as the Cheshire Gap). This was formed following the retreat of ice age glaciers which left the area dotted with kettle holes, locally referred to as meres. To the west Cheshire is dominated by the estuaries of the Dee and Mersey. Hilbre Island and the RSPB reserve at Gayton Sands on the Dee are well known throughout the country for their vast flocks of waders and duck, but the Mersey, due to it’s difficult access is less well known yet can be every bit as good. Frodsham marshes in particular, at the confluence of the River Weaver and the Mersey estuary, is excellent. Both Hilbre Island and the north Wirral coast are good spots for sea-watching with Leach’s Petrel a speciality. Cheshire is also blessed with a good variety of inland water, there are the rivers of the Dee, Mersey, Weaver, Dane, Bollin and Gowy, a good selection of canals and many meres, ranging from little more than small ponds to large lakes. Standing out of the rich farmland of the Cheshire plain are the Peckforton hills and Beeston crag. Well wooded and affording marvellous views of the Welsh hills they are the haunt of peregrine falcons and ravens. Further east the nature of the countryside changes, here the Cheshire border abuts the Peak District and this is a much wilder countryside with forests, rushing streams and desolate fells.

Top Sites
  • Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB

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    Burton Mere Wetlands is an RSPB nature reserve on the Dee Estuary straddling the border between Cheshire, England and Flintshire, Wales. It is run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and incorporates the older Inner Marsh Farm reserve. Apart from wintering waterfowl, harriers, Merlin and other raptors, the reserve plays host to good numbers of waders species including breeding Avocets, and now has resident Great White Egrets and breeding Cattle Egrets in 2017.
  • Frodsham Marsh

    InformationSatellite View
    The marsh is an area of sludge-beds from the River Weaver attracting an excellent range of both breeding and wintering birds, with a fair selection of rarities. Here too the embankments afford good views of the massed ranks of waders and duck on the Mersey estuary.
  • Gayton Sands - Parkgate RSPB

    InformationSatellite View
    This RSPB reserve is famous for it's high tide bird-watches at Parkgate when hundreds of birders can turn up. They come to see the wheeling massed flocks of waders, pintail, wigeon and teal as well as short-eared owls and hen harrier.
  • Great Budworth Mere and Marbury Country Park

    WebsiteSatellite View
    An attractive area of mixed wetland and woodland set between the village of Budworth and the river Weaver, with the Trent and Mersey Canal winding it's way through the middle. Great Crested Grebes breed on the mere and the woods and marshy areas attract can attract a good selection of species at any time of the year.
  • Hilbre Island

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    You can spend high tide on the island cut off by the sea then walk back at low water. Hilbre is a great place to observe the spring and autumn passage when both land and sea birds can be seen. Waders present during winter include Purple Sandpipers as well as the usual Oystercatchers, Dunlin and Knot…
  • Maccesfield Forest

    WebsiteSatellite View
    An ancient forest which includes dark conifers, open moorland and reservoirs. Red Grouse and curlew breed on the moorland but sadly no more the Black Grouse.
  • Peckforton Castle

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The castle sits on a range sticking sharply up from the Cheshire plain. The hills have a range of habitat including rocky outcrops, birch-wood, pine forest, hardwood plantations and heath-land. Breeding birds include pied flycatcher and nightjar.
County Recorder
  • Hugh Pulsford Cheshire & Wirral

    6 Buttermere Drive, Great Warford, Cheshire, SK9 7WA

    01565 880171

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 358

    County Bird - Leach's Storm Petrel Oceanodrama leucorhoa
    [because the Wirral coast (including Hilbre Island) is one of the best places in the country to see them - particularly in autumn].
Useful Reading

  • Birds in Cheshire & Wirral - A Breeding & Wintering Atlas

    | By David Norman | Liverpool University Press | 2008 | Hardback | 676 pages, 300 colour photos, distribution maps | ISBN: 9781846311529 Buy this book from
  • Rare and Scarce Birds of Cheshire & Wirral

    | By Allan Conlin, Eddie Williams & Ray Scally | Conlin & Williams | 2017 | Hardback | 248 pages, colour photos, colour illustrations | ISBN: 9781527212503 Buy this book from
  • 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 illustrations, 50 maps | ISBN: 9780713664218 Buy this book from
Useful Information
  • Cheshire & Wirral Bird Reports

    | By Cheshire and Wirral Ornithological Society - from D. Cogger, 113 Nantwich Road, Middlewich, Cheshire, CW10 9HD | Back copies also available |
  • Cheshire Barn Owl Group

    I am interested in setting up a voluntary Barn Owl group for the North Cheshire Area, If you are interested would you Email me or fill in the on line form, at the moment I am collecting names and will arrange a meeting at a later date…
  • Cheshire Wildlife Trust

    Cheshire Wildlife Trust's Homepage and Website. Cheshire Wildlife Trust (CWT) are the premier conservation organisation within the county of Cheshire and are a subsidiary body of the Wildlife Trusts, this being the central organisation underpinning each of the regional Trusts around the country…
  • Cheshire and Wirral Ornithological Society

    The county society, that caters for the amateur and expert birdwatcher alike, has much to offer...A commitment to conservation issues, local bird studies, species recording, nationally acclaimed annual Bird Report. An unrivalled newsletter: BIRD NEWS. An acclaimed County bird atlas along with a winter programme of monthly illustrated talks.
  • Knutsford Ornithological Society

    A well presented site. It all began in September 1972, a short article in the Knutsford Guardian announced a series of evening classes organised by the Workers Education Association devoted to the subject of Ornithology. The tutor was the late Bill Mulligan, despite his advancing years a man of boundless enthusiasm and energy who managed over the next two years to transfer some of his immense knowledge to his band of disciples. Eventually Bill declared that he`d done as much as he could and it was now up to us! So early in 1974 the inaugural meeting of the Society took place, a constitution was drawn up and the first committee elected. Bill of course became a life member and the organisations first President.
  • Merseyside Ringing Group

    The Merseyside Ringing Group operates in Merseyside, Cheshire, Wirral and North Wales.
  • Mid Cheshire Barn Owl Conservation Group

    The barn owl is in decline throughout Great Britain
  • Mid-Cheshire Ornithological Society

    MCOS is one of the longest established ornithological societies in Cheshire catering for all tastes in bird watching and all level of skill. This home page is the entry to more information about our varied programme of meetings, both indoor and outdoor, and the role we and our members play in the Cheshire birding
  • RSPB Chester Group

    The Chester RSPB Members Group was formed in 1987. The membership numbers around 350 people.
  • RSPB Macclesfield Group

    This is the website of the Macclesfield 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 North Cheshire Group

    North Cheshire RSPB Group. Includes events and recent newsletters, and etc.
  • South Cheshire Barn Owl Group

    This group is working to save the barn owl in South Cheshire
  • South East Cheshire Ornithological Society

    In 2014 we celebrated the Golden Anniversary of the first SECOS meeting way back in 1964. We were fortunate to have two of the original founding members, Alan Goodin and Pat Whalley still attending our meetings. In a newspaper article at the time Alan Goodin is reported as saying “we intend to carry on for at least a year” – little did he know that it would still be running fifty years later. Also John Barker, who joined them at the second meeting, has had continuous membership ever since.
  • Wilmslow Guild Birdwatching Group

    The Birdwatching group is a friendly, active and enthusiastic mix of birdwatchers of varying abilities and experience. We welcome new members and visitors, whether as interested beginners or more experienced birdwatchers, to all our events. The group provides indoor and outdoor programmes throughout the year. A monthly illustrated newsletter is provided at all indoor meetings and by email.
  • Wirral Barn Owl Trust

    In 1999, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, the R.S.P.B. and Wirral Ranger Service got together and invited interested people to the inaugural meeting of The Wirral & Ellesmere Port Barn Owl Group. The group had an initial membership of 33 people
  • Wirral Bird Club

    Wirral is the peninsula of land between the rivers Dee and Mersey in north west England. The area, particularly the Dee Estuary, is of national and international importance for thousands of birds in winter, species such as Redshank, Dunlin, Knot, Oystercatcher and Shelduck
  • Witton Area Conservation Group

    The Witton Area Conservation Group is made up of local birdwatchers and naturalists, between them they share a wealth of knowledge about the wildlife of the area. The group provide help and advice on wildlife management on the site and assist with the surveys and monitoring of the flora and fauna of the area.

Abbreviations Key

  • CWT Eastwood Nature Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    The reserve is open every Sunday to members of the R.S.P.B. and Cheshire Wildlife Trust as well as the general public from 10am to 4pm. Due to the sensitive nature of the site dogs and cycles are not allowed. Midweek there are usually working parties doing general maintainance and repairs. Eastwood has been owned by the R.S.P.B. since 1932 and is now managed by the Cheshire Wildlife Trust.
  • CWT Marbury Reedbed

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    A reedbed with boardwalk trail and woodlands, part of Budworth Mere at Marbury Country Park
  • CWT Red Rocks Marsh

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    Red Rocks Marsh is a nature reserve part of which maintained by the Cheshire Wildlife Trust. It is a 28 acre site of brackish marsh and sand dunes open to the public…
  • Frodsham Marsh

    WebpageSatellite View
    The marsh is an area of sludge-beds from the River Weaver attracting an excellent range of both breeding and wintering birds, with a fair selection of rarities. Here too the embankments afford good views of the massed ranks of waders and duck on the Mersey estuary.
  • LNR Moore Nature Reserve

    Facebook PageSatellite View
    Moore Nature Reserve is a 200-acre site in Warrington, north Cheshire. The reserve consists of five large lakes surrounded by extensive woodland, meadows and wetlands, made accessible by a network of paths and bird hides. Its many habitats provide a home for a variety of birds, mammals, insects, plants, amphibians and fungi. The reserve is open to the public at all times, 365 days a year…
  • MCOS Hatton's Hey Reserve

    Information PDFSatellite View
    MCOS took out a lease on a stretch of the River Weaver near Kingsley in September 1986 and created the Society’s reserve called Hatton's Hey. The reserve covers 29 acres and includes a strip of woodland, drive scrub and extensive reed bed. A hide overlooks the open water lagoon. We have a very active nest box programme both on the reserve and in adjacent woodland. One of our members closely monitors nest box activity and a report is filed annually to the Cheshire and Wirral Ornithological Society records officer.
  • Northwich Community Woodland

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    Walk amongst dragons and kings! Explore the walks and trails around Marbury Country Park, Anderton Nature Park, Dairy House and Witton Mill Meadows, which together form Northwich Community Woodlands…
  • RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands

    WebpageSatellite View
    The gateway to the Dee Estuary reserve, Burton Mere Wetlands straddles the border between England and Wales with a mosaic of freshwater wetland habitats, mixed farmland and woodland. The area is bursting with wildlife, hosting avocets, egrets, harriers, noisy redshanks, swallows and swifts.
  • RSPB Parkgate

    WebpageSatellite View
    The Parkgate reserve is a vast saltmarsh beside a former seaside promenade. This unique setting provides the perfect combination of stunning landscapes, rich wildlife and excellent eateries. Come at high tide if possible, when you can see the ducks, geese, wading birds and birds of prey up close.
  • SSSI Sandbach Flashes

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Sandbach Flashes are an SSSI managed by Natural England. The website was created by a few devotees interested in maintaining a photo gallery, latest news, sightings and year list information for the local flashes.
  • SSSI Woolston Eyes Bird Reserve

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    The Woolston Eyes Reserve is situated to the east of Warrington between the River Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal near Latchford Locks and the Thelwall Viaduct which carries the M6 Motorway over both the River and the Canal…
Forums & Mailing Lists
  • C & W Bird News

    Twitter Feed
    This is the place to share all your news,sightings and photos of birds in and around the Cheshire and Wirral area.
  • Cheshire Birds

    Mailing List
    Now a forum rather than an email group
  • Cheshire and Wirral Birding News

    Welcome to Cheshire and Wirral birding.This blog will be updated with bird news from around the county on a daily basis.
  • Cheshire and Wirral Ornithological Society Bird News

    Newsletter Archive
    Thrice yearly newsletter
Guides & Tour Operators
  • North West Birds

    We have a passion for birds and we`d like to share it with you - by taking you birdwatching on the edge of the English Lake District. We run mini-breaks for very small groups with all in accommodation on a house party basis, with guests joining us at our home, Barn Close.
Trip Reports

Click on WAND to see Fatbirder’s Trip Report Repository…

  • 2014 [12 December] - David Nixon

    ...On 16th December I set out to photograph woodpeckers and buzzards - both are common and overlooked in my opinion. Woodpeckers are spectacular and particularly photogenic, even in tough lighting conditions...
Other Links
  • Birds along the Sandstone Trail

    Cheshire’s Sandstone Trail has long been popular with birdwatchers and nature lovers. The Trail traces the line of wooded sandstone hills that run roughly north to south across the county and crosses a variety of other habitats from marshland to lowland heath, which means you’re likely to spot a good variety of Cheshire birds.
  • Bob Rigby Photographic Ltd (UK)

    Bob Rigby Photographic Limited are Professional Photographic dealers based in Bollington, Cheshire, United Kingdom. We have been supplying the worlds finest photographic equipment to professional & amateur photographers, colleges, universities, police photographic departments, dental technicians and other professional bodies for over 24 years
  • Breeding Bird Atlas of Cheshire and Wirral Project

    Why are we doing this? The Breeding Bird Atlas of Cheshire and Wirral was published over 10 years ago (1992) based on fieldwork now 20 years old (1978-84). Nationally, those 20 years have seen perhaps the biggest changes ever in bird populations and distribution
  • Cheshire Falconry

    We are Cheshire Falconry. Prepare to be amazed as you get hands on with magnificent birds of prey in our range of truly incredible flying experiences
  • Congleton Birding

    A site promoting birdwatching and recording within the Congleton area. The site also includes live weather conditions and a forecast together with details of Willow warblers
  • Dee Estuary Birding

    The Dee Estuary, on the North Wales/North-West England border, is one of the United Kingdom`s premier birding locations for wetland and shore birds. This Web site describes the best Dee Estuary birdwatching areas with detailed maps and latest bird news for dedicated twitchers and casual birdwatchers alike.
  • Mersey Birders

    Birders Diaries, Bird news Bird sites, Weather and Travel, Photo Gallery, Gulls Page, Quick Reference, Bird Lists, articles
  • Moore: A Patcher's Tale

    So, this is me
  • Nature Sign Design

    Nature sign maker and photographer
  • Red Barn Wild Bird Products

    Red Barn Wild Bird Products have been established in the garden centre and retail trade for 35 years and in the wild bird food trade for 6 years, and our extensive experience has enabled us to build up an enviable reputation and a broad customer base. We supply wild bird foods to retail/ garden centres nation-wide and we are noted for our excellent service and success in customer satisfaction.
  • Al Orton - Al Orton's Birding Blog

    Birding in Cheshire and the occasional twitch…
  • Andrew Fulton - Rambles with a Camera

    A blog of my rambles in the countyside - Welcome to my blog. I spend most of my leisure time walking in the countryside and only take photographs for memories although i do get real pleasure from some of my wildlife pictures…
  • Findlay Wilde - WildeAboutBirds

    I'm Findlay. I am really interested in wildlife, especially birds. I want to do everything I can to protect nature now and in the future, as well as enjoying it of course. Follow my birding journey..
  • Jason - A Tale of 2 Halves

    Not updated since 2016 - Tales of travel and birds from Cheshire to Shetland and back, with a bit of other stuff in between…
  • Mark Feltham - Moore Birds and Birding...

    The continuing tales of a Cheshire patcher - Birds & Birding at a Local Cheshire Spot - So, this is me… It said 'Description' in the box so here it is… About 5' 9". ~170lbs. Married. Old. 'Mad as a box of frogs', apparently. Loves his patch. Nuff Sed…
  • Mike Mottram - Diaries of a Cheshire Wildlife Watcher

    Hi my names Mike and I love to film and photograph wildlife of the uk. Heres abit of what I will be posting on this blog. I love to observe and film wildlife in my local area cheshire by using different ideas used by the pros and a few of my own ideas and inventions thrown in so I thought I would start a blog so I could share my wildlife encounters and storys with other nature lovers around the world…
  • Paul Shenton - Birding for Fun

    Last updated 2016 - 37 year old birder who just loves birding.I have been at it since the age of 10 but with a few years break due to beer and then my own nippers I dont have my own patch as I like to go where ever my mood takes me. Tittersworth Greenway Rudyard & Norh Staffs Moors are my most regular Staffordshire spots. While in Cheshire Frodsham and Sandbach Flashes are always top of my list I am playing around with digiscoping as it seems to have become very popular since my break from the birding world. Opticron with HDF 32x eyepiece and Samsung Nv100hd (as of 2011) are my choice (well actualy TSBs choice)…
  • Phil Woollen - A Wirral Birders Blog

    Welcome to my blog about birding on the Wirral, in Cheshire and beyond. This blog will be updated regularly to include photographs of birds (and other wildlife) I've photographed both in the UK and abroad
  • Phil Woollen - Wirral Birder

    Moved to the Wirral in 1983 and settled there after marrying in 1986. I've been birding since I was 7 or 8 - it was that long ago I can't remember! My formative years were spent in Suffolk and birds became a passion in my teens. I started twitching whilst still at school but began seriously whilst at University in the late 70's and early 80's.
  • Steff Leese - Pixie Birding

    Nature, wildlife, photography and birding from the UK and beyond.
  • Stephen Menzie - Menzie Birding

    BLOG from a Liverpool birder…
  • The Birds of Frodsham Marsh

    Facebook Page
    Frodsham Marsh Bird Blog is a replacement for the pen on a string in a box nailed to a post birdlog and keeps a visiting birder informed and ready to bird.
Photographers & Artists
  • Artist - Chris Shields

    Chris has produced to date in excess of twenty thousand wildlife illustrations in over 300 books, numerous calendars, greeting cards, posters and jigsaw puzzles. He has exhibited his paintings widely in the UK and China and has paintings in public and private collections all over the world
  • Photographer - Andy Astbury - Wildlife in Pixels

    Still & Video Images of the Natural World
  • Photographer - David Cookson

    Some really really good photos
  • Photographer - Malc Richings

    Bird And Wildlife Photography
  • Photographer - Mike Atkinson

    Collection of images covering both common and scarce British birds. Many images are displayed full-screen
  • Photographer - Richard Steel

    Most of my photography is undertaken locally on Merseyside, the Wirral and in North Wales but I always like to try and take a camera with me when I travel anywhere, just in case the opportunity arises
  • Photographer - Steven Round

    Some very nice images from an improving photographer

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