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
County Recorder
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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Heysham Bird Observatory

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    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…
  • 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

    Founded in 1955 the East Lancashire Ornithologists’ Club is the oldest in the county. We hold monthly meetings with a guest speaker and organise regular birding trips to many of the beautiful birding sites around Lancashire and adjoining counties.
  • 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

    Facebook Page
    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.
  • 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
  • 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 Leighton Moss

    Leighton Moss boasts the largest reed bed in north-west England and is home to a wide range of spectacular wildlife including otters, bearded tits, marsh harriers, egrets and red deer. See for yourself! Visit the hides, explore the trails and enjoy amazing views from the Sky Tower.
  • 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…
  • Rossendale Ornithologists' Club

    Programme of meetings etc.

Abbreviations Key

  • LNR Alkincoates Woodland and Nature Reserve

    Facebook PageSatellite View
    This is a beautiful woodland and nature reserve in Colne, its looked after by volunteers. You are more than welcome to have a walk round its varrying paths
  • LWT Heysham Nature Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    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…
  • Lancashire Wildlife Trust - Local Wildlife Sites

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    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.
  • Marton Mere Local Nature Reserve

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    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

    WebpageSatellite View
    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

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Wild Bird Hospital and Nature Reserve - Established 1962…
  • WWT Martin Mere

    WebpageSatellite View
    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
  • Worthington Lakes

    InformationSatellite View
    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…
Forums & Mailing Lists
  • Rossendale Birds Forum

    Sightings and discussion forum
Guides & Tour Operators
  • 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 to see Fatbirder’s Trip Report Repository…

  • 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 to see Fatbirder’s Trip Report Repository…

  • 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
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.
  • UK Bird Seed

    Quality wild bird seed for all seasons
  • Another Bird BLOG

    Lancashire bordering BLOG with excellent pictures
  • 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
  • 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
Photographers & Artists
  • 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

Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

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