Which Is The Best Month For Birdwatching An Often Asked Question

Expect the unexpected during migration time - Buff-breasted Sandpiper seen on one of our tours.

The easy cop out answer is every month, and I really could make a good case for birdwatching in every month of the year, it is what I do! Birdwatching is a wonderful pastime as it can be enjoyed every day of the year just about anywhere, not many interests are so easily enjoyed. Typing this I see Jackdaws and Herring Gulls right now, and if I allow my attention to linger out of the window…yes…Goldfinch just landed on a TV aerial – lovely. But I am ducking the question here, so which month is the best? Given that we are in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic it is very tricky indeed to do much birdwatching other than very locally we all need to stick to the restrictions and beat this terrible virus so with that in mind I think we can forget “normal” birdwatching for some time yet. But of course we can all enjoy our local birds and take great joy from seeing them and recording them and reading about them birds really are brilliant at times like these.

Right, which month, in 2021 I think September might well be the best month, I really hope we will have beaten the virus by then and we can get back to moving around and enjoying birds and nature more widely. This freedom after three lockdowns will be so joyful I think many people will be so glad to be free to enjoy birds and wildlife again.

Lapland Bunting photographed on the Great Orme at Llandudno.

September offers a wonderful mix of birds to enjoy here in the UK, all our resident species are here of course, many of our summer visitors will still be with us, passage migrant birds will be passing through and the first of our winter visitors arrive – a heady mix indeed! I love those autumn days when you have a great resident bird maybe a Red-billed Chough, along with a Northern Wheatear, maybe a Lapland Bunting and perhaps the first Redwing of the winter all on the same morning! Just fantastic to experience such a rich mixture of birds all in one place at the same time, September can deliver wonderful memories for sure.

Dotterel Sept Gt Orme 6

This beautiful juvenile Dotterel graced the Great Orme one September.

The daylight is still pretty long in September too allowing plenty of time to enjoy wonderful birds in beautiful places and we have some stunning landscapes here in North Wales to enjoy birds. Walking across the limestone pavements of the Great Orme with spectacular views across to Snowdonia and the isle of Anglesey and finding maybe a juvenile Dotterel close to a Northern Wheatear as a Peregrine Falcon fights with a Raven high above, September days can be very special indeed! Or scanning a bay full of migrating waders sorting out your Dunlin from your Knot and perhaps finding a beautiful peach breasted juvenile Curlew Sandpiper and look up as you hear the soft grunting of Pale-bellied Brent Geese winging their way in from Arctic Canada – hairs on the back of your neck stand up just wonderful. These are the moments that birdwatchers love and September delivers them. Always keeping an eye on the weather forecast for on-shore winds in September as that will push migrating seabirds close to headlands and a spell of sea-watching can be rewarded with exciting birds such as Arctic Skuas, Manx Shearwaters and always the chance of something rarer such as a Leach’s Petrel the anticipation is a huge part of sea-watching just what will come past next?

Ring Ouzel are late to leave the mountains of North Wales.

September is a great time to venture inland in North Wales too with a good chance of enjoying some of our special birds. Hawfinches usually start to appear more regularly at favoured haunts and always a thrill to see these bull-necked monster finches. Goshawks will be about and with juvenile birds now independent of their parents the population is at its highest and these young birds are often hunting very actively giving us a better chance of encountering one of these magnificent raptors. Excellent chance of encountering flocks of Common Crossbills in the same habitat as the Goshawks and perhaps some early returning Redwings and Fieldfares in the upland forests. Ring Ouzels will still be up in the hills too often staying well into October – tough birds these – and some of our Hen Harriers linger on the moors late too.

Pink footed Geese arrive Sept

Pink-footed Geese will be arriving from their Icelandic breeding grounds.

Not far away over on the Dee Estuary waders, geese and duck will be passing through and arriving for the winter along with raptors so an exciting mix of birds on offer. Birds such as Spotted Redshank and Ruff can be picked out amongst the masses of Black-tailed Godwits and always the chance of a real rarity in September perhaps an America wader such as Long-billed Dowitcher? Almost anything can and does turn up in September it is such an amazing month to be out looking at birds.

Firecrest Cornwall Oct 7

Tiny but so beautiful a Firecrest - good chance of one in September.

The biggest excitement of birdwatching in September is the unknown every time you head out it is impossible to predict what you will see! The list of possible species is huge everything from your beautiful local Robin through to a vagrant from Siberia or North America or Africa! Such a wonderful thrill to be out as bird migration happens all around you.

Come and join us in September for a Tour for Two a great way to enjoy the very best birds here in North Wales safely. With two people on the tour not only is it safe but we can tailor the trip to be perfect for you. We can start and finish each day when it is ideal for you, go at a pace ideal for you, spend as long as you like using our Leica telescopes, stop for meals and drinks when you would like. And we can look for the birds that you would particularly like to see and you can ask as many questions as you like, the more the merrier. We can also take in other sites that may interest you locally, maybe a castle or historic site or even an art gallery if you wish! As a Tour for Two we will do everything possible to make it perfect for you.

Please see here for dates of Tours for Two in September and come and join us..

UK Tours

Wendy Barry and Alan

Barry and Wendy enjoying a wonderful Tour for Two in sunny North Wales.

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