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Where to watch birds

If you're new to birdwatching you may wonder where the best places are locally to watch birds, even if you are more experienced you may be interested in new sites you can explore. Below you'll find a map with a selection of local birdwatching sites within our area. The numbers on the map correspond to those for sites in the table opposite the map, in this table you'll also find the grid references for these sites so you can look them up on your own OS map (you can also look at them on OS Maps online by entering the grid reference into the search box and pressing enter). Hover over the map and click to zoom in, this way you can see where the sites are more clearly and reference the numbers on the map directly to those in the table.

Below the map is a more detailed look at a number of good birdwatching sites within the area, so have a browse at this as well if you're interested.

Birdwatching Sites Map
Local Birdwatching Sites

Here you'll find information on a number of birdwatching sites within the area, including many which are listed above. For each site information is given on location and what birds can be seen there at certain times of year. In addition some sites are listed at the bottom of the page which are outside our area.


Location - SD 737384

Park on Whalley Road opposite Traffalgar Gardens.

Birds - Waxwings can be seen feeding on berries in irruption winters. Visit nearby Barrow Lodge next to MacDonalds off the A59 for water birds such as Kingfisher. Birds here in the past have included rarities such as Slavonian Grebe and Velvet Scoter.

Alston Reservoirs

Location - SD 607363

Park on Pinfold Lane, Longridge.

General Information - There are 3 reservoirs, but No.3 is now a scrape area viewable from a screen on Pinfold Lane. Reservoirs 1 and 2 are inaccessible.

Birds - Water birds and wading birds such as Goosander in winter, waders on passage and some warblers in summer such as Whitethroat. A number of rarities in the past including a Kildeer in 2013.


Whimbrels at Brockholes by Bill Aspin.

Corporation Park

Location - SD 672289

Off East Park Road, Blackburn.

General Information - 2 ponds (1 large, 1 small) and wooded parkland.

Birds - Common woodland birds throughout the year. Water birds on ponds including Goosanders in autumn and winter as well as the usuals. Mandarin Ducks seen here in the past.


Waxwings at Barrow, by Brian Taylor.

Grimsargh Reservoir

Location - SD 590346

In the village of Grimsargh near Longridge.

Birds - Winter water birds, breeding waders such as Redshank in spring and summer and a number of breeding warblers in spring and summer. Small Whimbrel and Curlew roost in spring.

Brockholes Nature Reserve

Location - SD 584306

Off the roundabout of junction 31 of M6, follow signs.

General Information - A restored sand and gravel quarry managed by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust.

Birds - Wildfowl such as Gadwall and Shoveler in winter, as well as the occasional Bittern and breeding waders in summer such as Little Ringed Plover and Lapwing. Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap and Garden Warbler in spring and summer. Migrating Whimbrel in April including nightly roosts.


Goosander at Corporation Park by Jonathan Fry.

Dean Clough and Parsonage Reservoirs

Location - SD 712328 & SD 700320

Park on York Road, Wilpshire, Blackburn.

Birds - Common winter water birds such as Goldeneye and Tufted Duck. Rarer birds such as Great Northern Diver and Common Scoter, especially after gales. Common woodland birds in the wood above Dean Clough. Also Grebes, waders, Reed Bunting and passage birds such as Osprey and Whinchat.


Witton Park

Location - SD 658271

Parking is available off Preston Old Road (BB2 2TP), Blackburn.

Birds - A large park full of woodland birds such as Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Chiffchaff and Blackcap in spring etc. Along the River Darwen there's a great chance to see Dipper, Kingfisher (check duck pond in Pleasington Cemetery, especially in winter), Sand Martins in spring etc.

Weir Street Car Park, Blackburn

Location - SD 68232776

Car park in the centre of Blackburn.

General Information - This car park is full of Rowan trees which are full of berries each winter.

Birds - In certain years this car park is swarming with Waxwings, mainly in irruption years (this is when for a lack of food birds move across to the UK from Siberia, only every few years), although some can be seen in non irruption years occasionally. Also a good place to see winter thrushes feeding on berries such as Blackbird, Mistle Thrush and Redwing.

Waxwing at Weir Street car park, Blackburn by Jonathan Fry.

Foxhill Bank

Location - SD 704280

Off the main Union Road at Oswaldtwistle turn down Mill Hill (BB5 3LT). There is a small reserve car park at the bottom of Mill Hill.

Birds - Water and woodland birds including Dipper, Kingfisher and Little Grebe.


Location - SD 723271

Park on Haslingden Old Road (SD 71590 26959) and walk down Brookside Lane, past Magnoll's Farm to the reservoirs.

General Information - A group of 3 reservoirs. Paths can be very muddy and wet after wet weather.

Birds - Common water birds including Tufted Duck, Little and Great Crested Grebes, warblers in summer.

Sunnyhurst Woods and Reservoir

Location - SD 676226

Park on Earnsdale Road, Darwen (BB3 0LA).

Birds -  A great place for woodland birds especially in spring when the usual suspects are joined by Chiffchaff, Blackcap etc. Herons, Kingfishers and Dippers can be seen at Dingle Lodges in the middle of the wood. At the top of the wood is Sunnyhurst Hey Reservoir and further round is Earnsdale Reservoir. Both can be good for wintering wildfowl and passage waders.

White Coppice

Location - SD 620190

Park at Brinscall Baths car park (PR6 8QU), walk through Wheelton Plantation and onto White Coppice (from here you can walk on to Black Coppice and Anglezarke Reservoir).

Birds - In spring it's possible to see Cuckoo, Dipper, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat and Meadow Pipit. Listen out for Wood Warblers through Wheelton Plantation.

Fishmoor Reservoir

Location - SD 697260

Park in the car park of DW Sports Fitness off Haslingden Road and view the reservoir from there.

Birds - Gull roost, especially good in winter for rare gulls like Iceland, Glaucous, Yellow Legged, Mediterranean and Caspian Gulls.

Jackhouse Nature Reserve

Location - SD 742260

Park on Fielding Lane (BB5 3RY), Oswaldtwistle and walk 5-10 minutes down Pot House Lane to the reserve.

Birds - Water birds all year including winter wildfowl. The reservoir has had Garganey in the past and regularly get Common Scoter dropping in. Woodland birds including migrants such as Chiffchaff.

Darwen Moor

Location - SD 6721

Birds - Red Grouse all year, Wheatear, Ring Ouzel etc on passage.

White Coppice

White Coppice by Jonathan Fry.

Birdwatching Sites Outside Area

There are many good birdwatching sites outside our area, here are just a few of them. We regularly visit these places on our field walks.

Martin Mere WWT

Location - SD 428144

This Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT) reserve is located on Fish Lane, Burscough, L40 0TA. Park in the car park, admission charge for non WWT members.

Birds - A great place to see a wide variety of winter waterfowl including hundreds of Whooper Swans and thousands of Pink Footed Geese. From the Ron Barker Hide the Kingfisher can often be seen as well as a whole host of waders, including breeding Avocet in spring and summer. A good number of raptors are seen through the year including Peregrine, Marsh Harrier in winter and Buzzards. Roosting Tawny Owls can sometimes be seen on the path to the Ron Barker Hide. Migrants through spring and summer including Swallows, Reed and Sedge Warblers and Whitethroat.

Avocet, Marshside

Avocet at Marshside by Carol Brown.

Mere Sands Wood

Location - SD 447159

Park in the car park (small parking charge) off Holmeswood Road, Rufford (L40 1TG).

Birds - A wide variety of woodland birds are present all year including Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Jay, sometimes Bramblings are seen in winter and Red Legged Partridge can be seen on the surrounding farmland. A number of winter wildfowl can be seen here, Bitterns have been winter visitors in the past and Water Rail can be seen from the Lancaster Hide next to the Visitor Centre. The pools are home to displaying and breeding Great Crested Grebes in spring and summer and Common Terns breed on the specially made Tern rafts. Warblers also present in spring and summer.

Fairhaven Lake

Location - SD 343273

Park on Inner Promenade at Fairhaven either on the road or on car parks at either end of the lake (pay and display).

Birds -  Water birds can be seen here year round including common ducks such as Tufted Duck, Mallard etc. A good variety of wading birds can be seen at Granny's Bay behind the Lake, especially known for Grey Plover. The real attraction of the Lake however is in attracting rarities such as Red Necked Phalarope, Wryneck (in dunes), rare Grebes such as Red Necked and rare Divers, including a long staying Red Throated Diver in February and March 2015. More regular uncommon birds seen on the Lake include Scaup, Common Scoter etc. Rare birds can often be found after they are blown onto the Lake due to bad weather.

Pendle Hill

Location - SD 814416

Park on Barley Lane, Barley walking past Pendle Side Farm where the tough climb can be taken up solid steps or a decent climbing path with some loose stones.

Birds -  The main attraction of Pendle Hill is the rare Dotterel that pass through on migration north every spring, usually between the last week of April and first week of May. The birds favour the area south of the trig point and will give good views if not spooked. Other birds in spring included passage Ring Ouzel on the slopes, Wheatears and Skylarks. Golden Plover can also be seen on passage around the time of the Dotterel. Snow Buntings can be seen in winter near the trig point.

Tawny Owl, Martin Mere

Tawny Owl at Martin Mere by Brian Taylor.

Marshside RSPB

Location - SD 352204

Marine Drive, Southport, PR9 9PJ. Park in the RSPB car park on Marine Drive opposite Marshside Road.

Birds - In winter a great place to see lots of winter wildfowl including Wigeon and Pintail, but also Pink Footed Geese through autumn and winter which are sometimes accompanied by rarer geese such as Bean and White Fronted. In spring this is a great place to see migration with Wheatears at the Sand Plant, hirundines like Swallows, as well as other scarce migrants such as Little Gull and Black Tern. Warblers such as Reed and Sedge Warblers breed here, as well as Avocets, Lapwing and Redshank. Rare birds have included Spoonbill, Cattle Egret and Glossy Ibis lately.

Leighton Moss RSPB

Location - SD 476750

Park in the RSPB car park on Storrs Lane, Silverdale (LA5 0SW).

Birds - Bitterns are present all year, with numbers swelling in winter with the arrival of continental birds. A good selection of winter wildfowl can be seen, plus plenty of winter and passage waders such as Greenshank and Curlew Sandpiper down at the Saltmarsh Hides. Marsh Harriers can be seen all year and Bearded Tits are best seen in October when they come to eat the grit off the grit trays along the Causeway. Many warblers including Reed and Sedge, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler etc. Water Rail and Kingfisher can be seen throughout the year.

Red Throated Diver, Fairhaven Lake

Red Throated Diver at Fairhaven Lake by Jonathan Fry.

Forest of Bowland

Location - SD 6650

Birds -  A great variety of birds can be seen in the Forest of Bowland area. The main time for migrant birds is spring and summer. Ring Ouzel and Dipper can be seen up the Langden Valley (Dipper can also be seen along many of the steams in the area such as up the Hareden Valley and at Dunsop Bridge). Whinchat can be seen up the Hareden Valley along with Pied Flycatcher, Garden Warbler and Redstart. Redstart can be heard and seen at Tower Lodge in the Trough, as well as at Stocks Reservoir. A great variety of birds can be seen at Stocks Reservoir including Little Ringed Plover, Red Breasted Merganser, Common Sandpiper, Cuckoo and although scarce Tree Pipit. Ospreys can also be seen here on migration. Pied Flycatchers also breed at Moore Piece Wood and Spotted Flycatchers can be seen throughout the area. Meadow Pipits, Swallows etc are common.

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