The Ultimate European Birding Tour

Peter McNish

The Ultimate European Birding Tour

In the UK we’re fortunate enough to have a wealth of wild birds to spot all year round. With everything from Hawfinches to Nightingales and Nightjars, you won’t be short of wild birds to tick off your list! Nonetheless, if you’re a keen birder who has already conquered the UK's top birding locations, you may be looking for your next challenge. If so, we’ve got the ultimate solution for you…

We’ve carefully chosen several locations from across Europe where you can find some of the continent’s most exotic and beautiful birds. With summer right around the corner, our European birding tour is the perfect excursion to embark on and get the opportunity to spot some unique wildlife!

If you’re new to bird watching holidays abroad, not to worry. This post will provide you with everything you need to know before you embark on your birding trip.

Start: North Yorkshire, England

Yorkshire birds

Birds to spot: Nightjars, Goshawk, Honey Buzzard, Kittiwake, Fulmar

You don’t have to venture too far from home to discover new and exciting bird species. North Yorkshire has a mostly rural landscape, therefore, there are a wealth of bird species in the region just waiting to be found!

You can find species such as Nightjars and Goshawks lurking in some of North Yorkshire’s forests. Whereas, if you venture to the North Yorkshire coast, you’ll be able to spot seabirds such as the Kittiwake and Fulmar.

Top tip: If you go out birdwatching in summer, you’re most likely to spot a Nightjar at dusk or dawn. They love feasting on small insects, so don’t forget to take some dried mealworms to tempt them!

Stop 1: Dublin Bay, Ireland

Birds in dublin

Birds to spot: Puffin, Gannet, Roseate Tern, Redshank

Dublin Bay is one of the top birdwatching places to visit to spot some of the most beautiful seabirds that the country has to offer. Here, you can find well-loved species such as the Puffin, as well as rarer species such as the Roseate Tern.

Not only does Dublin Bay have a wealth of wildlife to look out for, you can also participate in activities such as kitesurfing and rafting if you’re up for a bit of adventure.

Top tip: See if you can spot a Redshank by looking out for their bright orange legs!

Stop 2: Madeira, Portugal

birds in madeira

Birds to spot: Grey Wagtails, Chaffinches, Madeira Firecrests, Kestrels, Buzzards

Madeira is a popular pit-stop for those embarking on bird watching holidays in Europe, and it’s easy to see why! The temperatures can reach highs of 24 degrees in the summer months, and there are 286 bird species to explore, making this an ideal stop-off point on your European birding tour.

Here you can find Chaffinches and Kestrels, which are also found in some areas of the UK. However, the Madeira Firecrest can only be spotted on the island, making it a real treat if you get the opportunity to spot one!

Top tip: The Madeira Firecrest is a small, round bird that can be found in all parts of Madeira. Look out for bright orange streaks on their head and wings to spot them.

Stop 3: Ordesa National Park, Spain

birds in ordesa national park

Birds to spot: Golden Eagle, Red-billed Chough, Griffon Vulture, Alpine Swift

Ordesa National Park is home to breathtaking scenery, miles of woodland and spectacular wildlife. You’ll find predatory birds such as the Golden Eagle and Griffon Vulture here, as well as smaller birds like the Alpine Swift and the Red-billed Chough.

This national park is a popular hiking location, and different birds reside at different altitudes in the rocky mountains. That’s why it’s best to take your walking boots along with you to explore different areas of the park and make the most of your trip.

Top tips: If you’re looking to entice the smaller, ground-feeding birds such as the Red-billed Chough, mixed wild bird seed is the best option to take along on your trip.

Stop 4: The Camargue, France

birds in the camargue

 

Birds to spot: Glossy Ibis, Common Tern, Purple Heron, Greater Flamingo, Black-winged Stilt

The Camargue region of France is home to over 350 species of bird, so you won’t have any trouble spotting some unique species on your trip. It is the largest wetland area in France and is home to a range of wildlife and plant species, making it a must-visit spot for wildlife and nature enthusiasts alike!

You’ll be able to find the striking Greater Flamingo feeding on small fish and plankton all year round, whereas species such as the Black-winged Stilt and Common Tern only reside in the Camargue during the summer.

Stop 5: Lower Saxony, Germany

birds in lower saxony

Birds to spot: Grey Spotted Cuckoo, Ring Necked Duck, Common Greenshank, Long-toed Stint

The final stop on your European birding tour will be Lower Saxony in Germany. This location has a lot to offer both nature lovers and birdwatchers, and there are a lot of activities and sights to explore if you fancy a change of scenery!

Birds such as the Grey Spotted Cuckoo and the Ring Necked Duck might be more difficult to spot as they are rare in this region. However, if you’re up for the challenge you’ll be able to spot the Grey Spotted Cuckoo from it’s dark brown and grey feathers and grey spotted pattern. Whereas, the male Ring Necked Duck can be identified by its tall, peaked head, glossy black and purple feathers and striking orange eyes!

Use the Kennedy Wild Bird Food BirdSpotter to log your sightings!

Regardless of whether you’re near or far, you should always log your bird sightings in our BirdSpotter app! This allows you to pinpoint the exact location you saw the bird, upload pictures and add notes so that other birders know where to find them too.

Got a top bird spotting location that you want to share? Leave us a comment below and share it with the birding community!



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