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BIRDS IN CUMBRIA

Typically 210-230 species of bird are recorded in Cumbria in any one year. Excluding occasional sightings of elusive species and scarce visitors, one might reasonably expect to see around 140 species without too much difficulty - the list below (arranged alphabetically) provides some guidance to less widespread species for those not familiar with birding in the county.

Black-tailed Godwit

HOT SPOTS - PEAK TIMES - GOOD BIRDING

Arctic Tern - breeding colony on Foulney Island, Apr. - July
Avocets - a few breeding pairs just over the county border at Silverdale, May - July.
Barnacle Goose - the Solway Marshes may hold 10000 - 20000, Oct. - March.
Bar-tailed Godwit - South Solway and Duddon Estuaries, July - March.
Black Grouse - North Pennines around Alston and Geltsdale/Hartside have lekking areas;
Black Guillemot - a few birds may breed at St. Bees Head, May - July
Brent Goose - around 50 overwinter in the Rampside/Foulney area of Furness, Oct. - March.
Common Gull - large roosts on Haweswater and Ullswater, Sept. - March.
Common Scoter - a flock of 200+ often found off Silecroft, Nov. - Feb.
Common Tern - breeding colonies at Hodbarrow and Rockcliffe, Apr. - July
Corn Bunting - may appear along the Solway coast, but sadly lost from around Carlisle and disappearing rapidly from the county; thrives in Lancashire! May?
Crossbill - occurs and breeds in conifers, mainly Border Uplands but also Grizedale Forest and north-west Lakes.
Dotterel - central Lakes fells on passage, late April - May; breeding now largely ceased.
Eider - resident and breeding in the Foulney/Walney area, all year.
Fulmar - breeding colony at St. Bees Head, April - July.
Gadwall - small numbers turn up in autumn on passage, particularly down the west of the county.
Gannet - quite large counts off Walney and Hodbarrow, June - September.
Goldeneye - Windermere holds significant numbers but also at Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite and coastal estuaries, Nov. - Mar.
Golden Eagle - one pair at Haweswater in summer.
Golden Plover - breeds in small numbers on northern Pennines (e.g. Geltsdale); large winter flocks move around fields on the Solway and in the Duddon/Walney area, but moving to the coast in hard weather, Sept. - March.
Goshawk - resident and breeding in the Border Forest; also foothills of south Lakes.
Grasshopper Warbler - summer visitor mostly to coast, but also Bassenthwaite/Derwentwater; rarely seen and best heard in early morning/late evening.
Great Black-backed Gull - breeding colony of 50 - 60 on South Walney, May - June.
Greenshank - passage birds at South Walney, Aug. - Oct.
Green Sandpiper - rare, but most likely from Solway and West Coast on autumn migration, July - August.
Grey Partridge - scattered distribution, mainly in north and west coast; parties sometimes seen at North & South Walney and Sandscale.
Grey Plover - winter on the Solway and in the Duddon, Walney, Rampside areas, Sept. - March.
Greylag Goose - many feral populations but upto 2000 wintering wild birds in the Eden Valley (e.g. Salkeld/Watersmeet), Oct. - March.
Guillemot - breeding colony at St. Bees Head, May - June.
Hawfinch - elusive but resident in the Rusland - Windermere - Sizergh triangle; also Woodwell, Silverdale.
Hen Harrier - much persecuted, breeds North Pennines, coastal in winter.
Honey Buzzard - recent addition to county breeding list; several pairs now likely in Lakeland in summer.
Kittiwake - breeds at St. Bees Head and gas platforms in Irish Sea!
Kingfisher - Eden Valley, Bassenthwaite and Ulverston hold breeding birds, April to July. Movement to coast in winter e.g. head of Morecambe Bay around Arnside and Silverdale.
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker - elusive, try Grizedale Forest.
Lesser Whitethroat - increasing summer visitor; prefers hedgerows and scrub of coastal lowlands e.g. Eskmeals, Hodbarrow and Furness Peninsula.
Little Egret - several birds have been wintering in the Walney area in recent years, often feeding in the pools at low water in the channel between the island and the mainland.
Little Grebe - good wintering numbers at Cavendish Dock and Hodbarrow, Nov.- Feb.; breeds mainly in South Lakes and Furness on lowland waters and a few sites in the north .
Little Tern - breeding colony at Hodbarrow, Apr. - July.
Mandarin - sightings of feral birds possible between Esthwaite Water and Windermere.
Manx Shearwater - good numbers off-shore from Walney to St. Bees Head, especially May - July.
Merlin - breeds on moorland in North Pennines and sparsely in north Lakes, winters on coastal marshes. Best chance of seeing them is Sept. - Oct. at Foulney/Walney and Solway marshes.
Mute Swan - large moulting flocks on Cavendish Dock and Longtown Pond worth seeing, July/August.
Nightjar - now a very rare summer visitor to county; mosses in south Cumbria.
Osprey - sightings possible central Lakes, breeding at Bassenthwaite, April - July.
Pink-footed Goose - 1000+ around the Duddon and more on the Solway around Campfield/Rockcliffe Marshes peaking in March as northwards migration occurs - Oct. - March.
Pintail - large numbers on the Kent Estuary, smaller numbers on the Leven and Duddon Estuaries, Oct. - Feb.
Puffin - a few birds breed at St. Bees Head, May - July
Purple Sandpiper - Workington Harbour, Parton beach and Biggar Bank, Walney, Nov. - March.
Quail - a few breeding pairs possible in summer on northern Coastal Plain, but numbers fluctuate.
Razorbill - breeding colony at St. Bees Head, May - July
Redstart - woodland between Kendal and Keswick and other wooded valleys are likely spots in summer; avoids lowlands and prefers wooded upland adjacent to farmland.
Red-throated Diver - frequently seen feeding off-shore from Walney/Foulney and in the Solway, Oct.- Feb.
Red-breasted Merganser - breeds inland but significant numbers all year at Cavendish Dock and Hodbarrow.
Reed Warbler - late arriving migrant and scarce breeder on suitable reedbeds e.g. Siddick Pond, Bassenthwaite, Rydal Water, Cavendish Dock and Urswick Tarn; April - Sept.
Rock Pipit - has bred on slag banks at Workington; feed on shore south to St. Bees, May - June. Numbers in winter increase as birds come in from Scandinavia and other areas like Walney,Foulney, and the Roa Island causeway become hotspots.
Ring Ouzel - although Cumbria (North Pennines and Lakes Fells) is a key breeding stronghold in Britain, numbers seem to be declining; April - August.
Ruff - mostly from Solway (sometimes overwintering) and, to a lesser extent Walney, on autumn migration, August - September.
Sanderling - wintering birds on Solway, Walney and Duddon Estuary shores; Oct. - Apr., peak in spring.
Sand Martin - breeding colonies at Walney and Bassenthwaite, May - July
Sandwich Tern - breeding colony at Hodbarrow, Apr. - July.
Scaup - the Solway is Britain's premier wintering site for this species, Oct. - March.
Siskin - small numbers at garden bird feeders, especially March - April.
Snow Bunting - small flocks on Lake District peaks, Nov. - March.
Stonechat - numbers have built up after mild winters. Now abundant around the coast at St. Bees, North Walney and on lowland heaths in the south of the county.
Tree Pipit - summer visitor to scrub and new fell areas, but numbers seem to be declining - lovely call and gliding parachute flight, May to July.
Tree Sparrow - uncommon and now limited to farmland of coastal plains in Solway and Furness and Eden Valley. The Leece/Dendron/Gleaston area in the Furness Peninsula is a stronghold.
Turnstone - main wintering area South Walney, Roa Island and Biggar Bank, Aug. - April with peaks in autumn and spring.
Twite - breeds on Pennines; erratic but flocks of upto 200 regularly recorded on Walney and around Askam, Nov. - March
Water Rail - now very elusive in county; possible at North Walney, Bassenthwaite and Sunbiggin Tarn (but Leighton Moss estimated to have around 100 territorial males).
Whimbrel - passage migrant, especially in spring, Solway, Duddon and Morecambe Bay; late April - early May.
Whooper Swan - small flocks around Rockcliffe and Kirkbride on the Solway and the Langwathby area in the Eden valley, Nov. - March.
Wigeon - large numbers in Morecambe Bay, Sept. - March.
Willow Tit - much scarcer than Marsh Tit and confined to northern half of county, especially Solway marshes and Bassenthwaite/Derwentwater.
Woodcock - easily over-looked; strongholds in South Cumbria( roding birds possible in April Rusland, Grizedale, Brigsteer, and Angerton Moss), Bassenthwaite/Derwentwater and Geltsdale.
Wood Warbler - increasingly scarce summer visitor to woods of higher Eden valley, but strongest to west of a line from Cockermouth to Kendal e.g. usually breeds in Torver Common woodland and edges of Grizedale Forest, May - July.
Yellow Wagtail - now few breeding birds in county; Eden valley around Appleby and Kent valley in south now most likely spots in summer or Heversham Moss in the south.