Migrating Birds in Lincolnshire, a county in the east of England, is one of the most spectacular locations for the observation of bird migration. During the spring and autumn seasons, thousands of migrating birds visit Lincolnshire’s diverse habitats, coastal nature reserves, and vast skies to rest, feed, and breed. Its strategic position on the flyway of various bird species makes it an essential destination for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts alike.

Understanding bird migration in Lincolnshire encompasses being familiar with the species present during different seasons, their behaviours, and how to spot them in their natural habitats. Lincolnshire boasts an abundance of birdwatching locations, such as Far Ings, situated on the south bank of the Humber Estuary, providing visitors with opportunities to observe both resident and migrating birds.

Efforts to conserve these natural spaces and protect the diverse habitats of migrating birds have become a crucial part of Lincolnshire’s wildlife management. Alongside birdwatching spots, the county also offers events and community involvement opportunities for those who want to learn more and contribute to the conservation of these spectacular avian visitors.

Key Takeaways

  • Lincolnshire is a vital location for observing bird migration in the UK.
  • Numerous birdwatching spots, such as Far Ings, showcase the diverse habitats favoured by various bird species.
  • Conservation and community involvement play essential roles in protecting migrating birds and their habitats in Lincolnshire.
Black-tailed godwit feeding chick, migrating bird Lincolnshire
Black-tailed godwit

Understanding Bird Migration in Lincolnshire

Concept of Migration

Bird migration is a fascinating natural phenomenon that occurs across the globe. In the UK, and specifically in the region of Lincolnshire, both residents and visitors are treated to a range of migratory bird species in various seasons. Migratory birds travel in search of favourable weather conditions, abundant food sources, and suitable breeding grounds. During the spring and autumn months, Lincolnshire witnesses the arrival and departure of various bird species, adding unique colours, sounds, and patterns to the local landscapes.

Lincolnshire Bird Migration Patterns

The migration patterns of birds in Lincolnshire can broadly be categorized into two prominent seasonal events: spring migration and autumn migration. In the spring, thousands of wetland birds such as swans, geese, and ducks migrate to Britain, where resident birds also begin courting and breeding. As a result, springtime offers an excellent opportunity for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts to experience the lively atmosphere and witness various bird species.

Autumn migration, on the other hand, is characterised by the departure of several bird species as they head back to their wintering grounds. Common sights during this time include flocks of swallows, house martins, and other migratory birds leaving the UK in search of warmer climates.

Bird Species and their Routes

Numerous bird species migrate through Lincolnshire each year. Some of the UK’s locally breeding birds, such as swallows, house martins, swifts, chiffchaffs, willow warblers, and spotted flycatchers, embark on long-distance journeys to various destinations across Europe, Africa, and Asia during migration season.

Additionally, Lincolnshire’s coastal region is a hotspot for observing wetland birds and waders, with species such as redshank, black-tailed godwit, and dunlin often spotted. Inland areas also provide fantastic opportunities for sighting other migratory birds, including redwings, which can be found in the region during the winter months.

In summary, bird migration in Lincolnshire presents a captivating and diverse display of avian life throughout spring and autumn. From wetland birds and coastal species to inland dwellers and elusive visitors, the region offers unique opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers to immerse themselves in the thrilling spectacle of bird migration.

redwing bird, migrating bird Lincolnshire

Key Birdwatching Locations

Bird Migration Nature Reserves in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire offers several nature reserves, providing a range of habitats for migrating birds. One notable reserve is Frampton Marsh, a key site on the Lincolnshire Bird Trail. This wildlife haven supports various bird species throughout the year, with extensive wetlands and grasslands creating an ideal environment for both waterfowl and waders. To further explore wetland birds in the area, the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust maintains a network of reserves and provides sighting reports to help birdwatchers find the best locations.

Another noteworthy nature reserve is found within the Lincolnshire Wolds, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This diverse landscape includes woodland, a steep-sided river valley, reservoirs, and reclaimed land, providing a multitude of birdwatching opportunities. The charming market towns of Louth and Horncastle act as gateways to the Lincolnshire Wolds bird trail, offering convenient amenities for visitors.

Bird Migration changes to Coastlines and The Wash

The Lincolnshire coast, stretching from the Humber to The Wash, hosts a variety of bird species and habitats. The Lincolnshire Coastal Bird Trail offers a comprehensive route for birdwatchers to follow, showcasing the region’s highlights and seasonal hotspots.

The Wash, located at the southern end of the Lincolnshire coast, is an important site for migrating birds in the UK. This large estuary hosts vast mudflats and saltmarshes, making it an attractive area for waders, wildfowl, and other coastal bird species. Birdwatchers visiting The Wash have the opportunity to observe thousands of birds, including internationally important populations of knot, black-tailed godwit, and redshank, among others.

Spotted flycatcher, migrating bird Lincolnshire
Spotted flycatcher

Seasonal Highlights of Migrating Birds in Lincolnshire

Spring Arrivals

In Lincolnshire, spring marks the arrival of several species of migrating birds coming from their southern winter quarters. Among these, the elusive Bittern stands out for its fascinating neck plumes that herald the breeding season. These secretive herons frequent wetland habitats in Lincolnshire, where they can be seen blending in with the reeds.

Another noteworthy spring migrant is the vast number of geese that fly in from their breeding grounds in Iceland, Greenland, and Spitsbergen. The pinkish-grey geese, characterised by their dark head and neck and pink bill, feet, and legs, arrive in huge numbers and can often be observed in flocks of hundreds along the coast of Lincolnshire.

Autumn Departures

As the temperatures cool in the autumn months, many bird species prepare to depart for their winter feeding grounds. This period showcases an array of stunning summer visitors who bid farewell to their Lincolnshire homes. Among these are swifts, swallows, and martins that can be seen gracefully soaring through the skies before embarking on their long journey to the south.

During this time, a transition in bird populations occurs, as some species migrate away while others arrive. The winter visitors make their appearance, earthbound once more after their breeding season in the northern regions. These include the eye-catching Bramblings, with their grey-blue heads and warm orange breasts, which can be found in woodland areas of Lincolnshire.

In summary, the spring migrants and autumn departures in Lincolnshire provide a multitude of fascinating birdwatching opportunities, with a diverse array of species to be observed throughout the seasonal changes.

Bramblings, migrating bird Lincolnshire
Bramblings are winter visitors to Lincolnshire woodlands.

Lincolnshire’s Birdwatching Conservation Efforts

Migratory Bird Conservation Programmes

Lincolnshire is home to various conservation programmes aimed at preserving migratory birds and wildlife. One noteworthy initiative is the £1m appeal launched by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust to protect threatened wildlife. The Trust also actively engages in the planning process to prevent negative impacts on wildlife and promote designs that benefit it [(source)].

As a result of these efforts, significant progress has already been made. The Willow Tree Fen reserve near Spalding, for example, saw the return of a breeding pair of common cranes in 2020, the first time the birds had been seen in Lincolnshire in over 400 years [(source)].

Migratory Birds Wildlife Organisations in Lincolnshire

Several wildlife organisations operate within Lincolnshire to conserve the region’s unique habitats and species. The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust is a key player and manages numerous nature reserves across the county, such as Whisby Nature Park, which is popular among birdwatchers.

In addition, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) helps to protect and monitor bird populations and their habitats. The Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership is another initiative that takes a landscape-scale approach to nature conservation, contributing to the wider vision of a Living Landscape.

Furthermore, Lincolnshire is part of the East Atlantic Flyway, a migratory bird route that has been nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status, due to its significance for avian species [(source)].


Migrating Birds Wildlife Habitats and Biodiversity in Lincolnshire


Wetlands are a significant component of Lincolnshire’s landscape, providing essential habitats for a variety of wildlife, including birds, invertebrates, and fish. The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust plays an important role in conserving and managing these vital habitats. One notable wetland area in Lincolnshire is the Gibraltar Point nature reserve, which offers visitors the opportunity to observe thriving bird colonies, such as the increasingly common spoonbills from the Jackson’s Marsh bird hide. Additionally, the booming bittern, an iconic wetland bird species, can also be seen in these areas.

Gibraltar Point sign
Gibraltar Point information sign.

The wetlands in Lincolnshire incorporate various habitats such as:

  • Intertidal mudflats: rich feeding grounds for wading birds and home to numerous invertebrates;
  • Coastal saltmarsh: providing nesting and roosting sites for birds and acting as a nursery for fish species.


Greater Lincolnshire also boasts expansive grasslands that contribute to the area’s diverse landscape and wildlife habitats. These grasslands are maintained and protected through the Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership, which outlines specific habitat targets aimed at preserving and enhancing the region’s biodiversity. Targets include no net loss of Priority or other semi-natural habitats by 2025 and increasing the area of semi-natural habitat within a functioning ecological network to 25% by 2045.

Grasslands in Lincolnshire provide habitats for a variety of invertebrates, and bird species, including:

  • Coastal sand dunes: offering nesting and foraging sites for birds;
  • Coastal and floodplain grazing marsh: supplying nesting and feeding grounds for wading and ground-nesting birds, as well as supporting diverse plant species.

Efforts to improve wildlife habitats and biodiversity in Greater Lincolnshire continue to receive government funding, allowing ongoing conservation projects to focus on preserving and enhancing this unique and flourishing natural environment.

Bird Migration Resources and Facilities

Lincolnshire offers a range of resources and facilities for birdwatching enthusiasts, providing the perfect environment to explore and enjoy the migrating birds that inhabit the region.

Bird Migration Visitor Centres

Many birdwatching sites in Lincolnshire are equipped with dedicated visitor centres that serve as a hub for information and activities. These centres typically provide a wealth of knowledge regarding the bird species found in the area, as well as maps of birdwatching trails and advice on the best times to visit. Additionally, visitors can often access essential amenities at these centres, such as toilets, car parks, and refreshments.

Some well-known visitor centres for birdwatching in Lincolnshire include Far Ings and Frampton Marsh.

Migratory Bird Observation Facilities

Lincolnshire features various observation facilities designed to maximise the birdwatching experience. Many sites offer strategically located bird hides, allowing keen observers to closely watch and admire the migrating birds without disturbing them. Binoculars are often available for rent or purchase at visitor centres, giving guests the opportunity to take a closer look at the local birdlife.

Several locations boast well-developed trails guiding visitors through prime birdwatching spots, such as the Lincolnshire Wolds Romans and Vikings Circular. These trails accommodate birdwatchers of all experience levels, from experts to novices, offering a truly immersive experience into the world of bird migration.

In summary, Lincolnshire presents a comprehensive range of resources and facilities to support enthusiasts in their birdwatching pursuits, making it a prime destination for those eager to witness the beauty of migrating birds.

View from Belchford and Fulletby Circular
Belchford and Fulletby Circular

Lincolnshire Bird Migration Events and Community Involvement

Guided Walks

One of the events that foster community involvement in Lincolnshire’s birdwatching scene is the Guided Walk: Resident & Autumn Migrants Bird Walk. Organised by the Grimsby and Cleethorpes Area Group, these walks are led by knowledgeable guides like Graham Hicks. Participants meet in Cleethorpes Leisure Centre Car Park and then embark on a journey along Cleethorpes Seafront & Anthony’s Bank. The guided walks provide a chance to observe migrating birds, create lasting memories among the community, and attract newcomers to the wonders of birdwatching.

Birdwatching Clubs

The Lincolnshire Bird Club is a prominent organisation that connects bird enthusiasts in the region. Among its many activities, the club provides information on the best wetland bird sites throughout Lincolnshire’s coastal areas. By promoting these locations, the club encourages both residents and visitors to become part of a community that appreciates and protects the natural habitat of migrating birds.

The club also fosters an active community through various initiatives such as:

According to BTO Garden BirdWatch data, one in ten gardens in Lincolnshire is likely to have House Martins on autumn migration, and 20% will have Swallows, proving the region’s importance as a migratory stopover. By offering events and encouraging participation in clubs, Lincolnshire sustains a vibrant community of bird enthusiasts dedicated to protecting and cherishing these fascinating creatures.


Importance of the UK’s Avian Topography

Bird Migratory Corridors in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire holds a significant position within the avian topography of the UK. One key aspect of this importance lies in the bird migratory corridors that traverse the region. The East Atlantic Flyway is a crucial route for birds migrating between their breeding and wintering grounds. This flyway encompasses numerous landscapes, including the east coast wetlands, which serve as vital pitstops for various bird species such as geese, terns, and waders.

Many birds rely on these networks of habitats to rest, refuel, and breed. During peak migration periods, birdwatchers and ornithologists flock to Lincolnshire’s Frampton Marsh reserve to observe a diverse range of species, sometimes spotting over 100 bird species in a single day.

Lincolnshire’s Unique Bird Migration Position

Lincolnshire’s geographical location is uniquely poised to become a crucial access point for migratory birds arriving on the UK’s shores. It is positioned along the East Atlantic Flyway, allowing birds to navigate between various parts of Europe, such as Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent, Yorkshire, and of course, Lincolnshire itself. The Wash Estuary, which forms part of Lincolnshire’s coastline, is the largest estuary in the UK and considered the most important for birds.

Due to its strategic location and diverse habitats, Lincolnshire can provide essential resources to numerous migratory bird species at different stages of their journey. This makes it an invaluable region in the broader context of the UK’s avian topography and a place with immense potential for further study and conservation efforts.

Flock of birds over Knot
Flock of Knots over the Lincolnshire coastline. Image from markhibbert.co.uk

Challenges Facing Migrating Birds

Climate Change

One of the main challenges facing migrating birds is climate change. As the Earth’s temperature rises, migration patterns can be disrupted, leading to birds arriving at their destination at the wrong time, which may affect their ability to find food and breed successfully. Additionally, climate change can cause alterations in habitats, making it difficult for certain species to survive.

To help mitigate the effects of climate change on bird migration, conservation efforts focus on monitoring changes and providing protection to crucial habitats. Examples include creating and maintaining nature reserves, as well as implementing sustainable land-use practices aimed at reducing human impact on ecosystems.

Human Interference

Human interference poses another significant challenge to migrating birds. Activities such as deforestation, urbanisation, and agriculture can lead to habitat loss and fragmentation. These activities not only have a direct impact on bird populations but also on the resources they depend on during migration.

Observations of human interference also reveal the following issues:

  • Habitat Loss: The reduction or destruction of natural habitats, often resulting from urban and agricultural expansion.
  • Light and Noise Pollution: Artificial lights and noise from urban areas can disorient birds during migration, leading to collisions with buildings and other structures.
  • Wind Turbines: While a growing source of renewable energy, wind turbines can pose a threat to migrating birds, as they are at risk of colliding with the propellers.

Conservation efforts aim to address these issues by raising awareness about the importance of protecting bird habitats and implementing strategies to minimise negative human impacts on bird migration. Some examples are the creation of bird-friendly buildings and the development of renewable energy infrastructure that minimises potential harm to birds.


Improving Lincolnshire for Migrating Birds

Local Projects

Natural England is working together with various organisations to improve the landscape and habitats for migrating birds in Lincolnshire. Initiatives like Operation Seabird aim to protect the coastline and its wildlife, raising awareness of the area’s rich birdlife.

Several local projects focus on specific bird species and their unique needs. For instance, some initiatives work towards conserving wetland birds by providing them with suitable breeding grounds and migratory stopovers.

Migratory Bird Habitat Restoration

Habitat restoration is a crucial step in conserving migrating bird populations in Lincolnshire. Efforts include the restoration and management of crucial forests, wetlands, and grasslands habitats. One notable example of success is the Far Ings National Nature Reserve. This unique area on the south bank of the Humber Estuary has been transformed into a thriving environment for migrating birds, thanks to its carefully managed pits and reedbeds.

Conservation organisations like the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust work tirelessly to help maintain and restore these vital habitats. Their efforts are essential for ensuring that bird species can thrive, while more valuable information is gathered on migration patterns and the ecological needs of these birds.

In summary, numerous local projects, habitat restoration efforts, and the collaboration between Natural England, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, and other organisations are playing a significant role in improving Lincolnshire as a haven for migrating birds.

Marsh Harrier bird
Western Marsh Harrier. Image from Wikipedia

Visitor Information for Birdwatchers

Amenities and Accessibility

Lincolnshire is a haven for birdwatchers with its wide-open landscapes, long coastline, and unspoilt rolling hills of the Wolds. The Lincolnshire Bird Trail provides numerous birdwatching locations with essential amenities such as car parks and toilets. The accessibility of these sites is suitable for visitors of all mobility levels.

Best Times to Visit

To witness the diverse migrating birds, the best times to visit Lincolnshire are during the spring and autumn migration seasons. The Lincolnshire Natural Coast is home to a variety of birds such as the bramblings, which can be observed during the autumn and winter months. Many birds, including rare species, can also be seen nesting in the area during spring and early summer.

Season Recommended Activities
Spring Bird nesting observation, migration watching
Autumn Migration watching
Winter Brambling and waterbird observation

Migratory Birds Lincolnshire ideal Accommodation – Stewton Stars Hideaway

For migratory bird enthusiasts who want to stay in comfort during their trip, why not visit Stewton Stars Hideaway, rated top 5 stay in England by County Lifestyle & Leisure Magazine. Offering luxury glamping accommodation options, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature and wake to birds chirping. Stewton Stars Hideaway is perfectly situated near key birdwatching locations and is within easy reach of the Far Ings Nature Reserve, a major flyway for migrating birds located on the south bank of the Humber Estuary.

Glamping cabin
Stewton Stars Hideaway Orion Family Cabin

Frequently Asked Questions

What species of birds can be commonly observed migrating through Lincolnshire?

Lincolnshire serves as a hub for various migrating bird species. Each spring, thousands of wetland birds make their way to Britain, while resident birds start courting and breeding. Some commonly observed species include wading birds, ducks, and geese, amongst others.

During which months are bird migrations most notable in the Lincolnshire region?

Bird migrations in Lincolnshire are most prevalent during spring and autumn. Spring migration typically occurs between March and May, whereas autumn migration takes place between August and October.

What are the prime locations in Lincolnshire for observing migrating bird species?

Lincolnshire boasts numerous destinations for spotting migrating birds. Some of the top sites include coastal and wetland nature reserves, like Landal Kenwick Woods. Additionally, the Lincolnshire Bird Trail offers a helpful guide for birdwatching enthusiasts seeking ideal locations.

How do bird migration patterns impact the biodiversity at Lincolnshire nature reserves?

Migration patterns significantly influence the biodiversity at Lincolnshire nature reserves. Migrating birds, in their search for breeding, resting, and feeding spots, contribute to the area’s ecosystem. Their presence also aids in seed dispersal, pest control, and pollination, promoting the overall health and balance of these habitats.

Which bird species that migrate from the UK are typically spotted in autumn?

In autumn, several bird species migrate from the UK to warmer climates or to find feasible feeding grounds. Commonly spotted species include swallows, house martins, and certain warblers. Conversely, some birds, like geese and ducks, arrive in the UK during this season to escape the harsher winters of their primary habitats.

What resources are available for real-time updates on bird sightings in Lincolnshire?

To stay updated on the latest bird sightings around Lincolnshire, check out social media platforms and websites dedicated to the cause, you can also go to Lincolnshire Bird Club Latest News for updates and sightings. Joining birdwatching groups or participating in organised events can also provide real-time updates on various species and their migration patterns.