Wildfowl, shorebirds and other winter visitors such as thrushes, finches and buntings will be the main focus of interest on this late winter birdwatching weekend and there is always the possibility of scarcer visitors from the north and east if the weather has been particularly hard in previous weeks. The best local sites include the Stour and Orwell estuaries, Alton Water and Abberton reservoirs, which between them hold thousands of overwintering birds.

However, if there’s a touch of spring in the air we may also take to the woods or heathlands to look and listen for early breeding season activity! The emphasis will be on helping everyone feel more confident about identifying birds and understanding behaviour and migration patterns. Skills learned during the day are reviewed through a variety of evening activities. The course is equally suitable for those new to birdwatching and those with more experience.

Tutor: Geoff Abbott

Geoff Abbott has worked as an Education Officer with the RSPB at their Head Office in Bedfordshire and is also a former member of FSC Flatford Mill staff. He regularly leads several FSC courses each year and is well known for his thorough and patient approach to teaching identification skills.

Bring a friend!

If you are attending a course at Flatford Mill at the sole occupancy price, we are offering a special rate for a friend or partner not enrolled on the course to also stay at £50 per night for dinner, bed and breakfast.

Please contact FSC Flatford Mill on 01206 297110 or [email protected] to book this offer.

Example Timetable

Our movements over the weekend will very much depend on the weather and the state of the tide. These are important considerations when planning a day’s birdwatching.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Full Board Accommodation
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • In Course Transport

Before You Attend

What to Bring

  • Binoculars are essential.  Standard specifications are 8x30 or 8x40.  The first figure relates to the magnification, the second is the diameter (in millimetres) of the larger lens.  Magnification between 7x and 10x is strongly recommended – anything larger is not suitable for birdwatching.  Check that the view offered by your binoculars is clear and free from distortion.  There will be a chance on the course to discuss binoculars and how to get the best from them.
  • A notebook and pencil are useful.
  • The course will involve some walking on both days.  This will not be too strenuous, but will be along footpaths and trackways, which on occasions may be muddy.  Strong, comfortable walking boots are therefore important, as is a good selection of warm and weatherproof clothing, including hats, scarves and gloves..... in natural colours please ....no bright reds or yellows! The Centre has a stock of waterproof tops, trousers and wellingtons, which may be hired if needed.
  • If you are a member of the RSPB or Wildlife Trusts eg Essex and Suffolk, please bring your membership cards.  Non-members will be asked to pay the current non-member entry fee.  (Please note that permit fees, applicable to nature reserves visited during your stay, will be in addition to accommodation/tuition fees paid to FSC).

Recommended Reading 

  • We have copies of a wide range of guides at the Centre, but a recommended one is Pocket Guide to the Birds of Britain and North West Europe by Chris Kightley, Steve Madge and Dave Nurney, (published by Pica Press/BTO).

Sorry this course has ended