When to birdwatch at estuaries?

Hopefully this is the right place to ask this.

I've been trying to find the best time (or tide height) to birdwatch at my local estuary. I've gone in the morning (between 6 and 9 am) at both low and high tide. From what I've read elsewhere it seems like high tide is the time to go, but I've personally found that there's less than a 1/4 of birds present than there are at low tide. I think the water comes so far in here that there's not enough space to feed and rest so they go elsewhere?

Does anybody have any advice for a good time to go?

  • More mud means more birds generally, so low tide, especially morning or evening I would say. However, rising tide can push the birds inland for an amazing display (Snettisham on the Norfolk coast is perhaps one of the best known places to see the spectacle)

    ___

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  • Depends where your view point is. Depends on the estuary too. Some places, if the tide is out, you can't see the sea, let alone birds.

  • I personally (mostly) prefer a falling tide. The recently flooded mud is always a good place for feeding birds. As has been said though, it depends on where you are, and also whether it's mud, sand, rocks or whatever. Best idea would be to keep going at different times: high tide, low tide, falling tide, rising tide, and see which is best in your chosen spot.
    You may just find they all have thier merits at different times of the year, and even different weather conditions.

    My bird photos HERE

  • Thanks everyone!

    I hadn't thought of the differences between rising and falling tides. It's mostly mud here and I tend to stand on a raised outcrop that gives me a good view all around without spooking the birds. I'll keep trying different times and any which way, it's always enjoyable to watch what is there.
  • Thanks everyone!

    I hadn't thought of the differences between rising and falling tides. It's mostly mud here and I tend to stand on a raised outcrop that gives me a good view all around without spooking the birds. I'll keep trying different times and any which way, it's always enjoyable to watch what is there.
  • Hi

    it depends WHERE the estuary is- can you give us a name?

    The tide height will dictate WHERE to be not just in terms of proximity to the water but possibly could mean being a mile or so up the coast where thwe waders are roosting- which might be in a field.
    Direction of view might be important because of the sun!

    S

    For advice about Birding, Identification,field guides,  binoculars, scopes, tripods,  etc - put 'Birding Tips'   into the search box

  • In reply to seymouraves:

    Hi seymouraves, it's Dee Estuary/River Dee in Flint, facing East. There's an open stretch of field further up so I'll have a wander up there and see.

    I'll look through the Birding Tips section too - thanks for the advice!
  • In reply to Arik:

    Arik said:
    Hi seymouraves, it's Dee Estuary/River Dee in Flint, facing East. There's an open stretch of field further up so I'll have a wander up there and see.

    I'll look through the Birding Tips section too - thanks for the advice!


    That's Burton Mere area, they're on the north side of the estuary.

    As with the others, around low tide is usually the best time, but other factors will come in to play, weather and sea conditions. If you go to a reserve with lagoons then high tide is probably better, because the birds are pushed to the nearest food source, the reserves lagoon.

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler