Planning a visit.

We're planning a short stay at Minsmere next year and was wondering what time of the year to go to give ourselves the best chance of seeing a Bittern or Nightingale? 

Many thanks.


  • Hi Steve
    We look forward to welcoming you to Minsmere.
    Bitterns are present throughout the year and can be seen at any time, though patience is often required. Your best chance of (almost) guaranteeing a sightings is when the females are feeding young - June to mid July - as they fly much more frequently. April and early May can be a good time to see males chasing females around the reedbed. January to April are usually best for sightings on the ground at Island Mere or Bittern Hide, but autumn is better in some years, and August was good at Wildlife Lookout this year. You should hear booming bitterns from early March (or earlier) to mid May.
    For nightingale it's a much easier question to answer. The first migrants arrive in mid April and they finish singing before the end of May, so you have about six weeks. They are always very difficult to see, but should be heard throughout the day during that limited season. Sightings are marginally easier early in the season - so third week of April is a good time to try (unless it's a late spring as it was this year). In recent years, Westleton Heath has been the most reliable location.
    Happy planning
  • In reply to Ian Barthorpe:

    Thank you Ian, we'll look at those times.
  • Thank you Ian. Such useful information to be squirreled away until I next plan a visit. Minsmere is such a lovely reserve to wander through, and then there is the sea!!

    Birdie's DU Summaries 2018