5 Places to Photograph Birds

Following on from my post last week I thought I would share some of my favourite places to photograph birds. I am also going to share some of the camera settings I use to capture my shots, which may be of interest. 

Where to photograph birds

This is a great time of year to see birds. The leaves have not yet regrown on the trees making them easier to spot. So lets start with where to go. Where are the best places to spot some interesting birds?

photograph birds at WWT Arundel

Bird photography at WWT Arundel

Bird reserves

Last week I talked about my visits to WWT in Arundel which is one of my favourite places to capture images of birds. The reserve is ideally set up for you to get close to the birds without disturbing them. The site has a number of hides as well as different habitats allowing easy bird  photography a wide range of species. I love the conservation work that is being carried out there too, with many endangered species being protected. 

The RSPB reserve in Pulborough is another favourite of mine. Again the site has been created to give the birds ideal habitats in which to thrive. This site is also proud to be one of the nesting sites for the Nightingale.  I have been lucky enough to see some there. 



Parks and public land

You do not need to visit a reserve to capture some beautiful bird photography, however it will improve your chances of seeing certain species. I often spend time out and about on public land hoping to spot something interesting. 

Where I am based in the UK I am fortunate enough to have a wide variety of habitats which allows me to spot a large number of birds.


Photographing birds at Widewater Lagoon - the Little Egret

Photographing birds at Widewater Lagoon – the Little Egret

 The Beach

I live a couple of miles from the beach and find myself there on a regular basis. You get the common gulls there – which I still find fascinating to watch. They either chance their luck stealing fish and chips from unsuspecting visitors or dive into the sea to feed on sea snails. Other species such as crows and Terns also make an appearance in the area. 

Not far from here is a lagoon called Widewater. This is a landlocked brackish lagoon created by the beach spit  which sits between it and the english channel. It is another great place for spotting wildlife. Just a couple of weeks ago a captured this photograph of a Little Egret. 





Little Egret in flight

Little Egret in flight


A short walk from the beach takes me to the local park with a lake. Here it is common to spot, Mallard Ducks, Swans, Moorhens and Coots. 

The Countryside

A few miles to the north of me is the South Downs. There are many walks in the area, such as along the River Arun or River Adur. Here I have spotted Cormorants, Red Kites and Egrets. 





Camera settings

So you want to capture some bird photographs but not sure where to start? I would recommend a camera with a zoom lens to start with. Either a bridge camera or a DSLR with a telezoom lens. This will allow you to get close up images of the birds without disturbing them.

Shutter speed

Next you want to be using a fast shutter speed, as birds tend to move quickly! You want to be starting out at about 1/300 sec but be prepared to up that for the quicker birds. 

Get some bokeh

To create a beautiful soft background you need to open up your aperture as wide as possible. This will create a blurry background, but should keep your bird in focus as there will be some distance between you and your subject. 

Exposure Triangle

To balance out your fast shutter speed and wide aperture you will need to adjust your ISO. This adjusted correctly will ensure you get a perfectly exposed image. Try to keep your ISO low – at about 100 or 200 to prevent getting a grainy image. However you may have to increase this if there is not enough light available.


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