As birdwatching swoops into the top trends for 2017 lists, Gemma Dunn rounds up five fabulous trips for twitchers

We're used to retro trends having a resurgence, but birdwatching? Not exactly something you'd expect the the 'influencers' and 'followers' to be getting in a flap about - but the sedate hobby is set to soar to new heights this year, thanks to celebs like Blur's Damon Albarn and presenter Alex Zane confessing their fondness for the pursuit.

Not convinced? LA's uber-trendy Ace Hotel is hosting regular 'Birds and Booze' events, and there's talk of a first-ever Bird Festival in London this spring, supported by David Lindo, aka 'The Urban Birder'.

Don't wing it if you're keen to get involved, however - grab a pair of binoculars and take flight on one of these brilliant UK birder's holidays...


Earmarked as the UK's leading wildlife tour specialist, few organise birdwatching trips better than Naturetrek. Directed by an ornithologist, a three-day break in Gloucestershire's Forest of Dean - England's second largest expanse of ancient woodland, at 100 square km - promises to be as informative as it is fun. Taking place in March or May, trekkers can expect to spy anything from flocks of siskin and redpoll to hawfinch, as well as declining species such as the lesser spotted woodpecker. Alternatively, hotfoot it to the Somerset Levels, where your holiday will coincide with both the breeding season and spring migration. Highlights include summer-plumage passage waders, a riot of birdsong (including 10 species of warbler!), and breeding garganey, bittern and marsh harrier. (


If you're after a knowledgeable tour guide, you'll struggle to find anyone more dedicated than David Rosair, a professional ornithologist and author of Photographic Guide To The Waders Of The World. The Kent-based twitcher has more than 25 years' experience in birdwatching and wildlife exploits via his family-owned company Island Ventures. Pick from a vast selection of UK locations, including the Outer Hebrides and Skye, Scottish Highlands, Dorset and the unique Isles of Scilly - a hub of wildlife off the tip of the Cornish peninsula, and a must in either spring or autumn. In May, look out for migrant birds such as the great northern diver, whimbrel and more, while in September, raise your binoculars to spot raptors, waders, pipits and wagtails. (


With its diverse habitat and rich coastline, Norfolk - often dubbed the 'birdwatching capital of Britain' - has plenty to offer both the novice and avid birder. Think first-class nature reserves on the famous Broads; a stretching coastline, rich with fresh, salt marsh and reed beds; and more feathered varieties than you can jot down in your journal. And the best part: the fun continues all year round if you sign up to one of Chris Mills' Norfolk Birding Tours. An expert in birding and photographing wildlife, Mills' events are suitable for all, and vary between three-five days each season. Expect to see anything from common barn owls and hunting kingfishers, to Norfolk specialities such as the marsh harrier, bittern and stone curlews. (


Awarded 'Best Nature Based Experience' by Visit Scotland, Aigas Field Centre is Scotland's internationally acclaimed centre for nature study and wildlife holidays. Focusing on the natural heritage of The Highlands, the wild estate - the very same spot to host BBC's Autumnwatch and Winterwatch programmes - with its fresh water lochs and native woodlands, offers up a tantalising backdrop for birders all year round, and a schedule of special events from April until the end of October. Book early to catch a glimpse of the spring migrants - the wheatear, ring ouzel and swallow, plus rarities such as the white-billed diver and famous red grouse. Listen to the dawn chorus sung brilliantly by chats, pipits and tits; watch golden eagles on their nest; and embark on a trip to Handa Island to marvel at seabirds, including puffins and skuas. (


Run by dynamic duo Neil Donaghy and Ashley Saunders, Oriole's tours operate in a relaxed, fun atmosphere. And as well as offering eagle-eyed birders the chance to travel to far-flung destinations, the operator offers a great package of UK-based birdwatching and wildlife holidays too - with specialities in Norfolk and South Wales. The latter, an often overlooked birder setting, offers a series of annual trips, including 'Birdsong' and 'Spring Migration', 'Summer Wildlife', 'Autumn Migration' and 'Late Migration' and 'Winter Wildfowl', during which you can expect to see approximately 110 species, such as swallows and birds of prey, across the coastal wetlands, tranquil valleys and headlands. (