Bird watchers of all abilities will love winter on the Humber Estuary, when huge flocks of visiting waders swirl around the mudflats, resulting in spectacular predator-prey chase scenes. In spring and autumn, Spurn is one of the best places to be to watch bird migration, with huge numbers flying through and rarities waiting to be found!

About the Humber Estuary

The Humber Estuary is a must visit for anyone interested in birds. The character of the estuary changes from the tidal reedbeds of the inner estuary near Goole to the vast mudflats and saltmarshes of the outer estuary, where wildlife and industry exists side by side.

Best places to go

  • RSPB Blacktoft Sands, near Goole, is a well known tidal reedbed, famous for its marsh harriers, bearded tits, bitterns and avocets.
  • YWT Spurn, at the very mouth of the Humber, is renowned for its spectacular position to watch spring and autumn migration, its mudflats that throng with overwintering waders and its sheer feeling of wilderness all year round. Just 5 minute's away you will also find YWT Kilnsea Wetlands, a fantastic spot to see breeding waders in summer, and roosting waders at high tide in winter.
  • YWT Paull Holme Strays, east of Hull, is another fantastic spot to watch overwintering megaflocks of waders, with regular sightings of over 20,000 knot and dunlin feeding on the mudflats.

Staying along the Humber Estuary? Try these nearby hotspots

  • Just 30 minutes' drive from RSPB Blacktoft Sands, YWT North Cave Wetlands is a natural partner for a full day out. Visit for avocets, mega flocks of ducks and dragonflies and damselflies.
  • Or take a look at the interactive map below - use the white 'list' icon in the left hand corner of the map to select what you are interested in. To view this map full screen click here.

Travelling times (by car)

From Hull: 1 hour to YWT Spurn; 1 hour to RSPB Blacktoft Sands

From York: 2 hours to YWT Spurn; 1 hour to RSPB Blacktoft Sands

From Beverley: 1 and a half hours to YWT Spurn; 1 hour to RSPB Blacktoft Sands

From Bridlington: 1 and a half hours to YWT Spurn; 1 and a half hours to RSPB Blacktoft Sands

Spurn Safaris

4x4 off-road vehicle safari trips run at Spurn National Nature Reserve on selected weekends throughout the year (every weekend tides permitting during school holidays). For more info, visit the YWT website or download leaflet.

Spurn Unimog vehicle © Andy Mason