Blue tit standing on fence in April

Birdwatching Guide: April

As we come into April, spring is officially here. Lighter evenings, warmer weather- and of course, the return of many species of birds that left Britain for the winter. It's also the month for nesting, so there's lots of activity to be spotted both in gardens and out and about in the countryside. With that in mind, we've picked out a few of our favourite species to spot this month.

Related: Top 10 Best Binoculars for Birdwatching

Goldcrest

The UK's smallest bird, the tiny goldcrest weights a mere 6 grams- that's about as much as a teaspoon of sugar! But despite being so small, the goldcrest is particularly feisty when defending its territory around nesting season. In fact, they're often found fighting their own reflections in windows.

This month is when goldcrests are at their most active, and they can be found all over the country. Although they can be hard to spot due to their size, they are definitely worth getting your binoculars out for. With a distinctive yellow stripe on their head, along with colourful markings on their wingtips, goldcrests certainly live up to their name.

Swallow

The surest sign that winter is now firmly behind us is the return of the swallow to our shores. By April, we are technically in summertime since the clocks have gone forward again, and it's around now that the majority of swallows migrate back to Britain in anticipation of the warmer weather.

Nature's fighter pilots, swallows are among the most agile species of birds. In fact, they spend the majority of their time in flight, as they typically feed on flying insects.

There's no one particular area where swallows will go- they can be found all over the country, although regional populations can vary quite a lot from year to year. If you want to spot them, then your best bet is to head out to open countryside, especially farmland. Not only does this give you a better chance of spotting them, but it's also where they like to nest- under the eaves of barns.

Common Sandpiper

Some sandpipers spend the winter here in the UK, but many spend the season in the warmer climes of Africa, before returning around April. Come summer they will settle around lakes and fast-moving rivers to breed, but this month they can be found pretty much anywhere with water.

Although not the most excitingly-coloured birds, sandpipers are a joy to watch thanks to their distinctive bobbing walk. They also have an easily-recognisable three-note call, which sounds a bit like a giggle.

Blue tit

Finally, we have perhaps the most easily-recognised British garden bird: the blue tit. These colourful garden visitors will be busy nesting this month before their eggs hatch towards the end of April. When that happens, the parents will be extremely busy finding food for their chicks- so it's the perfect time to spot them at a bird feeder!

Out in the countryside, blue tits typically nest in holes in trees. In towns and cities, though, they will be more than happy to make their nests inside bird boxes- another reason to make your garden a bit more bird-friendly.