Some of Northumberland’s Birds and where to see them
Bamburgh is central to this area and an idea base for birding without having to travel far)
Tweed Estuary, Berwick: walking along north bank from town: the famous Tweed herd of Mute Swans parties of Goldeneye, Goosander; at low tide – various waders (e.g. Lapwing, Redshank. Oystercatcher) and Grey Heron.
Berwick Harbour: as above, plus winter Divers – Great Northern and/or Red-throated, occasional auks.
Spittal Point & south to Cocklawburn: good views of the sea-scape, sightings of Divers and sea duck.
Berwick Little Beach: ( north side of north pier) good for variety of up to 10 species of wader. Merganser. Red-throated Divers and more on the sea …..
Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve: Holy Island: this is a must for anyone visiting Northumberland. (TIDES must be CHECKED). Internationally important numbers of Pale-bellied Brent Geese winter here. Geese and sometimes Whooper Swans might be found in the fields at the landward end of the causeway. As one arrives on the causeway a variety of waders can be seen left and right, especially as one leaves the island as the tides flows in (a sight in itself). Once on the island a circular walk can be taken. Starting at the church inspect St Cuthbert’s Island (S.W. corner of Holy Island), continue to the ‘Heugh’, which over looks the channel between the island and the peninsula of mainland at Guile Point – wintering Grebes, Divers and duck can be found here. Continue to the harbour, checking for waders on the shore. Aim to visit Holy Island Lough which is a small loch with a hide, near the north-eastern corner of the island. which provides a welcome stopping point when exploring this bird-rich island. Along the two tracks (the Straight Lonnen and the Crooked Lonnen), which enable a circular walk, migrant passerines and vagrants can be found – look carefully in the hawthorn bushes for these. Short-eared Owls frequent this area and Merlin and Peregrine can often be seen.
Budle Bay: (part of above LNNR & Ramsar site) highly recommended and is viewed from wide verge near interpretation board – a spectacular place (mini Wash) for any coastal or sea bird, plus rarities. A variety of waders, gulls and duck (in the channels) when the tide is out. Geese roost here at dusk. Make best use the height advantage by viewing from the white railings at the roadside rather than descending to the shore line where you risk disturbing the birds on the mudflats and nearby channels.
Seahouses Harbour: Always very close views of Eider. Sometimes Goldeneye, Glaucous Gull and more.
Beadnell Harbour: this shelter attracts Eider, Goldeneye and sometimes Divers.
Newton-bv-the-Sea: Hide and Scrape ; the hide is a National Trust one and looks over freshwater pond; the hide has a ramp for disabled access. It is located behind the dunes at the southern end of Newton Haven. At the junction of the B1339 and the Bl340 (1.25m]) north of Embleton, take the minor road east to Newton-by-the-Sea, passing through High Newton to Low Newton where a car park is located at the top of a rise. A path leads behind the ‘square’ to a scrape and the small reserve.
Soon on the right you will see the scrape that was the idea of a local birder. This has become a vary important site with a wide variety of waders, including breeding Avocets.
The hide site has surrounding shrubs which are good for warblers in spring and in autumn the water with ducks, geese, waders at the pond; listen for Water Rail too. The reed beds have been the site of breeding Marsh Harriers
College Valley: Liz Harrison’s Guide to this valley in the heart of the Cheviots
Harthope Valley: Stewart McCormick’s Guide to this fine valley close to Wooler
Hauxlev Nature Reserve a Northumberland WildlifeTrust Reserve.
Location: (O.S.NU282024) just south of Amble from the A 1068 (0.25ml south of the last roundabout leaving Amble towards Washington) a brown tourist sign indicates Hauxley Reserve, via High Hauxley village. The final turn is on a bend signing “Silver Carrs Caravan Park”. This is a large reserve with several hides bordering onto the coast.
Druridge Bav and Cresswell Pond are Northumberland Wildlife Reserves, with hides, offering good birding; however these are slightly further away.
The guides below have been written by member Steve Newman (SN), who is a professional writer and photographer. The articles are reproduced here by permission of the publisher, H Bauer. The magazine can be can be found at http://www.birdwatching.co.uk
There are many other wonderful places locally to see a rich diversity of birds. Two publications recommended are: “Birdwatching on the Northumberland coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Heritage Coast” (published by Northumberland County Council) and “Where to Watch Bird in Northeast England” (Britton D. & Day J.).
Please observe The Birdwatchers Code: Avoid going too close to birds or disturbing their habitats – if a bird flies away or makes repeated alarm calls, you’re too close. If it leaves you won’t get a good view of it anyway.