Northumberland, England’s most Northerly county can perhaps lay claim to be England’s last wilderness. With nearly 100km of coastline rising to vast areas of moorland and peat bog Northumberland offers a range of habitat and diverse birdlife. The Cheviot Hills rise to 800m in the North and in the west amid vast coniferous plantation lies Kielder Water Europe’s largest man made lake.
Northumberland is perhaps best known for the seabird colonies on the Farne Islands and they are certainly worth a visit with huge numbers of breeding Common & Arctic Tern, Kittiwake, Puffin and Shag. Further South Coquet Island holds an internationally important colony of Roseate Terns and whilst landing is prohibited there are boat trips around this small island from Amble.
Northumberland’s coal mining heritage has left its mark on the South East of the county with numerous mining subsidence ponds many of which are now nature reserves. Druridge Bay has several of these ponds including Hauxley, East Chevington, Druridge Pool and Cresswell Pond all Northumberland Wildlife Trust reserves. Between them they have an impressive list of birds and other wildlife.
Northumberland’s inland areas offer an opportunity to connect with many uncommon breeding species such as Black Grouse, Hen Harrier and Goshawk. A dedicated raptor viewpoint at Bakethin in Kielder can offer views of nine different raptors on a good day.
Four hundred species are now on the Northumberland County List of which 251 were recorded in 2007, the last year for which data was published.
Notable records include Wilson's & Swinhoe's Petrels, Slender-billed Curlew, Red Flanked Bluetail, Red-eyed Vireo and Black Faced Bunting.
With so much coastline and offshore islands Northumberland can be a superb location for migrants, Holy Island, The Farnes and Newbiggin are all migrant hotspots with the latter having the added benefit of being an excellent sea watching location.
*See places other birders go Birding...
Owned by the National Trust this mature woodland runs along the River Allen in the South Tyne Valley. Good for woodland species and warblers.
Big Waters, Seaton Burn
Big Waters is the largest subsidence pond in the region, formed by the collapse of deep mine workings. Medieval ridge and furrow grassland supports many herbs including pepper saxifrage. Keys are available (to NWT members only, for £10) to gain access to both of the locked hides, which are otherwise closed to the public.
A private valley in the Cheviot hills West of Wooler. Cars are not allowed without a permit but you can walk down the valley that is about 7 miles long. Good for moorland birds.
Druridge Bay & Pools
An unspoilt beach with a number of mining subsidence ponds behind the dunes. Most have hides. A parking fee is required. Waders, wildfowl and passage migrants. The country park comprises three miles of beautiful beach and sand dunes, plus a large freshwater lake surrounded by woods and meadows.
Farne Islands National nature Reserve
A group of islands which lie offshore from Seahouses. Boat trips go out hourly in the breeding season. High numbers of breeding auks & terns. Also a colony of Grey Seals.
A National Nature Reserve encompassing Fenham Flats, Rossback Sands & Budle Bay. Excellent for waders on the intertidal areas. Passage migrants in Spring & Autumn along the islands footpaths. (Please check the Tide Tables as the island is cut off for 12 hours each day.)
Newbiggin By The Sea
A small town on the coast in SE Northumberland. Church Point is an excellent sea watching point although it can be exposed in a NE gale. The golf course to the North is excellent for Spring & Autumn passage migrants and regularly turns up rarities. (An awful place but with the chance of great birds).
The main fish quay on the River Tyne which is good for Winter Gulls. There is a small private park nearby at Tynemouth which attracts passage migrants. The Fish & chips are marvellous!
St Mary's Island and Curry's Point Local Nature Reserve
St Mary's is a freshwater wetland pond atop the headland which overlooks St Mary's lighthouse at Whitley bay. It is home to a wealth of residential wildlife and for shorebirds roosting on the high tides. This has been a lively year with several rare sightings including avocet, bar-headed goose, white-rumped sandpiper, Wryneck, water rail, and so much more! visiting the pond to rest before continuing their worldwide journey.
Located 1 mile north of Bamburgh Castle the rocks can be found by the white stag painted on them. Excellent in winter for Divers, Grebes & Sea Duck.
2 Knocklaw Park, Rothbury, Northumberland NE65 7PW
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 393
County Bird - Eider Somateria mollissima [The Eider is under the special protection of the Patron Saint of Northumberland - St. Cuthbert, who gave laws to protect it in AD 676 on the Farne Islands - the first protection for any bird, anywhere in Britain. Eiders are still often known locally as Cuddy`s Duck in his honour]
Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder
Bird-life of the Borders
Chapman & Davis Hardcover 280 pages (1 June, 1990) The Spredden Press
ISBN: 1871739101Buy this book from NHBS.com
Birds in Northumbria
Birds in Northumbria Annual report of the Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club. Latest issue is 2009, back issues available from Club Sale Officer - sales are now handled from 6, Glenside, Ellington, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 5LS
Birdwatching on the Northumberland Coast -
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Heritage Coast Edited by Tom Cadwallender 24 pages, colour photos. Northumberland County Council - Softcover | 2007
ISBN: 9781873402252Buy this book from NHBS.com
By John Miles | Whittles Publishing | Paperback | 2012 | 150 pages | 16 Plates - Colour & Black & White Photos & Illustrations
ISBN: 9781849950633Buy this book from NHBS.com
Northumberland's Birds, Part 1
Bryan Galloway and Eric R Meek Series: NORTHUMBERLAND'S BIRDS 49 pages, illus. Natural History Society of Northumbria 1980 her parts avalable
ISBN: 647Buy this book from NHBS.com
The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Northumbria
Northumberland and Tyneside Bird Club 468 pages, 36 col photos, line illus, maps. Northumberland and Tyneside Bird Club 2003
Where to Watch Birds: Northeast England
by Dave Britton & John Day [2nd Edition] Christopher Helm 2004 ?16.99p
See Fatbirder Review
ISBN: 0713638478Buy this book from NHBS.com
Guides & Tour Operators
Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…
Footsteps - Patrick & Louise Norris
Before my wife Louise and I set up Footsteps, I worked as a countryside ranger/manager for 20 years. In that role, I had to understand a great deal about the British countryside and I bring that knowledge to Footsteps and share it with you as we walk on the Northumberland Coast, in the Northumberland National Park and in the countryside between the two. So, if you want to know what that bird is, the tree or wildflower that we come across on our walks, then I’m there to identify those features and enhance the experience of your Footsteps guided walk in Northumberland...
Northern Experience Wildlife Tours
Northern Experience Wildlife Tours is a Northumberland based nature tourism company…
Northumbrian Wildlife Tours
Northumbrian Wildlife Tours run exclusive guided bird and wildlife watching walks including the innovative and challenging Water, Wildlife & Walking day a combined boat and 12km guided walk between Seahouses and Craster….
Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours
A variety of flexible trips to and around the islands. Andrew Douglas is a passionate birder and photographer, who often goes the extra mile (often literally!) to show guests spectacular sightings....
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
2007 [10 October] - Noel Harvey
t our first stop, Hauxley Nature Reserve, we were delighted by a score of Tree Sparrows, some using the nut feeders beside the Reception building and we watched Kingfisher, Greenshank, Curlew, Golden Plover, Snipe, Wigeon and all the usual residents of small lakes, as well as a steady autumn influx of Fieldfares, Redwings and Blackbirds arriving from Scandinavia and refuelling in the sheltered trees and scrub….
2008 [05 May] - Nick Mason
Afer lunch we headed further north to a quiet moorland site that was home to one of England’s rarest breeding birds, the Hen Harrier. Protection of this site by a partnership of organisations has helped to give a rare opportunity to glimpse the breeding habits of this superb bird and, after a long walk, we were treated to the male harrier arriving with food and then passing it in mid-air to the female bird…
2008 [12 December] - Nick Mason - Northumberland Coast
…red-breasted Merganser, Golden Plover, Common Scoter on the sea and, for a lucky few, a Bittern proved to be some of the morning’s bird highlights…
2009 [05 May] - Nick Mason - North East England (Northumberland, Durham & Cleveland)
Bright sunshine and a gentle easterly greeted our arrival at Seahouses on the Northumberland coast. A quick look at the harbour rocks gave us Oystercatcher and Turnstone. The dual island boat trip headed out to Staple Island first, with hundreds of auks giving great views from the boat as we approached their nesting rock stacks.
2009 [12 December] - Nick Mason
A short coach ride from the hotel we began birding at Amble harbour. Overlooking the Coquet Estuary, the harbour wall gave us a good vantage point. The resident Eiders paid us close attention, hoping for titbits. A range of waders were roosting on the estuary banks at the height of the tide…
Places to Stay
*St Cuthbert’s House B&B
Awarded VisitEngland's 'Best B&B in England 2014'. Jeff & Jill Sutheran are passionate about the landscape and wildlife of the Northumberland Coast AONB. St Cuthberts House is just a stroll from Seahouses harbour, where boats leave for the Farne Islands, and they have lots of local knowledge to help you get the most from your trip. Seahouses is centrally positioned for exploring further afield in Northumberland too.…
Beach House Hotel - Seahouses
The Beach House Hotel is family run, and is praised for its relaxed home from home atmosphere, which the new found owners Malcolm and Hazel have striven to create. In its idealic location the hotel is set back from one of the most beautiful stretches of heritage coastline that Northumberland has to offer. The golden sands stretch to the neighbouring village of Bamburgh, where one of the most magnificent castles in England can be explored. The lounge, dining room and bar boast panoramic views of the Farne Islands, situated 3 miles out to sea. The Farnes are now a nature reserve, which are home to a large seal colony, and many different species of seabirds including Puffins, Cormorants and Oyster Catchers.
Beacon Hill Holiday Cottages
A selection of 15 of the best luxury holiday cottages Northumberland has to offer. Each holiday cottage has been awarded a 4-5 star rating. Each cottage is self catering and is set on a large farm surrounded by idyllic countryside and scenic views….
When you arrive at the Bell at Belford you experience a tradition of over 250 years of catering for the needs of visitors to magnificent Northumberland. The hotel has been privately owned for some years now and during this time extensive refurbishment has brought out the original elegance of the old Coaching Inn, whilst retaining the modern comforts of today. Your bedroom, of course, is en suite, has colour television, telephone and all the other facilities that today`s traveller naturally expects.
Budle Bay Campsite
Budle Bay Campsite for Caravans, Motorhomes,Camping, 14 bunk bedded Bunkhouse and 4/5 people Eco Tents all available at affordable prices We are situated in Warren Mill village opposite the Chesterhill Slakes in Budle Bay, an ideal birdwatching area. The site is only 5 miles from Seahouses where boats leave for the Farne Islands and approx 10 miles to Holy Island…
Cheviot Holiday Cottages
Cheviot Holiday Cottages are 5 Stars, award-winning, luxury, self-catering holiday cottages set in the heart of the Northumbrian countryside. Superbly located for walks and leisure on the edge of Northumberland National Park, our holiday cottages offer peace and tranquility combined with outstanding luxury self-catering accommodation…
Coquet Cottages - Warkworth
We have several luxury 5 Star holiday cottages in Warkworth, we have many bird watchers and walkers stay with us, as there are so many great places nearby of great interest to them. Our cottages have lots of reference books of interest to birdwatchers and many of the cottages are located directly facing onto the Coquet Estuary, which is a wonderful place to watch local and migratory birds…
Coquet Vale Hotel
The Coquet Vale retains that friendly informality and reputation for value that has become its hallmark. This, in addition to its outstanding cuisine, has earned it an enviable reputation with both locals and visitors alike. Traditional Northumberland beef dishes and good English fare, are always on hand to ensure that our guests and visitors are well fed and comfortable.
Keepers Cottage - Bonnyrigg Hall
A beautifully converted former gamekeeper's cottage which offers peaceful, luxury accommodation for 4 people. Set in 15 acres of woodland and garden grounds, it offers views of Hadrian's Wall and is situated in the Northumbrian uplands with a very diverse bird population. Greenlee Lough National Nature Reserve is less than half a mile, which includes a bird hide maintained by the National Park…. Includes 4 poster bed and Jacuzzi bath. This luxury rural holiday accommodation has recently been awarded ETB 5 Star.
Lindisfarne & Budle Bay Holiday Cottages
Welcome to Lindisfarne and Budle Bay Holiday Cottages, the perfect choice for a luxury self-catering cottage holiday in Northumberland. Choose from two outstanding coastal locations: close to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne or at Budle Bay near Bamburgh…
Quality self catering cottages throughout Northumberland and the Borders. Discover breathtaking expanses of golden beach, superb castles, scenic valleys and wild moorland and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of an area of great natural beauty, steeped in Borders History.
Make your holiday £ go further in 2009. Holiday in one of our quality Northumbrian Cottages.
Whitelee Holiday Cottages
Whitelee Holiday Cottages offer four-star self-catering accommodation in a wonderful location within the hills of the Northumberland National Park. The three holiday cottages overlook Whitelee Fell National Nature Reserve, one of the largest reserves in the country, and only two miles from the Scottish border…
Friends of Red Kites in the North East of England
The Friends Group was established in 2009 to encourages an active interest and community involvement in the protection and welfare of the red kite…
Natural History Society of Northumberland
The Society`s aims are to promote and encourage the study and protection of flora and fauna in the north-east of England…
North Northumberland Bird Club
Welcome to the website of the North Northumberland Bird Club. We are a friendly club for anybody living in or visiting north Northumberland who is interested in wild birds, irrespective of level of knowledge, experience or skill. The Club holds very popular Indoor Meetings and arranges Field Trips monthly. Information on these and other activities and projects are included in the regular newsletter all members receive as part of their subscription. If you would like to join the Club, please go to theMembership page for details of membership benefits and the application form.....
Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club
Birds in Northumbria Annual report of the Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club. Latest issue is 2005, back issues available from Club Sale Officer - 6, Glenside, Ellington, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 5LS
Northumberland Wildlife Trust
Northumberland Wildlife Trust is the largest voluntary organisation concerned with all aspects of nature conservation in Northumberland, Newcastle Upon Tyne and North Tyneside. The Wildlife Trust manages over 60 nature reserves, each one a special place for wildlife. It also runs important species conservation projects such as Red Alert which aims to save the red squirrel. Through working with and advising businesses, landowners and local authorities, the Wildlife Trust ensures that the needs of wildlife and the local environment are heard…
Gosforth Park Nature Reserve
The Society manages a nature reserve in Gosforth Park which has a shallow lake, extensive reedbeds and mixed woodlands. Hides and board walks enable members to view waterfowl, migrating waders, reedbed birds and a wide range of woodland birds and mammals. The reserve has a large population of roe deer and a thriving community of red squirrels…
List of reserves and locations etc.
Forums & Mailing Lists
To post to list: NorthEastBirding@yahoogroups.co.uk
List contact: NorthEastBirdingfirstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe to list: NorthEastBirdingemail@example.com
This group is for everyone interested in birds and birding in North East England (Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, County Durham, Cleveland, North Yorkshire). It is a discussion forum for all aspects of birding - sightings, trip reports, census work, personality profiles, bird race and Big Day records, lists - and jokes. Although its primary focus is birding in the North East, all other bird-related topics are welcome. However, this is NOT a forum for character assassination, slander or libel.
I have been interested in all aspects of wildlife for over thirty years.I live on the western edge of Morpeth, quite close to the river wansbeck. I am middle aged and miserable (so my wife says). I work many weekends so most of my free time occurs through the week. My local patch is the Morpeth area flanking the Wansbeck and it's tributaries. I also regularly visit ponds a few miles east of Morpeth. despite being a few miles inland they are good birding spots and host a huge veriety of wildlife…
This is my birding blog. It's a place for me to share what little birding I manage to do these days and dispel the myth that I am from Brigadoon. It's a space for my birding notebook, diary and thoughts all rolled into one. It's a place to park stuff and leave it so it doesn't fester. It's for the ones that i'm not quite 100% about (and there will be many trust me)…
New to the area and just exploring the local sites. Keeping an eye open for everything that moves – be it birds, butterflies, mammals, reptiles etc. and some things that dont, like castles…
Boulmer Birder - Stewart Sexton
Wildlife and stuff around Howick Village and beyond…
I have lived in Cramlington all my life and started birding properly three years ago. I do most of my birding in Cramlington, (mostly West Hartford) but do get out into Northumberland when I am not to busy…
Druridge Pools - Ipin's Wildlife Blog
A blog dedicated to the wildlife I find on my local patch - Druridge Pools. I live in Ellington, four miles from Druridge Pools, I can be there in 6 minutes flat if a MEGA turns up…
The natural world is in my blood, I have the 'gene' some people may say, there is no better feeling than being in the wilderness and knowing what exists within it, whether it is within a garden, stretch of green belt, or the remoter parts of Scotland, I hope, one day, to become truly part of the wild. Living in West Monkseaton has put me on the doorstep of some amazing places within Northumberland, particulary Holywell Pond, Dene, and the Deleval estate…
John Malloy - Birding Sometimes
Grumpy birder / photographer. Complains alot about weight of photography kit - currently struggling to carry a Canon 1DIII / Canon 500mm IS / Canon extenders (1.4/2.0), Canon 100mm - 400mm IS / Wimberley Head and a Lead Tripod. When it's dark, lighting supplied via Canon 580EXII speedlite flash gun, held above the lens with a Wimberley flash bracket. The birds all looked so strange They seemed so far away… Oh, and I like music, alot…
A patch birder, with a passion for nature and an occasional twitch…
A blog of my avian adventures in Northumberland and occasionally beyond…
… and thank you for visiting my blog, describing my wildlife wanderings in Northumberland and elswhere. I do hope you will find my observations interesting…
Birds, birding and wildlife around Northumberland, Durham etc…
Prestwick Carr Wanderings
Is an area of lowland mire located seven miles north west of Newcastle u Tyne on the edge of the villages of Dinnington and Prestwick which lie at either end of Newcastle International Airport. The Carr, meaning swamp or marsh, is well known for its natural history and was a tourist attraction for the richer people of Newcastle in the 1700's….
Northumberland Coast Birding - Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do…
This blog is about the natural world as i find it, mostly in the county of Northumberland…
Birding Diary of an Exiled Liverpudlian and his West Hartford Wanderings…
Yellowbelly in Exile
The ramblings of a recycled teenager, mainly about birding excursions, but no doubt occasionally including musings about life in general…
Big Waters is the largest subsidence pond and one of the largest bodies of open water within South East Northumberland with surrounding fen and carr. The topography is generally flat, and slightly rising to the Northeast. Big Waters covers an area of almost 50 hectares, which includes the lake, stream, ponds, marshland, grassland and woodland. Included in this are facilities for walking, picnicking, fishing, bird watching and nature studies.
Bird Watching at Holywell Ponds & Dene
Holywell pond is a result of mining subsidence and is surrounded by grassland. The main interest is ornithological, in particular over-wintering migrant species which are attracted by the pond's proximity to the coast. Breeding species include little grebe, pochard, greylag goose and sedge warbler…
Kielder Bird of Prey Centre
An opportunity to meet, see and hear Owls and Birds of Prey from around the world and learn about the ancient sport of falconry.
Natural Born Birder - Birding North Northumberland
My obsession with birds began on the NE coast of England where I grew up in one of the best birding spots in Northumberland: Stag Rocks at Bamburgh. With Lindisfarne (Holy Island) and the seabird colonies on the Farne Islands visible from the house it was inevitable that birding would form a substantial part of my life. I never had a chance…
Newbiggin by the Sea and Birds
In the world of birdwatching Newbiggin has become a name known up and down the land during the last 13 years although the history of man watching birds goes back as far as the mid Nineteenth century when Hancock (the same one the museum is named after in Newcastle) is thought to have visited…
Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club
Latest sightings in the county…
Poltross Wild Bird Foods
Poltross Wild Bird Foods is a small family business, operated by father and son team José and Martin Guerrero, and mother Muriel, who answers the phone, and keeps everyone else organised! We specialise in supplying quality wild bird foods and accessories to domestic customers in North Cumbria and South Northumberland.
Photographers & Artists
Photographer - Keith Reeder
This site is intended primarily as a place to show some of the pictures I’ve taken with my Canon 30D and 40D cameras and 100-400mm IS lens. Feel free to browse my gallery. I'll also talk about photographic equipment and software, and about whatever else is on my mind. You never know, some of it might be worth reading especially if, like me, you’re a relative beginner…