Red Grouse Lagopus lagopus scotica ©Keith Reeder Website

The Northumberland recording area includes the traditional county in North East England (areas 68 and 68 in the Watsonian scheme)) and the conurbation of North Tyneside and Newcastle upon Tyne with the Tyne forming the border with Co. Durham. It is the northernmost county of England, it borders Cumbria to the west, County Durham to the south and the Scottish Borders to the north. To the east is the North Sea coastline with a 64-mile (103 km) long distance path

Birding Northumberland

Being England’s most Northerly county it can perhaps lay claim to be England’s last wilderness. With so much 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. Over four hundred species are now on the Northumberland County List. 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.

Top Sites
  • Allen Banks

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    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

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    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.
  • College Valley

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    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

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    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

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    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.
  • Holy Island

    PDF ArticleSatellite View
    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

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    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).
  • North Shields/Tynemouth

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    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 Conservation Area (Inc. Curry's Point Local Nature Reserve)

    InformationSatellite View
    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.
  • Stag Rocks

    WebpageSatellite View
    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.
  • Alan Tilmouth


  • Chris Edwards

    North Tyneside |

County Recorder
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 400+

    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]
Useful Reading

  • Birdwatching on the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Heritage Coast

    | Edited by Tom Cadwallender | Northumberland County Council | 2007 | Paperback | 24 pages, colour photos | Out of Print | ISBN: 9781873402252 Buy this book from
  • Hadrian’s Wildlife

    | By John Miles | Whittles Publishing | 2012 | Paperback | 150 pages | 16 Plates - Colour & Black & White Photos & Illustrations | ISBN: 9781849950633 Buy this book from
  • Northumbria Bird Atlas

    | Edited by Tim Dean, Dick Myatt, Muriel Cadwallender & Tom Cadwallender | Northumberland and Tyneside Bird Club | 2015 | Hardback | 512 pages, colour photos, colour distribution maps | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780955740664 Buy this book from
  • The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Northumbria

    | Northumberland and Tyneside Bird Club | 2003 | Hardback | 468 pages, 36 col photos, line illustrations, maps | ISBN: 9780953883943 Buy this book from
  • Where to Watch Birds: Northeast England

    | By Dave Britton & John Day | Christopher Helm | 2004 | Paperback | 416 pages, B/w line illustrations, maps | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780713668261 Buy this book from
Useful Information
  • Mobility Scooter Provision Tyne and Wear Reserve

  • Tyne and Wear Accessible Countryside

    Disabled Access, Wheelchair walks, Easy Access, Access for All, Mobility, Walks on Wheels, Miles without Stiles - whatever the term the following is all about accessibility to the countryside and green spaces of Tyne and Wear.
  • 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

    Get involved and become a member of the Natural History Societyand get access to our nature reserve, education courses, field outings, talks, publications, nature conservation, research & more!
  • 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

    The Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club was founded in 1958 and membership is open to all with a beneficial interest in ornithology. The recording area for the club comprises Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • Northumberland Wildlife Trust

    The Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club was founded in 1958 and membership is open to all with a beneficial interest in ornithology. The recording area for the club comprises Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • RSPB Newcastle upon Tyne Local Group

    This is the website of the Newcastle upon Tyne Local Group. RSPB local groups are a great way to meet friendly, like-minded people in your area while learning more about birds and wildlife.

Abbreviations Key

  • CP Weetslade Country Park

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    A former colliery site, this reserve has been extensively landscaped to create a wildlife haven on the edge of the city with a hill, grassland, scrub, reedbed and woodland areas.
  • LNR Big Waters

    WebpageSatellite View
    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.
  • LNR Cresswell Foreshore

    WebpageSatellite View
    Acquired by Northumberland Wildlife Trust in 2006, the site extends up to the sand dunes and is used by a wide variety of wading birds, including turnstone, purple sandpiper, sanderling and ringed plover. The gently sloping sand is backed by extensive sand dunes and can seem to go on forever at low tide. Unspoilt Cresswell beach (one of the best on the Northumberland coast) has achieved a Quality Coast Award and is listed in the Good Beach Guide.
  • LNR Druridge Pools

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    Druridge Pools lies within two miles of Cresswell Village. The site is a former opencast coal mine sold to the Trust by British Coal in 1987, and has become an important addition to Northumberland Wildlife Trust.
  • LNR East Chevington

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    This reserve is still developing having been passed to Northumberland Wildlife Trust following opencast restoration in 2003. The site contains 2 large lakes with fringing reedbeds, grassland and recently planted woodland.
  • LNR Gosforth Nature Reserve

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    One of the best wildlife watching sites in Newcastle and Tyne & Wear, this private nature reserve is important for its rare fauna and flora. The Society has managed Gosforth Park Nature Reserve since 1929. This beautiful 1km x 1km wildlife refuge in the north of Newcastle has a shallow lake, extensive reed bed, mixed woodland and is a tranquil oasis from the city. The reserve is scientifically important for its uncommon flora and fauna, which includes Bittern, Kingfisher, Otter, Red Squirrel, Coral-root Orchid and Purple Hairstreak Butterfly.
  • LNR Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre

    WebpageSatellite View
    Location Near Low Hauxley village Low Hauxley Northumberland NE65 0JR OS Map Reference NU 285 023 A static map of Hauxley Know before you go z Entry fee There is no entry fee but all donations are welcome to help with upkeep of the site and facilities. P Parking information A small parking charge applies for all visitors - visit for more info. Grazing animals Sheep and cows. Walking trails There are good paths leading to all hides and a circular walk around the reserve. Access There is an accessible 1km route to 2 accessible hides. Please note: If using a sat nav, the Centre postcode will take you to Low Hauxley village. Please follow road signs to the Centre from here, we share an access drive with Silver Carrs Caravan Park. View the Accessibility Guide for Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre & Nature Reserve Dogs No dogs permitted We are sorry but no dogs other than guide and assistance dogs are permitted at the Wildlife Discovery centre or on Hauxley nature reserve. Research has shown that even just the presence of dogs disturbs the wildlife. i Facilities Visitor centre Bird hides Toilets Shop Cafe/refreshments Picnic area Accessible toilet Baby changing facilities Outdoor play area Wifi When to visit Opening times Winter opening: Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre and reserve is open daily from 09:00 to 16:30. Please note we will lock the car park 16:30. Best time to visit All year round About the reserve The reserve has recently been extensively remodelled and extended, and the latest addition, the new eco-friendly Wildlife Discovery Centre, has been a labour of love constructed by an army of dedicated volunteers. Believe it or not, it really is a straw-bale building and has a number of other highly innovative ‘green’ features that make it an appropriate home for a Wildlife Trust team. The reserve attracts a wide variety of birds from tree sparrow, reed bunting and bull finch to coot, moorhen and curlew. Spring and autumn boost our bird sightings and we regularly see 140 bird species in a year. You might even see our red squirrels, stoats and otters. It has recently been extensively remodelled and extended, and the latest addition, the new eco-friendly Wildlife Discovery Centre, has been a labour of love constructed by an army of dedicated volunteers.
  • LNR Havannah Nature Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    Havannah Nature Reserve lies to the west of the village of Hazlerigg, approximately five miles north of the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne in the north of England. It was declared a nature reserve in 1998 and is designated a Site of Local Conservation Interest. A wildlife corridor runs through the site.
  • LNR Holywell Pond

    WebpageSatellite View
    A pond surrounded by grassland, used by over-wintering migrant birds which are attracted by the pond's proximity to the coast. Breeding species include little grebe, pochard, greylag goose and sedge warbler. In winter, widgeon, godeneye and tufted duck are joined by greenshank, green sandpiper, amongst other rarities.
  • NNR Farne Islands

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    National Nature Reserve home to an internationally important breeding colony of thousands of seabirds and grey seals.
  • NP Northumberland National Park

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    …a landscape of limitless beauty and communities that are warm and genuine. Welcome to Northumberland National Park, the land of the far horizons…
  • RSPB Coquet Island

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    Coquet Island maybe small but it boasts Britain’s largest colony of Roseate Tern and is an important RSPB Seabird Sanctuary. Approximately 90% of the UK’s population of nesting Roseate Tern choose Coquet island. These are joined by thousands of Arctic, Common and Sandwich Terns, together with one of our favourite seabirds the Puffin.
  • WWT Washington Wetland Centre

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    While other parts of the natural world hibernate, WWT Washington comes to life in winter.
Sightings, News & Forums
  • Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club

    Most sightings in our county are shared using social media at this time. The Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club has it’s own Twitter Account @NTBirdClub. Anyone wishing to share sightings or bird related news, please include @NTBirdClub in your tweet.
  • Northumberland County Rare Bird Alert

    7-Day Summary
  • eBird

Guides & Tour Operators
  • Billy Shiel's Boat Trips

    Boat Trips
    The 'Shiel' family (Billy Shiel's father) started taking boat trips to the Farne Islands in 1918 - just after the First World War.
  • Dave Gray’s Puffin Cruises

    Boat Trips
    Welcome to Dave Gray’s Puffin Cruises, a family run business operating boat trips out to Coquet Island, sailing from the dock steps at Amble harbour for over 40 years.
  • Footsteps - Patrick & Louise Norris

    The Best Guided Walks in Northumberland
  • Northern Experience Wildlife Tours

    Tour Operator
    Northern Experience Wildlife Tours is a Northumberland based nature tourism company
  • Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours

    Boat Trips
    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....
Trip Reports
  • 2017 [06 June] - Wingspan

    PDF Report
    ... We walked down through the village, passed the ruins of the ancient Priory and up on the bank to view the channel between theisland and the mainland. We found a dozen or so Goosanders loafing on the rocks, also Oystercatchers, some of the common gulls and a huge group of Grey Seals lying on a sand-bar.
  • 2019 [06 June] - Tim Dean

    PDF Report
    ...Most of the group were picked up at Newcastle Station at 2pm and we were soon wending our way out of Newcastle on the A189 north-east to Cresswell Pond, one of the Northumberland Wildlife Trust reserves and important on the itinerary for the breeding Avocets here...
  • 2023 [06 June] - Julie Hogg - Northumberland hills and coast

    It was another bright promising start as ten members gathered in a car park near Wooler, before entering the Harthope Valley. After taking one vehicle further upstream, we began walking south-east along the course of the Harthope Burn. Grey Wagtail were around the water, while Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps sang in adjacent trees...
Places to Stay
  • 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
  • Budle Bay Campsite

    Budle Bay Campsite for Caravans, Motorhomes,Camping, 14 bunk bedded Bunkhouse and 4/5 people Eco Tents all available at affordable pricesWe 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
  • Northumbrian Cottage

    Make your holiday
Other Links
  • 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
  • Northumberland Coast Birding

    The Northumberland coast is a birdwatchers paradise. In the summer internationally important numbers of seabirds come to the here to breed. In the autumn, hungry and tired migrant birds stop off to feed for their onward journey and in the winter, wildfowl and waders come from their northern breeding grounds to spend the winter here.
  • Alan Tilmouth - Words About Birds

    I'm a birder based in Northumberland, I've had a passion for nature and birds ever since childhood, I suspect spending weekends in the valleys of the Cheviots and some of Northumberland's great beaches rubbed off on me. Later, as a wandering teenager, exploring the semi-industrial coastal landscapes around South East Northumberland just reinforced my love of outdoors.
  • Ilpin - Druridge Diary

    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…
  • Jonathan Farooqi - Jonny's Birding Blog

  • Killy Birder

    A patch birder, with a passion for nature and an occasional twitch…
  • Stewart Sexton - Boulmer Birder

    Wildlife and stuff around Howick Village and beyond…

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