Bird Watching

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.

Mid-winter can be one of the most productive times for birdwatching in North Northumberland. Much of the interest will be at sea, with Stag Rocks at Bamburgh a reliable site to look for Long-tailed Ducks, Scoters, Divers and Grebes. The Purple Sandpiper flock there regularly reaches three figures at this time of year, so be sure to scan the rocks at the water’s edge for these unassuming waders.

A walk along any beach can produce Snow Buntings, and listen out for the wheezy calls of Twites overhead. The dunes around Long Nanny in Beadnell Bay are a particularly favoured spot for both of these species.

Holy Island is a great place to visit in January or February. Merlins can be seen sprinting through the dunes after larks and pipits, and be sure to scan the posts on the Pilgrims’ Causeway to look for resting Peregrines. Short-eared and Barn Owls are often in residence and can be seen hunting over the fields during the day. Any visit should include a walk up to the top of the Heugh for a scan of the harbour, where Great Northern Divers and Red-necked Grebes are among the more unusual birds to be looked for.

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