Fabulous autumn birdwatching, as we explore the wildlife, coastlines, forests and moorlands of this corner of historic North-east England, including Holy Island.
* Divers, scarce grebes and seaduck
* Day in forest and moorland for grouse, Dipper, crossbills and raptors
* Beautiful coastline with long, sandy beaches, rocky headlands and islands
* Full day on historic Holy Island with chance of late rarities
* Impressive flocks of ducks, geese and waders on estuaries
* Chance of Goshawk in Kielder Forest
* Biggest UK flock of Pale-bellied Brent Geese
With long sandy beaches, castle studded headlands and historic sites such as Lindisfarne Priory, Northumberland is a wonderful area to explore - but for the birdwatcher it is even more so! From our base in picturesque Warkworth, there is excellent birding on our doorstep. We’ll scan the sea for Red-throated Divers, Slavonian Grebes, Long-tailed Ducks and a few Velvets amongst the Common Scoters and check the complex of pools at Druridge and Cresswell - home to flocks of Wigeon, Teal, Pintail and Shoveler.
Flocks of Golden Plover are in nearby fields dotted with Whooper Swans and geese. Flocks of Pink-footed and Greylag Geese are likely and we’ll look out for White-fronted or Barnacle Geese in amongst them. We’ll spend a day heading inland, to moorland where Red Grouse display over their territories in spring, with their distinctive ‘Go-back, go-back’ call. With luck we might chance on a Merlin or Hen Harrier, or perhaps a Short-eared Owl. Goshawk are here year round, but in early spring we may be lucky enough to witness their spectacular switchback display flight above the trees around Kielder Forest. Crossbills are here too and Dippers curtsey beside fast flowing rivers, home to Grey Wagtails and Goosander.
We’ll spend a day on Holy Island, where thousands of waders follow the retreating tide and Pale-bellied Brent Geese spend the winter. Purple Sandpiper and Rock Pipits are on the rocky shore and in March migrants may be arriving, with perhaps Ring Ouzel or Wheatears making land-fall. In November Pallas’s and Yellow-browed Warbler, Desert Wheatear, Richard’s Pipit and Dusky Warbler have all been found and huge numbers of thrushes may be passing through. A sea-watch may pick up passing Skuas or Little Gulls.
The holy relics of St Cuthbert were buried in the Priory on Lindisfarne and pilgrims still come to pay homage to his memory. His laws to protect Eiders for their down, resulted in the local name St Cuthbert’s Ducks - often shortened to Cuddy Ducks, as many locals still know them today. We shall find a few offshore, plus Long-tailed Ducks and Red-necked Grebe. Depending on what is around, we may further explore the local area, or head south to Teesmouth, where the complex of pools, reedbeds and headlands can provide a superb day’s birding.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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