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, Pink-footed and Greylag Geese and even the odd Barnacle Goose. Inland, extensive areas of moorland and forest hold Red Grouse, Crossbill and elusive Goshawk. 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 around Pale-bellied Brent Geese spend the winter. At this time of year 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, while Purple Sandpiper and Rock Pipits are on the rocky shore.
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 off-shore, 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.
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Photo of Whooper Swans in flight by Chrissie Nicholson.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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