Spectacular Scenery

Northumberland and Durham has some of the most spectacular scenery in the whole of England, the uplands in particular are famed for their beauty. Some of our tours visit some of the scenic hotspots such as Teesdale and the Cheviots. The region has a wide mixture of habitats ranging from lowland farmland through to upland flowering meadows and lots in between. Large coastal dune systems in Northumberland are hard not to be impressed by, especially when there are breeding Arctic Terns nestled in amongst them in some locations. 

Headline Acts

The region is famous for a few species, and these are the species that most visitors tend to really want to see in addition to the wider avifauna. 

Black Grouse

The species used to be far more numerous across Britain, but changes in habitat has resulted in this species not being able to adapt fast enough. Thankfully the species does have a few remaining strongholds in the UK, of which Durham is one. The mosaic of habitats in Teesdale (and parts of Weardale) has allowed the species to thrive, at some sites in Teesdale it is not unusual to see multiple individuals even during the middle of the day. We run tours to take in the birds famous Lek, followed by a walk where you are likely to see 'post-Lek' birds going about their business as as they disperse into the surrounding landscape for the remainder of the day.

Roseate Tern

Whilst the species is by no means widespread, it is not difficult to see in the region at the right times of year. The species breed on Coquet Island on the Northumberland coastline, from July onwards they disperse onto the beaches and rocky shorelines in the region. In most years the bulk of birds spend their time on coastal locations between Holy Island and Teesmouth. We do run tours where it is possible to see Roseate Tern, and have even ran tours in the past on a private basis where the species was seen with ease. 

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Willow Tit

Picture the scene; you're walking along a scrubby path side in lowland Durham and then it happens, you get all excited by the distinctive "chebem-bem-bem" coming from the nearby scrub. I refer of course to the Willow Tit. This species is woefully rare now in most of the UK, absent now from most counties but is still relatively easy to see in lowland Durham. The regions industrial heritage has allowed the species to cling to scrubby habitats interconnected by disused railway lines. 

Long-eared Owl

Normally if you find a good site for Willow Tit in lowland Durham, you can take a good bet it will probably be also good for Long-eared Owl. This is another species that in lowland Durham appears to have benefitted from the industrial past, like most owl species in the world their numbers vary depending on what kind of a 'vole year' it has been. Despite its secretive nature this is not a rare owls in lowland Durham, in the summer it requires grasslands with neighbouring hawthorns and scrub for breeding. Whilst in winter it forms communal roosts, of which there are a few in Durham.  

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Long-eared Owl - July 2020 - © Andrew Kinghorn

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Black Grouse 2022 - © Andrew Kinghorn

Roseate Tern 2021 - © Andrew Kinghorn