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Northumberland is the northernmost county in England. It has almost 100 km of coastline comprising cliffs, sandy beaches and mudflats as well as moorland, woodland and peat bogs inland.

Amble, Northumberland

Visit Northumberland National Park in the spring to see birds such as whinchats and redstarts which have returned from hotter climes to breed. In the Cheviot Hills you can see dippers, common sandpipers and grey wagtails as well as ring ouzels and wheatears on the heather moorlands.

In winter around Hadrian’s Wall hundreds of migratory birds including whooper swans, graylag geese, goldeneyes, teals, wigeon and tufted ducks gather on Grindon and Greenlee Loughs.

The birds of prey centre at Kielder Forest is home to over 60 birds including eagles, owls, hawks, vultures and falcons as well as a pair of great white pelicans. You can take part in a hawk walk or photography course and view daily flying demonstrations.

In the spring and summer the moors of the North Pennines come alive with the songs and displays of courting birds. You may spot black grouse, golden plovers and meadow pipits as well as birds of prey including merlins, Britain’s smallest bird of prey, short-eared owls and hen harriers.

Black Grouse

Along the Tweed Estuary and Berwick Harbour there is a famous herd of mute swans as well as goosanders, great northern and red throated divers and the occasional auk.

A walk through Newton-by-the sea, managed by the National Trust, will take you through sand dunes, wetlands and unspoiled beaches. In late summer expect to see oystercatchers, sanderling, shovellers and grebes.

Oystercatcher

No visit to Northumberland is complete without a trip to the Farne Islands. Take a boat from Seahouses and be amazed by the diverse range of species including fulmars, eiders, kittiwakes, sandwich terns, shags, guillemots, razorbills and puffins.

Puffins, The Farne Islands

Visit Holy Island in the autumn to see wildfowl and waders that overwinter such as brent geese, bar-tailed godwits, pink footed geese and grey plovers. Tidal mudflats, saltmarshes and sand dunes are home to rare plants that attract many species of birds and you may be lucky enough to see grey seals bobbing about in the surrounding water or sunning themselves on the beach.

About 30 km to the south of the Farne Islands is the RSPB reserve, Coquet Island, a bird watcher’s paradise. Here you can see one of the UK’s rarest seabirds, the roseate tern as well as fulmars, eider ducks and oystercatchers.

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