Northumberland

In April I had the chance to go Northumberland with my family. Being stuck in Hertfordshire most of the time apart from brief escapades in the school holidays to the coast, I never get much time to explore.

Our base was in Seahouses, the seaside town famous for it’s boat trips to the Farne Islands, as soon as I heard it was booked I started researching places to go and what I could see.

So after a week’s schoolwork and local photography expeditions I was raring to head north in search of Seabirds, Waders and migrants.

Arriving late on the Saturday afternoon we unpacked the car and I headed down to the seafront with my camera. Straight away I could see curlews, oystercatchers, turnstones, eider ducks and had a distant view of a tern (I had been told there wouldn’t be any terns yet).

After some fish and chips we set off out on to the beach for the sunset, the tide was out and we were treated to a awesome mackerel sky watching the sun set over Bamburgh castle. The walk across the beach and seaweed covered rocks in the dark was ‘interesting’.

The next morning I was up bright and early and exploring the beach finding Turnstones, Purple Sandpipers, Oystercatchers, Curlews, Redshanks and Eider ducks.

After hiding behind rocks (being used to the shy Hertfordshire birds) I soon realised these hardier northern birds were much more tolerant of me allowing me to get relatively close. The Eiders in the harbour even took bread out the hand!!! I was soon getting shots of my first Purple Sandpipers, Eiders and Rock Pipits.

The next day we headed over to Lindisfarne crossing in time before the island was cut off by the sea. The great weather continued with 18 c and clear blue skies.

The scenic views were awesome, with the ‘howling’ of the local seal colony travelling across the water to our silent beach. It was great just to sit back and soak up the rays and relax.

The next day I stayed local, walking down to Bamburgh from Seahouses, seeing Red Breasted Mergansers, Scoters, Puffins, Gannets and Razorbills out to sea.

The highlight was a Wheatear flying in off the sea and landed next to me, I wasn’t quick enough to react and only got a distant shot as it made its way across the rocks.

We decided to head over the Farne Islands on the Thursday, the one day of the week where we didn’t have blue skies (this was a minor disappointment but the birds made up for it) after a tour round the islands getting close views of the seals and seabirds we landed on Inner Farne.


It was great to see the Puffins up close and hear the noise of the Razorbills, Guillemots, Kittiwakes and Shags. Some of the birds were too close, with Shags nesting right by the path!!

After a days visit to Alnwick Castle, I was back on wildlife hunting duties. Me and dad headed up to Stag Rocks on the other side of Bamburgh, I left dad reading his book on the rocks and precariously mountaineered to an outcrop where I had a good view of the sea.

I was soon getting Curlews, Red Breasted Mergansers, Fulmars and Eiders all just off the rocks flying by. A few Common Scoters were mingling with the resting Eiders and I got a couple of record shots. However the highlight for me was when a grey bird surfaced just in front of me. I soon realised it was my first UK diver, a red throated one. It soon dived again and I lost it. The constant screaming parties of Sandwich Terns going back and forth was great to photograph, seeing them plummet into the sea re emerging with empty beaks mostly but the odd successful dive resulting in a scrumptious sand eel.

After exploring a lot of the beaches north of Seahouses I decided to take a stroll to the south side.

Much rockier and slippier (my bruised back/bum gave evidence of this!) it held good numbers of Ringed Plovers, a few Grey Plovers and Curlews. I soon came across some accessible cliffs and found a mixed Fulmar Kittiwake colony. The noise was awesome and the mix of the screaming Kittiwakes and gliding Fulmars was a great sight to watch.

The week went had gone way to fast and I was not looking forward to the return to school. However we were seen off in a great way on our last evening we drove over to Stag Rocks and watched a spectacular sunset and I think the photos speak for themselves.

If you ever get a chance to go to Northumberland take it, even if you’re not into wildlife, the scenery and all round aura of the area is amazing.

8 Comments

  1. Some fantastic photos! I wish I was there now. I stayed at Budle Bay in September and did a similair itinerary.

  2. Lovely photographs, Luke. Well done.
    It is a great area of our Country, isn`t it?
    Ian Paterson

  3. Thank you Luke. We also love Northumberland. Super photos too. Well done. All the best for the exams now!

    Frances Aldridge

  4. Thanks everyone, It is a great area. Time to crack on with revision and exams for a month or so and then i'm free 🙂

    Luke

  5. Beautiful, beautiful pictures Luke. Good luck with the revision etc. and I will catch up with you soon (it's been a hectic couple of weeks my end!)

  6. Wow, Luke. Great post & stunning photos. What a wild and beautiful landscape. Thanks for posting.

  7. Thanks people 🙂

  8. What a wonderful selection of photos. It's a lovely part of the world, too long since i was there,.

Leave a Reply