A Bird Watchers Journal from Newcastle upon Tyne

Wildlife Photography, Journal Entries and Useful Links

As a keen birdwatcher for over thirty-five years, I have a great love for our feathered friends, that share our daily lives. Here you can view a selection of my wildlife photography, together with some journal entries related to birds and other wildlife.  There are also some useful links to content I hope you will find of interest.  

I very much began my own birdwatching in ‘urban settings’ such as Leazes Park in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne and Walker Riverside Park along the River Tyne.  As my interest evolved my ‘birding days out’ took me to a wider variety of habitats, including scenic coastal shores,  vast forests and woodlands and an extensive portfolio of natures reserves.  

I recently wrote an interactive guide to Birdwatching Sites –  North of the Tyne and the Wall. This includes Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside and Northumberland.

Birdwatching Sites - Northumberland

I am currently developing more content for the areas south of the tyne, as far away as Teeside.  This new online resource hopefully will help share these wonderful habitats with other birdwatchers.

The conservation of our natural world, has always been close to my heart and I have always been a great supporter of initiatives that help protect this.  

One such project is  ‘Kittiwakes upon the Tyne. With others I’m helping to safeguard the local breeding colonies of Kittiwakes that share our ‘big river’ during the spring/summer months.  A brand new website is now available ‘tynekittiwakes.org.uk‘ This will help raise awareness for what is ‘The Furthest Inland Colony of Kittiwakes in the World‘ and host a diary where we will share their journey and progress from Spring 2019.  

Please help show your support for the Tyne Kittiwakes by following @KittiwakesTyne  Any support would be greatly appreciated to help safeguard the breeding colonies of Kittiwakes along the River Tyne.  We are also encouraging other organisations/webs owners to share/swap links, which will further help raise awareness for our ‘Tyne Kittiwakes’.

Killingworth Lake is filled with so many different species of bird. It has evolved far from a man-made lake into a fully fledged nature reserve. Below a Coot; a rail with lots of personality and great feet. Killingworth is one of my favourite places for fish and chips, as the local chippy, is canny. On Saturdays, they get the small model racing boats out, which can be entertaining to watch. A Jack Sparrow tall ship, would be my choice to sail.


A couple more from my Christmas Day walk; a Goldeneye and a Pochard. The Goldeneye’s do amazing dramatic displays with their heads to each other, whilst the Pochards’s keep disappearing under the water, diving to feed. I almost fell in the lake, trying to watch the visiting Goosanders lol, which were busy catching lots of tasty fish.

They used to call Killingworth a boating lake, when I was a kid. I wonder if it ever had paddle boats on it? The new islands looked great.

Mute Swan
Mute Swan

On the 3rd January 2020….

The ‘Little House OP’ hide was very quiet this afternoon, with only a few Teal, Mallard and Mute Swan present.  The feeding station was packed with action however.  

  A Nuthatch, Treecreeper and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. special guest: Blue Tit.  


A Nuthatch


A Great Spotted Woodpecker


A Treecreeper


A Great Tit


A Blue Tit


On the 13th April 2019…

I was planning on resting indoors today, finishing off rewatching Game of Thrones before new series starts on Monday. But when I heard a Fudge Duck; aka a Ferruginous Duck was a short drive away, I sneaked out for a quick look. Great bird, looks nice on my year list.


On the 12th April 2019….

The tallest Coot. From Exhibition Park, in the centre of Newcastle. Another Geordie Bird. It is amazing how many are in the Black and White club. Exhibition Park is one of my favourite birding sites, close to Leazes Park and Newcastle Town Moor.


On the 12th April 2019….

This male, I think was in love. Whenever the female went out of view, it looked so worried. Romeo & Juliet. I hope the cull on the River Tweed, will not break lots of hearts. it should be stopped, as why should Goosanders and Cormorants die, so fisherman, can fish. crazy, So SAD

I have really enjoyed spending time with the Goosanders at Exhibition Park in Newcastle this year. I see these around more nowadays. Was really disappointed they will cull some to the north of Northumberland. So wrong, we don’t own the river up there.


On the 12th April 2019….

Exhibition Park in the Centre of Newcastle is an urban park with a man-made lake. The variety of birds and other wildlife has been increasing, as efforts have been actioned to make it more wildlife friendly. Amazing the success. Tyrion the Little Grebe loves it. A new resident.


On the 30th March 2019….

I finally caught up with the Glaucous Gull, which has been spending time at the North Shields Fish Quay the last few weeks.

As it flew past a red boat, it looked like a piece of art. Even for non-birders, this Gull has a compelling attractiveness and charm. A giant ‘white-winged’ Gull on spring break from the White Walkers in the cold north.

Cormorant 2.5 – Over a dozen Cormorants were feeding on tasty fish nearby. Amazing close views. For me Cormorants are a legendary River Tyne bird, that share our big river.

I felt really lucky today when I found three Sanderlings, feeding on the beach close to the car park. Great surprise as it was so busy, but they didn’t mind playfully, running, dancing, and paddling. Such Fun.

Usually, I see them running away as the waves rush in. But this littleIn, went for a paddle.

On the 7th October 2018

For a 3rd year, I was lucky to catch up with a Bee-eater in the N of England.

A Bee-eater

Perhaps like the Egrets, Avocets & Spoonbills, we could see these beautiful rainbow Bee-eaters come to live alongside us. We need lots of bees.

A Bee-eater in Northumberland

Haltwhistle. A small town, but now filled with colour

On the 21st August 2018

Our visit to what seemed like the Iron Islands from the Game of Thrones proved out of this world. It was the original reason why we chose Anglesey for our summer holidays, and it didn’t disappoint. We were lucky to enjoy at least a dozen Chough.

This was the first time I had seen Chough. They were a lot smaller than I expected and very friendly,

All the seabirds had finished nesting however we got amazing views of GoT stars Ravens and close to the lighthouse there were about a dozen Twite, and at least 6 Rock Pipit.

A Common Tern from Gosforth Park last year. The Common Terns will be leaving us soon… I will miss them… I didn’t see as many this year, along the River Tyne and Newcastle Quayside.  There seems to be less Cormorants also, or is it just me!..

A Barn Owl from…. near Newcastle.. lots of twoggers out and about spending whole lifetimes, chasing Owls nowadays… Owl addicts.. and some using toads as bait. how much is a photo worth? how many owl photos, do you need? Of course most birders are respectful to Owls…

A Fulmar from St Mary’s, Geordieland. Fulmars have to be one of the best flyers. They are also so friendly, I’m surprised we never see them in animations more…. Studio Ghibli would do them proud..

On the 24th July 2018

Lots of Kittiwakes were still nesting on and around the netting and spikes. The netting and spikes had no effect on them, other than to cause them injuries and to trap them.. so whats the point, why spend to have such things installed, if all they do is cause pain and suffering.  

I wish the owners of the buildings and those that visit them could appreciate our red-listed Kittiwakes as much as I do.  

The colony on the River Tyne is the furtherest inland Colony in the world.

On the 17th July 2018

I wonder what I looked like through this young deers eyes? as I relaxed, enjoying the sunshine and the peacefulness.

I was surprised to see this young visitor on Saturday. It came so close, I didn’t need any optics. I’m sure i was noticed, but it seemed I was very welcome, as my presence, was accepted with any worry. My favourite nature reserve is always full of surprises….

On the 23rd June 2018

A Great Crested Grebe from Druridge Pools earlier. Two adults were catching lots of small fish; and at times shared them with their juv.

An adult Great Crested Grebe getting ‘Jiggy With It’. Like Goldeneyes, they are great dancers…

On the 19th May 2018…

A Rose Coloured Starling
Fatso Humpty Dumpty. The best I could manage of the Rose Coloured Starling on Saturday at Ashington. All other birds were chased away.. Pink comes to Ashington… Photo through fence… I was wishing I had brought some stilts…

On the 6th May 2018

To be or not to be….. Glossy Ibris… another major bird from Druridge Pools in Northumberland. I’ve been so busy I’ve not been up much, missed it…