Bird Notes

Our Bird Notes are short articles based on original and interesting observations and fieldwork in the county. We would like to encourage members and others to contribute further articles which they feel may be of interest. If you feel that you would like to contribute something to this section please email

North East Red Kite Breeding Report 2015 (Ian Kerr and Ken Sanderson)
Updated October 2015
A brood of four young, the region’s first since breeding recommenced in 2006 after a gap of around 170 years, was the highlight of an otherwise poor season for our local Red Kite population.  The four fledged from a regular breeding site in the Derwent Valley, a very welcome bright spots in another very difficult year which saw alarmingly high failure rates and three more birds killed by illegal poisoning.  » Read More

Origins of Some Mediterranean Gulls in Northumberland (Steve Holliday)
Updated February 2021
This 10th and final update includes new sightings from 2020 and peak Mediterranean Gull numbers from Newbiggin & the surrounding area for the past year. The annual county bird report “Birds in Northumbria 2019” was published at the end of 2020 and included a summary paper on both the breeding and visiting Mediterranean Gulls in the area.  » Read More

The Movement of a Sanderling – St Mary’s (Alan Jack)
Added October 2014
Always a delight to watch; careful approach on the beach resulted in many birds coming within a few feet of me. One of the birds carrying coloured leg-rings has returned for it’s fourth year, remaining faithful to this wintering site. Investigation reveals the movements of this tiny long distance traveller.  » Read More

Colour Rings, Metal Rings & Neck Collars (Mike Hodgson)
As a life-long ringer I have a compulsive fascination of wanting to know where it came from,how long ago it was marked & several other things when I see a ringed or colour-ringed bird. It’s amazing what you can find out armed only with a loaf of bread and binoculars!  » Read More

Trying to Find a White-rumped Sandpiper (Colin Bradshaw)
Birding on the 11th September this year wasn’t easy. Hell, standing up wasn’t easy as the edge of Hurricane Katia roared across Northern Britain but the weather system did smell of Nearctic vagrants. There was a small group of waders at the north end of Cresswell Pond; a Curlew Sandpiper, several Dunlin and a smaller greyer bird. Could this be the one to make my day?  » Read More

January 2012 – A Birding Tale in Northumberland
I’ve always loved winter birding in Northumberland and in the past have always tried for a decent January list, normally spurred on from ‘Bird Race’ attempts. My days in the field were limited by work commitments and birding was often restricted to weekends, however despite this my previous best total for the month of January was 127- this year I planned to exceed this and see how far I could go.  » Read More

Northumberland Grey Goose Census 2010 & 2011
This long-running annual monitoring scheme run by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust counts wintering Icelandic Greylag Anser anser and Pink-footed Geese A. brachyrhynchus.  » Read More

Visible Migration at Budle Bay (Chris Knox)
For today’s modern birder, standing at a coastal or indeed inland viewpoint each spring and autumn, recording the migration of daylight-migratory species such as larks (Alaudidae), pipits Anthus, wagtails Motacilla, and finches (Fringillidae) is not a popular option.  » Read More