Wildlife

What to see at Allen Banks and Staward Gorge

  • A deer forages in the wood © NTPL/John Millar

    The deer

    The Roe deer, a reddish brown in the summer and grey, pale brown or very occasionally black during the winter. They tend to be fairly solitary animals forming small groups in the winter and feeding on herbs, brambles, ivy, heather and coniferous tree shoots.

  • Common dormice sleep for three quarters of their life © NTPL/Ross Hoddinott

    The dormice

    Common dormice may spend up to three quarters of their life asleep. They hibernate when food is scarce to conserve energy. In Britain, they are mainly
    found in the southern counties, although they are present in a few scattered locations in the Lake District and mid-Wales.

  • An otter swimming © Andy Rouse

    The otter

    Otters are semi-aquatic mammals, in the family mustelidae which includes weasels, polecats, badgers and wolverines. They mainly eat aquatic animals, mostly fish and shellfish but also other invertebrates, amphibians, birds and small mammals.

  • A badger emerges from his sett © NTPL/NaturePL/Colin Seddon

    The badger

    Badgers are nocturnal and elusive, like humans, they are omnivorous, although unlike us, they eat several hundred earthworms every night. Badgers are social creatures and live together in large underground setts, comprised of tunnels, chambers, and toilets.

  • A red squirrel sits in the summer in Northumberland © NTPL/Simon Fraser

    The red squirrel

    Red squirrels were once the only squirrel species in Europe. They spend most of their time in the treetops and maintain several dreys within their range to aid escape from predators. They spend their days obtaining food, mostly seeds and acorns which, with practice, they can open in just a few seconds.

  • And now for the birds...

    Barn owls do not hoot, instead they emit a long, eerie screech (its alternative name is the screech owl). They also hiss, snore and yap. They tend to eat rodents, and other small mammals, such as young rabbits and moles, and they also catch frogs and small birds.

  • A barn owl in mid-flight at Allen Banks © Steve Wrightson

    The barn owl

    A gregarious duck, it forms into flocks of several thousand when travelling. The mergus merganser, is so called because of their long, serrated bills, used for catching fish.

  • Enjoying the cool water at Allen Banks © Steve Wrightson

    The gooseander

    The scientific name ‘sibilatrix’ means the whistler, despite a love of beech and oak woodlands, they are ground-nesting birds, often concealing their nests under a fallen branch.

  • A Wood Warbler settles in the tree © NTPL/NaturePL/Alan Williams

    The wood warbler

    Distinctive looking gamebirds, the tetrao tetrix, are also known as blackcocks and greyhens, because of the colour of the male and female birds respectively.

  • The Black Grouse is known as the tetrao tetrix © NTPL/NaturePL/Andy Sands

    The black grouse

    The buteo buteo are amazing hunters, dropping down on their prey from flight and they nearly always kill on the ground. They inhabit forests and areas of scattered woodland.

  • Foraging for food mid-flight © NTPL/NaturePL/Steve Knell

    The common buzzard

    The kingfisher actually has brown feathers, but it is the different wavelengths of light reflected from different layers of the feathers produces blues, greens and oranges.

  • A Kingfisher wiats patiently for some food at Allen Banks © Steve Wrightson

    The kingfisher

    Sparrowhawks, or accipiter nisus, are so-named because 98% of their diet consists of other birds. The British population of sparrowhawks breeding could be as many as kestrels.

  • The Sparrowhawk is a carnivorous bird © NTPL/NaturePL/Niall Benvie

    The sparrowhawk

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