Wildlife spotting in the North East

Summer is a great time to go wildlife spotting. For many species it’s the busiest time of year as there’s plenty of food around and young to be raised. Here’s our guide to wildlife in the North East and best places to spot each species. 

    Red squirrel

    Red squirrel sightings have increased over the past year at Wallington’s wildlife hide. Thanks to the work of our Ranger team, the population of this normally declining species is steadily improving.

    Red Kite

    It’s almost a decade since the red kite conservation project began in Gateshead’s Derwent valley. Now, on a trip to Gibside, you can often see red kites circling in the skies above. Their 5 and a half foot wingspan means they’re pretty hard to miss.


    Dippers can usually be seen sat on rocks in the middle of a river or flying low above the water searching for food. This makes Allen Banks the perfect place to spot a dipper. Did you know they often nest behind waterfalls?

    Atlantic grey seal

    With a population of over 4000, the Farne Islands is the UK’s largest colony of Atlantic grey seals. Boat tours from Seahouses harbour take you around the shores of the Farnes to see the seals. And in October, you can get even closer to seals and their pups on one of our guided tours.


    The lakes on Lord Armstrong’s Himalayan inspired Cragside estate are the perfect feeding ground for herons. They can often be seen in the shallow waters on South Lake. Sometimes they use their wings to cast a shadow so that they can see the fish more clearly.


    The coastal grassland on The Leas is alive with butterflies in the summer. Bring along your butterfly spotter sheet and see how many you can identify.


    During the summer swallows are preparing for migration. The young have fledged and the birds are trying to put on enough weight for the long journey south. We have lots of swallows nesting at our places including a families who return to the barn at Housesteads every year.


    On a walk through the grounds at Seaton Delaval Hall you may be lucky enough to spot a hare. Historically, the Hall’s grounds included a place called Hare Park, suggesting it’s definitely the spot to find hares.


    After a busy spring and early summer breeding on places like the Farne Islands, puffins spend the rest of the year out at sea. A census this year showed numbers of breeding pairs on the Farnes are increasing.