Autumn wildlife in the North East

The North East is home to spectacular wildlife spotting opportunities. In autumn, look out for red squirrels scurrying amongst the trees making their winter stockpiles, cute and fluffy grey seal pups, and amazing displays from migratory birds.

Red Squirrel at Wallington, Northumberland

Red Squirrels  

Squirrels are at their most active in autumn, gathering nuts ahead of winter, and with fewer leaves in the trees they’re much easier to spot too. The best chance you have of seeing a red squirrel is at Wallington’s wildlife hide. You may also catch a glimpse on a walk at Allen Banks & Staward Gorge.

A woman bird watching

Migratory birds 

Make the most of the opportunity to spot birds you wouldn’t usually see as they pass through on their annual migration. Migratory hotspots include The Leas in South Tyneside where you might be lucky enough to spot snow buntings, waxwings, dunnock and redwings. Inland head to Crag Lough on Hadrian’s Wall to see whooper swans and perhaps even a goldeneye.

Red and yellow waxcap fungus stand out against green grass


Grass and woodlands are littered with fungi in the autumn. There are some really bright varieties like wax caps which come in pinks, yellows, orange and parrot green. Look out for these autumn jewels along the sides of the Avenue at Gibside.

A grey seal pup

Grey seals 

Autumn is the time of year when seal pups are born. For an unrivalled wildlife experience hop on a boat to the Farne Islands. The islands are home to approximately 5,000 grey seals and every year around 1,500 pups are born.

A roe deer peers between trees


In the early morning light, deer have been spotted eating the acorns from the oaks along the avenue at Gibside. They’re not easy to spot but as the trees start to shed their leaves, you have more chance than ever to see these elusive creatures. Explore the woods at Cragside – tread quietly and you never know what you might find.