Autumn wildlife in the North East

What to spot and where while you're out and about this autumn, from grey seals to red squirrels and migratory birds.

Red squirrel in a tree

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.

Two women in a bird hide watching birds in a marsh land habitat

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

Fungi

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 in the formal garden lawns at Cragside or 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 5000 grey seals and every year around 1500 pups are born.

A roe deer peers between trees

Deer

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 or Wallington – tread quietly and you never know what you might find.