Wildlife in the North East

From cheeky red squirrels to fluffy seal pups, there's plenty of wildlife to be found right here in the North East, throughout the year. Here are our top spots for nature-lovers this autumn.

Red Squirrel at Wallington, Northumberland

Red Squirrels at Wallington  

The rangers at Wallington are working hard to help support their resident red squirrels and, touch wood, they're thriving, with approximately 200 reds living on the Wallington estate. Pop into the wildlife hide in the west wood or take a stroll along the river walk and you might be lucky enough to see one of these colourful characters yourself. 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!

red kite

Red kites at Gibside  

If you look up to the sky at Gibside, you might be lucky enough to see a red kite circling above. With its reddish-brown body, white markings and deeply forked tail, this distinctive bird of prey was brought back from extinction in England by a re-introduction programme and the population is now growing. And with a wing span of 5 and a half foot, they're pretty hard to miss. Look out for the red kites starting to flock together in the evenings behind the stables in autumn.

A roe deer peers between trees

Roe deer at Cragside 

Roe deer are not easy to spot but as the trees start to shed their leaves, you have more chance than ever to see these elusive creatures. As the days become shorter and cooler in the autumn, the deer begin preparing for their breeding season. If you spot worn muddy areas around some of the larger trees on the estate, it's probably a sign the bucks and does have started their courtship. Keep a look out for velvet around some of the smaller trees as the males shed rub their antlers ready for the rut.

A grey seal pup

Grey seals on the Farne Islands  

Autumn is the time of year when seal pups are born. For an unrivalled wildlife experience hop on a boat around the Farne Islands. The islands are home to approximately 5,000 grey seals and every year around 2,000 fluffy seal pups are born there, usually in late October. Dolphins are often spotted around the islands too, so keep your eyes peeled.

A woman bird watching

Migratory birds at Souter Lighthouse  

Nature lovers can spot a constant stream of migrating birds on The Leas around Souter Lighthouse in autumn. Long distance migrants like warblers arrive in ones and twos but the regular thrushes number in the hundreds and sometimes thousands. You might also be lucky enough to spot snow buntings, waxwings, dunnock and redwings as they pass through on their annual migration.

Otter print at Allen Banks, Northumberland

Otters at Allen Banks 

Inquisitive, playful and intelligent, otters are fun-loving creatures! They are semi-aquatic mammals and live in holts around water edges. We've sighted them at Hagg Bank at Plankey Mill, just look for clues to their whereabouts in the sand and mud on the river bank. Tread quietly and carefully and you never know what you may find. Allen Banks is also a great spot for colourful fungi in autumn, including fly agaric, one of the red squirrels' favourite nibbles!