Souter Bird Race 2018

A man and woman in the countryside holding binoculars

On Sunday 7 January, Souter’s rangers and members of the local Coastal Conservation Group will lead nature lovers around South Tyneside in a one-day event to count as many bird species as they can.

Always a sociable occasion, the Bird Race is open to bird spotters of all ages and abilities. Beginners are welcome to come along and brush up their bird ID skills under the guidance of experts.

Teams will split up to cover as much ground as possible in an eight hour period, some on foot and others in vehicles, with the hardiest walkers expected to cover up to 15 miles. Each team will record their findings, hopeful of spotting combined numbers of up to 100 species, including the likes of peregrine falcons, waxwings and siskins. In 2014, teams in Boldon made a rare sighting of a pair of glossy ibis, which normally hails from Africa. 

The waxwing is a winter visitor to the UK
A waxwing perches among bright red berries
The waxwing is a winter visitor to the UK
" The more eyes we have out there on the day, the better. It’s great that the bird race has become a bit of a tradition, starting each year with a positive step in nature conservation. The Leas offers a home to a huge variety of wildlife including seabird colonies and wildflowers. On a calm day, you might spot porpoise, dolphins or even a passing whale from the cliff tops. The National Trust is a UK-wide conservation charity. Teaming up with the Coastal Conservation Group allows us to share knowledge and expertise at a local level, which we can use to protect wildlife and habitats. The bird race is the first of several joint events in 2018 which we’re hoping will inspire people to get to know and love nature. "
- Dougie Holden, Ranger, Souter Lighthouse and The Leas

The bird race starts and finishes at Souter Lighthouse on Sunday 7 January. If you plan to come along, please wrap up warm and bring binoculars. Meet in the café at 7.30am for a warming cuppa ready for an 8am start, returning to the lighthouse around 4pm for a well-earned buffet. 

You’ll find the event on our what’s on page. If you have any questions, please contact Dougie Holden by email or phone on 0191 529 0903.