Back to Top

Spotting our brilliant variety of birds

Bird Watching

The wide open spaces and special habitats of Northumberland National Park are great for the keen bird watcher. Bring your book and binoculars. Spring is a particularly good time to visit, as birds like the whinchat and redstart have arrived to breed.

Resident birds are well established in their breeding activities, including the spectacular peregrine falcon. In winter, we have some great places to view migrating birds.

Nature Reserves

Greenlee Lough bird hide by Peter Skelton.

A photographer snaps away in Greenlee Lough bird hide. Photo by Peter Skelton.

These are great places to watch birds, especially migratory breeds. Reserves like Greenlee Lough, and Whitelee Moor and Catcleugh, feature elsewhere on this website.

Bird Watching tours

Want to get the inside scoop? Tours are an ideal way to get up close to the native bird species guided by local experts:

Bird Watching in the Cheviot Hills

Alwinton in Upper Coquetdale

  • in the grassy valley bottoms: dippers, common sandpipers and grey wagtails
  • on the heather moorlands: ring ouzel and wheatears

Simonside Hills

  • for red grouse, peregrine, ravens, skylarks and meadow pipits
  • in spring on lower slopes closer to in-bye fields around farmsteads: waders including curlew, lapwing and snipe

Harthope Valley

  • In the spring: Willow warblers, wood warblers, redstarts, green woodpeckers, chiffchaff, blackcaps and other small passerines, including tits, nuthatches, tree creepers
  • At the top end of the valley: cuckoos, kestrels and even black grouse
  • By the burn: dippers and grey wagtails

Hawsen Burn

  • In the spring: ring ouzels

College Valley

  • For woodland birds, river birds (dipper, grey wagtail), black grouse and red grouse

Bird Watching around Hadrian’s Wall

Whooper Swans

Whooper swans migrate to Northumberland National Park.

Grindon and Greenlee Loughs (small lakes)

  • In winter: whooper swans, goldeneye, greylag geese, white fronted geese, wigeon, teal, lapwings and tufted ducks. Tip: Grindon Lough can be best seen from the Stanegate road. Greenlee Lough can be viewed from the National Park bird hide or footpaths.

Hareshaw Linn

  • Spring and early summer: Willow and wood warblers, great spotted woodpeckers, tits, nuthatches, tree creepers and chiffchaff

Bird Watching outside the Park


  • Kielder Forest’s star attractions are the birds of prey. Breeding ospreys often migrate here year on year to raise their chicks.

Bird Watching at Thrunton Wood

  • For: crossbill, coal tit and goldcrest and cuckoos
  • Head upwards to the nearby moor and crags for: sparrowhawk, peregrine, and red grouse.

Bird Watching at Wallington

  • On the lawns: green woodpeckers
  • In woodlands: nuthatch, hawfinch, great spotted woodpeckers
  • On estate’s small ponds: little grebes

Useful birdwatching links

Connect with Northumberland National Park


Planning in the National Park

Northumberland National Park Authority is the statutory Planning Authority for the area of the Northumberland National Park. View our planning pages here.