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North England Birds, Late Spring/Early Summer (1 Viewer)

Alexjh1

Well-known member
Over the last few weeks I've been pondering doing a long weekend trip a little later in the year to try and clear up a bunch of the remaining species I need in the UK, probably by bike and rail to take advantage of me having my railcard back for one last year.

The eventual headliner would be heading to Coquet to see the Roseate Terns which from what I understand is basically the only reliable place to see them now?

But while I'm doing that, I was looking at to what degree it might be plausible to go to reliable (and obviously in the case of the raptors, public) sites for any of the following:

Black Grouse
Honey Buzzard
Goshawk
Wood Warbler
Twite

Any thoughts/suggestions on how doable that would be, and what the best sort of time frame to look into it would be? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
As far as I'm aware, Black Grouse is now extinct in England?
Still a decent number at various sites in the north Pennines. Exact locations are generally kept fairly quiet though. Here's a pic I took at a site in Northumbs, May last year (taken from a public road, bird about 300 m away) :t:
 

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Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
No Wood Warblers left in the North Yorks Moors valleys, unfortunately. HB are still there, though.

I'd not rely on them being there any more either; Wood Warbler has declined catastrophically in recent years. I'd suspect it'll be extinct as an English breeder well before Black Grouse :-C
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
Goshawk - Kielder Forest in Northumbs. But seeing them outside of the spring displaying season (late Feb, March) is well nigh impossible.


Twite - a winter visitor. East Chevington beach has been good for them in the last 2 or 3 winters, but none in summer of course.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
Still a decent number at various sites in the north Pennines. Exact locations are generally kept fairly quiet though. Here's a pic I took at a site in Northumbs, May last year (taken from a public road, bird about 300 m away) :t:

Had no idea Black Grouse were possible anywhere else, apart from Swallow Moss, I've only seen them in Scotland otherwise where I found five, sat in a tree!
 

Lamp64

Well-known member
I had Gos and HB at Wykeham last year and Wood Warbler and Black Grouse in the Barnard Castle area. A search on this forum will probably be more specific. Sorry but complete technophobe and don't know how to do links
 

Alexjh1

Well-known member
Thanks for all the help! Looks like all but twite are coceivably doable then?

Any thoughts on when would be the best bet to try going? Presumably it's getting optimal time for Roseate/HB/Wood Warbler if the other two are a bit more luck based?
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
Not sure if Roseate Terns are back quite yet, but from next couple of weeks through June should be fine for timing. These are eminently do-able by public transport too - train to Alnmouth station, cycle to Amble (there's a cyclepath parallel to the busy and narrow road from the station at Hipsburn to Warkworth). Just be aware east and north winds (like we've been having recently) risk the boat trips being cancelled.
The same cannot be said for Black Grouse...there's a well known lek site in Teesdale referenced in the book someone mentioned earlier, and visible from a public road. I've not been there for years, but a colleague passes the site from time to time and says there's usually a couple of males hanging about even during the day. In this case Bishop Auckland is the 'nearest' rail station, but in practical terms better to go to Darlington and hire a car.
A lot of the Wood Warbler references in aforementioned book may no longer be viable, and most won't be anywhere near a train station - Andy's Derbyshire suggestion looks a better bet, via the Matlock line. Alternatively Scotland may be an even better bet, a colleague had wood warblers north of Loch Lomond, which would be accessible by bike from Ardlui station on the Fort William / Oban line.
 

a_j_steele

Well-known member
With regards to wood warbler need to take into account leaf cover which makes late april / early may your best time to see them in their full glory before it gets more challenging to see them through the leafs
 

philflam

Well-known member
Give Wykham a go from around the last ten days of May onwards. I think Seamer is the nearest train station roughly eight miles away. Best to get to the watch point by mid morning to increase your chances. Good chance of getting one or the other of the raptor species. Keep an eye on the info services to find out when the HBs return.
 

Alexjh1

Well-known member
Out of interest, I'm reading that Hauxley reserve can be a decent place to see the terns a bit closer? Is this a reliable thing, or a bit luck of the draw?

Looking at the logistics of this so far, Amble and Wykeham seem like a more practical pairing, and with the comparatively more localised birds, so current gist theory is

Home>Amble>Hauxley Nature Reserve
Overnight in Amble> Conquet> Head down to Scarborough
Overnight as close to viewpoint as feasible> spend day at viewpoint>home

Possibly in the first week of June, depending on when I can get a day off. Sound feasible?
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
Out of interest, I'm reading that Hauxley reserve can be a decent place to see the terns a bit closer? Is this a reliable thing, or a bit luck of the draw?
Not reliable at all! Roseates only very rarely come in to Hauxley now, far less often than in the past. Could possibly be because the young trees round the edge of the reserve have grown up and make the lake more enclosed.

Best option is to take a boat round the island; select an afternoon high tide timing for the closest views - at low tide, the boats can't get close in to the island so views are distant.

From the mainland, check through roosting tern flocks on the beach at East Chevington burn mouth, there's often one or two come in there, but it's chancy due to the amount of dog disturbance on the beach - the terns get flushed frequently, and take a while to settle again.
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
Would second Nutcracker's comments about desirability of doing the boat trip from Amble - check out sailing times on Puffin Cruises FB and book for both days in case of adverse sea state. AFAIK sailings are only on high tides, so times vary from day to day - the boat has to be able to get around the west (near) side of the island in order to see the terns, and water is too shallow at low tide off this area.

Hauxley is pleasant enough and does nice cheese scones, but I wouldn't travel any distance to go there, unless you are taking in the other Druridge Bay birding sites. If you do have your own transport (which I presume you will have now if you are going to take in Wykeham) then a better use of spare time might be to complete the tern experience with a visit to the Long Nanny Arctic and little tern colony, best accessed from a car park north of High Newton by the Sea. Good close-up views of Arctics, best viewed from next to the warden's hut - little terns more distant apart from occasional flyovers.

Plan plenty time at Wykeham - I spent over 2 hours there a couple of years ago, missed a goshawk by 5 minutes and had a single flyover crossbill to show for my efforts. There's a wooden bench you can stand on and lean against - if nothing is happening, at least it's a stunning view over the valley!
 

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