County Durham and Tyne and Wear

County Durham

Simon Armitage on grouse

Poet Simon Armitage watched grouse as he passed through the blanket bog of Cotherstone Moor, and wrote in ‘Walking Home’, his travelogue along the Pennine Way… Read

Tyne and Wear

Inland kittiwakes

The world’s most inland kittiwake colony is on the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle. Read

Urban otters in Newcastle

Stephen Moss discusses the remarkable return of the otter to the once polluted Tyne in Wild Kingdom, as he explains in part thanks to the return of the Atlantic salmon. Here he spots an otter in the evening light: as he waits on the riverbank not far from the city centre:

A rounded head, complete with snub nose and whiskers from which drops of water fall back into the river, is swiftly followed by a long, sleek body dipping just above the water’s surface, and the hint of a tail behind. It moves quickly, cutting through the dark, oily-looking liquid with practised ease, its steady progress barely registering a ripple. Still I watch, transfixed, hypnotised by the animal’s presence. Then, as fleetingly as it appeared, it lifts its body and vanishes –plop –into the depths of the Tyne.

Great short documentary (Springwatch) on the otter’s return to the Tyne here.Read

Nothern Kites

Almost 100 red kites were released in the Derwent Valley between 2004 and 2007 as part of the Northern Kites project. These raptors are now a common sight over the skies of Newcastle and Gateshead, the first since the early nineteenth century.