Tour At A Glance

Cost:

975.00

Deposit:

100.00

Single Room Supplement:

100.00

Tour Code:

Fairly relaxed, but some long drives. Up to 3 miles walking per day

Group Size:

Eight plus leader

Eurasian Curlew Northern Gannet Atlantic Puffin Arctic Tern Black-legged Kittiwake Razorbill

North East England - The Grand Tour

Date: 3rd - 9th June 2019 [3 SPACES LEFT] or 10th - 16th June 2019 [3 SPACES LEFT]
Leaders: Ashley Saunders [3rd - 9th] or Jason Moss [10th - 16th]

Itinerary

 

DAY ONE
The tour starts at Frampton Marsh RSPB in Lincolnshire faround 1pm for a couple of hours birding around lunchtime. Clients can park cars at our Great Ryburgh base, and travel with us in our licensed minubus, or collection is also possible at King's Lynn station en route. FRampton is an excellent site to start our tour list with a great variety of waterbirds! Waders can include more interesting species such as Little-ringed Plover, Common Greenshank, Ruff or Black-tailed Godwits in breeding plumage. Rarer species are frequent, such as Red-necked Phalarope, Broad-billed or White-rumped Sandpipers and Temminck's Stint. Mediterannean and Little Gulls are both frequent on the reserve, and we also have a great chance to find Turtle Dove, Lesser Whitethroat, Cetti's Warbler, Corn Bunting and Yellow Wagtail. Depart around 3.30pm, continuing north through Hull to our base at West Carlton Country Guest House, near Aldbrough in East Yorkshire.

DAY TWO
After a hearty breakfast, we will set off for Spurn, where spend most of the day birding along the point that stretches across the Humber Estuary. Migrants at this stage of the season tend to be few in number, but rare or uncommon migrants are a regular feature and we will hope that the weather conditions will bring species such as Red-backed Shrike, Marsh Warbler, Icterine Warbler or Common Rosefinch, though whatever is around, a good variety of birds can be expected. The estuary holds many shorebirds, many in resplendent breeding dress, terns pass offshore and Lesser Whitethroats rattle from the hedges. After lunch, we will amble in the other direction to explore Beacon Ponds and Kilnsea, where once again a range of interesting species is possible inlcuding breeding Little Terns & Avocets. On our way home, we will stop in some of the excellent coastal farmland where Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting, Tree Sparrow and Yellow Wagtail abound. Indeed, the very garden of the B&B itself is thronged with Tree Sparrows, and Great Spotted Woodpecker and Goldfinches visit the feeders. Three species of Owl can also be observed, with Barn, Tawny and Little all nesting close by. Overnight West Carlton.

DAY THREE
We pass Hornsea Mere on our way to Flamborough Head, and a morning walking around Old Fall Plantation and the South Landing could once again produce migrant birds. Resident breeding Peregrine is likely to be seen and seabirds are a constant feature. The cliffs here hold plenty of Black-legged Kittiwakes in particular, but it is nearby Bempton that lays on the real seabird spectacular. Common Guillemot, Razorbill, Atlantic Puffin and Northern Gannet throng the ledges, the sea below peppered with rafts of auks and the air around pungent with the scent of guano! Birds nest in their thousands here and the site of a squadron of gannets cruising by is truly superb. An oddity is always possible along this coast, and we have seen Icterine Warbler more than once here and Red-backed Shrike on two occasions. Sometimes we may visit nearby Filey Dams or the North Cliff where we saw Short-toed Lark on one visit. In the latter part of the afternoon we visit Tophill Low Yorkshire Water reserve, where a series of well placed hides provide more opportunites for seeing a range of water birds. Little-ringed Plovers and Common Terns nest on the shingle islands, and we could also expect to find Cetti's and Garden Warblers, Common Kingfisher, and maybe an oddity such as a passing Osprey, Little Gull or Black-necked Grebe. Overnight West Carlton.

DAY FOUR
We head north this morning and on into County Durham where we make for the beautiful fells of Weardale. This is wild open country and resonates to the bubbling of Eurasian Curlew and the alarmed cries of Common Redshank and European Oystercatcher. In adjacent Teesdale, the fells support the highest density of breeding shorebirds in Britain with European Golden Plover, Dunlin, Common Snipe and Common Sandpiper all present. This too is grouse country, and the high moorlands we pass through are very good for Red Grouse. It is the rare and magnificent Black Grouse that we are here for, however, and our site for this species has to be one of the best in Britain for close up views. Since 2004 our counts of Blackcock have reached well into double figures, and we enjoyed memorable views of these increasingly rare birds. And no need to be up at dawn—these birds are active and showy throughout the day! The stream holds Grey Wagtail with Spotted Flycatcher and Garden Warbler in the trees and a walk into the fells here provides our first opportunity to watch Ring Ouzel on its breeding habitat—a rare and exciting opportunity. If time allows we may visit an area of oak woodland for Common Redstart, Eurasian Siskin, Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler before driving north again for our final destination—Northumberland. Staying in the beautiful Coquet Valley, we will be in easy reach of the coastal sites and the river itself holds Dipper and Grey Wagtail. Overnight Queens Head Hotel, Rothbury.

DAY FIVE
Our first day here will start with a drive along one of the many valleys near Wooler, where a couple of hours birding can be truly superb. Common Redstart, Garden Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Tree Pipit, Whinchat, Peregrine, Ring Ouzel and Lesser Redpoll are all likely, as well as the commoner woodland birds—we also had two broods of Red Grouse on the moorland here last year. Eurasian Siskin, Goosander, Common Crossbill, Dipper, Grey Wagtail and Common Sandpiper are also some of the species we could expect. By lunchtime, we will be on the coast again, at Seahouses, the gateway to the Farne Islands. From here, we will take a memorable boat trip out to the islands, landing on Inner Farne itself where we witness a breathtaking ornithological experience. Whilst boarding the boat, Common Eider swim just feet away, and as we leave the harbour, the islands come into view and the birds start to appear. As we near the archipelago [which lies about two miles offshore], the first terns and auks can be seen, the latter coating the water and parting ahead of the boat as we approach. Common Guillemot and Atlantic Puffin number tens of thousands, with Razorbill, Black-legged Kittiwake and European Shag also numerous. The ledges of Staple Island are packed with rows of auks and we glide past them in the boat - just metres away. Landing on Inner Farne, we get an hour to wander across the island and witness yet another incredible sight—the Arctic Tern colony! As soon as we step off the boat, the terns start to dive bomb us, nesting by and sometimes on, the boardwalk ahead of us. A hat is recommended to soften the blow, as the birds are relentless when you stand in their territory. The whole island is covered in nesting birds, even the buildings which serve as the wardens quarters having Puffins on the roof and Arctic Terns nesting in the doorways. Sandwich Terns also nest and one or two Common Tern can be spotted, while Eider nests so close to your feet that you can virtually touch them! On the far side, the low cliffs hold very close up breeding shags, auks and kittiwakes , while puffins scurry from their burrows as you walk past. Its not just the birds but the scenery that impresses here, with the wide, sandy beaches and bays interspersed by low rocky outcrops, the Farne Islands looming up out of the waves in one direction and the distinctive shape of Holy Island breaking the skyline in the other. On land, Bamburgh Castle stands proud upon its rock, looking like something from the scene of a fairytale. Overnight Queens Head Hotel, Rothbury.
 
DAY SIX
Our last day of birding sees us with another short boat trip and another special bird to see. An hour cruising round RSPB owned Coquet Island allows us to see the very rare Roseate Tern in its English breeding stronghold. About 60 pairs breed, using boxes provided by the RSPB, and if the tides permit we will get to see them at very close quarters as our boat pulls up by the jetty. Many other seabirds will once again be seen—who could tire of watching hundreds of Puffins! This then leaves the rest of the day to explore some superb coastal sites for waterbirds and breeding passerines, and we will visit Hauxley, Druridge and East Chevington during the afternoon. Here, Willow Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Common and Lesser Whitethroats and Blackcap abound, and Druridge Bay Country Park Lake may hold a Little Gull or Goosander, as well as Bullfinch and Stonechat in the scrub. East Chevington is a busy lagoon for wading birds and wildfowl, with Common Teal, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall and Northern Shoveler lingering and flocks of passage shorebirds that could include Curlew Sandpiper amongst the Dunlin. Little, Common, Sandwich and Arctic Terns pause to bathe, and sometimes a Grasshopper Warbler will be reeling from the dune edge behind, a splendid way to end an exciting birding experience. Overnight Queens Head Hotel, Rothbury.
 
DAY SEVEN
Following checkout, we have time for a last look at the Dippers on the River Coquet before we set off after breakfast for our onward journey home.

 

Additional Information

 

WHATS INCLUDED
Six nights en suite accommodation on dinner, bed and breakfast basis, packed or picnic lunches, ground transport, boat trips, services of leaders and reserve entrance fees.
 
NOT INCLUDED
Travel to/from East Yorkshire, travel insurance, lunches on days one and seven, drinks and any items of a purely personal nature.
 
PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Owing to the different start and end points travel by public transport is inadvisable on this trip.
  

 

Tour Reports

 

2006  2007  2008a  2008b 2009a  2009b  2010a  2010b  2011  2012    2014    2015   2016  2017

 

2018a  2018b

 

Testimonials

 

"To all at the Oriole birding team and especially our tour guide, Ashley, a huge thank you for an amazing first trip. Great to visit new places and enjoy the beautiful coast and countryside of the NE.  I felt very lucky to be part of a happy and relaxed birding team.   Needless to say I am now perusing the website for future destinations." D.L, Cambridge
 
"The Northeast tour was another wonderful experience for me. I've wanted for years to see that part of England and loved every minute, and the birds were spectacular.  Thanks so much for the enormous effort you put into making it comfortable for us - Ashley keeps everything positive, makes everything run smoothly and even finds time to find all the birds!!. It's amazing to get such good looks at so many tiny birds, and having your comments about their habitats and habits enriches the experience. I'll NEVER forget that tiny Redstart on his mossy tree-elbow, the box-nesting Pied Fycatcher, nor the warblers in shrubs and grasses and the Greenfinch on its wire.  The cliff and island birds were glorious. Your combination of knowledge and good humor make Oriole's trips unbeatable - I am a an addict now, there must be some sort of magic at work here; it doesn't get any better than this"  D.C  USA
 
"A very enjoyable tour. We learned so much from Ashley and hope to travel with you again soon" R & H. L. Berkshire

"We thoroughly enjoyed what was a really lovely holiday" A. M. London
 
" Thank you for a week, which despite the disappointments wrought by the weather, still provided more than enough memorable birds and moments to make it hugely enjoyable"  A F Hampshire
 
" I enjoyed the holiday very much. The company was good, the relaxed pace, small group with no cliques and of course the birds were the highlights. The leader made sure that everyone saw a particular bird and pointed out field identification and overall the holiday was very good value for money which I would recommend to anyone wanting to see birds in this beautiful part of England" G B Berkshire
 
"A very enjoyable tour with good views of all the birds we saw, excellent accommodation and beautiful scenery" H S Berks.
 
" A most successful trip" J D Kent
 
" It was a tremendous holiday with superb birds made possible through Ashley's ability to find birds and with very good company and accommodation too" D & M P Bristol
 
" A really good, stress free break. Ashley was as patient as ever, the hotels were excellent and we particularly enjoyed seeing the seabirds at such close quarters" T J & MB London
 
"I just wanted to put down in writing my thanks for a fantastic week.With only the last day's weather being inclement I don't think the week could have been improved upon.The day in the Harthope Valley followed by the Farnes was breathtaking. Your hard work,and professionalism shined through making everything run smoothly. S.M Oxford
 
" Hi Neil, Jo Ann and I are back in the states after a quite perfect week touring the North East England with Ashley. Thanks to you our travel arrangements worked out well with no difficulties. As you predicted,  Ashley took good care of us and in regard to Ashley, I found him to be exactly the kind of leader I would want for a tour. Aside from his really exceptional skills in identifying birds for us in the field, he  was considerate and had a good sense of pace. It helped that all members of the group were experienced birders and compatible as well. Everyone was helpful and considerate of us "American girls" (I like the "girls" part). With all that in mind we look forward to joining you again as soon as we can" J T Vermont, USA
 
" Hello Ashley - Thank you again for a wonderful trip.  Such a nice group of people and oh, the birds!  We enjoyed seeing the beautiful countryside.You treated us so well all week, with extreme patience while showing us even the common birds.  Everyday went smoothly, very professional and well planned, don't know how you did it. Thank you especially for helping with my bag.  I developed a stitch that made it difficult, perhaps schlepping the bag on the way over did it.  I'll try not to bring so much next time, though having my scope was a real bonus" J L Vermont, USA
 
" The holiday was great. I particularly enjoyed the small group and good company, the birding, the hotels and the food. In fact I enjoyed everything about the trip" A H West Midlands
 
" Another fabulous trip - I'll be booking another soon! Great birds and wildlife in wonderful locations" A T Liverpool
 
" I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday, especially the variety of birds anf habitats. The guide was extremely knowledgeable and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Oriole Birding trips " ST Sussex
 
" A great trip seeing nearly all of our target birds despite some challenging weather at times. The stunning scenery, great company and spacious vehicle were all appreciated and the varied habitats and knowledge of the guide and little ID tips made it very enjoyable" R H Cambridge
 
"The boat trips and Bempton Cliffs were the highlights for us on what was a very well organised holiday. We saw great birds and enjoyed the company of a very friendly and helpful leader. M & LW Southampton.
 
 
 
 
 

 

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