As you travel north from Cresswell Pond you very soon come to another important nature reserve known as Druridge Pools, which again runs close to the coast and can be accessed from a narrow road that turns to the right. The reserve evolved from a former opencast coal mine and is managed by the Northumberland Wildlife Trust . As you enter the reserve, there are two wet fields to the left. There is a screen hide (Budge Screen), which provides a good view of the fields which can be accessed from a short path that travels to the left.
Druridge Pools is great for wintering wildfowl and waders. In 1993 and 2019 it attracted a Black-winged Stilt and a Green-winged Teal and a Stilt Sandpiper in 2014. A Broad-billed Sandpiper stayed for a short while in 2016. In recent years, Druridge Pools has been popular with visiting Spoonbills and Little and Great White Egrets, which can come to visit for short periods.
It is also popular with migrants/vagrants and in 2013 a Subalpine Warbler stopped off briefly for a short while, whilst Water Pipits have been regular the last few years. Recent highlights have featured Pectoral Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Spotted Crake and White-winged Black Tern.
Key waders to watch out for can include Common, Curlew, Green and Wood Sandpipers, Little and Temminck’s Stints, Curlew and Whimbrel, Redshank, Greenshank and Spotted Redshank, Jack Snipe, Snipe and much more… Wildfowl can include Mute, Whooper and Bewick Swans, Gadwall, Goldeneye, Pintail, Pochard, Scaup, Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Duck and Wigeon.
As you travel further down the narrow road, there is a deep lake and two unlocked bird hides. One overlooks the lake, whilst other provides another view of the wet fields. To access these two hides there is a second path, only a short walk from the turning for the screen hide. This again turns to the left, and provides access to the two bird hides.
The larger hide has recently been refurbished and is a great place to relax for a few hours. This can be a great location to photograph birds.
Patience is recommended as resident and visiting birds, often can come very close. These can include Gadwall, Great crested Grebe, Tufted Duck and often some waders or passerines if your are lucky. This hide is also well used by disabled visitors.
The surrounding woodland is filled with wildlife all year round. During the spring/summer Chiffchaff, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler can be easily seen and heard.
The nearby dunes are also a favourite for Stonechats and Twite in the winter. Some lucky birders were lucky to watch a ‘White-billed Diver’ as it travelled north along the coastline in 2018. This can be a great location to watch Divers, Red-necked or Slavonian Grebes, especially in the winter months.
“In 2016 a Bee-eater was found and remained for a little while. An extremely colourful species with lots of personality.”
NZ 273 968
The reserve is suitable for accompanied wheelchairs.
A downloadable access sheet is available from the NWT website at www.nwt.org.uk
There are two unlocked hides available which are accessible to the public and there is a screen which overlooks the wet fields.
Visitors can park to the left or right of the roadside at the adjacent National Trust Druridge Links site.
More information is available from the NWT website at www.nwt.org.uk