Dunston Staiths – Gateshead
“Perfect for a relaxing walk along the riverside”
Easily noticeable by the large wooden pier which is well known as the Dunston Staiths. The Staiths stretches from Teams in Gateshead, travelling into the path of the River Tyne, which flows past. As a tidal riverside habitat, large stretches of mudflats are present at times, which remain popular with a wide variety of waders such as Curlew, Lapwings and Redshanks. Populations of these well known waders in current times are considerably smaller however compared to the 1980’s.
At times Common Sandpipers, Dunlin and Oystercatcher can also be found. Less common waders, especially in the spring and autumn months feature Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Green or Wood Sandpipers, Golden Plover, Knot, Little or Temminck’s Stint, Spotted Redshank, Ringed Plover, Turnstone or Whimbrel.
Wildfowl such as Mallard, Mute Swan, Teal and Shelduck are fairly regular; whereas Goosander are less common.
In recent times a wave of coastal species have been found on the rare occasion and these records are becoming more frequent. These have included Guillemot, Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Red breasted Merganser, Rock Pipit and Turnstone.
As our climate warms species such as Avocet and Little Egret are found within the northern counties and can come to visit briefly. Cormorant and Grey Herons are common, and the site has a full list of Gulls throughout the year which often includes the largest of all; Great Black backed Gull, and on rarer occasions, Med Gull and either Iceland or Glaucous Gull.
A few birds from the breeding population of Tyne Kittiwakes at times venture as far as the Staiths, and it is likely eventually, they will try and nest on this site as the colonies continue to expand.
There is a screen hide which overlooks Dunston Staiths and the surrounding tidal mudflats.
Visitors can park nearby in a free car park, but spaces become more limited during busy times. Well established paths, travel either side of the pier and there is good access for the disabled. There are local shops nearby and toilets a short drive in the large Metro Centre shopping centre. There is also a cafe close to the Staiths which comes very much recommended.
Some of the wildlife can be best viewed from the Newcastle side of the River Tyne at Newcastle Business Park, where there is also free parking and a local riverside cafe.
In the last three decades Seals have been travelling more and more up river, and it is pretty normal to record some relaxing close to the Staiths. Otters have also been found on occasion. Popular riverside species such as Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher are also regulars, as are a wide selection of raptors, such as Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. At times Red Kites venture near as do Buzzard if you are very lucky.
Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Greenfinch are recorded; whilst Magpies and Pied Wagtails are resident. In recent years, this site is becoming more popular and the range of species is increasing. Thrushes such as Blackbird and Mistle Thrush love the riverside; with Dunnock and Robin likely to be nearby.
As the seasonal clock turns, Fieldfares and Redwings are always worth looking forward to, and they are certain to visit this valuable riverside oasis for wildlife.
A new housing estate has emerged, alongside the river; so the well established paths and facilities, are well used and popular. This can be a great site for a relaxing walk, or a picnic against the river for the whole family. There is very good access for the disabled. As the River Tyne is tidal is it suggested birdwatchers check tide tables, if they wish to view the mudflats more exposed for waders etc. Visitors can also enjoy the site by pedal bike, with a variety of clear routes used regularly.
An amazing location for both landscape and wildlife photography. There is also a good variety of plants, trees and shrubs, especially in the spring and summer months. In present times, Common Terns are less frequent, and any sighting is now treasured; and more likely to be one of the birds from a local nature reserve such as Gosforth Park or Rising Sun Country Park; coming to feed on their tasty fish.
There is well maintained paths, which follow the river for a short time; adjacent to the Gateshead Staiths and nearby housing. At times the Gateshead Saiths is open to the public, however following a recent fire, access to walk on the staiths themselves is now limited. Visitors can view the surrounding habitat however from the riverside, without entering onto the wooden piers themselves.
There is an extensive range of shops and facilities available in the nearby metrocentre shopping centre.
There is a free car park, close to the Gateshead Staiths.