A great coastal site to watch sea birds
Seaton Sluice is the home of the Northumberland and Tyneside Bird Clubs exclusive ‘Sea Watching Tower‘. Members can obtain keys for a small deposit. This is a great site for watching passing seabirds, such as Arctic, Great, Pomarine and Long-tailed Skuas, Manx and Sooty Shearwaters, Guillemots, Puffins and Razorbills; and Fulmars, Gannets and Kittiwakes.
Since the 1980’s Shearwater and Skua passage has fallen, which makes every sighting a highlight in current times. Some birders may remember the Long-tailed Skua influx in the late 1980s whereby dozens of birds flew past the Sea Tower at Seaton Sluice. Some of these amazing Skua’s came so close, they flew over the sea cliffs, with a couple even seen close to Holywell Dene.
If you really want to observe seabirds in the county then the Seaton Sluice Sea Watching Tower is perfect. At times visitors are rewarded with views of Little Auks, especially during the winter months when conditions are right. Other birds present offshore can also include Common and Velvet Scoters, Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Scaup, Red-throated, Black-throated and Great Northern Divers and Slavonian and Red-necked Grebes.
“Users are recommended to bring a telescope as most Skua’s
and Shearwaters etc. pass out of the range of binoculars”.
Rarities to watch out for include Sabine’s Gull, Rare Shearwaters and Black Terns.
The nearby coastline is also a favourite for a good selection of waders which can include Purple Sandpiper, Grey Plover and Bar tailed Godwit. During the spring/summer months the skies are alive with the calls of Sandwich, Arctic and Common Terns which often can be seen resting on the rocks nearby. Roseate and Little Terns can also be found passing occasionally if you’re very lucky.
In the spring and autumn months, the surrounding coastline can be popular with migrants passing through. In recent years these have included a Red-backed Shrike, Ring Ouzel and Wheatears.
There are good facilities close by, which include toilets, restaurants and a couple of pubs with loads of character. Visitors are also recommended to explore the nearby St Mary’s Island, Holywell Dene and Blyth Estuary.
The nearby beaches and sand dunes are great opportunities for relaxing seaside walks. Further up the coast to the north, you can find Newbiggin by the Sea which is also a great site for seawtaching.
NZ 338 769
There is free access to the coast and beaches. There is limited access for wheelchair users.
The bird hide is accessible to NTBC bird club members only.
There are toilets, shops and cafes nearby.
There is free parking available, however spaces are limited.