Tag Archives: Northumberland Wildlife Trust

Sightings of another out of place creature in Wallsend

Hot on the heels of recent reports of an Eagle Owl on the loose in Wallsend, Tyne & Wear, North East England – https://alchemyandaccident.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/eagle-owl-spotted-in-wallsend/  – comes this…

 

Is it a dog, a badger or an old fox?

Well, experts think this may be the first sighting of a Raccoon roaming free on Tyneside.

The furry mammal, usually found in North America, was spotted by a surprised jogger in Wallsend on Friday morning.

Wildlife experts believe it is the first recorded sighting of the wild beast in the area.

Tom Hughes, 22, was running through the grounds of Wallsend Hall at around 7am when something caught his eye.

He said: “I was running along and came across this curious creature.

“At first I thought it was a badger but its unusual facial markings made me think it was a raccoon.

“It was big and stocky, but very placid and didn’t seem to be in a hurry to get anywhere.”

Tom, who lives in Howdon, near Wallsend, is training to be in the Navy.

He said he hasn’t seen anything like this before but hoped to raise some awareness of the creature being out there.

I wasn’t going to go for my run on Friday morning but I’m glad I did now,” he said.

The early bird catches the worm, as they say.”

The last recorded sighting of a raccoon was in Sunderland in 2012.

They are considered dangerous with changeable temperaments, but some people are known to keep them as pets.

Following a change to the law in 2007 which removed the need for a licence, they are becoming more prominent in Britain.

Several sightings have also been recorded in County Durham.

Steve Lowe, head of conservation at the Northumberland Wildlife Trust based in Gosforth, Newcastle, said: “That is either a raccoon or a raccoon dog.

“Because we can’t see the feet we can’t be certain which.

“These are non-native animals which appear to be kept as pets. They can be aggressive so inevitably in such circumstances the owner finds them too hard to handle and abandons them.

“They are also extremely good escapologists. Two were recorded in County Durham recently but this is the first for us and not especially welcome. “

The last record of one was in Sunderland in 2012.

“It may be the same animal although it’s a stretch to say that it definitely is.

For a recent Racoon sighting in Chopwell, Gateshead, see :

https://alchemyandaccident.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/raccoon-spotted-in-north-east-england-garden/

Source – Newcastle Journal, 26 Sept 2014

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North East parks are our ‘Natural Health Service’

UNEMPLOYED IN TYNE & WEAR

It’s called the Natural Health Service – and sums up the therapeutic benefits flowing from green spaces and contact with wildlife.

Nature is good for us. This is something that we intuitively know, and for which there is mounting evidence,” says Northumberland Wildlife Trust chief executive Mike Pratt.

Stroll through a nature reserve, or just watch wildlife from your window – all contribute to our physical, mental and emotional well being.”

For many urban dwellers, it is parks which offer a link to the natural world.

Many people talk about “the other NHS” – the alternative and preventative health benefits that nature provided for free,” says Mike.

After all, we are animals and are intrinsically linked to the ecosystem and life support provided through the surrounding environment.

“So it’s no surprise that we feel better when we interact with wildlife, and enjoy…

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Caribbean bird turns up on Farne Islands

 
The Bridled Tern on the Farne Islands

A Caribbean visitor has seen birders flock to islands off the Northumberland coast.

The Bridled Tern, which has arrived on the Farne Islands, is thought to be the same bird which paid a visit last July, when it stayed for two weeks and attracted around 800 bird watchers.

Farne Islands head warden David Steel said: “It caused birders from as far away as Kent and the South West to jump into cars, drive overnight and admire this beauty from the Caribbean. It was the first bridled tern which was accessible to bird watchers in the UK since 1991, and only the 24th recorded for Britain.”

But last week, the bird was spotted on Fair Isle off the Shetlands by ex-Farne Island wardens before it headed south to Northumberland.

I suspect it may now be with us for some time yet,” said Mr Steel, who believes that the bird may have followed other migrating terns to the UK.

“It is a long way from home, but it seems to be very happy on the Farne Islands, where it has lots of food, and feels safe with all the other terns.

“It is also displaying to the sandwich terns and we may have some hybrid chicks. I think we will have a lot of people coming to see this bird.”

Inner Farne is open daily from 1.30pm to 5pm.

The Bridled Tern on the Farne Islands

 

 Meanwhile, another rare visitor has turned up at Hauxley nature reserve near Amble, in Northumberland.The Black-Winged Pratincole was spotted by birdwatchers at the Northumberland Wildlife Trust site behind Druridge Bay.

The bird, the size of thrush, comes from Turkey and parts of Asia.

There have been only 39 previous records of the bird in Britain, and it is the first sighting of the species in the North East.

Alan Tilmouth, of the Northumberland and Tyneside Bird Club, said: “It may just have decided to go in a different direction and been caught in a weather system.

“It is a very unusual sighting for Northumberland.”

Source –  Newcastle Journal, 25 June 2014

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