Hauxley Nature Reserve

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Hauxley nature reserve looking south towards Druridge Bay
Hauxley Northumberland Wildlife Trust

Hauxley Northumberland Wildlife Trust

The Northumberland wildlife Trust reserve of Hauxley is essentially two fresh-water lagoons with islands, reedbeds, 5 hides and an information centre. Covering some 80 acres (32Ha) ,it lies 1.5 miles (2.4km) south of the town of Amble at the northern edge of Druridge Bay. Low Hauxley has been a bird ringing station for many years and it is from here that many of Northumberland's rarities have been recorded as its small private wood was one of the few natural features to remain untouched during the 1970's when much of this area was used for opencast mining operations.

As the mines became exhausted, large sections of Druridge Bay were re-landscaped and it is now a conservation area (including Cresswell Ponds) of around five miles (8km). In 1983 the Northumberland wildlife Trust took over the management and development of Hauxley. Paths and hides were constructed, reedbeds developed, and trees planted providing an excellent variety of habitats sandwiched between farmland to the west and the dunes to the east. Water levels can be adjusted at times of migration leaving areas of mud which encourage waders and careful management of other areas has encouraged both Little-ringed Plover and Reed warbler to breed as both spread their ranges northwards. It is estimated that 60+ species now breed on or around the reserve with many more present as visitors during migration periods; indeed Hauxley is also an excellent mainland location for Terns and probably the best on the east coast for Roseate Tern which breed on the nearby Coquet Island. they will sometimes join Common and Arctic Tern usually late on a summer afternoon to bathe in fresh water in front of the 'Tern Hide'. A winter high tide brings waders off the shore and on to the reserve similar to Snetisham in Norfolk and although numbers are not as impressive they can include Turnstone, Purple Sandpiper, Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit. This time of the year also brings in sea duck such as Scaup and Long-tailed duck that will join sizable parties of Widgeon, Mallard, Pochard Tufted duck and perhaps the odd Pintail or Smew (above). The adjacent fields may hold Whooper Swan or Geese. Another important habitat is the shoreline itself, home to the Rock pipit usually found foraging amongst the rocks and shingle for their diet of winged ants (Hymenoptera) aphids, small worms, sandhoppers, slugs and small marine mollusca.

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All Year;- Little Grebe, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Teal, Mallard, Grey Partridge, Pheasant, Moorhen, Coot, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Redshank, Collared Dove, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Thrushes, tits, Corvids, Tree Sparrow (right), Finches, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting.
Spring;- Kittiwake and gull passage, Canada Gooses, Gadwall, Garganey, Ruddy Duck, Passage Waders, Ruff, Whimbrel, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Terns including Little and Black on passage. Gulls including Mediterranean and Little. Sabine's has been recorded. Cuckoo, Hirundines, Ring Ouzel, Whinchat, Redstart, Wheatear, Grasshopper, Sedge, Reed, Garden and Willow Warblers, Chiff-chaff, Blackcap and Spotted Flycatcher. Records for Spoonbill, Surf Scoter, Avocet, Temminck's Stint, Turtle Dove, Citrine Wagtail, Nightingale, Thrush Nightingale, Bluethroat, Icterine Warbler and Red-backed Shrike.

Late Summer-Autumn;- Tape luring sessions for Storm Petrel (details from the reserve or Birdline North-East), return waders with rarities which have included Pectoral Sandpiper, Terek sandpiper, Marsh and White-rumped Sandpiper, Ruddy Shelduck and both Bridled and 'Elsie' the Lesser-crested Tern from the Farne Islands.

Autumn (August-November) ;-Passage of seabirds including terns and skuas. Red-breasted Merganser, Greylag and Barnacle Geese on passage. Waders including Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Ruff, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank and Green Sandpiper. Increasing numbers of Ringed Plover, Sanderling and Dunlin. October-November brings 'falls' of Thrushes, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Robin and Goldcrest. Twite and Snow Bunting to the beach with possible Lapland Bunting and Shore Lark. Autumn rarities have included Hoopoe, Wryneck, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Barred Warbler, Arctic Warbler, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Marsh warbler, Red-throated Pipit, Common Rosefinch, Little Bunting, Olive-backed Pipit, Paddyfield Warbler, Golden Oriole, Red-backed and Great-grey Shrike, Pallas's warbler, Firecrest, Bonelli's Warbler and Arctic Redpoll.

Winter;- Wintering Divers and grebes often lingering until Spring. Common and Velvet Scoter (sea), Smew, Goldeneye and sea duck. Peregrine, Merlin and Short-eared owl. White winged gulls, Black Redstart has overwintered.

Access;-Situated between High and Low Hauxley off the A1068 1 mile south of Amble . There is ample car parking an information centre and toilets. Disabled access. Entry free to members. Non members pay one fee to access Hauxley, Cresswell Pond & Druridge Pools. A track leaves the minor road between Low and High Hauxley. The entrance is shared with the Mountgate Caravan Park. The Centre is open between 9am - 5pm daily. Please do not climb on the mounds, as this will cause disturbance to the birds. No permit is required for the beach and other areas of interest outside the reserve including Ladyburn lake in Druridge Bay country park. (shop, Cafe and toilets here).

Other wildlife;-Small ponds created around the car park, are suitable for pond dipping.
Flowers are also abundant at the reserve in the summer months including kidney vetch, vipers bugloss and bloody cranesbill.

Where to watch Birds in North East England
The essential guide to finding birds in North-east England.
The 2nd edition of this popular guide to the best birding sites in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Durham and Cleveland.
Fully revised and updated, with several important new sites added.
Practical information on habitat, access to reserves, the best times to visit and which species occur in each season.
Maps and line drawings.416 pages.

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Where to watch Birds in North East England
Recent bird photographs from Hauxley
Birding Video from Hauxley
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Hauxley Links
Local services and accommodation around Hauxley
Suggested Birdwatching walks around Hauxley

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