Welcome to our information site linked to the display board on Shotley Pier! This has been made possible by a grant from the Coasts & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Community & Conservation Fund, awarded in 2022.
Shotley Pier is ideally placed to observe both native and migratory birds who flock to the estuary and tidal margins of this special region. The AONB is active in protecting species such on the Red list and this site is designed to help the public observe and learn more about this very special region. The information panel is a small introduction to some of the birds that can be seen from the pier throughout the year. Please feel free to follow up your interests with either the AONB, the Shotley Pier Group or simply record your sightings on the chalk board on the Pier.
Artwork by : Peta Hillier
Contacts at :
- BRENT GOOSE: A small dark goose with a black head, rear end white. Large flocks between October and February from their Artic breeding grounds. Feeds on estuaries and mudflats, sometimes arable grassland. Often take to the air when disturbed. UK conservation status: Amber
- OYSTERCATCHER: Striking black and white plumage, red eye and an orange bill. Common on shorelines with molluscs such as cockles, mussels, and marine worms. Migrate from northern areas and breed in shallow scrapes in the open. UK conservation status: Amber
- CURLEW: A large wading bird with a long downward bill with a distinctive sound. Winter habitat of upland moors and in summer on seashores for worms and molluscs. UK conservation status: Amber
- BLACK HEADED GULL: One of the most common European gulls able to live in most habitats. An opportunistic feeder but marine invertebrates and molluscs are favoured on the shoreline. Adults have a distinctive dark head in summer with a white plumage. UK Conservation status: Amber
- CORMORANT: A large, hooked bill and a dark appearance, Cormorants are often seen diving under water then perched on posts with wings stretched out to dry them off. Cormorants live around sheltered coasts and eat flatfish and eels. UK Conservation status: Green
- REDSHANK: Found in estuaries and shores in the winter and coastal marshes in the summer this wading bird has red legs and bill with a grey, brown plumage and pure white underside. Feeds on marine invertebrates and insect larvae. UK conservation status: Amber
- CANADA GOOSE: Europe’s largest goose with a black head and neck and brown plumage with white underparts. Introduced in the 17th century now native with a widespread habitat. Feeds on roots, stems and leaves and aquatic plants. Large flocks can be seen in winter flying in formation up the estuary and to feeding grounds. (no status)
- COMMON GULL: A pure white body with black wing tips and a grey mantle the common gull is not so common! It can feed at sea and on land, consuming fish, invertebrates, insects, and earthworms. Its habitat includes coasts and marshes. UK conservation status: Amber
- LITTLE EGRET: Found in shallow lakes and coastal wetlands, little egrets have now spread to southern Britain from Europe. Pure white plumage and long black legs, this bird feeds on fish and other aquatic animals on the shoreline. They will nest and roost in trees in colonies. UK conservation status: Green
- LITTLE RINGED PLOVER: These birds arrive in spring from northern Africa and prefer a gravel habitat, feeding on aquatic invertebrates and insects. Black and white head with brown wings and white underparts this is a small secretive bird. UK conservation status: Green
- GREYLAG GOOSE: A large goose with an orange bill and pink legs with grey/ brown plumage. Found in flocks on arable land and lakes these birds are both resident in the UK and winter migrants from Iceland. They mainly feed on grass. UK conservation status: Amber
- TURNSTONE: This migratory bird can often be found in winter on the coast turning stones with its strong bill to feed on marine invertebrates and insects on rotting kelp. The male has black and white facial markings and brown and black wings, in the winter turning grey/brown. UK conservation status: Amber
- HERRING GULL: These large birds have adult plumage of silver grey with a yellow beak and juvenile are mottled brown. They have a raucous cry and can feed off the seashore, open sea and on land. They can also take smaller birds and show aggression. UK conservation status: Red
The RSPB Red list denotes birds in most need of help due to declining numbers with red being critical and Amber of concern.