Discover wildlife & birdlife

Things To See And Do In Teesdale

Rich Diversity

Within the wild landscape of Teesdale visitors will enjoy opprtunities to spot some of the UK’s rarest species.

Buzzards and the occasional Red Kite might be seen throughout Teesdale with Peregrine, Merlin, Kestrel and for those really blessed, perhaps a Hen Harrier.

Roe Deer are often spotted in the edge of fields or wooded areas, gracefully bounding away, shy and reticent. Throughout early Summer, Hares can easily be seen, even after the “Mad March” stage, they often seem to be gather in favourite fields early, just after sunrise.

Walk quietly and listen. No need to recognise the individual call of each bird, just relish the beauty of the sound. 



Birdwatchers are in for a treat.

Amongst the headline acts for ornithologists has got to be the Black Grouse population or “Lek” close to Langdon Beck.  

The upper dale provides superb bird watching with impressive raptors including the Peregrine Falcon, the occasional Red Kite, Merlin and Short Eared Owls.

Throughout the dale there are many breeding pairs of Buzzard, Kestrels, Sparowhawk and Barn Owls.  The Barn Owls have made an impressive return to Teesdale in the last 20 years and can regularly be seen at dusk quartering the ground in their search for food.

During the breeding season Teesdale enjoys a diversity of wading birds including along the banks of streams the eye-catching Oystercatchers.  You may hear them first, they can’t be described as shy or retiring!

Amongst the marshy moorland areas you may see Snipe and Redshank. Whilst up amongst the heather look out for Lapwing and Golden Plover.  Whilst walking check the hill tarns, you may be lucky to see Wigeon which are established breeders in Teesdale.



Short Eared Owl

One of our favourites and often seen when we travel across Bollihope Moor towards Stanhope.

Thanks to the AONB for permission to use this stunning image of a “catty face” the Orkney term …and so appropriate!

The Black Cock Lek

There is nothing more “super”natural than arising very early, practically the night before, and travelling to listen and observe the Lek before and during dawn in the early Spring.

At first, no more than an unearthly gentle whooshing noise, as the inky darkness gives way to dawn, the Black Cocks can be seen gathered in their ancient combat.  Dominant birds posture and assert. The younger birds challenge. Observed at all times by the seemingly passive, gentel grey hens.

The Black Grouse Lek is one of the natural wonders of Teesdale. Home to 80% of the population nationally of Black Grouse, they can often be observed from the comfort of your car, presiding in their natural habitat.



Otters on the Tees

The amazing and much loved Otter has made a miraculous comeback to the River Tees after many years absence.

Within the last 20 years we have enjoyed a gradual return with occasional sightings becoming  regular occurences with monitored breeding pairs and holts being used year after year. 

Walk quietly as you enjoy the many riverside paths. Speak in hushed voices and keep checking the river, you may see a flash of blue preceeded by the distinctive alarm cry of the Kingfisher. In Summer you will see the Sand Martins, Swallows and Swifts feeding frenziedly on the swarms of flies. 

You may however be really fortunate and catch a glimpse of a Teesdale Otter.