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Gosforth NR Wildlife

Gosforth Nature Reserve is one of the best places to see wildlife in Newcastle and Tyne & Wear. On this page you can find out about some of the reserve’s wildlife.

Otter, Gosforth Nature Reserve © Millne Thornton

Wetland Wildlife

Wetland species include birds such as Bittern, Kingfisher, Water Rail, Reed Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Bunting, Common Tern (breeding platform), Grey Heron, Wigeon, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Snipe, Grey Wagtail and Little Grebe. At certain times of the year there are spectacular roosts of large flocks of Starling, Swallow and Jackdaw.

Otters are regularly seen and there are healthy populations of Frog, Toad and Smooth Newt but our Water Shrews are much harder to see. Several species of dragonflies are present in the summer, including Broad-bodied Chaser.

Unusual wetland migrants in recent years have included Little Bittern, Ferruginous Duck, Marsh Harrier, Little Egret, Garganey, Whooper Swan, White-fronted Goose and Ruddy Shelduck.

Woodland Wildlife

Woodland species include birds such as Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Tawny Owl, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Nuthatch, Jay, Treecreeper, Woodcock, Siskin and Garden Warbler. Our feeding station hide is a great place to see woodland birds up close from October to March.

Roe Deer are commonly seen and there are breeding Red Squirrel, Fox, Badger, Stoat, Weasel, Wood Mouse and Bank Vole. The reserve is an important site for bats with 7 species recorded including Daubenton’s, Noctule, Nathusius pipistrelle and Brandt’s.

Plants & Flowers

England’s second largest colony of Coral-root Orchid is found in the wet woodland and a viewing area is created in late May-June for this rare species. Other interesting plants include Young’s Helleborine, Broad-leaved Helleborine, Northern Marsh Orchid, Common Spotted Orchid and a range of meadow species. The woodland is a green carpet of ferns in the summer. In autumn there is a wide variety of mushrooms and fungi including some uncommon species.


The reserve is very important for its insects, including species of beetle, bee and moth which are nationally and regionally rare. In summer 9 species of Butterfly can usually be seen, including the Purple Hairstreak.

Species Lists

Lists of species of birds, mammals, amphibians, insects and plants recorded at the Reserve


Please enter your sightings in the logbook (in the members’ hut at the entrance) as this helps us to monitor changes in species over many years and helps us to protect the reserve and surrounding habitats from development.

These records are also passed to the North-East Environmental Records Information Centre to form part of our regional knowledge of the natural world and to help with conservation efforts.

Rare species are sometimes seen in the reserve, if you are fortunate enough to see one please get in touch to let us know before you release the news online.