Walker – Newcastle

Walker Riverside Park

“Once a hotspot for industry, Walker Riverside Park
has evolved into a wildlife haven, since the early 1980’s”. 

Walker Riverside Park can be found between St Peter’s Basin and the Ouseburn to the west; and Wallsend to the east. This important riverside habitat and wildlife corridor is home to a wide variety of riverside and woodland birds. During low tides, Curlews and Redshanks can be easily found and in the summer the river is alive with the calls of Common Terns and Kittiwakes. Cormorants can be seen daily swimming in the river or relaxing on the nearby rocks drying out their wings all year round.

Over the past three decades, wader species such as Redshank and Curlew are now less common, whilst new species have started to visit such as Grey Heron and Little Egret.  There has also been coastal visitors such as Eider, Turnstone, and Common Scoter on the rare occasion.

A Common Tern - Tyneside
A Common Tern

Common Terns were once upon a time present daily during the spring/summer months; with over a dozen present in the day time hours.  These elegant terns still come to visit at times, but in smaller numbers, and often from nearby ponds such as Wallsend Swallow Pond or Killingworth Lake to feed.

A Redshank

One species of bird has remained committed to this beautiful wildlife habitat; the Kittiwake.  Hundreds of Kittiwakes have selected some buildings in South Tyneside, opposite Walker Riverside Park to build their nests during the breeding season.

A Kittiwake

The adjacent steep riverbanks, are popular with Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Greenfinch and in the spring/summer months a good selection of Warblers can be seen or heard, which can include Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler. During the Autumn/winter Fieldfares and Redwings can be seen on nearby wasteland/former industrial land. Grey Partridges can also be found all year round.

A Jackdaw

Recent highlights have included inland Eider and Long-tailed Duck.

Mallards and Mute Swans also often come to visit from the nearby Wallsend Burn or Ouseburn. Walker’s resident Ring-necked Parakeets, (which are likely to have originated from escapes over six years ago), at times visit Riverside Park from Walker Park, which is very close to the eastern edge of Riverside Park.

The site has inherited some pollution from its industrial past and is in need of more restoration. The park can be enjoyed by bike, using a cycle path which extends from St Peter’s Basin to Wallsend. There are also paths which travel close to the river and deep into the park itself. It takes a couple of hours to fully explore the park.

A Cormorant

If you are lucky you may see a seal, swimming
in the river, as they come to visit at times”

Other wildlife present includes Hedgehogs and Foxes and a good selection of Moths and Butterflies in the summer.

Anglers can be seen fishing close to the river’s edge, but on the whole, the site is not well visited and only a handful of birders currently regularly visit the site. The cycle way has become popular however, from which you can enjoy scenic views from above.

Walker Park

A typical urban pack filled with everything you would expect for the local population.

It lacks an area of freshwater however, which is very much needed for the local wildlife. Once upon a time there was a dene and some evidence of this remains; where some well established trees mark the terrain where it once flowed.

Ring necked Parakeets
by Dylan Burgess

The park is filled with the chorus of Robins, Thrushes and in recent years the calls of a small group of Ring-necked Parakeets. Chaffinches and Goldfinches are regulars, as are Carrion Crows and Magpies. In the winter Fieldsfares and Redwings come to feed on the extended areas of grass, which are used for local football groups on weekends.

Kestrels and Sparrowhawks can be found at times, and if you are very lucky a Grey Heron may fly over on its way to or from Walker Riverside Park.

Harbottle Park