Beginners Wildlife – Woodland Birds, Northumberland




At a glance

2017 Dates & Prices: TBA
Maximum participants: 4 per workshop
Private workshops? Yes. One to one or one to two sessions can be made on a bespoke basis. Please contact me for a quote and to arrange a suitable date.


I recommend a digital SLR with a lens of 300mm or more. A tripod isn’t neccesary but a beanbag can be useful for support in the hide. I can provide these if necessary, please let me know. Spare batteries and memory cards are an absolute necessity.

Warm shoes and clothing are recommended as it can get chilly in the hide. Some insect repellant can be beneficial too.


Our base and meeting point will be Andy Howey’s Birds of Prey Centre within the Haggerston Castle holiday resort near Berwick upon Tweed in Northumberland.

Haggerston Castle Holiday Park,
Nr Berwick-upon-Tweed,
TD15 2PA


There is ample car parking and toilets at the birds of prey centre.

Please bring a packed lunch and cold drinks. Tea and coffee will be available at the birds of prey centre but feel free to bring a flask if you enjoy a more regular hot drink as leaving the hide can cause disturbance.


Very little walking is required and the hide can accommodate at least one wheelchair.


If you’re travelling to the region I can recommend the following accommodation.

Whitton Cottage situated in the heart of the Northumberland National Park.

The Kestrel and Kingfisher lodges are very well located between Alnwick and Morpeth in Northumberland. Please contact me if you are interested and I’ll pass your details directly to the owners.
Kestrel Lodge, Felmoor Park.
Kingfisher Lodge, Felmoor Park.

Goldfinch Reflection
Goldfinch Reflecton

Native British woodland birds have an enduring appeal for wildlife photographers. Their diverse range of colours and characterful behaviour make them stunning subjects for your camera. Our private woodland bird hide attracts a huge variety of species throughout the year.

The hide comfortably sits 4 persons and has two openings designed for photography at a comfortable sitting height. One opening faces north so the light is behind for the majority of the day and looks out at a range of natural perches located around feeders. The other opening looks out over a purpose build reflection pool*. This superb hide is an ideal location for extending your wildlife photography portfolio with these small and timid woodland birds.

So far we’ve recorded….

Blue tits, great tits, coal tits, long-tailed tits, greater spotted woodpecker, redpoll, siskin, goldfinch, chaffinch, greenfinch, wren, robin, house sparrow, tree sparrow, nuthatch, goldcrest, brambling, blackbird, song thrush, mistle thrush, jackdaw and stock dove.

Male Greenfinch
Male Greenfinch

We’ll start at around 9am with introductions over tea and coffee and spend some time chatting about some of the techniques associated with this type of bird photography. When we’re ready we’ll enter the hide. Throughout the day we’ll move around the seats in the hide to provide a subtle change to angles and backgrounds, plus access to the reflection pool opening*. During this time we’ll fine-tune techniques including focusing, exposure and metering as well as learning how reading and understanding the behaviour of birds can help get the shot.

At lunchtime we’ll take a break for a bite to eat and some hot drinks. During this time we’ll restock the bird feeders and maybe make some changes to some of the perches too. We are always open to suggestions! Throughout the afternoon we’ll continue to photograph the birds and aim to finish at around 4pm.

If we experience any quiet periods during the day I can demonstrate some post processing techniques in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop if this is of interest.


*Please note, the reflection pool needs a calm day with very little wind to work effectively. If the conditions aren’t suitable there is plenty of room for all to photograph birds in the feeding area. Species and habitats will evolve throughout the changing seasons.

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