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Pictures: First seal pup of the year born on Farne Islands

The first seal pup of the year has been born on the Farne Islands off the Northumberland Coast, marking the start of this year’s annual seal count by the Islands’ resident rangers.

The seals only leave the colony when they've moulted their white fur Credit: National Trust
  • Every year over 1,500 pups are born on the islands
  • They have an estimated population of 5,000 seals
  • Rangers spend three months each autumn counting the seals
  • Breedings starts in mid-September and most pups are born in October and November
Mother and child catch the autumn sun Credit: National Trust

A typical day for the rangers involves landing on the seal colonies to monitor the birth of the pups. Once born, they’re sprayed with a harmless dye to indicate the week they are born, which allows the Rangers to keep an accurate count. The job is not as easy as it sounds, as protective mother seals can become aggressive when the rangers get too close.

Credit: National Trust

The public can visit the island - and its seals - by making a short boat trip from Seahouses.


Flood warning in place for Middlesbrough Becks

Flood warning in place for the Middlesbrough Beck area Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Environment Agency have issued a flood warning for the Middlesbrough Becks.

They say flooding of low lying roads and footpaths as well as homes and businesses is possible.

The areas listed as being at risk are Marton West Beck, Newham Beck, Ormesby Beck, Middle Beck, and Spencer Beck

Members of staff from the agency are in the area as more unsettled wet weather is expected.

Rainfall is forecast to continue until early this afternoon but is expected to become lighter.

River levels have now peaked and will continue to fall throughout this afternoon.

It is forecast to be dry overnight tonight but more rain is expected to affect the area from midday on Wednesday (16th September 2015) which may cause river levels to rise once again.


Moth Night: Get involved and start counting

It is Moth Night tonight and you can get involved.

It is very simple, you just need to identify and count the moths you see in your garden tonight.

There are several ways to attract them - find out more here

Silver Y Moth Credit: Sheila Cartwright

Around 40 species of migrating moths have appeared in the UK for the first time in the last 15 years - some travelling from as far as North Africa.

You might also spot a moth marked by researchers which could provide more information about migration. Credit:

Once you have your count completed you can record your findings here.

The count lasts for three nights so if you are not about tonight there is still time to get involved - and let us know how you get on.

Send any pictures to

Residents fined hundreds for yard rubbish

Two South Tyneside residents who failed to clear their yards of rubbish have been fined by magistrates.

Kayleigh Newbrook, 27, was prosecuted by South Tyneside Council and the case was proved in her absence.

Credit: South Tyneside Council

A notice was served against the defendant under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 following a build-up of refuse in her back yard.

Under the notice Newbrook was ordered to clear her yard and take the rubbish to a registered waste disposal facility. However, two weeks the rubbish had not been cleared from Aldwych Street in South Shields.

Magistrates fined her £600 and ordered her to pay a victim surcharge of £60 and courts costs of £100. She was also ordered to pay a Criminal Courts Charge of £150.

Credit: South Tyneside Council

Natalie Dodgson, 20, was also fined for a similar offence of failing to clear her yards at Victoria Road East in Hebburn of a discarded settee, clothing and rubbish. A notice was served under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 but further inspections revealed the items had not been removed.

Magistrates proved the case in her absence and fined her £400 and also ordered her to pay a victim surcharge of £40, costs of £100 and a Criminal Courts Charge of £150.

A spokesperson for South Tyneside Council said: “In addition to being unsightly, piles of rubbish can attract vermin and pose a health risk.

“These significant fines demonstrate the seriousness of this type of offence and we hope they will serve as a warning to others to clear up their rubbish when asked to do so.”

Beluga whales spotted off Northumberland coast

Credit: Sea Watch Foundation

Delighted holidaymakers in Northumberland this bank holiday weekend were rewarded with the incredible sight of two arctic beluga whales.

The arctic whales were spotted in the sea off the coast of Warkworth beach on Monday by tourist Steve Powis.

Credit: Sea Watch Foundation

Kathy James, sightings officer for Sea Watch Foundation said it was a “surprise” to hear of the sightings.

Beluga whales are normally found at least two thousand miles away to the north either around Greenland or in the Barents.

In 30 years there have only been 17 recorded sighting of belugas in Britain and Ireland, the Sea Watch Foundation said.

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