Spring wildlife at Beningbrough
Spring is one of the most exciting seasons for spotting wildlife, after the long winter. Here's a guide to what you might see at Beningbrough during spring.
Beningbrough's ponds are teeming with wildlife in spring and early summer. The long grass around the pond in the American Garden provides cover for amphibians - the common toad, frog and common newt are all present. Insects such as pond skaters and water measurers can be seen on the surface, looking for other insects to feed on. In the water, you will probably see plenty of frogspawn and tadpoles.
Birds around the hall and gardens
The swallows return around mid-April, and are a common sight around the Hall and summer house, where they like to nest. Look out for song birds nesting and feeding their young in the gardens. Among the species of bird you're likely to see are wrens, robins, blackbirds, song thrushes, goldfinches, chaffinches and various tit species.
Birds in the woodland areas
The bird feeders in the American Garden are topped up with fat balls and bird seed, and therefore are a great place to spot birds such as the nuthatch, and various tit species. The greater spotted woodpecker can be heard drumming and calling in the old trees here, and also in the wilderness play area.
Birds in the riverside area
The sand martins will be returning to their old nests along the river bank from around mid-April, and can be seen feeding over the river too. The oystercatcher and curlew can be heard calling and often seen here. Other birds to look out for are the kingfisher, grey heron and goosander, anywhere along the Beningbrough stretch of river.
Bumblebees and butterflies
Bumblebees are emerging from hibernation in spring - look out for them particularly in the American Garden and the orchard. The long grass in the American Garden with planted bulbs and wild flowers, such as violets, is a wildlife haven. Early butterflies can be seen too, such as the butter-coloured Brimstone (thought to be the original "butter" fly) and the Orange-tip.
This is an excellent time of year to spot fish rising or splashing in the margins as they spawn. Occasional salmon can be seen in late spring / early summer as they migrate upstream to spawn in the upper River Ure. Swallows and sand-martins over the river are a common sight and green woodpeckers are often heard. On quiet days, early in the morning or evening, otters can sometimes be seen.
The bluebell woods are near the pike ponds by the Beningbrough gate. Bluebells are at their best from mid-April to early May. If it's a warm spring, then mid-April is usually the best time for a walk; if it's cooler however, early May is more likely to be the peak time for colour.