Spring wildlife at Beningbrough

Close up of a frog with a reflection in the water

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.

Around the garden

Song thrush

Garden birds

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.

Honey bee feeding on nectar rich plant

Bees and butterflies

Bumblebees are emerging from hibernation in spring - look out for them particularly in the American garden and orchard. The long grass in these areas with planted bulbs and wild flowers, such as violets, is a wildlife motorway. Early butterflies can be seen too, such as the butter-coloured Brimstone (thought to be the original 'butter' fly) and the Orange-tip.

Close up of a newt in water

Pond life

The long grass and boggy ground around the wildlife pond 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 and fish in the East formal garden pond.


A carpet of bluebells cover the ground at spring time on Beningbrough's Larch walk
Looking over the railings into the woods with a carpet of bluebells at Beningbrough
A carpet of bluebells cover the ground at spring time on Beningbrough's Larch walk

The bluebell woods are near the pike ponds by the exit 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.

Around the wider estate

Greater spotted woodpecker

Woodland birds

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.

Head of an otter poking out of water

Down by the river

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 and early summer as they migrate upstream to spawn in the upper River Ure. On quiet days, early in the morning or evening, otters can sometimes be seen.

A typical shot of a Kingfisher which might be seen by the River Burn

Riverside birds

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.