Winter wildlife at Beningbrough Hall
Not everything sleeps during the winter period. Many native and visiting birds and mammals are around and busy, so there's plenty to look out for in the Beningbrough parkland and gardens. Here's a guide to what you might spot in winter.
In winter, fieldfares and redwings visit Beningbrough from Scandinavia. They're usually seen feeding on yew berries in the garden but also have a taste for hawthorn and rowan berries. Waxwings have also visited in recent years. Waxwings arrive in Britain from Scandinavia during most winters. When the berry crop is poor in the far north, thousands of these brightly coloured birds come south looking for food. The most striking features of the waxwing are the large crest on its head, and the black eye strip which gives it an exotic appearance.
Birds hunting for prey
If you're lucky, you may see a sparrowhawk hunting in the garden or even a tawny owl searching for its prey before dark on a quiet winter afternoon. The ghostly white figure of a barn owl is also a possibility as they often feed in daylight in winter.
Birds in the garden
The American garden, beyond the walled garden has feeders and a bird hide, and is a great place for spotting birds. Here, you are likely to see blue tits, great tits, coal tits and chaffinches. Nuthatches and the great spotted woodpecker can also sometimes be seen.
Signs winter is ending
As the days begin to lengthen in January, buds on the trees begin to swell and catkins (male flowers) appear on shrubs such as hazel. On the woodland floor, the green shoots of bluebells can be seen emerging through the leaf litter and by early February, the first snowdrops are usually flowering, both in the garden and in the woods.
During the tercentenary year of Beningbrough Hall in 2016, visitors helped us to plant 300,000 bulbs to mark the occasion. This has helped to create a new ha-ha walk as one of the first elements of the new Andy Sturgeon designed 10 year garden vision begins. Visit in spring to see the bulbs flowering together and enjoy this improved area with fantastic views over the south parkland.