Bird watching during autumn and winter
Come and experience the wide range of birds that visit or inhabit Frensham Little Pond. With its mix of freshwater lake, conifer woodland and the open heath habitats, Frensham Little Pond attracts many different species that can provide hours of pleasure for those who enjoy watching birds throughout the autumn and winter seasons.
Starting from the main car park, follow the paths around the pond and up to the common visiting different habitats. Bring your binoculars and see how many species you can spot. There are some 90 different types that are seen at some point in most years, although be aware that birds can and do move between locations. What you may miss on one visit, you may catch on the next.
The lake is the focal point with an attractive array of resident birds providing entertainment. There are two bird hides at Frensham Little Pond – one by the café and one on the other side of the pond. Use these to avoid disturbing the birds and wait quietly for the birds to emerge when they feel undisturbed.
Elegant mute swans, grey herons and the great crested grebes, exude a serene authority compared to the noisy exuberance of gulls, Canada and greylag geese. Moorhens and coot bob in and out of the reed beds and the mallards will come and introduce themselves if you are by the café. More wary fowl such as the tufted ducks, prochards and goosanders will stay in the middle of the lake. If you are lucky you may see the bright plumage of birds such as teals, Mandarin ducks, and shovelers. Kingfishers can be spotted near the café area
In the last few years, winter visitors have included the dapper long-tailed ducks and pintails..
This is a great time to see the birds of prey wheeling in the air. Buzzards, kestrels and sparrowhawks are regular hunters over the heathland and common. Magpies, jays, jackdaws and crows are all noisy and competitive birds scavenging for food scraps. In the bushes and undergrowth you will also see the members of the tit family including the highly sociable long-tail tits with their ‘ball and stick’ shape.
Among the trees, look out for the more unusual species – nuthatches which climb down trees headfirst, and the treecreepers which search for food by circling up the trunks of trees. Listen to hear woodpeckers drumming on tree trunks, and use your binoculars to catch Britain’s smallest birds – the delightful firecrest, goldcrest and wren – which can be found here.
Winter visitors include fieldfares and redwings, both members of the thrush family, seen moving through the trees or feeding on open ground. Out on the heath, keep an eye out for any visiting great grey shrikes which love to perch on the bare branches of dead trees.
At the end of your walk, why not celebrate with a warming cuppa or hot soup and some cake at our welcoming café.
We hope that you enjoy looking out for our feathered friends as you stroll around Frensham Little Pond. We are delighted that he number of birds observed here has increased by around 25% over the past five years* and we hope this will continue for their well being as well as our pleasure.
*Source: BirdTrack, the online database of bird sightings, sponsored by the RSPB, the BTO, and the ornithology societies of Scotland, Wales and Ireland.